By Erwin Verburgt
Everybody talks about “sustainable” these days. The term is mentioned when referring to living, energy, development, even relationships (however terrifying that last one sounds).
The definition of the word, “capable of being sustained”, really means getting by with the bare minimum. And very few people want to “just get by” regarding any of those things mentioned above.
We prefer abundance.
The thing is, abundance is all around us, even if we do not always recognize it.
Without denying the influence of economics in life, and without wanting to sound overjoyed with the realities that we face these days, there are a lot of resources at our disposal that we do not use, and that can make our lives better, healthier, and more abundant.
Let’s leave the gas guzzling SUV and the 5 star vacation out of it for a moment, and look at our basic needs: food, water, shelter and energy. When considering those needs, we often make the mistake that “abundance” means having to spend more money; Money buys more and “better” food, exotic water from a mountain far away, a bigger house, more air conditioning and televisions ….the list goes on. And when things get tough, we complain about how much we have to spend to keep up with this life style, while better options are within our reach, for less money, and with more benefit.
Let’s talk about food first.
“Sustainable” frequently refers to the environment and nature, but in nature’s case “bare minimum” simply does not apply; nature is extremely abundant if we accept its generosity.
Take this Indian squash that someone brought us the other day; it must have been close to 3 feet, and could have served as a great side dish for at least 20 people.
You, of course, say “But that’s India, we’re in Mexico”; True, but we happen to live in a region where you can naturally grow, on a seasonal basis, a great amount of fruits and vegetables, among which Indian squash, Jericho lettuce from Israel, Okra from the Deep South, and plenty more.
Still, La Paz imports 80% of its food supply from elsewhere.
But back to the squash; the point is that when we opened and cleaned that squash, out came over 200 seeds that each represented another 3 footer like it. That’s 4000 portions of natural-, healthy- food right there, if properly planted, cared for, and given the time to grow.
If you happen to not like squash, or you prefer not to have 600 feet of it in your garden, no worries: it applies to practically anything that you grow from natural (not genetically manipulated) seeds.
Think fruit trees, tomato plants, lettuce that grows back three times after you cut and harvest it, and then still produces the seeds for you to replant. Every time you spit out a nasty seed when you eat a naturally grown orange, you are basically spitting out an orange tree.
What business will give you a 10,000% return on investment? Nature does.
And of course there is the quality issue. This isn’t like the Pepsi test from the 90s, where you compare two very similar products and choose the one with more bubbles; in the case of fruit and vegetables we are talking about an enormous difference in quality, in taste and in properties for one’s health, between industrial agriculture and naturally grown food.
In terms of food, sustainable living can be as abundant as you want it to be; it’s the other stuff that gets in the way, like seeing prices at the grocery store go up, while your income doesn’t.
Many people may know these things already, but they prefer to not have their own food garden for different reasons; they think it’s too much work, or that they don’t have enough space because they live in an apartment, on a boat, or have no yard, patio or garden.
Truth is that for a family of two adults and two children, little more than a square meter of space is needed to enjoy homegrown fresh vegetables at your table. Once planted, you only need to water once a day, and after harvesting a couple of times, you use the seeds that come from the plant, to have more. You can grow food in a pot, a bucket, hanging from the wall, or behind a window that catches sunlight.
It’s not necessary to have a food forest in your backyard, but it is very beneficial to eat natural food instead of industrially processed food.
Growing your own food is easy to learn and the benefits are numerous; for starters, you can turn a basic need that you’re paying for at the moment, into long-term free abundance.
For more information please check out the webpage www.sembramoslapaz.com.
Next edition… Abundant Living.