©2018 by Urban Ark Conservation.

Sustainability

Conservation through Homesteading.

To homestead is to commit to a lifestyle of self-sufficiency, or to be as self-sufficient as possible. This can be as simple as growing your own food, providing your home with some form of green power, or can also be completely going off the grid and providing all the power, food, water, and clothing that you and your family needs.  However you homestead, there is one thing you may or not be aware of.  You are reducing your carbon footprint.  The more self-sufficient you are the smaller that footprint may become. Thus, by reducing your footprint, you are protecting the environment.

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Environmental Benefits:

  1. Each food item that Americans consume has traveled an average of 1,500 miles to reach their plate. In many cases (as with eggs and dairy) the energy use of transport is increased because the food must be refrigerated.

  2. Concentrated Animal Feed Operations (CAFOs) pollute surface and ground water

  3. CAFOs contribute significantly to greenhouse gases through methane emissions, and release other hazardous gasses into the air

  4. Animals raised in CAFOs are fed disproportionate amounts of grain, which is produced using large quantities of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides

  5. Many homesteaders embrace sustainable energy practices. For example, they might install a wind turbine or solar panels to help reduce some of their energy costs. And living off the grid also conserves fossil fuels and reduces emissions.

  6. Industrial farms plant fields and fields of the same genetically modified crop. From New England to southern California you’ll find the same soybeans, corn, and wheat. When you plant your own garden you’re helping to sustain plant diversity. You’re also helping keep the bees and other pollinators alive and healthy. Their survival is critical to biodiversity.

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MENTAL HEALTH Benefits:

  1. One of the biggest precursors to suicide is social isolation, the feeling that there’s no hope and no one out there that can relate to what you’re going through, and by spending time on the farm, we can help prevent that isolation from occurring. Vets are working alongside each other weeding a row in the field and are able to have these difficult conversations without it feeling very difficult. In that regard, it helps prevent suicide.”

  2. According to “The benefits of gardening and food growing for health and well-being,” the proven mental health benefits of gardening include: an improved sense of community, reduction of stress and anxiety, an improvement of alertness and cognitive abilities (especially in patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease), and help hospice patients manage the stress associated with end of life diseases. Considering that chronic stress is becoming a public health crisis, we could all benefit from a little stress reduction.

  3. Whether it’s because of the farm-to-table trend, or more people are realizing the benefits of gardening, community gardens are popping up in cities and towns all across the United States. In urban areas, these gardens are often created from abandoned, vacant lots. Some are collective gardens, with the whole community working together to share the upkeep responsibilities, while others are individual garden plots.

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