Growing Your Own Food Is Key to a Sustainable Lifestyle

Self-Sufficiency: How Growing Your Own Food Is Key to a Sustainable Lifestyle

Food independence has grown more popular in the past few years as climate change and marginal land use have become more of a political and social issue. We are running out of land, topsoil, and water to sustain the large-scale agriculture that we have practiced for generations.

How Growing Your Own Food Is Key to a Sustainable Lifestyle

A small-scale windowsill garden bed. Image via PHG.

As global water scarcity and water pollution increase, small-scale, sustainable farming has become the key to mitigating environmental pressure. In progressive towns, citizens have begun to gravitate towards co-ops and urban farming in an effort to create independence from the large-scale, corporately driven agriculture that dominates our society.

Growing Your Own Food

In Todmorden, West Yorkshire, inhabitants have made the goal to be food-independent by 2018, pushing sustainable initiatives like town-wide raised plant beds that make any fruit, vegetable, or flower free and easily available to local residents. They only grow plants in season, and use every inch of free space within the town to lay the foundation for a new, ecologically friendly food culture.

According to Wake Up World, the “Incredible Edible” initiative educates individuals on sustainable food cultivation, and teaches courses to the citizens on bread-making, horticulture, and preserving fruits and vegetables. This is a huge step for environmental science, and a clear distinction between the chemically intensive, monoculture favoring methods that the US currently employs.

The Incredible Edible initiative has also stimulated the local economy, and local restaurants and shops now utilize the sustainable resources at their fingertips, creating a new market for organic, locally sourced produce.

Small-Scale Organic Farming

The UN Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTD) released a publication, “Trade and Environment Review 2013: Wake Up Before It’s Too Late”, which pressed the need for a return to a more natural and sustainable organic system of agriculture. It explains that small-scale, organic farming, not GMO’s and monocultures, is the best way to feed our growing population.

This system promotes plant diversity, and reduces the use of fertilizer and water in a market where food prices continue to rise. This method of farming also is regenerative, implementing crop rotation and intercropping to re-fertilize soils, moving back towards a succession-based system that mirrors the way ecosystems naturally function.

Moves are being made to remedy the inequities in our global food system, and it can all start with you. Meet with interested friends, family, and community members, and talk to your small council about sustainable food options for your town or city. Growing your own food is key to a sustainable lifestyle.

Featured Image: Various herbs being grown in a small scale urban setting. Image via PHG.

About The Author

Alyssa Harding
Alyssa is a recent graduate of the Environmental Science program at the University of Florida, and is currently employed by a non-profit which promotes environmental campaigns and ecological stewardship. An active volunteer for various organizations, she aims to promote environmental conservation and education in an effort to create a foundation for a sustainable future. Alyssa specializes in food science and natural resource economics, and ultimately has her sights set on grassland ecology and regionally appropriate agriculture in order to remedy the inequity that permeates our global food system.