Just six months ago, Farmscape's yield tracker crossed 10,000 pounds of food. Later this week, that tally will have doubled since January, a testament to the growing number of people in Los Angeles who are excited to have access to the most flavorful and sustainably grown produce around. We owe a sincere thanks to our members, whose feedback drives us to innovate and whose kind words have gotten their friends and families excited about replacing their landscape with a Farmscape.
discussed some of the ways in which purchasing organic food doesn't always guarantee sustainable production or that it will be a healthy meal.Last December, I
Last week, a more extreme version of this line of thinking appeared in Scientific American. Its author, Christie Wilcox, argued that the organic industry was disseminating "propaganda" regarding production techniques, and she was out to set the record straight. Her claims were that: 1) organic farms use pesticides, 2) organic foods are not healthier, 3) GMOs are vital to environmentally friendly production and are necessary to feed a growing global population, and 4) organic production should not be an all-or-nothing question.
Despite an early disclaimer in the piece that she is "not saying organic farming is bad,"she touched off a pretty lively debate. Among those responding to the piece was Matthew Yglesias, who suggested that greater USDA oversight of organic pesticide use would be prudent. Other responses were not so kind - bloggers Tom Laskawy and Tom Philpott took issue with her presentation of the academic literature and were particularly bothered by her claims regarding the nutritional value of organic produce and the promise of GMOs.
1. The Sprawl: The city of Los Angeles is about 8.5 times less dense than Manhattan and half as dense as San Francisco. The trip from the metro area’s western border in Ventura to its eastern border in Redlands is 128 miles. While the region’s sprawl offends my environmental and urban planning sensibilities, it affords Angelenos the opportunity to grow their own food while living in a major American city. I love San Francisco for its walkability, but try growing food in the city’s puny front yards.
In January, we celebrated an important milestone when our yield tracker reached 10,000 pounds of food. Now, we would like to celebrate another milestone: our internal estimates suggest that our gardens have saved over one million gallons of water over the past three years.
For context, one million gallons of water is how much would be used to take 40,000 showers or run 100,000 loads of dishes. That’s a tremendous quantity of water, which is both something for our members to be proud of, but also a sign of just how much water is used to irrigate most Southern California landscapes.
After I finished working in some of our gardens last week, I went into our office to update our blog. I worked for about a half hour before I realized that a visitor had joined our staff in the office for the afternoon. Although I'm normally pretty brutal about killing cabbage loopers, I decided that this particular caterpillar had a difficult enough journey, so I released him into a yard nearby.