Back to growing your own food?

Unfortunately for us, the way we live today consumes fossil fuels at a rate we cannot sustain, without severe consequences. Approximately 7 calories of fossil fuel energy are required to produce 1 calorie of food. Due to petroleum being so widely used, more than 88 million barrels of oil a day worldwide, we have to acknowledge that it being a finite resource we will deplete its availability at some point. Life as we know it will cease to exist whether we like it or not. Are you ready for the changes this will bring about?

Globalisation has allowed us to buy goods from foreign countries located thousands of kilometres away. This cost of transport is not only a monetary one but also to our fossil fuel supply. In America, the distance food travels on average is 2400 km from farm to customer and add into that equation food from foreign countries.

Ponder this… to import 1 calorie of asparagus by plane from Chile it will use 97 calories of transport energy and to fly 1 unit of carrot energy from South Africa it will consume 66 units of energy…”

The food system is constantly lengthening its supply chain and this increases emissions and is a significant contributor to global warming. Ironically the very food system which creates these greenhouse gases is affected in a negative way. The many conventional methods we use to overcome environmental problems results in an increase in the consumption of finite oil and our gas reserves, resulting in a vicious cycle where oil dependence and environmental degradation endures.

What really makes no sense to me is that many countries import and export similar quantities of the same foods which makes the impact of all this transportation unnecessary. Analysts have stated that the current oil supply which fuels our food system could be exhausted by 2040. Globalisation has made it unlikely that a modern society can collapse in isolation therefor, for the first time in history we are facing a risk of global decline. When you are faced to really think about it, the total world population is continually increasing yet our planet remains the same size. There is a limit to our natural resources and many are non-renewable and even those which are renewable are being consumed faster than we can replenish it.

If the world had spent the last 25 years urgently preparing alternative energies, conservation technologies, and patterns of land use with a much lower dependence on transport…. Instead, “the long-expected shock finds us unprepared” - policy analyst David Fleming

Grow your food?

A low energy future may not be that far away and we will survive it better if we learn to be more self-sufficient in our lives. The day is fast approaching when we shall enter into an era where the world will have to be fed with a limited use of fossil fuels.

So, what can we do? I think it is clear; we must shift our buying habits to local markets. We must cut down the transportation time needed to obtain our goods, thus benefiting our environment. Supporting local markets would be a great way to lower fossil fuel consumption and even better start to learn to grow your own food whenever possible.

Grow food

There are many who don’t have land to grow their own tomatoes, starting a community garden might be a good idea, if not, tomato plants grow quite nicely in a pot on a balcony with lots of fresh herbs around it. Give it a try!.

3 thoughts on “Back to growing your own food?”

  1. Hi lillies, I don’t want to blow my trumpet but I am one of those lucky people who can grow their own food. I am far from claiming that I am or can be self sufficient especially because it’s nothing more than a one man trying desperately to cope with circa 2000 sq metres of arable land. But I grow my own potatoes which last for 9 months, onions (six months), tomatoes (very scarce produce), lettuce (easy) , aubergines (very difficult), zucchini, pumpkins (new experiment) and strawberries. This is apart from the different fruit trees consisting mainly of apples (so abundant that I am forced to make juice), walnuts, hazelnuts, pears, plums, cherries and mirabelle (like yellow plums). I know some people who more or less do the same like me if not more. Of course the people who do this don’t do it to save the planet but because they like doing it, as a hobby. And unfortunately not everybody has such a hobby. I believe very much that man must live in unison with nature and can never renounce his origins. Nature makes you happy when you respond to her call. Stay away from her and she rejects you and you will be the loser. I know so many people who depend on tranquillisers and calming pills and they are invariably people who forget that they are nature’s children. I think sport and nature are a man’s best friends. Hope this was not too boring.

    1. Hi Pierre, was not boring at all! You reminded me of the summers I spent as a child on my grandparents farm where they grew all kinds of produce. Most of the vegetables were taken fresh from the garden for every meal. You can’t buy those flavors in a supermarket. There is nothing like growing your own food, if you are able to. You know exactly what you are eating. It is quite true about being outside in nature; there is absolutely a calming effect. I hope those who are fortunate to have access to some land, even a small patch put on gardening gloves and give it a try!

  2. Environmentally sustainable ecoomnic development is a process of developing ecoomnic value that includes what traditional ecoomnic development considers external costs (costs not incurred by the developer). It holistic in its development approach and makes distinctions between mining activities and farming activities. For instance planting a crop that has market value yet removes biomass from the soil (typical corporate farming) is not actually farming, but mining — Not to mention not sustainable.

Comments are closed.