growing statistics

Did you know that for every $1 of fruit and vegetables that you consume, 103 litres of water were required? Of course it gets worse. For every $1 of beef products requires 381 litres and dairy 680 litres.

The debate in Victoria is not about going vegetarian, but demonstrating that home gardens and community gardens are more frugal with their water that significantly differentiates them from an average household.

Holmgren has based his calculations on water use on a 2001 Australian Bureau of Statistics study by Lenzen and Foran. The study estimated “the amount of water needed throughout the whole economy to provide final consumers with $1 worth of various goods and services”.

In an average Sydney household “commercially purchased food – not including the food purchased in restaurants” accounts for 48 per cent of the water consumed.

David Holmgren has calculated that on his one hectare property in Hepburn Springs, Victoria, he uses about 20 litres of water for every $1 of fruit and vegetables produced, while the two goats that provide milk and cheese consumed about two litres per $1 of value, or 1/300th of the amount used by a dairy farm.

While I’m sure the local council will not allow me to keep goats, H has reiterated his stance on anything related to goats in that the cheese and yogurt that we have tried before “smells of goat armpits”.

Other voices that have joined with David Holmgren are Clive Blazey, the founder of mail-order seed company The Diggers Club, Ben Neil, chief executive of Cultivating Community, and Pam Morgan former manager of Collingwood Children’s Farm who “has visited Havana to see how the Cubans increased the city’s food production by 10 times in a decade”.

According to Blazey:

“… average person only needs about 60 square metres of space to be self-sufficient in all the potatoes, all the vegetables and the fruit that you wanted to grow. You wouldn’t have big, massive apple trees or anything. You would have espaliered trees, especially dwarf rootstock varieties that wouldn’t take up much space”. He reckons the garden would need “about 34,000 litres of water”, which could be gathered from the roof, or grey water. “

And Neil:

“If I don’t grow my food next to where I live, I will jump in my car and go to the supermarket and buy something that is refrigerated, wrapped in plastic and that has a massive carbon footprint.”

Source: Where to water,


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  1. Pingback: Border Crossing Stats » growing statistics dilettante

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