The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

June 7, 2012

Growing food and herbs to avoid plastic

Adding to the continuing series of posts on gardening without plastic, here is another guest post from Ro Kumar, who gave a few tips for avoiding plastic in the garden back in April.

It’s been said by environmental leaders like Michael Pollan that one of the best and easiest things we can do to reduce carbon emissions is to start a garden. Starting a garden can also help to dramatically reduce our use of plastics and improve our health. Here are two great benefits of growing your own food and herbs:

The supermarket in your backyard has no plastic packaging

Everything we buy at stores tends to involve plastic packaging. By growing your own food, you effectively step outside of this plastic supply chain, and enter into your own plastic-free one! I currently have a bounty of sugar snap peas growing on a trellis in my front yard. I use a stainless steel bowl to collect the peas — there is ZERO plastic involved in this process.

Grow your own herbs to avoid artificial additives in medicine

Modern supermarket medicines are often packaged in copious amounts of plastic, and use unnatural additives for shelf-life preservation. Most people don’t realize that most herbs are quite easy to grow. The photo below shows a cilantro plant that popped in a corner of my garden on its own. I’m also growing white sage, fenugreek, and holy basil. Be aware of your climate and sunlight conditions, and plant herbs that grow well in your region. You’ll be pleasantly surprised about how easy they are to take care of. They can be used in food or as medicine.

Based in the Bay Area at UC Berkeley and Stanford, Rohit Kumar is a passionate advocate for a cleaner planet with healthier people.

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11 years ago

kids only ever model their parents to below re: kids addicted to soda. if YOU dont ever drink soda they will NEVER acquire taste for it until they move out…I know first hand and I think soda is disgusting…also lost 20 lbs when I stopped drinking sodas and quit mcds.

11 years ago

ironically due to having no winter this year from fossil fuel pollution most herbs reseeded and came back this year so I could easily barter with others who grow other stuff IF this area was more progressive…I grow food compost have rainbarrel and recently I really started trying to get off plastics for envir. AND for health reasons since many cos. still use BPAs…I never use canned goods as I can just freeze tomatoes etc for winter IF we have one this year. I hate more and more ‘convenience’ stuff so I now use shaving soap and one has lasted six mos. now. I also use a glass carafe with no plastic for my morning joe and to me personally not just locavore but avoiding ANYTHING from china as long as I can is extremely important to me as a ‘patriotic’ american which typically means taiwan made for many household goods and clothes from somewhere else depending on retailer…also very hard to find organic clothes with recycled plastics in the US. also if you are buying clothes from vietnam you are still supporting communism most likely since many manufacturers in china now switch to vietnam for cheaper labor….that is my two cents. peace.

11 years ago

I just discovered this blog and I am sooo excited to read through it. I’ve been trying to cut back on plastic for a while now. This post caught my eye because herbs are one of the few things I haven’t killed in my gardening attempts. Last year my cilantro was super happy. I need to plant some more!

11 years ago

Just recently started following the blog. Very true- herbs are too easy to grow. You just have to do the right research to find out which ones work in which light, soil, water so on. I failed a few times on a few herbs from seeds but then realized they needed a colder environment.

thanks for the localblu link, looks interesting

Sprout Lady Rita
11 years ago

Great post. Don’t forget in many parts of the country you can join a CSA – Community Supported Agriculture. You purchase a share in a local farm, they do the growing and you do the eating! My husband has grown our food for decades but this year was unable to do so. We joined a CSA and get great quality veggies, just like homegrown, but the farmer does the work. Also, sprouting is a great way to get great tasting vegetables that you can grow indoors very easily.

Beth Terry
11 years ago

Just remember that if you join a CSA that delivers produce to your house, request no plastic packaging. Sadly, many of them still put produce in plastic bags or plastic containers,

11 years ago

I’ve just been reading On Earth magazine email – congratulations on your article. I have been reading your blog for quite a while, and you have encouraged me to greater efforts in my (matching) obsession. I and my husband only fill a supermarket bag every two months for landfill, which qualifies me as “weird” where I live – I am in awe at your collection limits!

11 years ago

I’m a new follower and first timer here. There is so much interesting info that I am bookmarking you so I can come back and take it all it! Thank you!
Huge green hugs,

11 years ago

The kids I babysit are raised on juice boxes, mac and cheese, and anything (and everything) processed. We went to the farmer’s market to look at and buy some veggies that we’ll cook for dinner. While eating lunch, one kid asked “Don’t we get juice?” I replied with, “Nope– the sugar in juice makes your muscles weak, but this water I brought will keep them healthy and big!” And you know what he said? Nothing. He just shrugged and continued eating lunch with big gulps of water from my glass bottle. We have all these parents telling us their children won’t drink water or eat good foods– let’s educate the parents and kids about WHY these foods are healthier and involve them in the entire process of their food, instead of just a short “yes” or “no” when the children ask for an unhealthy snack.

Eve Stavros
11 years ago

Growing my own food has been something I’ve wanted to do for a few years, but Florida was such a gardener’s nightmare it wasn’t much fun. Since I moved back to Virginia this year, I’ve been fortunate to have space in a neighbor’s garden up the hill. Every couple of days when I walk up there (also getting good exercise this way) I find something ready to pick and eat. Nothing like fresh-picked anything! But I’m so jealous of that cilantro – I’ve been coddling my few tiny seedlings along in a pot for what seems ages with little progress.

Anita Gwynn
11 years ago

yes I’m all for it. BUT I live in England. Currently we have Autumn weather. :( I need a glasshouse. It is raining again and we have HIGH winds.

11 years ago

such a great post! you’re right, the supermarket herbs have so much plastic packaging! thanks for sharing!

11 years ago

I grow all sorts of edibles in a tiny townhome backyard! Among many reasons to grow your own, my daughter enjoys eating our homegrown fruits and veggies…far more than she would eat store-bought produce!

For inspiring herb-growing and herbal uses, I highly recommend reading Rosemary Gladstar’s newest book called Medicinal Herbs. I have read several of her books (and by other authors) and this one is particularly appealing because she gives practical information on 33 herbs, including growing tips, using tips, basic knowledge, and specific recipes — for each herb! There is also a chapter devoted to the various methods of use, such as teas, baths, salves, etc.

11 years ago

Glad to hear you’re having garden success. There’s nothing like snap peas straight from the vine is there? We dodged the bullet on a major hail storm last night… seriously a mile down the road there isn’t a leaf left on any tree. Hoping it spares us again tonight!

11 years ago

He is a man after my own heart! Just plucked snap peas off the vine and sat there ate them!