Agriculture is one of the biggest producers of carbon emissions in the world, and a large percentage of those carbon emissions are produced by transporting food from the place it’s grown to the place it’s consumed. One way families and green businesses can significantly reduce their carbon footprint is by growing or raising a larger percentage of their own food.
However, with more than half the world’s population now living in cities, rather than rural areas, growing your own food now requires a little more creativity than it once did. Fortunately, a growing number of businesses are stepping up with products designed to make it easier to raise your own food even in urban environments.
Grow Fresh Mushrooms Indoors With a Mushroom Garden
Some types of mushrooms are among the most eco-friendly crops because mushroom cultivation encourages the preservation of forest ecosystems. Mushrooms themselves also play an important role in the nutrient cycle, breaking down organic matter such as dead wood to release the nutrients to the surrounding plants. Additionally, mushrooms are an excellent source of protein, making them an environmentally friendly alternative to red meat, and some have medicinal value.
If you don’t have a backyard woodland to start growing your own mushrooms, you can still enjoy fresh, eco-friendly mushrooms thanks to the Easy To Grow Mushroom Garden from Back to the Roots Ventures. The Mushroom Garden uses recycled coffee grounds to grow up to a pound of fresh, delicious mushrooms in as little as ten days!
Back to the Roots Ventures operates its own sustainable urban mushroom farm, which to date has diverted more than 50,000 of coffee grounds from the garbage to a rich soil for the farm’s gourmet mushrooms.
Help Save the Bees With a Beehaus
Honeybees are the primary or only pollinator for one third of human food crops and thousands of other plant species. With up to one third of the honeybee population being lost every year in many countries due to Colony Collapse Disorder and other problems, there is growing concern among people around the world about the decline of this irreplaceable insect.
One way people are fighting back against CCD and other threats to the honeybee is by starting their own small-scale, organic hives, and thanks to the Beehaus, from Omlet, starting your own colony of bees just got easier than ever! The Beehaus was specially designed to be easy for beginners to manage, while also meeting the natural needs of the colony itself. Omlet also offers other beekeeping supplies, such as bee suits and smokers.
Enjoy Fresh Eggs With Rental Chickens
Chickens make delightful and useful pets, turning kitchen scraps, grass, mosquitoes, flies, weeds, garden pests, and a little bit of grain into delicious, healthy eggs and high quality manure for composting. Even better, they are one of the few types of livestock allowed by most urban areas.
Many families consider getting chickens as a way to reduce grocery bills, control weeds and insect pests, improve the soil, and teach children responsibility, but not all are ready to commit to the time and expense of caring for chickens. If you are one of these families, consider rental chickens. This allows you to rent a small flock of 2 or 3 chickens to decide if chicken ownership is really for you. If it’s not, the chickens and their coop go on to the next family; if it is, many rental chicken businesses offer rent-to-own or similar programs.
Renting chickens is already popular in Australia, with businesses such as Rent a Chook and Book a Chook cashing in on the backyard chicken-keeping trend. In the United States, rental chickens have been pioneered by Rent-a-Hen, in Southwest Michigan, which offers month-by-month rentals of a portable coop, three organically raised laying hens, and other supplies.
Live the Dream With SPIN Farming
If you are ready to make the leap from urban farming as a hobby to urban farming as a career, SPIN farming, which stands for Small Plot INtensive farming, is a system designed to produce a livable income on urban plots of one acre or less. It achieves this through a combination of low and high value crops, such as potatoes, onions, tomatoes, and salad greens, and low overhead costs. For example, instead of buying expensive tractors or mechanical tools, SPIN farming uses simple tools such as drip irrigation systems made from old garden hoses! The SPIN system offers would-be farmers a great opportunity to live the dream without having to go deeply in debt to buy land.
Main Image Credit: Piush Dahal