Hyperlocal solutions for global problems

LEAF is proudly committed to encouraging local communities to grow food together. Although we take great pride in being hyperlocal, I invite you to examine with me the other end of the spectrum — global – and then go all the way back to hyperlocal again.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an international group of scientists convened by the United Nations, recently released a special report on climate change’s effects on land – its degradation and management, its natural ecosystems, and its ability to feed a growing world population. The report warns that the current demands on the world’s land and water resources, combined with climate change, are putting dire pressure on the ability of humanity to feed itself. Particularly alarming is the fact that climate change affects food supply chains on several continents at once, thereby increasing the risk of multi-breadbasket failure.

Oftentimes such reports provide detailed statistics based upon deeply informed research, offer policy-scale recommendations, raise great awareness and yet fail to tell us what we can do to make a difference. I’d like to share with you what you and I, as individuals in our local communities, can do to adapt to climate change, combat food insecurity and help build a more resilient community.

It’s a hyperlocal list.

Grow food
I’m not asking you to stop going to Safeway or Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. I’m inviting you to grow some food. Maybe just a tomato plant or a head of lettuce, nothing more. If you don’t know where to begin, start with your favorite herbs.

Young herbs waiting for a chance to create joy in your garden!

Growing your own herb garden is joyous. It will make you smile. Personally for me, there is something spiritual about preparing the soil, nurturing the garden and watching seedlings emerge out of seeds.

Up to 40 percent of the food in the United States is never eaten. Most of the uneaten food ends up in landfills and decomposes “anaerobically”– without oxygen. As a result it releases methane gas into the atmosphere. Methane is a greenhouse gas and a major contributor towards global temperature rise. So what can you do? Compost.

Turning food scraps into compost: priceless

Composting is collecting food scraps and yard waste and letting them decompose into nutrient-rich soil. This soil can later be used for growing all types of plants, especially your herb garden. 🙂 There are many resources on the internet that can tell you about how to build a compost bin, how to compost and best practices.

In the Fremont-Newark-Union City area we’re lucky to be able to toss our compostable food and yard waste into green bins for bulk composting. All three cities hold free compost giveaways every spring; if you live there, look for a notice to come in the mail.

Learn more about Fremont’s Climate Action Plan
In 2006, the State of California passed the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), setting a goal to reduce statewide emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. In line with the goals of AB 32, Fremont’s City Council adopted a Climate Action Plan, setting an ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction goal of 25% from 2005 levels by the year 2020. This document provides a roadmap forward for achieving community-wide sustainability.

The City of Fremont is dedicated to sustainability and offers many ways for you to engage. Check out their website for more information.

Make some time to learn about local ecology
There is a lot of information out there about climate action and individual action. With busy schedules and competing priorities, it can be difficult to carve out time to research the vast resources available on the internet. LEAF offers a number of in-person classes covering topics such as honey harvesting, growing your own salad garden, preserving summer vegetables, etc.

LEAF classes are a great way to connect with local urban gardeners, share knowledge and learn from each other. Join our Meetup group or mailing list to receive class announcements.

Spread the word
Talk about climate action with your kids; and if you’re a kid or a young adult, talk about climate action with your parents. Make it a dinner conversation. Discuss what steps you need to take as a family to adapt to climate change. Can you reduce food waste? Do you have space to grow your own food? Spend some time thinking about the kinds of things your family, your neighborhood or your city might be able to do to adapt and respond to climate change. Share your ideas with us.

Support LEAF through your donation
If you have absolutely no time due to work or family commitments or health – or even if you do! – consider supporting LEAF with a donation.

We believe that sustainable urban farming should be recognized as a key component of climate change adaptation strategy. Growing food in community and home gardens can provide people with resilient access to fresh vegetables and a healthier food supply. Join me in supporting the environment and creating a hyper-local solution for a global challenge. Together we can help reduce negative environmental impacts by promoting sustainable agriculture, reducing food transportation costs and improving the ecology of our backyards, our cities and our planet.

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