Sunday, June 04, 2006

Neighborhood Gardening To Help The Environment

An often overlooked tool to help heal the environment is your very own spice and vegetable garden.

Gardens offer several opportunities to help the local and global environment:

1. Gardens reduce the need to transport food over great distances. Shipping is a major producer of polluting emissions due to the extensive use of fossil fuels in ships, rail lines, and semi trucks. In addition to the fossil fuel use, there is the energy used to refrigerate foods in shipping, to maintain the vehicles that do the shipping, and to operate the computer systems that manage distribution of foods to grocery stores all over the country.

2. Gardens reduce the need for energy production for storage and operations at grocery stores.

3. Gardeners have the opportunity to grow many non-commercial "heritage" varieties of fruits, spices, and vegetables, preserving biodiversity and preventing the extinction of now rare plant stocks that are often better adapted to local climates. Many of these stocks are both more flavorful and nutricious than commercial stock produced by agribusiness because their varieties stand shipping better and look better in the local grocery store produce racks. Looks asnd flavor are NOT the same thing! See for more details.

4. Gardeners often practise the art of composting and other organic techniques once they become more learned in the art of gardening. This maintains healthier soils and can reduce the amount of household waste going into land fills by up to 30%.

5. Neighbors gardening together often have more of a sense of community than those who do not have such joint activities.

6. Home-canned foodstocks can increase disaster preparedness, and retain money in the household budget, which could be put towards socially responsible investing or renewable energy systems for the home.

7. Home gardens can also help reduce the US trade deficit by reducing food imports.

8. Home gardens can promote a more peaceful and serene disposition in the gardener's life and provide better nutrition for families, both of which can help reduce illness and demands on the national health care system.

9. Urban container gardens can help "green up" harsh urban environments, improving air quality and the outlook of urban dwellers.

10. Home gardens can give people experience in caring for and being responsible for living organisms that are totally dependent on them for life and reproduction. This is small-scale practice at Stewardship, yet it goes beyond the obvious in benefits.

11. Home gardens can help provide habitat and sustenance for pollinating insects such as bees, without which most life on Earth would perish.

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