Today many local community events and town fairs have prizes for the best judged vegetables and home-made produce.
As a kid my mum used to grow all of our potatoes, carrots, parsnips, cabbages, lettuce tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, onions, cucumbers, turnips, peas and beans. She also made jams, spreads and chutneys, etc. which were far superior to the mass produced, chemical filled junk you get today.
Could a return to homegrown and homemade produce help reduce carbon emissions and help save the planet? In a word – probably! But it could also get people off the couch, prevent lots of trips to the shops, help people keep fit, learn some useful skills, use waste space in the garden, gain a hobby, cut chemical use in agriculture, save you a lot of money and even stimulate some local economy.
There would be a small initial investment in preparing the ground, getting the initial plants and seeds, but from then on, everything is self generating. Seeds and plants from this year’s crops can be stored and used for next year’s crops. Extra stock could be sold or swapped for different types with other people. Even small packets of ground can be used to grow a variety of plants – window boxes (for herbs), tubs (for potatoes), hanging baskets (for strawberries) and raised beds (for virtually anything). Also when you have grown produce, it can be used to make other products like jams, chutneys, etc.
You do not need chemical fertilizers, you can use entirely organic waste materials to regenerate the soils, helping to prevent environmental pollution and potential human poisoning.
Good soil for plants is usually comprised of 50% organic or inorganic material, 25% air space and 25% water space. Clay, hardpan and compacted soils lack the necessary space for air and water.
Beneficial microorganisms make up a portion of the organic matter in good soil. Without proper air and water, many microorganisms can’t survive. Soil conditioners can be organic or inorganic, or a combination of synthetic and natural matter.
Some ingredients of organic soil include cover crop, residue sewage sludge, sawdust, ground pine bark, peat moss, animal manure, and compost. Therefore organic soil is not a massive hit to the pocket, but instead certainly helps the environmental pollution.
At a local level, cooperatives could be formed with each person specialising in 2 or 3 varieties of vegetables. Mass transportation could be reduced.
Oxygen producing CO2 absorbing plants would be grown, people would get off the couch and begin to exercise without the need to join gyms, while actively engaging with others in the community. Over produced items could be sold or donated to elderly people and soup kitchens etc.
You can support to build healthy communities by supporting us by doing the following:
Installing more water wells to provide clean water
Developing sustainable farming methods to improve nutrition
Building school classrooms and dormitories for students
Providing education on personal hygiene and health
To learn about growing produce there are loads of books in secondhand book stores and myriads of websites offering advice.
Local people are usually keen to give advice on what grows best where, along with a few useful hints to succeed with various items.
We evaluate the effect of the campaign on educational outcomes in primary schools using a difference in differences approach; comparing educational outcomes in primary schools, using the neighbouring Local Education Authorities as a control group. We find evidence that educational outcomes improved significantly in English and Science.
While working with local primary schools and extending the campaign offerings to members of the local community, the schools successfully created a local ethos promoting the benefits of healthy and balanced lifestyles, meaning that every child can gain the opportunity to a better quality of life.
There are a few simple processes that, if learnt, make it easy to use your grown crops and recover seeds, germinate seeds and store produce, all to use the following growing season.
Glass houses and cold frames can be used to protect more fragile crops from the cold and rain, to grow more exotic plants from overseas.
Soil management is the soul of organic farming. It is a well known fact that after taking one crop, the soil of the farm loses most of its nutrients and its fertility goes down.
Organic farming focuses on removing the weeds from the soil during crop production. You can use a cutting or mowing process to remove plant residue and prepare the compost by digging a pit, filling it in with green waste and water to decay.
The effects of climate change bring more uncertainty to farming, with increased drought predicted for some parts of the world. It has become obvious that weather patterns are changing and thus, looking into the future, food crops will need the resilience to adapt.
The benefits of organic growing are fairly obvious from the previous discussion with less harm to the soil and environment through chemical pollution; less harm to humans through chemical poisoning; healthy vegetables not doused with pesticides and preservatives.
An integrated farming system that strives for sustainability with the enhancement of soil fertility and biological diversity whilst, with rare exceptions, prohibiting synthetic pesticides, antibiotics, synthetic fertilizers, genetically modified organisms and growth hormones.
Here are some of the main benefits of organic growing:
Fresher and tastier foods
Healthier farm workers
Organic farms saving energy long term
Slow down global warming
Fewer residues in food