Reported by Bonnie Lee La Madeleine
Sustainability product design has always been a focus for Langara alumnus Lisa Giroday, but she found her passion when she fell away from fashion and into farming.
Giroday is a social entrepreneur and one of the founders of Victory Gardens, a company that helps people throughout Metro Vancouver grow food in the spaces available to them.
“Climate change scares the hell out of me,” she said.
Sustainable food has many positive impacts
Not only does growing her own food decrease her impact on the environment, it also stabilizes local food supply.
She is not alone, as more people are looking for produce and meals that are locally sourced and generates less waste. Some decide to grow vegetables and herbs on patios and in containers.
Robert Newell, a geographer at the University of Victoria, looks at sustainable community development. He supports the direction being taken, but also warned of exaggerated claims from vendors and businesses hoping to make money via trends.
“Greenwashing is the use of terms like organic, like-organic, or eco-friendly on products that may not necessarily align with the health or environmental goals of a shopper,” Newell said.
Health benefits unclear
Giroday agreed that greenwashing is a problem that can confuse general shoppers, and acknowledged that the health benefits of buying organic are unclear.
“Health reasons are not the strongest argument for buying organic or local,” she said. “Sustainably, buying local and organic is the smartest choice to make.”
There is also an economic argument for growing food at home; Giroday shared a comment that guerilla gardener Ron Findley, a guru in the local urban food movement, made at a recent TED Talk:
“Growing your food now is like picking your own money.”