Global Gardening for Good
By Joe Kennedy
Let’s play a little game. Picture our seven billion people on planet Earth, or even half that many, involved in growing food. Currently, a very small percentage is growing food. For just a minute, let’s forget the large-volume, mechanized producers and petroleum-based chemicals and conventional fertilizers. Could even a half of Earth’s people sustainably produce enough food without machines to feed all of us? I believe we could, if we really wanted to — and it can start in our own backyards on Molokai.
Land reform would have to happen first. I believe that, as human beings, we are all entitled to a small piece of land and enough water to grow our own food. Some people who are good at it could have a little more, but nobody could hog a whole lot at the detriment of others. People would have to be taught the basic techniques of growing food. In additional learning from each other in the garden, knowledge can be gained and shared with of technology such as cell phones and the Internet. Existing 2,000-plus-acre orchards could be used as a hub for fertile, sustainable, production using natural methods. Workers would live in the orchards managing their food scrapes, manure, animals, wildlife, nitrogen-fixing plants in a truly sustainable, nature-based system that makes soil fertile. No petroleum-based pesticides would be used.
Perennial vegetables would be substituted for energy gobbling annuals. This would eliminate the need for tilling, purchasing fertilizer from faraway places, and so on. Food would be used in exchange for other goods and services, but also sold for money. Starvation would be a thing of the past. The food system we have now is based on large corporations and land-wealthy individuals controlling and using machinery and indiscriminate poisons, causing our environment and people to be unhealthy.
Our own U. S. is a country in debt to another country, China. Based on what just one person can plant in one hour, I believe we could save trillions of dollars in shipping costs of food if most of our population would grow their own gardens. Hawaii imports 90 percent of its food, while on Molokai, 98 percent of the food found in stores and restaurants in imported.
Why are so many governments, cities and individuals in such socially damaging debt? Could things be turned around if millions went back to farming, forest gardening, and cottage industries? Is more technology, gadgetry, the pursuit of luxury going to improve the environment? It hasn’t yet. In fact, the urban lifestyle and the rampant consumerism of using plastics, metal, and synthetic chemicals is fouling large parts of the ocean. Soil and pesticides from farming and ranching plus things like deadly nuclear waste from Fukushima is also happening on an increasingly large scale.
There are several things we can do. Educate everybody you can about what’s toxic and what is not. Don’t buy the stuff that won’t decompose, break down, and rot. And make gardening and farming fun for everybody, with music, contests, games, and prizes for our planters and harvesters.
Joe is one who “walks the talk!”