Nowadays there are so many ways that we can do good, give back and help to protect the planet: recycling, riding your bicycle to work, refusing plastic bags, even buying only locally grown produce. However none of these are as impactful as making time in your life to grow your own food. As parents it is our responsibility to make sure that our children begin to develop these food-growing skills along with a relationship with the earth so that they can grow to become more self-sufficient adults that benefit planetary health.
If we look at all the harmful human activities that are killing Mother Earth, which do you think is causing the most devastation? You guessed it–agriculture. The large farms that we rely on to grow our food are destroying the planet, turning healthy ecosystems into deserts and then moving on more fertile land. And the destructive cycle continues.
Effects of agriculture on the planet:
- Responsible for the majority of CO2 and other harmful greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere
- Destroys ecosystems
- Mass extinction of countless species
- Runoff of chemical fertilizers and pesticides polluting both freshwater and our oceans
- Turns fertile, farmable soil into desert
Now if we turn the lens on ourselves here in Bermuda, this food that is being grown using destructive methods is then having to be shipped across great distances which obviously affects the freshness but adds to our carbon footprint. Once on island the food still needs to be refrigerated and transported again increasing energy required. In the end, an average of 40% of all food at the grocery store is thrown away for one reason or another. FACT: This food production system of us relying on someone, somewhere else, to grow and supply our food is simply not working.
In Bermuda, the high prices of whole, fresh food makes it inaccessible to the majority of Bermuda families. In order to survive, families have to decide to either go without three meals a day and/or rely on cheap, processed food which is high in calories and low in nutrition. Unfortunately we all know what damage this can do to both mental and physical health. But even for those who can afford the prices, this food is also destroying the planet and is not even bringing us the nutrition we need.
The effects this food has on us:
- All food, even organically grown, is deficient in many of nutrients and minerals
- Contains toxic chemicals such as glyphosate (the active ingredient in RoundUp) and other pesticides
- Robs us of the opportunity to connect with Nature through the act of growing our own food
What can we do? WHAT IS THE NEW MODEL?
Even with all this doom and gloom, the act of growing food can also be the greatest tool we have to reverse the climate crisis and begin to heal the earth.
However, how many of us say, “I want to grow my own food but I just don’t have the time?” If that’s you then I’m here to tell you that you can grow a great deal of your own food in as little as 20 minutes a day! Growing your own food is a learning experience and no matter how long you have been doing it there’s always something to learn. That’s what makes it so exciting, there’s never a dull moment in the garden!
To start a garden for the first time we recommend starting with a small area and once you feel confident with that area expand a bit more. Doing this season after season you will be able to sustainably build your gardening confidence and increase the amount of food you can grow. Check our “Growing a Backyard Vegetable Garden” post on Facebook or Instagram for tips and inspiration.
Here’s a few important points:
- Start small, try starting with a 3 foot by 3 foot area
- Make sure that the garden gets at least 7 hours of direct sun
- Only plant vegetables that are in season. Check our website for our Bermuda specific planting guide or simply use our summer planting guide below.
The greatest gift we can give our children is a relationship with nature through growing food. Fostering these skills in our children will create a society that no longer takes from the earth but is giving back and at the same time is more resilient. So what are you waiting for?! Take action today by getting those kids outside and start growing!
Growing your own food benefits the planet by:
- Reducing the carbon footprint of your food by removing the energy needed to grow, transport and refrigerate the food
- All this unused farmland can then begin to be rewilded
- Minimizing global soil damage
- Cultivating healthy communities that are invested in the health of our soil and ecosystems
Summer Planting Guide
To learn more about how to successfully grow more of your own food sign up for one of our Sustainable Farming 101 workshops starting this March. You can get your children involved too by signing them up for our Afterschool Garden Expeditions! Further information about both opportunities can be found on our website.