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Sustainable Living - Q & A

Holistic Natural Health & Earth Care

Sustainable Living - Earth Care - Q & A

Sustainable Living is nothing new. Only a few generation back, our Grant or Great Grantparents lived sustainable, obviously not by choice, more by natural circumstances.

Q & A Interview

useNature's Editor interviewed by "Eco Conscious Movement" - Andrea Strand

Earth Care - Q & A

Eco Conscious Movement
Are you able to give me a bit of your background so I can introduce you to my readership?

useNature's Editor:

Yes, here it is, in a nutshell. - After traveling around Australia in a Panelvan for two years, we, my wife and I decided to buy some land and live a self-sufficient lifestyle, which we did for about 3 years. - We bought 5 acres, planted many trees based on permaculture (Permanent Culture - eating your landscape principle). We created a large garden for our own veggie consumption and for selling to a local grocery shop as well as to surrounding farmers in exchange for other veggies and eggs. - However, we were basic City people, our knowledge came from books and magazines like "Earth Garden". We had lots of fun, but many set backs. We lost most of our trees, because of frost or drought conditions. Obviously we had to learn a lot more. - We stopped self sufficiency for a while, our son was born, and we were working. I am Naturopath, and I started to work for a living, as did my wife as an artist. - We stayed with our passion for the protection of mother earth and kept on learning, improving and learning some more.

We always look from a holistic perspective.. there is nothing in isolation, everything is connected...

What's the difference between having a veggie patch and doing permaculture?

It's the scale of things :-)
Permaculture started in the 1970s as far as I remember. The principles guide the development of sustainable farms. It supports the restoration of degraded soils, land, catchments and ecological systems. It is an eco-values system for choosing to live a sustainable lifestyle - as individuals or as a community. - It is also the harmonious integration of landscape and people providing their food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way.

It's certainly more than a veggie garden, as it integrates all other plants and trees, eatable and useable. - Hemp by example would be a preferred crop in permaculture instead of cotton, which has a high need of water and chemicals to be produced.

For urban dwellers or small farms, start with a veggie garden and slowly expand ..

What do you think is the importance of growing your own food? Even if it's a small percentage of what you eat? Is it still worthwhile?

Every bit helps. - It is easy to grow some of your own food, even in an urban garden or balcony setting. Everything can be grown in tubs. - Too many people are confused about the saying, "It's just a drop on a hot stone", it doesn't mean that one drop is bad. People, and even government seem to forget that even drops add up, drops turn into rivers and lakes and oceans. Therefore, start your own ocean from a drop, grow your own parsley.

One of the main harmful attitudes, esp by certain governments, is the assumption; "why should we reduce anything, if ..." certain countries" are not doing anything".

The answer of course is, to show respect for mother earth, environment and their citizens and lead from a point of good example. Further more, every bid will help, because every bid adds up.

Without being negative, in the future, we may actually have to grow a lot of our own food, as food producers will not be able to keep up unsustainable agriculture any longer for our growing world population.

How does gardening help climate change?

Same answer as the previous, good gardening and soil regeneration will add support and sustainability as well as sequestering carbon. - With more and more people taking up gardening, there may be as well an organic growers revolution for the protection of the environment.
What are the first steps in starting a veggie garden? If you are a) in a unit or b) in a house?

A) If you are in a unit, you become an Urban gardening specialist :-) ... Container gardening, easy to care for, easy to maintain, easy to control, you even can shift the container out of the sunlight if it gets too hot in summertime. - Start with one container of parsley and basil, how else would you eat your spaghetti.

B) Similar for a house, and it always depends on your time commitment as well. - Start with containers, and if you have some space, maybe raised boxed garden beds.

Can you talk a little bit about soil quality?

Huge areas of land are depleted by mono-culture and high intensive chemical farming practices. - Depleted soil will not hold water, and worse, will NOT sequester carbon.

Soil Health is about 2 things, first, feeding the soil with organic matter such as compost, and soil building with "Cover Crops". - Secondly, not depleting the soil in the first place by over cropping, and by adding artificial fertilizer and pest control.

The Earth's soils contain more carbon than the planet's atmosphere and vegetation combined, however when soil is exploited, the trapped carbon is released back into the atmosphere, resulting in planet-warming emissions.

By re-introducing microbes, fungi, plant roots, nematodes and earthworms, carbon is stored and used. Re-introduction is achieved by adding compost, a natural mineral mix and possibly even Mycorrhizal fungi. - A single square inch of soil can have miles of these fungus root extensions, called mycelium. These roots store and transport water and nutrients to surrounding plants. Regenerated soil will produce better crops and will need less water.

Organic farming is not as work intensive as it used to be. - No Till, no watering, no weeding, no fertilising, no pest, no disease, constant harvesting and no time wasted. - Modern machinery can be used for large scale organic farming.  

What can you do? Start a Garden - use a no tilt organic garden practice, lots of compost and mulching. Got no Garden? Use planting boxes. If you live on acreage, treat your soils wisely. - Cutting grass to short will dry out your soil and carbon will be released and the soil becomes inactive. Plant trees, use compost and mulch heavy around the tress, introduce Mycorrhizal fungi. If your soil is too sandy, add some bentonite. Don't bring your tree pruning and off cuts to the tip, use as mulch.  

How much time do you need to for maintaining a veggie garden?
As much time as it needs......... depending on the size of the garden. - A small garden takes only little time, unless you love gardening and the regenerating effect it has on you, in that case you stay longer .

Want to be earth conscious and become active in sustainable living?

What stops you?

Every bit, seen at a global scale, adds up!

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is intended for general use and for personal interest only. It should not be used or understood as suggestion, medical advice, or personal counselling.

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