How can a Small Veggie Garden fight climate change?

I have never been a gardener my whole life and have only planted a couple of tree seedlings in my younger days.

The veggie garden curiosity started when we switched our family diet preference from ‘mostly meat’ to ‘more of vegetable and fruits and less of meat’ type of meals. I also saw possibilities whenever I looked out to my small backyard. Why not use this parcel as a source of nourishing food by growing veggies? Michael Pollan’s Why Bother article was a big influence on this endeavor.

But there are sweeter reasons to plant that garden, to bother. At least in this one corner of your yard and life, you will have begun to heal the split between what you think and what you do, to commingle your identities as consumer and producer and citizen.  – Michael Pollan

With much gusto, I ripped a 5ft x 10ft portion of the backyard. There was a bit of procrastination period but I was able to muster the energy to assemble the raised garden bed, put in the organic soil and plant the seedlings. Watering the plants twice a day became a habit. It was a joy watching the plants grow and flourish.

Two months later, we are harvesting the produce for family meals and sharing them with neighbors.

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Yes — we become better stewards of our planet by doing something as benign as planting a veggie garden. Through this journey, we discovered that:

  • We enjoy the veggies more because we grew them with our own hands. More veggies and lesser (or no) meat makes more nourishing meals and better health.
  • Meat production is a major source of climate change because of the sheer amount of resources needed to bring that burger patty from the farm to your table. Leaning towards plant-rich diet is not only more nutritious but may well be the most effective way individually to stop climate change.
  • You get to burn calories through gardening without driving to the gym! Take it a notch higher by having some fun and being silly while gardening.
  • You get more independent. I grew up in a tropical country where you can grow all kinds of plants and fruits year-round. In spite of this, we have always relied on the supermarket as the main source of our food. I now realized that cheap energy mindset played a part in this anomaly. Planting even a small garden allows you to take control, even for a tiny bit, of something as crucial as the nourishment that our body needs.
  • Reinforces our belief that the things we truly need are ubiquitous and plentiful. Good food is one of them together with air and water. The yield of that 5×10 parcel is plentiful.

Measured against the climate challenges we face, planting a garden sounds pretty benign, But in fact it’s one of the most powerful things an individual can do–to reduce your carbon footprint, sure, but more important, to reduce your sense of dependence and dividedness: to change the cheap-energy mind. – Michael Pollan

We have started our second garden bed and will be growing other vegetable varieties.

If a person with my simple background can yield a nutritious and plentiful produce, you can too! If you live in a place with limited access to land to plant a garden such as a city apartment, a community garden may be the way to go. A friend of mine pays $60 a year for a space in his community garden and there is plenty of fruits and veggies to be had in that garden that is shared with other members.

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You wanted to grow veggies inside your own apartment? Follow what Britta Riley did to overcome a having a garden in a small space oxymoron and how the challenge was overcome through working with others.

As usual, I’d love to hear from you. Please comment if you are starting one or share your gardening thoughts or challenges.

Peace and Love!