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Island Food Security

Katie and a helper attending to their organic, natural grown vegetable beds. Heart and Soil Organics believes in giving back to the earth and producing only the healthiest, natural, organic fruits and vegetables.
Vancouver Island produces about 5% of its food, the other 95% is imported. This creates an incredible risk for Islanders because if the ferries and airlines stop running all the food from the grocery store shelves would be emptied in three days.

Just this risk alone is enough to support local production of food. However, food security also encompasses the quality of food that we are eating. Although there may seem an abundance of food in every grocery, much of the food is contaminated with pesticides, non-organic fertilizers, and fungicides. We know very little of the effects of these chemicals. As well we have absolutely no idea as to what is GMO and how GMO effects our bodies and environments. The reality of our current food system is that it is life depleting. When we grow our own food, or buy local, organic produce we nourish our bodies, our communities and environment.

Food security also looks at the cost of food. Food prices are rising and they are rising because of two things, cost of fuel that it takes to import the food and cost of food that is thrown away. Close to half of all food produced worldwide is wasted after production, discarded in processing, transport, supermarkets and kitchens. When people throw food out, all the resources to grow, ship, package and produce it are wasted, too, including massive amounts of water. Local, organic food uses less packaging, and you can always bring your own bags.

Food Security & Farming Practices

Dion holding a massive bunch of fresh, organic grown carrots.
Lastly, food security looks at farming practices. There are many benefits to support local, small scale agriculture and one is because a small farm is not depleting its soil, in fact it is building it.

Franklyn D. Roosevelt said, “A nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.” This is exactly what large agri-industry is doing. Synthetic pesticides and fertilizers are widely used in agriculture, and are often made from fossil fuels. Manufacturing and transporting these chemicals uses significant quantities of energy and produces greenhouse gases. Not surprisingly, studies have shown that chemical farming uses considerably more energy per unit of production than organic farms, which do not use these chemical inputs. In addition, the use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers in soils produces nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas that is approximately 300 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere.

Organic farms, on the other hand — which rely on natural manure and compost for fertilizer — store much more carbon in the soil, keeping it out of the atmosphere.

Here is a great PDF on Food Security.

Buying local, organic food, as well as growing your own, is a solution to all these problems.
The Heart & Soil community attending to their organic, natural grown vegetable beds. Heart and Soil Organics believes in giving back to the earth and producing only the healthiest, natural, organic fruits and vegetables.

Links


If you would like to read more about sustainability and farming please check out these links:
http://www.davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/food-and-our-planet/food-and-climate-change/
http://www.gracelinks.org/207/soil-quality