Climate change is getting worse by the year. Over the past 50 years, there has been an increase in forest fires, droughts, and some regions are experiencing some of the warmest temperatures on Earth in the past 11,000 years.

Global warming is a large component to climate change, and our reliance on non-renewable resources, like fossil fuels, is dangerous.

We release dangerous greenhouse gases into the air. These gases actively destroy the ozone layer, and lead to climate change.

Not all is lost though.

There are many ways humans can help positively affect climate change.

Edible landscaping is a powerful tool that can help climate change. It can help conserve valuable resources and has the added benefit of creating a carbon sink. We have searched the internet to find more information about how this technique can help impact climate change.


What Is Edible Landscaping

An edible landscape is much different from an ornamental landscape.

Ornamental landscapes tend to be primarily decorative. Not only are they purely for aesthetic, they don’t serve the population at large.

On the other hand, edible landscapes are those that favor growing edible plants. Vegetables, trees, and fruit bushes are used as opposed to ornamental decoration. You and your neighbors can enjoy the food you grow. In large contexts, entire communities that live in food deserts can benefit from this.

Edible landscaping is more than choosing which types of vegetables, trees, and fruit bushes you want to grow. It requires efficient planting habits to work effectively. For example, the Climate Gardener lists the following factors that are necessary:

  • Composting
  • Proper crop rotation
  • Cutting back on chemicals
  • Growing edible plants
  • Planting perennials
  • Using people power, not mechanization

Each of these factors work together to positively impact the environment, and ultimately effect climate change. We will discuss the various ways in which edible landscaping helps impact climate change.

How Does Edible Landscaping Help Climate Change?

Edible landscaping helps the environment in multiple ways. The list we provided by Climate Gardener accurately lists multiple components of edible landscaping that help limit the harmful effects of climate change.

Overall, edible landscaping helps prevent an excess of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere, as well as actively taking carbon dioxide out of the air helps.

This type of landscape has a lower carbon footprint, and actively works to thwart the mechanisms that allow for the human factors that contribute to climate change.

Composting

Composting is a great way to reduce the impact of wasting food, and it helps feed the soil. This ultimately benefits the environment. It is created by combining organic waste together, adding bulking agents to accelerate the decomposition process, and allowing the composted material to fully stabilize.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists composting as the 5th tier of their Food Recovery Hierarchy. It takes food waste that would normally be inedible by humans, and uses it to feed the soil. It not only helps feed the soil, but it can also help promote the growth of future crop. This technique can also help improve water quality.

compost planted with strawberries

Image: CC by, nancybeetoo, via Flickr.

Composting is an important factor of edible landscaping. Instead of using fertilizers that need green house gases to be created, you can use this method to achieve the same effect.

When you properly use an edible landscape, composting helps further remove energy costs by providing nutrient rich soil, and helps prevent the build up of pests that require pesticides. This is a definite win for the climate.

Proper Crop Rotation

Proper crop rotation is another factor of edible landscaping that helps positively impact the environment. This technique involves changing the crop that you grow in soil once the crop is fully grown.

For instance, corn might be grown for a year, and then soybeans the next year. Crop rotation is important because it helps the quality of the soil. It’s a natural way that you can replenish the nutrients found in soil as well.  

Not using crop rotation can lead to certain nutrients being used up in the soil. In addition, harmful pests can build up because they become acclimated to the crop that is growing.

When this happens, chemicals need to be used to get rid of the pests, which can negatively effect the environment.

Cutting Back On Chemicals

Edible landscapes are landscapes that benefit from not using many chemicals. The fewer chemicals used, the better. This is because chemicals, like pesticides, can promote pest resistance.

When pest resistance goes up, it becomes harder eradicate them. Eventually, you will get into a vicious cycle in which you use more and more chemicals to try and kill the pests plaguing the landscape.

Cutting back on chemicals can help alleviate this issue.

By properly rotating crops, and paying attention to the land, you can cut back on the number of pests thriving in your landscape. Ultimately, this does great justice.

Grow Edible plants

The main point of edible landscapes, is to grow plants that are edible. Not only do they contribute to a greener environment by assisting with the absorption of carbon dioxide, but they also help feed hungry people.

edible plants greed field

Growing edible plants is a sustainable way to feed neighborhoods and communities. Folks who live in food deserts don’t have to rely on chips and junk food for sustenance. It also cuts down on the amount of mass farm being produced and sold in commercial stores. Taking the supermarket out of the equation means not supporting a pesticide, machine based organization.

Planting Perennial Plants

Planting perennial plants can help brighten an edible landscape, without needing much maintenance or chemicals. They generally build strong roots, and don’t have to be planted annually.

When perennial plants die in the winter, they grow back from their roots in the spring. This is excellent as it means you do not have to go through the lengthy process of replanting annual plants.

Perennials also help combat climate change.

Because perennials do not have to be consistently replanted, they grow stronger roots. These roots hold onto more moisture and carbon. This helps make the soil richer, and can help the plant survive during long periods of drought.

The roots of these plants can also help prevent soil erosion when planted on the outside of the crops. Less occurrence of soil erosion leads to less contaminated streams and water supplies.

At the end of the day, perennials are important parts of edible landscapes that positively impact climate change.

People Power vs. Mechanization

One of the last benefits of edible landscapes, is the way they are created since they are primarily powered by people.

People plant the perennials, people compost, and ultimately people grow the vegetables. Maintaining pests, deciding when to water plants, and choosing when certain vegetable crops can be rotated. When the land is tilled by humans, less carbon footprint is actually being created.

Mechanized farms can add more fuel to the climate problem we currently face. They rely on fossil fuels to cultivate the land. These fuels contribute more to greenhouse gases, and ultimately harm the environment. These machines end up being costlier to the environment than people. Since edible landscapes are generally created by people and not machines, they are generally more environmentally friendly.

How You Can Create Edible Landscapes

Edible landscapes are not just created by block clubs and neighborhood organizations. You can create one in your front yard, or take part in a community garden. There are a number of resources available online to help you create the kind of landscape that you want.

For example, Tenth Acre Farm has a guide that explains how you can create an edible landscape. There are also a number of YouTube videos that you can watch to get design ideas.

Creating your own landscape is a great way to get outside, help the environment, and grow your own food!


A Great Way To Battle Climate Change And Hunger 

Edible landscapes come with a number of benefits. Not only do they help combat climate change, they also help combat hunger. They work to remove the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and combat the fossil fuels produced by mechanical farms.

Edible landscapes are also an excellent way to help build community. They can be used in neighborhoods, which are practically food deserts to better serve different communities.

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