show menu

Grow your own!

Let’s start off with some radical positivity: we are, the world over, taking great strides toward climate resiliency. There is a lot of great work being done behind the scenes by people who want to see a difference in the future we are heading toward. Still, it is a daunting uphill climb, and some people throw up their hands when contemplating climate change and what to do about it. Alternatively, you can put your hands into the soil.

This action helps to keep our minds clean. We can celebrate the beauty of natural relationships in each ecosystem and learn how to emulate that in our own backyards. From growing vegetables like zucchini to medicine like cannabis, the garden is the epicenter of companionship. It only takes one good zucchini plant to have abundance. Similarly, six homegrown cannabis plants, which adults 21 and over can legally plant on a piece of land, is typically more than sufficient for one’s needs.

Cultivating your own food and medicine is simultaneously empowering and de-powering. It is empowering to know where your harvest is sourced from –you! To know what was used to bring that resource to fruition feels rewarding. Growing your own is de-powering by eliminating carbon emissions from transporting harvest to your table. Plus, giving away surplus saves carbon use for others!

We can take an approach to land management that encourages the growth of agricultural ecosystems in a regenerative way. This form of agriculture prioritizes the development of synergistic farming systems based on crop diversity, rotation, resilience and natural productivity. We can even utilize rooftop urban gardens in major cities, where neighbors can share a communal space to grow their own food and medicine. The crops grown in these gardens serve human needs as well as the natural resiliency of the larger ecosystem itself, creating a landscape for wildlife and a diversity of resources. Look up permaculture, hügelkultur or biodynamic farming for more information on such restorative systems.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, it can take 500 years for one inch of topsoil to form naturally, but humans can rapidly speed up this process through mulching, composting and plant selection. By being mindful of the plants and organisms that you integrate within your yard, you can create an ecosystem that produces the soil and resources that will bring us to climate resiliency. Implementing restorative landscapes can be a community-driven effort or a DIY project. Even if it’s a personal effort, you are facilitating natural-community relationships in more ways than one.

For example, mushrooms are a part of this community. When you grow soil you are growing beneficial fungus. They are a vital part of every ecosystem because they unlock nutrients in the soil that get filtered through the roots and systems of nearby plants. They are a great example of how most natural relationships are cooperative. You can even cultivate edible and medicinal mushrooms as part of your small or large garden! Our yards are literally connected from the natural mycorrhizal fungal networks that provide vital nutrients to plants and all the way to you, the gardener.

Life is inter-dependent, from our respiratory, soil and weather cycles to the literal atoms that make the cells of our bodies. When we come together for the universal purpose of growing our own food and medicine we will improve climate resiliency one yard at a time. Why not hyper-accelerate this connected and cooperative design into action? Let’s clear our conscience. Raise a dirty hand or two if you are ready.

Craig Litwin was a top signature gatherer for Prop 215, served as mayor of Sebastopol where he co-authored one of the nation’s first dispensary ordinances. He is the CEO of 421 Group, a California cannabis consultancy with a HQ in Sebastopol, and a co-creator of Resourcery, a Sebastopol permitted and state licensed cannabis oil extractor, tincture and salve maker, and distributor.

We've moved our commenting system to Disqus, a widely used community engagement tool that you may already be using on other websites. If you're a registered Disqus user, your account will work on the Gazette as well. If you'd like to sign up to comment, visit
Show Comment