Climate Change Action of the Month: Backyard Harvest
If you head down to the Locke Street Farmers Market you can meet Russ Ohrt from Backyard Harvest, an urban agriculturalist and someone who has made the conscious decision to live more sustainably. Backyard Harvest, a completely urban farm, grows vegetables and fruits in the back and front yards of the west end and central neighbourhoods of lower Hamilton. Russ grows various produce throughout backyards in Hamilton, he then sells this local food to anybody and everybody to enjoy. Eating locally is a lifestyle choice that is beneficial to both you and the environment. Some of the personal and environmental benefits to eating locally are:
- Products are able to be picked at their peak because they do not have to travel far and are full of flavour
- There are more nutrients in local food since they have a shorter distance to travel there is less time for the nutrient value to decrease
- If you purchase food from local growers they are able to give you more information on the growing and harvesting process.
- When the food has less distance to travel that is less greenhouse gas emissions being dispersed into the atmosphere from transportation.
- When purchasing locally grown products you are also encouraging and helping maintain local farmland and green space.
- Food grown locally within the Hamilton area is much more likely to have been grown in a more safe and sustainable manner, including not using harmful chemicals or pesticides in the growing process.
If you choose to eat locally not only will your food be more nutritious, fresher, and more flavourful, it will also help mitigate climate change. According to David Suzuki, the average Canadian meal travels roughly 1200kms from the farm to your plate, while expelling emissions the entire time. If you head down to see Russ you are eliminating all of that travel time between getting the food from the farm to your mouth.
Urban agricultural practices in Hamilton do not allow the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, which ensures that your food will be chemical free. Not allowing these practices also significantly reduce greenhouse gases, since they produce so much emissions from the manufacturing and transportation of these products. Head down to any of Hamilton’s many farmers markets to buy local food or grow within your own backyard and join Russ in making sustainable lifestyle choices to help reduce your the impact of climate change.
Written By: Brittney Massey