Frances Eddy, sustainable farming expert, has been on a personal crusade for many years to make us more aware of how our actions impact the environment.
She spoke to the Bermuda Sun on how each of us can help reduce our dependence on intensive farming techniques.
Have you always been aware of the need to protect the environment?
This grew out of a natural connection with nature — not just being with it and observing, but an intellectual understanding came from study and exposure through participating in organizations that are immersed in it.
Is a ‘green revolution’ in Bermuda possible?
I believe it is possible through many public awareness campaigns and dedicated Government and non-government organizations.
There has to be fundamental changes in how society is structured and how we think. We have to develop a philosophy of how we want to live collectively. You cannot have extreme inequity and expect people to be green. Many are simply surviving day to day.
How can people start?
There has to be leadership from Government leading by example, and sustained public education and programmes.
It is possible to garden one or two hours a week and get satisfying results from a small garden if it is done in a systematic way.
A 4-foot x 4-foot area can be prepared and planted on a weekend morning and another four feet added every week, or every other week.
Any food produced locally alleviates some of the reliance on the current oil dependent system of agriculture.
Get the maximum value out of the space by selecting vegetables that provide the most food nutrition, and the most expensive to buy.
What are the next stages?
Start a compost pile. Get into the practice of it and train family members to use a container with a lid next to the sink for vegetable and fruit trimmings, used coffee grounds and tea. Thirty per cent of garbage going to Tynes’ Bay can be turned into compost. Another step is to become more conscious about what is purchased.
What is the ‘Grow Biointensive’ method?
It is what I teach and is a product of 35 years of research by Ecology Action. This method has soil sustainability as its primary focus and has the research to back it up. It teaches what it takes to grow food sustainably.
Can we go totally organic?
Contrary to popular belief, I think it is possible to grow entirely organic. An important component and goal of the Grow Biointensive method is creating enough healthy compost that it can be eventually the main means of feeding the soil.
Is it our duty to promote sustainable growth?
It is our responsibility to steward the land so that it can continue to feed and serve our needs indefinitely. We have to become engaged ourselves by growing some of our own food in a sustainable way and support local farmers in making a shift in the direction of sustainability.
The most important thing is consciousness. Without doing anything at all one can simply be aware of one’s own mindset, the choices we individually and collectively make that effects the land, food and ultimately our bodies and our collective wellbeing.
The stuff that the land is made of is the stuff we are made of.