Photo by Tom Carmony | flickr.com
The phrase ‘not in my backyard’ (sometimes referred to as ‘NIMBYism’) is commonly used for environmental problems. After all, who wants to live in close proximity to a nuclear power plant or toxic waste facility? However, some things that are moving further away from our backyards should, in fact, move closer.
Take produce, for example. Many grocery store fruits and vegetables are unsustainable, as they travel outrageously long distances to reach our plates. Eating from locally sourced foods would have greatly positive environmental and local benefits. I propose a change – instead of looking to push things away, the phrase ‘in my backyard’ can be adopted in a positive way to promoting locality.
We’ve grown ourselves into a bit of a downward spiral. The price of processed foods has become cheaper than fruits and vegetables, forcing people on fixed incomes to choose lower-quality items for economic gain. But there are alternatives.
Backyard gardens are a great way of promoting the consumption of fresh, healthy, and organic produce. Not only is this option inexpensive, but it also eliminates the large carbon footprint associated with the food we eat. The ability to grow fresh foods is not exclusive. Possibilities for gardens extend further than backyards - they can be made on apartment balconies, rooftops, and other places within communities.
The ‘IMBYism’ of backyard gardens clearly provide a great alternative to the disconnect between the food on our plates and where it originated. Backyard gardens can also act as an education tool, as they’re a great way for children and people of all ages to connect with nature while appreciating the quality of local foods and learning how to grow and maintain gardens first-hand.
The idea of gardens and IMBYism can help people understand the importance of agriculture on a local scale, while helping to combat climate change by eliminating the unnecessarily large ecological footprint of fruits and vegetables. On a local scale, this sustainable option has endless benefits.