According to The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, only about a quarter of crop diversity is left. One dozen species now gives 90% of the animal protein eaten globally. In addition to that, just 4 crop species supply half of plant based calories in the human diet. Eco conscious crop biodiversity needs to become a major concern for a stable food supply.
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Eco Conscious Crop Biodiversity
“In other environmental issues we tell people to stop something, reduce their impact, reduce their damage,” states US Ecologist Gary Nabhan in a recent interview. Nabhan is a ethnobotanist and avid gardener. His promotion of crop biodiversity has caught the attention of many over the years. Since his book Coming Home to Eat was published in 2001, the local food movement has ignited, causing a worldwide green epidemic.
Over the past few years, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of organizations and businesses that promote sustainability through conservation. The Earth Day Network plays a large part in bringing conservationist and green enthusiasts together. They share ideas and discuss new ways to support the planet. Other large organizations and non-profits like Doug Band and the CGI (Clinton Global Initiative) work on emission reduction projects in the San Francisco Bay area. While climate control has continued to worsen, collaborative and individual acts are vital for any successful green campaign. We are constantly told to reduce our carbon footprint, consume less unhealthy foods, and buy energy conserving appliances. But let’s take a minute to step back and look at this from a different perspective.
Other Sustainable Agriculture Posts
- 10 Reasons to Support Your Local Farmer!
- How to Vote With Your Dollar on National Coffee Day!
- World Water Day Facts: Dry, Dusty, and Dead is Not a Good Scenario
Why Our Food Supply is Threatened
The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization states that only about a quarter of crop diversity is left. Only a dozen species now gives 90% of the animal protein eaten globally. In addition to that, just 4 crop species supply half of plant based calories in the human diet. Because of this, our food supply system is incredibly fragile. And it becomes even MORE fragile as crop biodiversity declines.
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According to Nabhan, eating foods that are home-grown will have a greater impact on sustainability for our planet as a whole, or “eat what you conserve”. It’s a well-established theory. Eating the fruits and vegetables that we are attempting to conserve increases the demand for them. As a result, it also promotes the survival of various plant species.
Posts about sustainable food choices:
- The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Local Foods
- Tips to Eat More Local Food This Year
- Eating Insects for Food: Why We Need to Rethink our Eating Habits
Crop biodiversity is an essential characteristic of any sustainable agricultural system. This is especially true in the context of climate change. Equally important is supporting local farm products at supermarkets and groceries. As a result of improved local crop production, we reduce export/import reliance, thus reducing our carbon footprint.
Tips for Shopping at Farmers Markets
- Take advantage of the market’s info booth. Grab a pamphlet and learn about your local farmers.
- Make sure you understand what’s in season so you have the right expectations. You won’t find peaches here in GA in September!
- Come prepared with shopping bags and small bills. You might want to bring a small red wagon if you plan on buying a lot.
- Leave the dog at home. It really isn’t a great place for animals.
- Be respectful of the produce. This is the farmer’s livelihood. If you drop a tomato, be prepared to buy it.
- Talk to the farmers and staff. Ask them about their growing methods and become an informed shopper.
- Offer to volunteer! You may end up with a discount or free leftover food at the end of the market day.
Support Sustainable Agriculture
An action oriented approach to conservation and sustainability must occur at the consumer level. As the fall season approaches, make a point to visit your local farmers marketing to purchase your fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, as eco-conscious individuals, don’t hesitate to stop the next time you drive by a yard stand with fresh crops. In conclusion, promoting crop biodiversity and localized farming is a crucial piece of the conservation puzzle.
This is a guest post by Kori Bubnack. She became interested in the green movement after taking a few different classes on environmental issues and how they relate to politics.
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.