Why Garden Weekend: Impact on the Earth

Note: Okay, I am fully aware it’s not the weekend. I am not even close. It’s Tuesday. In my defense, it’s been a crazy week. I have been in Ann Arbor, East Lansing, Indianapolis, Atlanta (Georgia, not Indiana– there is such a thing), West Lafayette, Lexington, and our little town… all in the last seven days. So, while I have been logging all those miles I felt like a great thing to write about for this week’s Why Garden Weekend would be how my food is not.

In Animal, Vegetable, Miracle Barbara Kingsolver writes, “If every US citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country’s oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week.”

When I read this statement for the first time it kind of blew my mind.

I knew that my food in Indiana, especially in the winter, obviously had to come from some warmer climate. But, I guess I didn’t realize the impact all this traveling has on fossil fuels, pollution and the planet.

We joke that my mom was “green before it was cool.” She was way into recycling. Food was not thrown away. It was eaten and left over’s became lunch. And if it wasn’t, it was composted, thrown in the woods or put down the disposal. Our school lunches never graced a brown bag. Instead, I had a purple, sparkly lunch box full of mix matched, wanna be Tupperware (ie. reused Parmesan cheese or cole slaw containers).

Because of my upbringing, I have always been kind of aware of the impact I make on the globe. I have never been a huge fan of bottled water and often am carrying around a reusable bottle everywhere I go. (At least when I plan correctly… See also: Weekend blog posts posted on Tuesday.) When I finally began doing my own grocery shopping I invested in some reusable bags and love using those. And I still use a reusable lunch box. (This new one is pink.)

It doesn’t seem like much, but it was a good start. And until recently, I knew these were things that I could do to minimize my footprint on the planet.

Then we had a garden and I realized I can do so much more to help the earth in my own backyard.

Our food doesn’t travel thousands of miles to our table or guzzle a ton of fuel. It is just a few steps off our back patio.

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Our food is rarely wasted. It is composted and put back in the earth to make more great food.

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Our food isn’t wrapped in plastic or put into tin cans. It’s processed in reusable Ball canning jars or picked straight off the vine with no need for a cardboard crate.

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Gardening has also made me even more aware of how precious the earth is thanks to being able to see what it can produce. I want to help conserve it. I want to keep it green and beautiful.

I love that gardening has given me this awareness and this power to reduce my impact.

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