Do YOU have a climate-fr​iendly garden?

Today the Backyard, Tomorrow the Nation

Most home gardeners already see evidence of global warming in their own backyards and these droughts, floods, pests, and weeds can challenge even the greenest thumb. But you can do more than merely adapt to these new conditions: you can make choices in your garden that don’t add to the problem.

As the summer gardening season swings into full gear, we’ll be bringing you expert advice – from Master Gardeners and our very own scientists – so that you can be a climate-friendly gardener in your own backyard, and encourage the same on our nation’s farms.

In Your Garden

Norma Jean Wade, a Master Gardener from Livonia, MI, offers this tip on how to be a climate-friendly gardener.

gardeners guide “Synthetic chemical pesticides require a lot of energy to manufacture, producing a significant amount of carbon dioxide in the process. To reduce your use of synthetic pesticides, consider planting native plants. Native plants are low maintenance because they are adapted to local soils and climate, and are more resistant to native plant viruses, insects, and bacteria. Incorporating native plants is a key strategy for establishing a climate-friendly garden.”

See page 4 of The Climate-Friendly Gardener (pdf) for more tips on how to limit chemicals in your garden, or contact your local Cooperative Extension Office for gardening information specific to your region.

On the Farm…

Farmers can also adopt climate-friendly practices, such as lowering their use of chemical pesticides, on our nation’s farms. Farmers employing sustainable farming techniques, including organic systems, have demonstrated that it is possible to produce abundant quantities of nutritious food while avoiding the use of these synthetic pesticides which are dangerous for our health and our environment.

The Farm Bill—voted on every five years in Congress—largely determines what food farmers will grow and what practices they will employ. Programs designed to help farmers successfully transition to sustainable agriculture practices that reduce their reliance on synthetic pesticides are on the chopping block, despite the already low levels of funding for these programs compared with support for outdated, chemical-dependent conventional agriculture systems. Hearings on the 2012 Farm Bill are underway in the House of Representatives.

Write to your member of Congress and demand farm policies that help farmers lower their use of synthetic chemical pesticides.

Take Action Today!

Jenn Yates
National Field Organizer
UCS Food and Environment Program

Norma Jean Wade, a Master Gardener from Livonia, MI, offers this tip on how to be a climate-friendly gardener.