Updated: Feb 17
Gardening is a great way to support sustainability. It touches on a myriad of benefits. Gardening, even mini urban gardens, can allow one to truly understand the work that goes into each piece of produce. It’s really rewarding. When you see your first tomato, fresh herb, or flower sprout, it teaches us to second-guess wasting food, how to appreciate the food and plants we have, and how to think more critically about our food systems as a whole. We guarantee that the first meal you make with vegetables that you nurtured all spring will be eaten differently than store bought ones.
Benefits of Gardening:
It supports mental and physical health. Gardening is incredibly therapeutic. Working in soil, moving your body, being in nature and the calm environment gardening embodies has shown to be greatly beneficial for our mental and physical well-being.(1)
It supports community efforts. Don’t have a backyard or rooftop space? Check out your local community gardens!
Gardening cuts down on carbon emissions created via food travel. According to Popular Science, transportation makes up 19% of all food system carbon emissions.
You can control the soil and biodiversity of the land you are growing on. By gardening, you will know exactly what has and has not been sprayed on your precious crops. You can also add a variety of vegetables to further diversify your soil.
You can add compost to your soil, cutting down on waste.
You can teach the younger generations how to garden and appreciate growing their own food starting at a young age.
Take public transportation.
Public transportation is a super easy alternative to driving, especially if you live in a big city. Public transportation reduces air pollution, benefits communities financially, and is a fuel-efficient choice. It allows for less traffic congestion, creates jobs for the city, and cuts the hassle of driving and parking with no true ETA in sight. Philadelphia is a great walking city too. So if you’re not taking the train or bus, walking the city is the very best way to gain a better sense of direction, your community, and the people you share it with…not to mention it’s a great form of exercise.
Shop seasonal ingredients.
Seasonal eating is important to get the highest quality produce at its peak. When we eat foods that are out of season or not grown in our climate at all, it can call for more pesticides being used and excess transit required. Popular Science states, “Taking the entirety of the food supply chain into account, global food miles add up to around 3 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions, which stands around 3.5 to 7.5 times higher than previous estimates. All of that amounts to about half of direct emissions from road vehicles, the study authors write. (2)” Shopping seasonally supports local communities as you can be assured what you see at a farmer’s market should be grown locally. Note - beware of farmer’s markets with packaged produce that they are re-selling and is shipped from elsewhere (ex: mangos, avocados, coconuts) - if you live in Philadelphia, these will not be local and seasonal to our climate. Totally fine to eat, just not truly local. You will also gain a better sense of transparency when shopping via trusted, local farms which can help to answer any concerns about labor and working conditions at hand. In addition to the above benefits, eating with the season harmonizes with the body’s cyclical rhythm and is said to help support diversity within your gut microbiome (3).
P.S. & Co. uses Lancaster Farm Fresh for organic, local ingredients which pride themselves on fresh, seasonal, nutrient-packed produce.
Bring a reusable coffee mug with you on the run.
It’s a simple thing that can be incredibly easy to forget if it’s not part of your daily routine. If you are a “get your coffee out” person, having a reusable mug on hand is key to help cut down on waste. Just simply hand your mug to the barista at your local coffee shop before they start preparing your order.
Buy used books.
Buying used books helps support local bookstores, cuts down on waste, and is really a really fun way to share stories between strangers. Drop off unwanted books at a local bookstore or one of Philly’s many street “lending libraries.” You can find these all around the city, mainly in parks. It’s a way to get a free, pre-loved book to read or to drop off some of your favorites for someone else to enjoy.
Ditch straws or go metal/glass.
Plastic straws are so 2000 and late. Purchase a set of stainless steel or glass straws as a more sustainable way to enjoy your morning smoothie. Marine life including sea turtles and sea birds can die from plastic consumption. An excessive amount of plastics, including fishing nets, straw waste, bottles, etc. has created microplastics in our oceans. Most plastic straws are not biodegradable and can break into smaller particles, releasing chemicals into the soil, water, and air harming our environment.
P.S. & Co. offers rose pink reusable glass straws to purchase. If you bring this, or any reusable straw into the shop, you can get 50 cents off your smoothie order! Wins all around.
Drop off food at local community fridges.
Philadelphia has created local community fridges dedicated to give all Philadelphians access to fresh and healthy food. They are simply refrigerators located right on the sidewalk, accessible to everyone. They use a “take what you need, leave what you can” method. The South Philly Community Fridge organization has 6 locations in South Philly. They partner with local restaurants and grocers to help stock the refrigerators with pantry items, produce, and unsold prepared meals which would have been thrown out without these organizations in place.
__________________________________________________________________________________1 Sempik, J. (n.d.). Green care and mental health: gardening and farming as health and social care. Retrieved from chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/https://web.archive.org/web/20170809044140id_/http://biblioteca.esec.pt/cdi/ebooks/docs/Sempik_Green_care.pdf
3 Davenport ER, Mizrahi-Man O, Michelini K, Barreiro LB, Ober C, Gilad Y. Seasonal variation in human gut microbiome composition. PLoS One. 2014 Mar 11;9(3):e90731. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0090731. PMID: 24618913; PMCID: PMC3949691.