I am participating in a growing network of anti-globalization environmental activists. We have no centralized headquarters, no bylaws, no mission statement. We also tend to be a dirty bunch – especially the fingernails! I’m speaking of a quiet sector of the local food revolution known as home gardeners. As a passionate organic gardener, I grow way more than my family can eat.
While I work full time for a nonprofit organization, I spend my spare time as a gardener and volunteer for my hometown’s local farmers market. This market, led by hobbyist farmers instead of full time farmers, is helping to create a local food culture in this small town. Each Saturday during the growing season I get up very early, load up my lovely veggies and drive just a few miles to the market. Instead of tasteless, chemical-laden unripe tomatoes shipped thousands of miles, folks get a delicious selection of heirloom varieties grown without dangerous pesticides.
People smile when they see the vibrant colors of produce, and taste the locally grown flavors that the industrial food machine cannot match. I smile, too, from the satisfaction of knowing that I’m helping, in my own little way, reduce the carbon footprint of everyone that shops at this market. Together, we’re working for the earth by reducing air pollution from commercial transportation and water pollution from pesticide runoff. Together, we’re saying yes to better nutrition, the preservation of crop diversity and stronger local community.
Imagine the impact if the wasteful poison lawns of North America were turned into organic gardens! To get more involved in the local food movement, check out Local Harvest or Slow Food. Outreach International also supports sustainable gardening in the developing world; learn more by reading about reforestation and agriculture projects.
Lori Martell, our guest blogger this week, is outreach director for a forest conservation nonprofit organization and holds a master’s in environmental education.