The Power of Food: Do You Really Know Your Food?

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Mackinzee Macho | February 19, 2021

Mackinzee Macho is an undergraduate student and Senior Program Manager in Human and Ecological Systems Transformations for the Foresight Lab. The Foresight Lab is a think-tank that shifts culture toward social, economic, and ecological well-being through consulting. This series, “The Power of Food,” will explore topics like carbon sequestration and regenerative farming.

If you think your food comes from the grocery store, you’re not wrong. Where does it truly originate? Ninety-five percent of our food comes from the soil, but most Americans don’t cultivate it themselves. In fact, only 1 in 3 Americans grow any portion of their own food. We have become severely disconnected from nature, our soils, and the origins of our nutrition.

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service states that six pounds of soil are lost per pound of conventionally cultivated food eaten annually. Topsoil is nutrient-rich and crucial to plant and soil health. In addition, our food has become less nutritious. This has serious environmental and human health implications, and at the rate at which we are degrading soil, this leaves us with only 60 harvests left.

Now is the time to reconnect with the source of our food: 81 million Americans own a piece of land and most of that is covered in turf-grass. There are 63,000 square miles of planted grass yards in the United States, which is an area three times larger than the total acreage of corn. Imagine if more Americans converted carbon-intensive lawns into luscious food gardens? Gardening is rewarding and satisfying, and it also teaches how nature works not for us, but with us.

Growing your own food is a creative activity, combats climate change, and saves money. Organic, regenerative, or carbon gardening are the most environmentally beneficial ways of contributing healthy food to your diet. These practices use compost, mulch, and natural pest management to increase soil nutrients and decrease pests.

Gardening reconnects us with nature and provides a great weapon in our arsenal to combat the climate emergency. Creating a symbiotic relationship with nature will generate a greater well-being for our economy, ecology, and society.

For more resources on gardening, check out some of these links:

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