[Introducing bLANk's new sustainability series, 'The Green Compass' - Let it grow]
“25% of the worlds population of 6 billion people account for 80% of global energy use.”
Being a designer and eco-conscious citizen, I feel and know I have a responsibility to ensure that what I do, design, eat, use or facilitate must tread lightly on this planet. It is my aim to focus on living with a very small carbon footprint, to do things with integrity, sensitivity and compassion.
So to, to serve my human needs without depleting natural and manmade resources, without damage to the carrying capacity of ecosystems and without restricting the options available for present and future generations.
1. My responsibility as a human is to be ecologically sensitive with a thorough understanding of the importance of the invisible thread that is tied to my actions and my ability to improve these activities by sustainable means.
2. My responsibility as a designer is to understand the capability of design and with this knowledge challenge the status quo – the power of designers is catalytic.
“Cycling 10 kilometres each way to work can save you about $1,700 in transport costs and 1,500 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions each year.”
3. My responsibility as a health nut and avid foodie is to support my local community and markets for locally grown fresh produce, knowledge and networks that are too, on the same wavelength.
“Rethink how we are inventing the way we live. Living trends are changing radically in response to the huge global changes affecting our lives. Learning to build a better world from the ground up. Going back to what nurtures, protects and makes us feel safe. Finding a sense of calm and control in a world filled with events that are uncontrollable. Learning to adapt to a rapidly evolving environment. Revolution: Discovering new ways of remodeling our way of living and being.” – Amanda Talbot
People are increasingly concerned about how their food has been manipulated and processed, genetic modification, this distance food travels before reaching their plates and many other related issues.
A trend emerging in overpopulated cities is urban farms within the home. For some people it’s a simple pleasure, a new hobby, But many others are part of a fast growing tribe of people becoming local producers and taking hold of the mantra of ‘local not global’. It is not hard to predict that with an ever expanding interest in different varieties of produce and the growing process, many people have decided to produce food for themselves within their home and their local community.
This tribe of people aren’t from any specific age group, socio-economic background or country; and they’re not laid back hessian-dressed hippies who want to drop out of society. These people simply demand quality food that tastes delicious, is grown sustainably with a low environmental impact and not treated with harmful chemicals.
Making the most of our window boxes and roof gardens not only saves at the supermarket checkout; it feeds our nostalgia for the ‘good life’ – an idyllic time when food was seasonal and locally sourced.
Apart from the feel-good factor, the urban farm movement has a wider impact in helping with the future of our cities. As the world population continues to grow and our cities expand, food shortage is one of the big issues many of us will face. By 2050, 70% of the world’s population will be living in urban cities and thus urban farming becomes a significant and necessary factor for food production.
Scientists are predicting that for our children’s generation food shortage is a strong possibility. By 2050, the world’s population will swell to more than nine billion. At the moment the global headcount is sitting at seven billion.
“Today, 49% of the worlds population live in cities. 800 million people are involved in urban agriculture worldwide and contribute to feeding urban residents. Low income urban dwellers spend between 40% and 60% of their income on food each year.”
The urgent task that world governments need to tackle is feeding an ever-growing population with diminishing resources. It is estimated that a 70% increase in food production will be needed to feed the global population. As much as 50% of the world’s population already live in an urban sprawl and this number is expected to rise to 70% in the next forty years. This is why it is encouraging to see so many people and communities becoming self sufficient with farming and local producers.
Farmers markets are becoming mainstream in busy cities. Urban residents are turning to local produce. A growing number of consumers prefer to buy fresh, locally grown produce for superior quality and flavour of food. Farmers markets provide consumers with the opportunity to connect with the producers and learn about their produce and their passion and witness first hand how this enthusiasm translates into superior quality.
“By 2015, about 26 cities in the world are expected to have a population of 10 million or more. To feed a city of this size, at least 6000 tonnes of food must be imported and supplied each day.”
“At the moment, 250 million hungry people in the world live in cities.”
Small steps in how we can use unused space in our cities have become more important to local communities. Edible gardens are being introduced to encourage community engagement as well as providing places for people to relax.
Melbourne’s Federation Square Pop Up Patch by The Little Veggie Patch & Co does just this.
“The Fed Square Pop up Patch is a subscriber based edible gardening club allowing and encouraging you to farm your very own produce smack bang in the city. Subscribers will have their very own little veggie crate prepared by the Little Veggie Patch Co, filled using their special no-dig garden recipe; the perfect infrastructure for growing great produce.
For the price of a coffee a day, crates are yours for 12 months to come and go from as you please, growing herbs, lettuces, giant zucchinis, jack’s bean stalk, in fact whatever it is that gets your tummy grumbling.”
“The Fed Square Pop up Patch is a place to share the beginnings, and maybe ends, of your food experience; from the dirt to the seed, seedling to plant, and then perhaps the produce on your plate. It’s not exclusive, there’s no door policy and no qualification is required to feel a part of it. We only ask you bring a good attitude and enthusiasm for growing and eating locally grown, fresh produce.”
Growing food when resources are available is not a difficult thing (if it was we’d all be very hungry), so no pesticides, herbicides or fungicides are allowed in pop up patch. Organic growing is what we abide by, and what we’ll help you achieve. – The Little Veggie Patch Co
Pop Up Patch is located in the Car Park at the rear of Fed Square. The garden is open to the public 7 days a week. 11am to 7pm weekdays, 9am – 5pm weekends.
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
The Challenge: To weave old age resourcefulness with new methods, quality and creativity with modern technology in order to minimize my own ecological footprint by the means of sustainable living. [Inspiration: Whole Larder Love & The Sustainable Table]
Re-use, re-invent, re-cycle – everything can be repurposed.
[The Green Compass - Let it grow]
*Disclaimer: All photographs in a bLANk’s ‘The Green Compass’ are taken by bLANk and rightly owned by bLANk