I attended a documentary screening of “Rising Waters”, which shows us how the Pacific Islands are already the victims of global warming (to the point where their islands will disappear completely due to rising water levels). After the screening, I was asked to go up and speak about what local community members can do about the fight against climate change. As strange as it may sound, the work APIOPA is pushing forward around community gardens and community supported agriculture (CSA) has everything to do with our fight against climate change.
If we want to impact globally, we need to create change locally. Have you ever been at the market and wondered where your produce comes from? It takes fossil fuels to power the exhaust-spewing trucks that deliver vegetables to your local market. Produce comes from around the state, country, and even world; imagine how much extra carbon emissions are being put in the air so you can have your blueberries from Maine.
When people think of the work that APIOPA does, the most common thought is that we do work on healthy living; access to healthy food, access to healthy environments to exercise in, etc. Yes, we do that, but in the larger scheme of things, we are encouraging communities to fight climate change. Here’s how:
Community gardens are great for many reasons. Foremost, community members can get a better understanding of where their foods comes from, and how much effort it takes to upkeep. With how easily accessible food is today, it’s no surprise if community members don’t know where their produce comes from, and how long it takes to grow. Community members also get a chance to get outdoors and get some exercise when they are planting, watering, and weeding. APIOPA has worked with our partners Guam Communications Network and Tongan Community Service Center to take care of a few sowing beds at a local community garden. Our Pacific Islander brothers and sisters have found the plots to be a good first step in reconnecting with the land, and their own cultural roots!
While there are several different crops being grown on their plots, the most important thing we are growing is an idea. The idea is that you can grow your own food, locally and organically. You do not need to rely on whatever is at the markets, and you have the power to feed yourself and those you care about, with affordable, healthy foods. The more community members believe in this, the more ground we have won in the battle against climate change. By growing your own produce, you are not relying as much on the shipment of goods. Instead of purchasing those blueberries from Maine, you could grow your own and save the world those 3,000+ miles to travel across the US. All the while you are eating healthier, getting exercise, and connecting with your local community!
Community Supported Agriculture
Okay let’s say you don’t have access to green areas to grow your own veggies. Another program that APIOPA is pushing are CSA programs. Most simply put, CSA programs connect community members with farmers, and create a relationship where the produce of the farmer are made directly available to the community. It is a symbiotic relationship that supports the small business farmer, but also puts organic, healthy fruits and veggies in to the hands of community members. Read more about the two CSAs we are working on here.
Purchasing produce locally has a very similar impact to growing your own veggies; you are cutting down on the movement of goods while connecting yourself with healthy food! There are many different CSA programs out there, and they are usually very affordable. If you look around and can’t find one, do what APIOPA did; start your own! APIOPA connected with a local Hmong farmer and we worked out a deal with him where we connect his Asian vegetables with our community members. Read more about it here.
What’s your excuse?
For those who ask what they can do to fight climate change and global warming, I’ve discussed two different ways you can impact globally, by creating change locally. We still need to tackle the bigger policy issues on carbon emissions, but as that is going on, we each can do our little part in repairing the damage we continue to inflict on this earth.