Why We Need This 

A- offset loss of arable land

According to research by the University of Sheffield Grantham Center for Sustainable Futures the world has lost nearly 33% of it's arable land over the last 40 years. The major causes are pollution by chemical fertilizers and pesticides, erosion, and urban sprawl. As the global demand for food soars we face a potential catastrophe unless current practices and attitudes change and change quickly. We plan to address two of these causes with our gardens. While urban sprawl and development may be unavoidable due to population growth it can be countered to a decree by using land within developed areas. Converting areas of lawns and shrubs surrounding office parks, distribution centers and other commercial properties into gardens can help provide an answer to land loss and start reversing this alarming trend.

We will also address the issue of soil pollution by suing natural fertilizers such as plant compost, fish and seaweed emulsion, and donated compostable materials (coffee grounds for example). Dangerous chemical pesticides will be replaced by the use of “companion” plants in the flower portions of our gardens. Plants such as marigolds are natural pest repellents for example.  One other benefit of using commercially owned landscaped areas for our gardens is that there already is a budget in place for landscape maintenance. Therefore we are not creating an entirely new expense for landowners. While the initial cost of installing a garden may be higher than their regular budgeted cost, over time the use of expected volunteer labor and the eventual tax benefits will diminsh if not eliminate any additional budget cost.

Source material form the guardian “soil loss”

B- Better use of water resources

The Climate Prediction Centers drought monitor currently shows almost the entire Western and Southwestern United States affected by some level of drought, with over half of the state of California alone suffering severe to extreme drought conditions. Other pockets of water shortages exist in the Midwest and South with conditions expected to worsen over time. The Ogallala Aquifer which supplies much of the west is being depleted at an alarming rate by over use and lack of replenishment by nature. While the answers to the causes of decreased rainfall and increased evaporation levels are beyond our scope, we can and will be part of re-prioritizing our current water use practices. In simple terms, why waste a precious resource like water, already in short supply, on grass lawns and decorative shrubbery. While all plant life contributes to the absorption of carbon dioxide and the production of oxygen, would not gardens that will also help feed those in need be a better use of our precious water resource"

For more infomation on these issues see below 

- http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-ogallala-aquifer/

C- The benerfit of organic gardening

Like many substances (i.e.tobacco) the harmful consequences of using chemical fertilizers and pesticides was suspected long before being acted on. However, where as tobacco use tends to have an adverse on the user and those immediately around them, the use of chemicals in agriculture and landscaping affects all of us every where, every day. During and after application residue goes into the air, the soil, and eventually the ground water. It is absorbed into the food chain as well and so affects all life on this planet, not just human life. Because nature is efficient at adaptation the pests we are trying to eliminate develop resistances to the chemical poisons over time so we must continuously develop and deploy stronger, more harmful chemicals. Ultimately, in trying to destroy them we destroy ourselves and our world as well. Evidence is rising of increased birth defects, both physical and psychological, cancers are on the rise, rare cancers are becoming more common, and more and more people are suffering from food and airborne allergies. Genetically modified plants share some of the blame as well, but chemical pesticides and fertilizers are the main cause. There are many publicized examples of animal and sea life mutations, bees and other beneficial insects being unable to reproduce, and fish and aquatic life die-offs. Fresh water lakes and rivers have become polluted by the run-offs from fields where chemicals have been applied. This cycle of destruction can be stopped, perhaps even reversed, by using natural and organic methods for both fertilizing and pest control. Just one example of natural pest control is the inter-planting of Marigolds among vegetables because they naturally ward of harmful insects with their scent. The use of them in our gardens will contribute to both the health and beauty of the garden. Their are other plants that either repel pests, there are  plants that are helpful by actually attracting the pests to themselves and away from the edible plants. As far as fertilizers go there are many excellent ones made from seaweed and fish emulsion, but they can be costly. However the use of natural organic compost can actually be dirt cheap. I use that term because most of what can be productively used as compost is currently thrown away as garbage. Vegetable and fruit scraps from our tables, unsold produce from supermarkets, even used coffee grounds are all excellent sources of free compost material (Starbucks has been giving away free bags of used grounds to home gardeners for a while, and have contributed the same to our test gardens). With landfill space running out, and the costs involved in hauling away trash, wouldn't it be better all around to put these materials into the ground as compost instead of trash? One of our highest priorities is to tap into this wasted potential, to get commitments for access to compostable material and develop and system of pick-up, processing, distribution, and application for use of this material. Considering that most businesses that generate this material are currently paying someone to haul it away as trash we believe that we will have a great deal of success in the long run with this key component of our over-all plan"

For more infomation on these issues see below 

 www.planetnatural.com

 www.sustinablebabysteps.com

 www.organicconsumers.org/news/un-report-says-small-scale-organic-farming-only-way-feed-world

 http://www.fao.org/organicag/oa-home/en/

D- The benerfit of organic eating

No matter how healthy a person we are we all have moments where we are too tired to function at our highest capability. Over work, stress, lack of sleep all contribute, but a major contributor to lack of energy and/ or motivation is dietary. Simply put what we eat contributes more than anything else to how we feel. Foods laden with preservatives affect our entire body, brain function, immune system, capacity to heal. A diet heavy in organically produced foods can restore the body, our energy level, and our productivity. Right now organic foods are more expensive than non-organics ones but if we have the resources to buy and consume organic foods those moments of lethargy and feeling less than our best can become the exception rather than the rule.

 There is a large segment of our population that do not have the resources to shop, cook, and consume food this way. Because of this their conditions becomes chronic, over time they become less and less healthy, less and less productive. It is not because they don't care and don't try hard their bodies are just not getting the right nutrition for them to function at their highest capability. Because they are not properly nourished their health issues become more numerous and more severe. Because they are often uninsured or under insured as well their health issues become all of our health issues as tax dollars must be spent on their care. Who can measure this cost, plus the cost in lost potential and lost productivity to our society due to poor nutrition and improper diet. There is an excellent article in Public School Review that deals with the impact of diet and nutrition on a child's learning ability. We believe that this impact can continue in adult life as well. We believe that we can all benefit from eating and cooking organically that is we pledge that all of our gardens will be maintained by organic methods

 

For more infomation on these issues see below 

www.publicschoolreview.com

E- volunteerism and it's benefits

An obvious benefit received from volunteers is the work that they actually do. Whether manning a phone bank at a telethon, serving food at a soup kitchen, cleaning up the sides of a highway, or pitching in to help an elderly member of their community maintain their home, the spirit of volunteerism in America is as old as America itself. Neighbor helping neighbor is an American tradition and as America has grown so have our communities and our definition of "neighbor". We are all neighbors now, where ever we live.

 While a person making a financial donation to help others is always needed and appreciated they can later replace the money they donated by earning more. However, the person who gives of their time to help others gives away something they will never get back. What do they get back then, what can we offer to you in return for your efforts to help us feed others?

 For one thing there is your "inner" reward, the good feeling that one gets from helping someone else, self satisfaction of the best kind. You also will be getting the chance to add more meaning to your life, to make a positive difference in other people's lives not only now, but also in the future, in our children's lives, their children's lives, and the lives of generations to come. You will also be helping to save the live of our planet, it's Eco-systems and all of it's inhabitants. What we are starting now will grow and hopefully help change the behavior patterns that are slowing destroying our planet Earth.

 We also believe that you feel a sense of community with the others who volunteer, we hope to become like a family, a family of people who put aside their egos, put aside their cultural differences, pre-conceptions, and prejudices to work together. This work will not only help those in unfortunate circumstances right now, but will help all of us have a better, healthier future.

 For corporations or businesses, having employees for all of your different departments and job classifications work together as volunteers contributes greatly to team building and a better motivated work force. Having pride in what they accomplish together away from their normal work site can lead to more pride in their work place and work place accomplishments, and more pride in being an employee of the business itself. Favorable publicity and potential tax savings are other benefits business owners and corporations receive from supplying volunteer labor."

Click me if want to volunteer right now !!


Food Pantries- Their clients and their needs

 

 The most common misconception we discovered in our in-person research for this project involves the client base of food pantries and other hunger relief organizations. We found that many people think that they mainly serve the homeless population. While it true that they do assist to some degree in feeding homeless people by giving some of the food donations they receive to soup kitchens we have found their client base consists mainly of the following:

 

 - Senior citizens on fixed incomes

 - Working poor families

 - Single parent families

 - Temporarily unemployed people including veterans having problems re-adjusting to the civilian workforce

 - People with disabilities that make full time employment difficult if not impossible

 

 These diverse groups share one thing in common, their income is not enough to meet all of their needs. The $50-60 worth of food they might receive weekly allows them to maybe fill a medical prescription they might not otherwise, to buy new shoes for a child instead of wearing ones that are worn out, a visit to the dentist becomes possible, the list could go on and on. It's not just food they are getting but the freedom to better their or their children's lives in other ways as well.

 The food pantries that we visited when we started this process are staffed by hard-working, highly motivated, and compassionate people (mostly volunteers) who are doing their best to help those who need help, while also helping to maintain their clients pride and dignity. The actual help that they are able to provide however is 100% tied to what is donated to them. The donations of food, while greatly appreciated, primarily consist of canned or boxed goods, which are usually heavily laden with preservatives to extend shelf life. So,while they are helping to feed people they are not necessarily able to feed them in the healthiest way possible. They do occasionally receive donations of produce from food stores but that is usually past prime and has lost some nutritional value, and they will use cash donations when received to sometimes get fresh produce, their single biggest "wish list" item is fresh produce. 

 Every facility we visited was enthusiastic and supportive of our plan and our goals as in many ways they are the same as their's. For example, the Central Texas Food Bank last year distributed about 34 million pounds of food, about 33% of it in produce. Their stated goal is 50% produce within two years. No other facility we visited came even close to the 33% figure but all wanted more produce, more produce, and more produce!

Please visit the sites below for more infomation 

 www.centraltexasfoodbank.org

 www.feedingamerica.org


Summation

This is not just a good idea whose time has come, This is a concept which must happen for the good of the world now and for generation to come. This is not about money for us, it is our dream our life our passion and we want to share it with you.

It is not about ego, we want others to copy the idea and spread it. We see a day in the future where foodscaping commercial land is the norm and not the exception. We see a day where people comment on the good that has come from this concept and say to them “why wasn’t this always done?”

 

It is said that form one small acorn grows a mighty oak tree. Help us take this tiny seed of an idea that we have and nurture it. Help us grow it help us to extend it’s branches across this land until it turns into a giant three of life. Give its bounty to those who need it, and preserving this world of ours for all those who follow us.