November 20, 2015, by Helen Whitehead

Sustainability focus on health and gardening!

This week in Sustainability, Society and You included a focus on health. Dr Neil Chadborn and Dr Linda East introduced us to the health benefits of a low carbon economy as a positive selling point for sustainability. Positive health co-benefits include a shift to low carbon vehicles, to walking and cycling, resulting in both less pollution and more exercise, lowering obesity, cardiovascular disease and more.

What interested me most about the ensuing discussion was that it threw up a number of small steps we can take to improve the sustainability of our actions – AND our health. A few people mentioned the co-benefit of growing your own produce. Our Lead Educator, Professor Sarah Speight has written blog posts on this before (Grow your own veg successfully!)

You gain the health benefit of good organic food, as well as the exercise required for planting and maintaining the vegetable patch. Other benefits to the environment include reduced food miles – and any kitchen waste could be made into a compost to help return nutrients to your garden.

For those (like me) who aren’t confident growing veg on my own – or don’t have a garden that’s suitable, Andrew Robbins had a suggestion: the Community Farm Project. “They are community-owned and community-run farms, where everyone in the community invests in the farm at the start of the year and get a box of various fruit and vegetables from the farm each week. The farms are sustainable because they are inherently local, use very few artificial fertilisers and pesticides, and all of the food is hand-picked. “

Andrew’s example is in Bristol, UK, but there are many others. In Headingley, Leeds, UK, there’s a Community Orchard. If you’re in the UK you might find one near you here. In some other places you’re way ahead and community farming is a lifestyle.

Examples of local sharing economy projects like these are inspiring, and joining one is a small step but can lead to many more!

There’s still time to join us in the MOOC Sustainability, Society and You, our currently running free online course on the FutureLearn platform.

Posted in EnvironmentFoodMOOCSustainabilitysustainable lifestyle