Growing Food to Fight Global Warming

Samantha Zeitz

Growing food at home might not only help you financially, it could help the environment.

A study led by University of California Santa Barbara professor, David Cleveland shows home gardens can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Similar to the 1940s Victory Garden, Cleveland encourages homeowners to grow their own food, but this time to fight pollution. For every Kilogram of homegrown vegetables, two kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions are prevented from entering the atmosphere.

Lets look at how a garden could help fight climate change. By building a garden you are using space for production rather than a patch of grass. You will also be bringing down transportation costs of bringing produce to market. Once you have planted your garden, there’s a few things you can do you make it greener. By using gray water to grow your plants you are putting it to use instead of sending it to a water treatment plant. Of course everything in your garden can be composted instead of sending it to the landfill.

Through research it was discovered that you could easily produce half the vegetables for an average household. This is only based on a garden just under 19 square meters. They estimated a production rate of almost 6kgs of vegetables per square meter, per year. Experts say it’s possible to produce more, perhaps a little over 11kgs per square meter, per year.

If half of the state’s single-family households grew half of their vegetables, they would be contributing almost eight percent of the state’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They hope to have emission levels back to what they were in 1990 by 2020 so every step imaginable; including growing our own food, could help.

However there can be complications. If you’re looking to compost you have to make sure you’re doing it right. If you don’t pay enough attention to your compost it could begin to emit methane and nitrous oxide. Both are greenhouse gases and will take away the benefits of the garden. Aeration and adding the right combination of biodegradable material into your composter will go a long way in reducing the release of methane.