MONOCULTURES VS BIODIVERSITY
The wilderness contains countless organisms, all working together as an integrated food web, keeping the environment healthy and self-regulated. Networks of fungi, communities of trees, low-lying plants, animals, bugs and living soil are all in effort together. Depending on one another is what makes nature’s bounty of life so enduring and long lasting.
Growing varieties of plant species together produces a variety of different defenses. For instance, marigolds can be planted around tomatoes and other vegetables to keep bugs away. This is known as “companion growing”. There are also some wonderful natural companions out there, like Jewelweed and Poison Ivy. Jewelweed is nature’s antidote to the Poison Ivy rash and funny enough, it is often found growing right next to Poison Ivy.
A monoculture is an immense amount of land, planted with one species of crop. This practice of farming is unsustainable and goes against nature’s plan, yet it continues to be the agricultural standard. We wonder why there are acres and acres of land in the U.S. being devoted to monocultures, when they come with so many downfalls, like soil depletion. Large-scale industrialized agriculture promotes this kind of uniformity and encourages the use of GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms), with no regard for the consequences.
Monocultures create a quicker buildup of diseases and pests, which is just one reason why they have been criticized for their negative effects on the environment. Growing single crops over vast amounts of land only encourages disease, fungi and predators, which conventional farmers combat with pesticides, fungicides and herbicides. These chemicals are terrible for the Earth, the animals and the human body. All plants in a monoculture are genetically similar, so when they are struck by a pest or disease that the plants have little or no resistance to, it can annihilate entire populations of crops. Nature spelled it out for us: Biodiversity is the key to survival.
Although most of the agricultural processes, procedures and systems in place go against the natural order, we imagine one day (hopefully sooner than later), humans will wise up, rise up and make changes that result in a healthier and happier future. Until then, we’re making our own changes to better our lives and the lives around us. We have met some other great people who have also taken things into their own hands by planting personal gardens, full of fresh, organic and seasonal vegetation. By becoming more self-sufficient, making better choices when shopping for food and relying less upon grocery stores, we can all have a closer relationship with our food and take better care of Mother Earth.
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