I’ve been working at Dixie Plantation and volunteering at the MUSC Urban Farm since freshman year. I absolutely love the work that community members/college students and I get to do out there. Members of Cofc’s Farm and Garden Club get awesome hands-on opportunities to go out to Dixie Plantation to plant vegetables and learn about sustainable farming. This semester we were building beds and planting broccoli, radish, kale, and more! With each season, students learn about which food to grow and the different techniques to garden. We also prepped the land for spring semester because we are putting up a pollinator garden as soon as we get the chance. With that we do hope to install beehives on the property in the near future. Dixie plantation is 800 acres and a lot of it isn’t used for farming yet. After a few hours of working on the farm students are able to hike around the plantation and learn about the different water systems on land and the history of the plantation.
MUSC Urban Farm is another great place to learn about sustainable farming and gardening. While working there I also learned about many different ways to farm with however much space one may have. The farm members want to educate people on growing their own food and how beneficial it is. In order to educate community members even further the urban farm has a beehive, compost piles, and recycling/compost bins for trash. Visiting the beehive will make you want to start your very own and Carmen, farm director, can teach you how to start one up. The urban farm is a great place to learn about the many different ways people can have a sustainable life with the stuff they already have.
On both farms the main goal is to educate community members on how to live a sustainable life and how to grow your own food. When working on these farms, workers are given a free grocery trip afterwards! You can take home veggies that you pick. The rest of the harvested food is donated to neighborhood homes that are in need of natural foods so that nothing goes to waste.
The documentary Cowspiracy is about the the assertion that livestock’s greenhouse gas emissions are greater than the transportation sector’s emissions. When it comes down to the earth warming, there is more to climate change than just fossil fuels. Livestock produce more greenhouse gases than cars, trucks, boats, and planes combined. Cows produce a substantial amount of methane gas from their digestive system. Methane gas from livestock is 86 times more destructive than carbon dioxide from vehicles. Livestock plays a major role in global warming, it is also the leading cause of resource consumption in environmental degradation that is destroying our planet today. Both co-producers Kip Anderson and Keegan Kuhn argue that our institutional and individual attention to selected environmental issues will not make a collective difference unless we also confront the realities of animal agriculture.
Animal agriculture’s environmental effects are so pervasive that apparent progress elsewhere cannot counter its destructive and growing impact. The film suggests that protecting expanded areas of the oceans will not protect oceans or ocean animals. This goes the same for growing food organically. If we start growing food organically, even on a commercial scale, this will still not protect the land from what has already been done to it. The same also goes for cutting down trees. Keeping lumber operations out of the Amazon will not save the rainforest. No matter what we do or how hard we try to come up with alternative ways to save our planet we have already put us in a deep enough hole that we may not be able to get out of. When looking at statistics, over 100 billion gallons of water is used in the United States but when compared to animal agriculture they consume more than 34 trillion gallons of water. They found that one hamburger is equivalent to 660 gallons of water. That one hamburger is equivalent to showering two entire months! Talk about a waste. We focus so much of our attention on the domestic use of water in American homes which comes down to only 5%. However, when you look at the amount of water animal agriculture uses, they use almost 55% of the water in the United States. That is 2,500 gallons of water for just 1 pound of beef. One thousand gallons of water are needed to produce 1 gallon of milk. That is insane to me. This causes growing water shortages which makes animal agriculture unsustainable. Seventy billion animals are raised annually worldwide. Everyday over 144 million animals are killed for food. The U.S. farm alone produces 7 million pounds of excrement every minute. That is a lot of cow poop.
When looking at the amount of meat an average American consumes, we consume over 209 pounds of meat each year. Everyday, a person that eats a plant-bladed diet saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 square feet of forested land, all equivalent of just 20 pounds of CO2 and one animal’s life. In order to stop this we need to think about when we eat meat, dairy and eggs, we feed this growing catastrophe. Change will happen as quickly as we convince each other to change what we eat.