Blog

read

Climate Smart Food: Gardening in a Changing Climate – Part 2

It’s time to look at some of the strategies we can use in our gardens to mitigate and adapt to climate change, ensuring an abundance of food for ourselves and communities into the future.

Posted

In Part 1, we looked at the challenges that climate change is creating for food systems and home gardeners, and talked through the steps of observation and analysis necessary for designing productive and climate resilient gardens. Now it’s time to look at some of the strategies we can use in our gardens to mitigate and adapt to climate change, ensuring an abundance of food for ourselves and communities into the future.

Designing for extremes

Good design can enable us to overcome many of the challenges inherent in extreme weather events.

Water management

Increasing droughts, combined with more extreme rainfall events requires us to be conscious of how we can best use this precious resource. In permaculture, we aim to ‘slow, spread and sink’ water as it moves across our site, to reduce run-off and waste. Essentially, we want rainfall to move as slowly as possible through our garden, so as much as possible can be absorbed and stored in the soil, watering our plants and recharging groundwater supplies. In the event of extreme heavy rainfall, we should design our gardens to divert excess water into storage, whether that be rainwater tanks, ponds, swales or wicking beds.

Soil health

Most gardeners know the value of healthy soil as a living ecosystem with health that can be actively supported through sustainable gardening techniques. Fewer people know that soil, and building healthy soils, is one of the most important parts of the climate change puzzle. When soils are repetitively tilled, the carbon they store is released into the atmosphere, which contributes a significant portion of greenhouse gas emissions. However, we can reverse this process with good soil management practices.

Image credit: Sippakorn Yamkasikorn

Protecting our pollinators and beneficial insects

Over 80% of the world’s flowering plants rely on pollinators for successful reproduction. Pollinators include species of ants, bats, bees, beetles, birds, butterflies, flies, moths, and wasps. Many pollinators are now going extinct or are endangered by the effects of climate change and pesticide use, so supporting the health of these species in our garden by providing suitable habitat and food sources will help them to survive and have flow on benefits in our gardens, such as increased yields.

Phew! It’s empowering to learn ways we can lessen our environmental footprint and contribute to meaningful climate action in our own backyards. And if you live in an apartment or shared housing with no garden space, there is still plenty you can do to contribute to a more climate resilient food system. Here are some ideas:

We hope some of the tips above have been helpful in your journey towards a more secure and ethical food system!

This article is republished with permission from Melbourne Food Hub