Thinking about planting a garden in your new home this spring? The benefits of gardening are many. Getting out in the sunshine and doing a healthy activity. Growing your own nutritious foods. Being healthier overall. Your garden could also be a part of the climate solution by sequestering carbon — or pulling carbon from the air and storing it underground. This also helps offset emissions from other parts of the food system. Climate Victory Gardening is one way to make healthy decisions to accomplish that.
Take a Lesson from the Past
Planning a garden in your new home this spring? We used to farm and garden all the time, but modern life made us more detached from this human practice. However, new research shows that gardening has many health benefits that improve everything from the aging brain to physical conditioning. Also, gardening puts us back in touch with microbiomes we need to stay healthy.
Research also shows we need to act aggressively on the climate crisis, and increasing what we grow is a great way to help. Reports say we have 12 years to address the climate crisis and about 60 years of healthy topsoil left to grow food. Our food system emits between one quarter and one third of the world’s greenhouse gases.
There is already too much carbon in the air, so we need to slow the pollution we’re emitting. To slow the warming of the atmosphere, we also need a way to drawdown carbon.
Agriculture and gardening pulls carbon out of the air and slows emissions. This is where exercising good decision-making can make a difference every time we eat or work in the garden.
Green America is working with large farms and companies to do this but large-scale change takes time. Gardeners are encouraged to blaze this trail in their backyards to put the world ahead of the curve.
Two climate solutions that show promise begin in our gardens
Maximizing soil protection is one place to start because this is where we can capture carbon by pulling it out of the air and storing it in plants and underground. This can be enhanced with beneficial ground cover plants.
The second way is to avoid buying chemical fertilizers. By doing this, you’re decreasing pollution and emissions that come from manufacturing and transporting the fertilizer from the factory to the retailer and to your garden. Learning how to compost is a great way to recycle organic material and make your own healthy fertilizer.
Climate Victory Gardening practices are healthy decisions that work toward these goals.
Create a Balance
Plants naturally capture carbon and gardeners can assist in creating a healthy balance. This is something they do naturally, and it’s up to gardeners to create the right balance
A teaspoon of healthy soil has billions of microorganisms, from earthworms to beneficial bacteria and fungi. Chemicals jeopardize the life in the soil, releasing carbon into the air. Good soil management and best gardening practices, the soil and microorganisms hold much of the carbon in the soil.
And carbon is not completely harmful. It is a building block for life. It contributes to the greenhouse effect that heats the planet, but it is used by plants to create cells to grow and feed the billions of microorganisms that also help the plants. Soil health is a vital component as a climate solution and for a successful garden.
All this benefits humankind as well. Growing our own food means we purchase less food that has traveled from far away, reduces packaging materials out of the landfills, and finally rebuilding soil that increases its carbon-sequestering potential.