Sunday, February 14, 2016

Urban farming


Readers of Greenmomster know that our food choices have direct effects on the environment, as well as farm workers.  When we decide to eat less meat, the result is a smaller carbon footprint.  When we eat organic food, we decrease the pesticides used in food production (less exposure for the environment and farm workers), but we also increase the amount of land needed to produce food (decreased wildlife habitat) -- a trade-off that each consumer should consider.

Many of us also enjoy growing some of our own food!  Could the "backyard farmer" movement solve some of our food production problems?  Could we reduce use of fertilizer and water, while producing all the food that's locally needed?  According to a new study from the University of Washington published in the journal Urban Forestry and Urban Greening (reported by Sarah DeWeerdt of Conservation, 1/26/2016), while farming within city limits can produce substantial amounts of food, odds are good that we still need farmlands and lots of them.  Be sure to read the summary of the study.

What's the take-home lesson?  A few important points surface as we look at these results:

  1. Greening our cities is an important goal when it comes to decreasing energy costs and cleaning water
  2. Farmland preservation is also necessary to sustain an ever-increasing human population
  3. Food waste should be kept to a minimum in order to reduce food production environmental impacts.  Check out the Think.Eat.Save website for more info on reducing food waste.

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