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Many people do not see the connection between growing your own food or kitchen garden and climate change. Growing your own food is not only a satisfying and healthy way to eat, but it can also have a positive impact on the planet. With the increasing concern over climate change and food insecurity, more people are turning to home gardening as a way to reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable food system.
According to a report, experts found that greenhouse gas emissions from food production alone can cause 1.5 degrees Celsius warming by 2050 and 2 degrees by the end of the 21st century. The first step of producing food- clearing land to make place for monoculture crops like rice and wheat- releases large amounts of emissions. Cutting trees and vegetation and breaking down soil components reduces the soil’s ability to absorb, distribute, and store carbon, which releases more emissions into the atmosphere.
The transportation of food to different regions and the use of synthetic fertilizers further increase the emissions in the atmosphere. Thus, this whole process damages human and planetary health. To produce food on such a huge scale requires synthetic additives and preservatives to stabilize it for long periods. The nutrition from this food is not healthy for anyone.
What’s the solution for this? We need to transform the food system into a sustainable one or support a direct connection between how we produce and consume food. Everyone must understand how their food is grown, what impacts their food’s nutrition, and how to obtain food efficiently and sustainably.
Purchasing food grown locally from the farmer’s market or a local grocery shop is a good way to reduce your carbon footprint. However, growing your food is even better. Thus, grow your own food to save the planet!
Considering the average energy costs of transporting food to markets, estimates suggest an average distance of 1,500 miles is travelled before food is consumed. The large-scale and long-distance transportation of food depends on the energy from burning fossil fuels.
According to estimates, humans put almost 10-kilo calories of fossil fuel energy into the food system for every one kilo-calorie of energy we get as food. Most of the environmental and health risks associated with fossil fuel burning are a disaster we are currently facing- climate change.
The food system uses a lot of pesticides and fertilizers on traditionally grown crops. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the use of several pesticides that were not yet researched and were later linked to cancer and other diseases. Today, the EPA considers almost 60 per cent of herbicides, 90 percent of fungicides, and 30 percent of insecticides carcinogenic.
In the United States, agricultural use accounted for nearly 80 per cent of pesticide use. If one plans to grow your own food to save the planet, one can decide what goes on your food.
The food system follows monoculture- growing only one type of crop in a large area of land. This practice depends on government support for commodity crop production through the use of government subsidies. Monocropping reduces biodiversity in the area, uses a lot of fertilizers and pesticides, involves mechanized farming methods, uses genetically engineered seeds, and leads to the loss of soil nutrients. When growing your own food, you can avoid all the impacts of monoculture and protect human and planetary health.
Besides avoiding the negative impacts of the food system, growing your food gives you something you may not recognize: exercise. Growing your food: planting, weeding, watering, and caring for crops provides a good workout.
Growing your food yields better and tastier food with a high nutritional value. Further, it diversifies your plate and helps expose your diet to healthy food. Growing your food can also save money. If you cannot afford to purchase sustainable and organic food items, you can buy non-hybrid, heirloom species and save the seeds from the best producers. Learning how to dry, can, and preserve your seeds for the next harvest will enable you to feed yourself even when the growing season is over.
Growing your food is a good way to fight climate change. Grow your own food to save the planet!
Also Read: Biogas Generation from Food Waste