What makes the movement towards sustainability and a healthier world so compelling and fulfilling?
For us it is the fact that for once, humanity is not competing, but working together! There are so many courageous and dedicated individuals all contributing their good intentions to improving our lives and communities. Join us!
Annie Spiegelman, author of "Talking Dirt: The Dirt Diva's Down to Earth Guide to Organic Gardening” and contributor to the Huffington Post’s Green Blog, writes about 10 ways that we can each be more present
in our garden, make choices that are healthier for our bodies and the environment
, and how we can participate to demand consumers are protected
from the genetically modified products being pushed by Monsanto and others.
Read the original article HERE
Food security exists when all people at all times have both physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs for an active and healthy life. People who have better access to water tend to have lower levels of undernourishment.
The lack of water can be a major cause of famine and undernourishment, in particular in areas where people depend on local agriculture for food and income.
Erratic rainfall and seasonal differences in water availability can cause temporary food shortages. Floods and droughts can cause some of the most intensive food emergencies.Coping with population growth and ensuring access to nutritious food to everyone call for a series of actions we can all help with:
Practice Water Stewardship in the GardenWater for food production is critical. By 2050, it is estimated that up to 70% more food will be needed to feed an increasing world population, especially in developing countries.Because water for irrigation must be fresh, even more concern should be given to its source, usability, and sustained use over time. Fruit and vegetable gardening is one of the most efficient uses of water, with the greatest yield for water used (when compared to the large amounts of water necessary to raised animal foods).
- follow a healthier, sustainable diet;
- consume less water-intensive products;
- reduce the scandalous food wastage: 30% of the food produced worldwide is never eaten and the water used to produce it is definitively lost!
- produce more food, of better quality, with
There are particularly good gardening strategies to save water:
World Water Day — Learn About Water StewardshipBecome a student of water. After all, we are each made up of about 80% water, and fruits and vegetables are no different! To learn about World Water Day, and to especially understand global water and food security concerns, please visit the World Water Day website, HERE
- Water early in the morning or evening
- Use controlled irrigation systems (computer, underground, drip irrigation, etc.)
- Mulch bare ground — don't let bare soil bake in the heat or drown in moisture
- Water grassy areas only with about 1-inch of water per week during the Summer
- Use water catchment systems (rain barrels, cisterns, water tanks)
- Find creative ways to capture water for later use, or to use in a specific garden area
.At the World Water Day website, you can visit their FAQ section for detailed information about water and food security. Visit the Campaign section for all types of media material, videos, flyers, etc.
As your garden's Steward, you should ensure that it is as safe and friendly as possible — for the soil, plants, insects, micro-organisms, animals and humans. When you identify certain ethics to garden by, then your garden becomes a sanctuary — a lovely, peaceful, earth-friendly refuge in your yard, on your deck or balcony, or even in a window garden box.
Here's four principles to create your Food Garden as a sanctuary:
Don't use methods that can harm humans. Every gardener is faced with many choices about what chemicals, additives, sprays, amendments, fertilizers, or other means to grow plants and maintain the soil. The problem is that a typical garden shed or garage has enough toxic chemicals to kill a whole city block!
A strategy is to consider the well-being of a child, and your desire to know that they must not be poisoned in your garden as a result of eating food that is toxic, or by simply playing among the plants and landscape. In short, grow organically and naturally, and always read the labels of products for ingredients, including % of inert or “other” ingredients that are not required to be individually listed, but are often highly toxic.
Don’t use methods that can unnecessarily harm animals, pets, insects, micro-organisms in the soil, among other species. Again, it is important to choose the least-toxic methods, which include organics, natural methods, and integrated pest management strategies.
Your gardening method affects everything. Even using a method that controls for an insect or disease can affect other species, be they in the soil or above ground, beneficial or harmful. Finally, create structures, barriers and fences that won’t harm animals and their natural migration patterns. Barbed wire is particularly harmful. Natural landscape barriers, like hedgrows, trees, vines, bushes help to support wildlife.
Use, enhance and preserve Nature’s resources — soil, water, beneficial insects, micro-organisms, sun and shade, and so on. The word “steward” means “keeper of the place.” Therefore, make a commitment to be a “Earth Friendly Gardener.” Educate yourself about the numerous strategies available to garden with reverence for life.
As a place of refuge from the world, your vegetable patch should mirror your commitment to sound environmental practices that can actually save the Earth in your own backyard! Consider these important seasonal duties: replenish and grow the soil, compost, recycle waste, conserve water, cover or mulch bare soil, use regional and native, non-GMO plants and open-pollinated or heirloom seeds, keep the garden clean and accessible, grow plants that attract beneficial insects, bees and butterflies, among others. Additionally, add sitting areas, play settings, viewing spots, paths, windchimes, birdbaths and birdhouses, art, mason bee nesting sites — anything that beautifies your garden and makes its aesthetic and comfortable to visit.
The dramatic die-off of honeybees for the last several years affects a significant portion of the food stream — 1 of 3 mouthfuls of food is dependent upon pollination by honeybees!Every gardener and farmer knows the value of bees for pollination of certain fruits and vegetables. Until recently, bee die-off has baffled scientists. Theories have ranged from emission of harmful electro-magnetive waves from cell phone towers to invasive viruses, mites, and insecticides.Honeybee Deaths Linked to Corn InsecticidesFinally, researchers have determined what appears to be the primary cause of honeybee die-off. It has to do with
neonicotinoid insecticides used to coat corn seeds (and other primary crops). Specifically, when corn plants are young and flowering, the bees are attracted to them in early morning when dew is present. The bees sip the insecticide-contaminated dew and die within an hour.It would be easy to eliminate the problematic coated seeds. However, the consequence of poisoning goes beyond just seeds and plants. Neoicotinoid insecticides are the most widely used in the world. However, they have a very long half-life in the soil (dozens of years). What this means is that farm or garden soil containing these insecticides will remain toxic long after the plants are gone.Here is a recent news release about researchers' recent discoveries, as published in the American Chemical Society's Environmental Science & Technology journal.
>For a short article summarizing the plight of bees and what you can do about it, see the following article by Dr. C. Forrest McDowell from Skipping Stones magazine (May-August, 2010)
It’s that time of year again when you can dig your hands into the dirt, spread seeds over the freshly turned earth, and smell the delicious scent of green plants growing. Gardening is very healthy, both physically and mentally.You can burn over 400 calories an hour just by tending your garden! During that time your body will have stretched, flexed, bent, kneeled, lifted, pulled, walked, dug, hauled . . . among numerous other activities.It is important, therefore, to GET IN SHAPE FOR GARDENING — Strength, Endurance & Flexibility.
- Visit www.strengthforgardening.com for numerous videos that demonstrate various types of exercises (especially STRETCHING!) that gently keep you fit.
- A sample video is below. For a variety of other garden fitness videos on YouTube, go HERE.
- Finally, here's another good website for a weekly exercise routine at Garden Fitness: http://gardenfitness.com/
From a highly respected scientist concerned for the world he's leaving his grandkids, one of the most compelling scientific arguments we’ve ever heard on climate change and why our survival instinct needs to kick in immediately.
WHY we should listen to him, from his TED Talks bio:
"James Hansen is Adjunct Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. He was trained in physics and astronomy in the space science program of James Van Allen at the University of Iowa. His early research on the clouds of Venus helped identify their composition as sulfuric acid. Since the late 1970s, he has focused his research on Earth's climate, especially human-made climate change. Hansen is known for his testimony on climate change to congressional committees in the 1980s that helped raise broad awareness of the global warming issue. Hansen is recognized for speaking truth to power, for identifying ineffectual policies as greenwash, and for outlining the actions that the public must take to protect the future of young people and the other species on the planet."
His short, courageous speech is a worthy reminder that each of us must do our best to minimize our effect on the planet, NOW..if for nothing else than for those that will inherit the world we leave them.
We must BE the change, friends.
Watch the video here: James Hansen: Why I Must Speak Out About Climate Change