Thursday, December 3, 2015

Why the World Needs More Organic Gardeners

We are living at a crucial time in history.  The choices we make now will have a profound impact on our future as a species.  

Our world is polluted and toxic, but not beyond repair.  Rates of cancer, autism, obesity, Alzheimer's, dementia, depression, anxiety, and ADD/ADHD, and many more diseeases are at all time highs. Our bodies and our planet are both sick.  If we continue down our current path, the situation will only get worse.  If we all pull together and change how we do things, we have a fighting chance.

Public policy will dictate the most dramatic changes, especially concerning carbon emissions.  We can make a significant impact ourselves by making certain lifestyle changes, but we all have to do it together.  Each small act will combine with billions of other small acts to create positive change.  

It all starts in the garden.  The garden will heal us in many different ways.

Clean Up the Environment
Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, our carbon emissions have risen to unhealthy levels.  We can reduce the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by (1) reducing carbon emissions, and (2) using plants to convert CO2 into oxygen via photosynthesis.  This is one reason our national forests are so important.  They clean the air we breathe.

There are villages in Europe with flower boxes overflowing with flowers, and vines climbing up buildings.  It is beautiful.  I'd love to see towns and cities covered in plants and flowers.  Not only do they add beauty, but they clean our air.

We can also reduce landfill waste by composting.  Much of the garbage we throw out can be composted--veggie scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells, leaves and yard waste.  By composting, we not only save landfill space, but we create rich soil for our garden.

What a city should look like

The world needs more organic gardeners to plant gardens that clean our air, and to turn our trash into black gold. 

Solve World Hunger
It used to be that every home had a vegetable garden.  "Victory gardens" were in every backyard and helped Americans survive wartime.  As times changed, and people became busier, more stressed and overworked, the gardens seemed to disappear one by one.  Now we live in a time when Big Agriculture grows our food for us, oftentimes using harmful pesticides and GMO seed.  We have entrusted the source or our good health, our food, to the large corporations whose sole motivation is profit.  Our food is no longer grown with love, it is grown with poison.

Our food is no longer grown with love, it is grown with poison.

Monsanto claims they are solving world hunger with their GMO seed and Round Up pesticide.  A 2013 United Nations report disagrees.  This report is titled, "Trade and Environment Review 2013: Wake Up Before it is Too Late."  Over sixty expert contributors compiled their findings in this report and state with certainty that our current farming system is not sustainable.  In order to be sustainable, we need to adopt a different approach--one that shifts towards local, organic, small-scale farming. 

The world needs more organic gardeners to plant backyard gardens and start small farms to feed their communities.

Save the Bees
There are differing opinions on why bee colonies are collapsing.  One possibility is that toxic pesticides are having a negative impact on their populations.  Organic gardeners don't use toxic pesticides.  We also plant plenty of flowers for them.

The world needs more organic gardeners to plant flowers for our pollinators and use healthier methods for pest control.

Heal Our Bodies
Many modern day diseases can be prevented and healed with proper nutrition and lifestyle choices.  The thing is, our food is a joke right now.  Most of it is processed.  Most of it is coated in pesticides.  Most of it if genetically modified.  Most of it is filled with sugars and chemicals.  Even our fruits and veggies contain less nutrition than they used to.  Organic is better than conventional, but fruits and veggies from the garden contain substantially more nutrients than store-bought produce.  These nutrients keep your body in peak condition, and when they are deficient, disease and illness thrive.

When we garden, we are also exposed to beneficial bacteria in the soil.  One strain in particular, Mycobacterium vaccae, produces seratonin in the body which enhances our mood.  Fermented food, such as pickled vegetables that we can from our gardens, are a main source of beneficial bacteria.  Plenty of research has been done in the past few years connecting beneficial gut bacteria to all aspects of our health and well-being.  A diverse, healthy microbiome prevents obesity, mood disorders, ADD/ADHD, and many brain disorders.  Doctors are now considering our gut to be our "second brain" because of how the gut and brain communicate and influence one another.  When we play in the dirt and eat food from our garden, we support a healthy microbiome in our own bodies. 

We need more organic gardeners to plant nutritious food to feed themselves, their families and their neighbors.

Ditch Big Pharma
Most pharmaceuticals come from plants.  Scientists pinpoint the chemical in the plant that is responsible for the positive benefits and concentrate it into drug form.  The problem with this is that the drugs made in the lab do not have any of the other chemicals found in the plants they come from.  Plants evolved with humans over millions of years, with chemical ratios ideal for our bodies.  When we start playing with those ratios, there are negative consequences.  Hence the long list of side effects that go along with every medication you fill.  Yes, there are times when medication may be necessary.  However, you can prevent many diseases with a healthy lifestyle and herbal medicines.  

Not only do herbs and spices make our food taste better, but they are nature's medicine.  And don't be fooled, herbs have a powerful effect on our body.  When I first started using herbs from my garden, I was surprised at how potent they are.  My first cup of lavender tea made me feel like I had taken some sort of muscle relaxer.  My first cup of sage/thyme/rosemary tea dried up my sniffly nose within minutes.  Honey and garlic are nature's antibiotics and boost immune function.  A salve made out of dried cayenne pepper will eliminate muscle soreness.  St. John's Wort is excellent for treating depression.  Cannabis is a bona fide miracle plant, treating everything from epilepsy and cancer to depression and post traumatic stress disorder.  This is only the tip of the iceberg.  Your garden is a pharmacy.

We need more organic gardeners to learn how to use and grow herbs and food as medicine so we can stop relying so heavily on pharmaceuticals that come with all kinds of negative side effects.

We are at a critical point in history, but together we can continue down a better path.  Organic gardeners play a key role in healing our planet.  Everything in an ecosystem is connected.  If we all make lifestyle changes, together we can clean up this mess we've made.

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