This year, the theme for Earth Day 2023 is “Invest in Our Planet”. The theme is focused on engaging governments, institutions, businesses, and the more than 1 billion citizens who participate annually in Earth Day to do their part – everyone accounted for, everyone accountable.
As staunch promoters of edible gardening and hydroponics, we at Aerospring strongly support Earth Day and encourage everyone to get involved in helping fight the climate crisis. And we believe that there are many things we can do as individuals.
Hydroponics has many benefits to the environment, primarily saving water. In addition, growing your own food at home brings something else to the table that can combat the climate crisis: reducing your carbon footprint.
As an example, studies estimate that processed food in the United States travels over 1,300 miles, and fresh produce travels over 1,500 miles, before being consumed, according to The National Center for Appropriate Technology.
According to foodwise.org (formerly CUESA), the long-distance, large-scale transportation of food consumes large quantities of fossil fuels. It is estimated that we currently put almost 10 kcal of fossil fuel energy into our food system for every 1 kcal of energy we get as food.
Transporting food over long distances also generates great quantities of carbon dioxide emissions. Some forms of transport are more polluting than others. Airfreight generates 50 times more CO2 than sea shipping. But sea shipping is slow, and in our increasing demand for fresh food, food is increasingly being shipped by faster—and more polluting—means.
Simply put, growing your own food at home reduces fossil fuels and CO2. Therefore, this is a little something that we can all do every day to help the planet.
Growing and eating more fresh produce can also reduce your consumption of processed foods. And getting children involved in growing edible food has great benefits too! Studies have shown that repeated exposure to edible gardens can also build the emotional connections to food that are essential to behavioural change. When children spend weeks or months growing their food, they feel proud of and connected to it — which is key to trying new dishes with an open mind.
So how do you get started with edible gardening?
Learn about where your fresh produce comes from, how fresh produce is grown, the life stages of edible plants, and what is grown in your community and ecosystem. Then try to start growing something, either in soil pots or a small hydroponic system. There is a learning curve, so the sooner you start the better you will be equipped to help save the planet by growing your own food at home!