Organic Gardening Goal 6: To use, as far as possible, renewable, biodegradable and recycled resources from local sources and to minimize waste.
Today, I'd like to give some examples of renewable resources and non renewable resources in the garden.
In 2007, I did a Certificate in Sustainable Building and Design At Yestermorrow Design/Build School. I learned how to build earthen floors and cob walls, timberframe, make my own paint, and even how to convert a vehicle to run off vegetable oil. I also took courses on sustainable design and permaculture, which is a design framework popular in organic gardening.
I learned that we have trashed the planet pretty hard core. We've taken out a huge percentage of trees, oil, fish, and so on. You know about that, I'm sure. There's not much point complaining about it because we actually have all kinds of totally cool ways to reverse the trends, and there are hundreds of millions of people around the world who are interested in joining us.
Today, I'm writing about just one way of thinking about resources when organic gardening - examples of renewable resources and non renewable resources.
In my opinion, the best way to make a bench is to get some mud and poo and grass (straw) and mix it all together and start piling it up and you have a bench. It's called cob. Okay, it takes a little more knowledge than that but it's super easy once you know how to do it and it's about as local as you can get.
When I was learning natural building in Costa Rica at Rancho Mastatal, I helped put in a floor and a wall made out of the same simple materials listed above. I did it again at Yestermorrow and when I moved to the west coast, I volunteered to help some folks put one in their new home. You can learn to do this, too.
But rather than try to summarize the many different resources you can use in this article, I'm going to give some examples of renewable resources and non renewable resources and tell you about 3 really good materials and 3 not so good materials that are often touted as being good when organic gardening. Let's start with the bad news:
If you do a search for 'Sustainable Materials', one of the top websites that comes up as of this writing is sustainablematerials.com. Go here for a list of not so good materials. No, I don't mean that they have a page of unsustainable materials. I mean go to their home page and look at all of the materials they are promoting as sustainable. It seems they're on this recent bandwagon of promoting certain materials without really thinking hard about it.
These were just a few examples of renewable resources and non renewable resources that you might consider using when organic gardening, to show you that the latest "eco" materials are not always what they seem, but there are plenty of resources out there that are sustainably harvested or recycled from your own area.
If you're into gardening, you might want to check out this series of my favorite organic gardening lessons I've brought together on one page.