With the state of the world today, it feels good to improve our soil and grow food without chemicals. But we can do far more to enhance our food security and help solve the climate and environmental emergency by – growing food eco-logically.
Issues like compacted soil, soil with insufficient organic matter and nutrients, and crops relentlessly hammered by insects tell us that we’re growing food in poorly functioning ecosystems. They tell us that our ecological systems are not in good working order. We can keep trying to solve these issues by cultivating soil, applying fertilisers, minerals, compost, and a hotchpotch of other external inputs. We can keep battling climate change with few defences. But this doesn’t make much sense when we can benefit from Nature’s FREE ecological services by repairing the ecosystems in our veggie gardens, orchards and fields.
Growing food eco-logically, we tackle the root cause of our issues with growing food. We expand our efforts in restoring ecological systems beyond our creek lines, corners of our fields, and bottoms of our gardens to include the land where we grow food.
As demonstrated by farmers and food gardeners continuing the use of time-honoured traditional practices maintaining functioning ecosystems, and growers repairing their ecosystems, we’ll get better harvests with our farms and food gardens more resilient and recovering quicker from droughts, flooding rains, extreme temperatures, and unusual pest and disease outbreaks. We’ll harvest healthy food with insects and birds controlling most of our pests, our soils naturally supplying nutrients to our plants, and water readily infiltrating and stored in our soil.
Let’s look at a Practical Example
Imagine your soil has a phosphate or calcium deficiency. We can quickly fix the problem by buying rock phosphate, lime, or similar products from our local gardening and agricultural supply store. However, relying on external inputs is unnecessary and expensive for us and our environment. We won’t solve the climate and environmental crisis by having lovely organic gardens and farms, if we keep buying commercial products, often with dubious environmental credentials, to maintain them!
A more logical approach is designing our veggie gardens, orchards, and fields to give the natural experts, our soil organisms, the resources to repair and manage our soil ecosystems. This diverse community of invertebrates and microbes break down leaves, roots, and other plant and animal waste materials, making the nutrients they contain naturally available to our plants. They create organic matter and aggregates, improving the soil infrastructure. We solve the issues with our soil!
Imagine the difference – Growing Food Eco-logically
We learn from Nature, using our ingenuity to create vibrant biodiverse ecosystems across our agricultural and urban landscapes, sequestrating carbon, supplying clean water, and other essential environmental services as natural by-products. It’s how we help solve the climate and environmental crisis.
So whether you grow in a suburban backyard, community garden, or on a thousand-acre property; use permaculture, regenerative, organic, syntrophic, or agroecological growing practices. Ask yourself, “Is what I am doing eco-logical?” and join the groundswell of people growing food eco-logically!
Resources on Growing Food Eco-logically
- What is Healthy Soil?
- How to Build Healthy Soil
- Eco-logical Principles of Regenerative Agriculture
- How to choose Regenerative Practices – that Work!