From “excuse me if I've spoiled your environmentalist dream, but that's what champagne economies of scale are like” to “leave me with my bell peppers, tomatoes and basil on the terrace that make me forget that I'm surrounded by cement.” These are some of the tweets that users published in response to an American investigation that generated controversy on the networks.
In a context that increasingly encourages urban production and the generation of green spaces in the city, the scientists' work exposed a reality about home gardens that surprised everyone, and opened the debate on pollution.
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The biotechnologist Agustín Colombier, who some time ago went viral for confronting GreenPeace, published the international document on his networks with a forceful message: “A study from the University of Michigan showed that urban gardens leave a carbon footprint up to six times larger. than conventional vegetable production methods. In the end, those who were accused of polluting were the ones who polluted the most.”
The carbon footprint of conventional versus urban agriculture, published in the scientific journal Nature (Credit: nature.com)By: Analia Kupersmit
“The city is not the ideal environment to produce food”
In dialogue with TN, the scientific communicator explained that “the study was carried out for a year, taking into account a plant cultivation cycle,” and that Nature Magazine, in which the result was published, “is one of the most prestigious in the scientific field.”
Colombier explained that the big difference between both spaces is not only “the density of production” but also the conditions of each one. “The city is not the ideal environment to produce food because you have to create an environment from scratch, and that requires more infrastructure than the countryside.”
The increase in the carbon footprint occurs when having to travel to carry soil and materials to the terraces, balconies or patios where the garden is installed; when fertilizing and at the time of watering. “In the city, the garden usually consumes more water, because it is irrigated more. In a conventional crop, soil moisture depends more on the climate of the area,” indicated the biotechnologist.
“Those who were accused of polluting were the ones who polluted the most,” Colombier wrote on his networks (Credit: twitter/BiotecnoBlog).By: Analia Kupersmit
“We are not going to destroy the planet with urban gardens”
Colombier analyzed that urban gardens “are good as a hobby, as a therapeutic and even educational method, to learn how difficult it is to produce food,” and despite the results of the University of Michigan research, he stated: “We are not going to burden the planet with urban gardens, but we should not think of them as a great solution either. They are not efficient and are not useful to feed the whole family, but rather to complement a salad with that homemade production.”
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“How much do you have to produce to stop going to the grocery store and feed everyone? Because production is not only a question of space and time but also of knowledge about crops, pests, fertilizers, and pesticides,” the scientific communicator explained and concluded: “They are not bad per se, but they are not the solution to the problem.” world nutrition or the carbon problem.”