The need for fresh produce, a growing global population, and the efforts to decrease the collective carbon footprint are asking humanity to explore new ways of tending the soil. From Detroit to Denver the idea of mirco-farming is helping Americans reinvent how they get their food, and changing the lives of urban homesteaders.
The farm to fork movement.
Coinciding with the baby boom, America expanded and so did our dependence on large scale commercial food producers. While the industrialization of food production has helped increase crop yields around the world, and feed many who may otherwise not have anything to eat, it does have its drawbacks.
In the late 1960’s some American consumers started to question the methods of industrial farming. Inspired by farming techniques from Europe and Australia some adopted the “be natural” mantra which eventually grew into the organic food movement.
The USDA reports that experts are forecasting the organic foods industry to grow steadily at around 9% or higher over the next few years. While the Organic Trade Association says “Experiencing the highest growth in sales during 2010 were organic fruits and vegetables, up 11.8 percent over 2009 sales.”
Decreasing our Carbon Footprint
Awareness of the benefits of fresh produce, food producers started exploring ways to avoid higher totals at checkout and avoid market shortages. The first logical place to look in this global economy is overseas markets.
Overseas food producers are a great way help counterbalance our demand for fresh produce but this approach opened a whole other can of worms. “Over the last decade there has been a growing U.S. trade deficit in fresh and processed fruits and vegetables.” according the to Congressional Research Service.
Importing fresh produce also means transporting those tasty little morsels over thousands of miles and through many different time zones. Our bananas are collecting more frequent flier miles than we are.
The Worldwatch Institute reports that in 2005 a researcher in Iowa found that the ingredients needed for a carton of strawberry yogurt collectively traveled 2,211 miles to the processing plant.
Mom can my 7.2 Billion friends come over for dinner?
When I wrote this the worlds population according to www.worldometers.info was 7,241,722,812. That number is so unbelievably big I almost don’t know how to say it.
This growing number calculated with the other factors signifies a tremendous need to rethink what we eat, where it comes from, and how we produce it. Looking for ways to ensure their food is fresh, organic, and sustainable people are rethinking how they use their space.
Size doesn’t matter
Small personal gardens are a great way to help offset your own grocery cost and carbon footprint and there are thousands of unique ideas out there on how to reinvent your space. Just ask Pinterest.
There is another pending question.
What about those that don’t have any space to grow their own food?
Yes but theres nothing micro about this farm MA’AM!