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Two For All

 

Two for All Blog Photo

 

Just 2%.

The percentage of our North American population that works every day to provide the rest with one of our most basic needs to sustain life – food.

Our global food system is the single most powerful force unleashed on the planet today, yet a rapidly swelling population means we have to find ways to double our food production. Our footprint is large as the food system continues its significant and complex effects on our environment, our economy, and our rural social fabric.

 

So Where Do We Begin?

Farmer’s are an easy target as they grow the food. Increasingly society is demanding sustainable agricultural practices yet have little understanding of the impact they themselves have on the food system.   Farming practices develop to meet the demands of the system. Consumer’s expectations for cheap food, huge variety, desire for convenience and not having to grow their own food has been the number one driver in the creation of this food system impacting our world.

Sustainable agriculture means the efficient production of safe, high quality products in a way that protects and improves the natural environment, the social and economic conditions of farmers, farm workers and local communities and safeguards the health and welfare of all farmed species. There are some challenges as we move to a sustainable food system.

 

Economic Sustainability

The economic realities of farming make it extremely difficult to attract young farmers as we lose them to higher paying careers. It would seem that an aging farmer population provides a window of opportunity for young farmers however, each generation is in a state of continual refinancing for the same property to ensure the outgoing generation has enough money to retire. The cost of the land and the equipment is so astronomical that even those who want to farm don’t have the means to. Input costs have soared, while profits have not, forcing many farmers to take second jobs so they can feed their own families. On average, farmers today receive, on average, 16 cents of every food dollar, and that’s BEFORE expenses. In other words, a farmer’s work has become more humanitarian in nature as making a living solely from farming becomes more and more difficult.

Now we are asking farmers to fix what’s wrong and save our planet and resources by employing sustainable practices that can make a difference. The simple fact of the matter is that we cannot put all of the burden and expense on the shoulders of the 2%, who are already being crushed by the weight and demands of the whole as they are barely staying afloat. One misstep, one wrong choice or the implementation of one ineffective practice can mean disaster and the risk of collapsing their entire operation, essentially gambling their family’s future and home. We cannot ask so much without offering to assist and support those who hold the land in their hands to become economically, environmentally and socially sustainable.

 

What Can We Do To Help?

FarmOn has committed to bringing context to the story by bringing together the best and the brightest to share knowledge, generate new thinking and inspire bold solutions. We owe it to ourselves, our farmers and our planet to check in and become an active part of the solution for a food system we all had a hand in creating. We can do better. Because we must do better.

You too can support our mission.

 

A Quick Guide to Growing Your Own Food

Many people are beginning to discover the joys of edible gardening, and it is a lot easier than most people think. There are so many good reasons to begin growing your own food and really no reason not to.

There is the satisfaction of eating produce you have grown yourself, and many people swear that home grown fruits and vegetables will taste much better than supermarket produce . Home grown tomatoes and strawberries particularly are said to have a superior flavour and aroma.

You also get to eat the freshest produce possible, one of the many benefits of harvesting food as you need it straight from the garden. It’s a great way to save money and reduce waste in the home and garden, utilising urban space to grow your own food is becoming very popular as one of the best things you can do to lead a more sustainable lifestyle.

A productive edible garden can also be a relaxing and visually pleasing space, and is a great way to learn about plants and a healthy and satisfying way to spend more time outdoors, there is always something happening in the edible garden!

It’s also the best way to get kids involved in the garden and give them a better understanding of where food comes from. There are lots of easier jobs that are great for little ones, planting seeds, weeding and of course harvesting favourites like strawberries are all fun ways to teach kids about food and sustainability, and young and old alike learn a great deal even just observing the way the food garden grows and changes through the seasons.

Growing your own food can be one of the most satisfying and pleasurable experiences you can have in the garden and is much easier than most people think. Even those with the smallest of spaces can enjoy growing their own food with a herb garden in containers, even a windowsill is enough space to grow herbs.

Here are 5 great ways to get started:

1. Start your own container garden

This is a great way for those with limited space to begin growing food plants. There are many herbs, vegetables and fruits that grow well in containers. Start out with a mixed planting of herbs such as thyme, rosemary, basil or garlic chives. Or try growing your own strawberries in a pot or hanging basket, strawberries are one of the best fruits to grow in a container.

2. Start a no-dig vegetable garden

Potatoes are one of the best veges to plant in a no-dig garden. This is for those with a little more space, and is the easiest way to begin your vegetable garden. This method reduces the need for weeding, returns organic matter and life to the soil and is the best way to start your own vegetable garden from scratch. You won’t need to dig up your garden bed, and you can grow all kinds of vegetables and fruits in a no-dig bed. Try strawberries, pumpkins, potatoes and beans as these will all establish very well in a no-dig garden. Tips on No dig vegetable gardening…

3. Start your own Worm Farm

Starting your own worm farm is one of the best things you can do if you’d like to begin growing your own food. Worm-farming is a great way to make your home and garden more sustainable, it’s a sustainable way of dealing with organic waste, and an excellent resource for any gardener. A worm farm will take care of your kitchen waste, allowing you to recycle nutrients back into your soil. Your worm farm will also supply you with a steady stream of organic fertiliser and soil conditioner for your garden or pot plants, an invaluable resource for the home gardener! Worming your way into the garden…

4. Plant a fruit tree

Try growing your own native bush tucker, there are so many wonderful bush tucker fruits that are possible to grow yourself. Great native fruits to grow yourself are Davidson’s plum, Lilly Pilly, Lemon Aspen or even a Native Raspberry! Check out our article on Bush Tucker for Beginners.

Or for something more traditional, try growing your own citrus tree. Most citrus will do well in the garden or in a large container, and a common sight in the traditional Australian quarter acre is the familiar and prolific Lemon tree.

Citrus are fairly easy to grow yourself and are one of the best fruit trees for those starting out.

5. Sign up to Seed Savers

Seed Savers is a great not-for-profit organisation dedicated to sharing seeds and knowledge, and preserving our food heritage. This is a great way to find rare and interesting heirloom fruit and vegetable seeds, and one of the best ways to get hands on and learn about growing your own food. You may even find you want to start your own Local Seed Network as a way to connect with other people in your area who are interested in edible gardening. Find out more about Seed Savers here.

Article courtesy of Local Harvest

Link photo courtesy of 10 Downing Street

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