Eating local, seasonal food is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint because it cuts down on transportation emissions. But does it really matter where your food comes from? In general, yes.
When you shop at a supermarket, you’re getting a lot of variety, but it’s not always the most eco-friendly option.
As a consumer, the choice of which food to buy can seem almost overwhelming. At the grocery store, there are dozens of choices, from organic to local to fair trade, from cage-free to hormone-free to grass-fed. And that’s just the animal products.
Fruits and vegetables can be organic or not, local or not, seasonal or not, and can come from any of a number of countries. One thing that all of these choices do not tell you is how big of an impact that food item has on the environment.
The benefits of growing your own food are many and varied. Beyond the question of tastes and freshness, we should consider the environmental benefits of growing our own food on a small scale.
Growing your own food is becoming increasingly popular and not just for the taste! For many people, growing your own food is an act of rebellion against the modern convenience machine as well as a way to live more sustainably with the environment.
But, can you really be greener by growing your own food compared with buying it at the store?
Reducing Carbon Emissions and Waste
When it comes to reducing your carbon emissions and waste, there are three main things you can focus on: recycling, reusing, and reducing.
Recycling is the process by which you turn waste materials into new products. Reusing is the process by which you turn your used materials into new products. Reducing is the process by which you use fewer materials or less of a material.
Whether you’re an urban farmer or simply want to grow a few vegetables in your backyard, growing food at home can help reduce waste and decrease your carbon footprint. When you grow your own food, you control the ingredients that go into it.
That means you can skip pesticides and genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, that may harm your health in the long term. You can also control the amount of fertilizers and water your crops receive, which means you can reduce the amount of waste you create and save money on your water bill.
Avoid Carcinogenic Pesticides and Fertilizers
Growing your own food is one of the best ways to minimize your impact on the environment. Eating fresh, local foods means that your body doesn’t have to process as many carcinogenic pesticides and fertilizers that are common in foods that are imported from other countries.
Most people interested in growing their own food for health and financial reasons are aware of the perils of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, and the organic movement is growing fast. But there are many other reasons to consider choosing organic food production.
Though organic food does not necessarily mean that it is pesticide-free, it does mean that it is produced with fewer or no synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. These chemicals leach into ground water and run off into streams and rivers, contaminating them in the process.
Show Your Environment Some Love
If you think that your health is important, why not show your environment some love too? Growing your own food is better for the environment than buying it from the store, and it tastes better too! It’s no secret that the food you buy in stores is often not the healthiest.
It has been picked before it is ripe and has been shipped to your door, which typically means it has lost many of its nutrients during the trip. Some food has been treated with chemicals, which can be harmful to the environment and are definitely not what you want to be putting into your body. So, what is the solution? Start growing your own food.
It’s easy to think that growing your own food is the best thing you can do for the environment, and you wouldn’t be wrong. But there’s another way to make a serious impact — and it’s easier than you think.
When you start growing your own food, you’re giving back to the environment in a big way, not only because you’re helping to eliminate food waste, but also because you’re eliminating the trash that goes along with commercially packaged foods.
Plants Naturally Clean the Air and Ground
If you’re going to be growing your own food, you’re already making a big step for the environment, but some plants go the extra mile by naturally cleaning the air and ground around them.
For example, the bamboo plant, a member of the grass family, is a fast-growing bamboo species that can grow 12 to 20 inches a day when it’s in optimum growing conditions. Thanks to its sturdy, fast-growing nature, this plant is a common natural filter of air and water.
Reduce Cooling Costs with Well Placed Trees and Shrubs
If your cooling costs are high, then the first thing you should consider is whether you have well placed trees and shrubs in and around your home. These help shade your home and reduce the amount of heat it absorbs during the day.
They will also help reduce the amount of heat that escapes from your home at night. This is important because heat that escapes from your home is energy that you are paying to cool. On a hot summer night it is not uncommon for your air conditioner to work overtime just to cool your home.
The good news is that properly placed trees and shrubs can reduce this amount of heat loss and lower your energy bills.
Supports Beneficial Insects and Birds
As a gardener, you are probably aware of the many benefits that your garden brings to you and your family. You know that you can save money on your grocery bills, and you also realize that you can provide your family with healthy, home-grown produce.
But did you know that adding pollinator-friendly flowers to your garden can also help save the environment?
When pollinator-friendly flowers are grown in your garden, you are adding to the overall pollination that occurs in your community. This is because the bees will be able to gather pollen from your garden, and they will then take it to your neighbours garden—helping them to grow healthy fruits and veggies as well!
Gardening can seem like a daunting task to some people, but the truth is that if you can keep a pot plant alive in your kitchen, you can grow your own food! For the most part, growing your own produce is easy and fun. You can even grow some foods indoors, which can be a lot of fun for kids (and adults!) As you might imagine, there are many benefits to growing your own food.