The Vegetable Garden

Restore Basic Life-Supporting Systems

The breakdown of our food growing systems poses one of the biggest threats to our survival.  Our existence depends upon our agricultural systems, but what do our agricultural systems depend on?  The answer: water, air and soil.  These basic elements support all life-forms and without them, life as we know it cannot be sustained.

In nature, food grows as part of an ecosystem.  An ecosystem is an ecological system that is made up of many biological parts, or components, that all interact with one another.  These components are mostly made up of organisms such as plants and animals.  They feed on each other and depend on each others’ presence to survive.

Just as plant and animal components are dependent on each other, basic life-supporting systems - water, air and soil - are also dependent on each another.  For example, the flow of air affects rainfall and rainfall affects the flow of air.  In addition, life-supporting systems are dependent on the components and vice versa.  For example, soil is created by plants and plants are created by soil.  In summary, components are dependent on life-supporting systems and the life-supporting systems are dependent on components.  However, it gets even more complicated than that.

Within the basic life-supporting systems - water, air and soil - there are sub-systems.  If we take a look at water, it can be broken up into many sub-systems, including: rainfall, surface water, ground water, humidity and transpiration.  It is not necessary (or even possible) to understand everything that’s going on within an ecosystem, however it is very important to understand this:

Each and every component, system and sub-system is important in running the overall ecosystem.  When you disturb one, the others start to fall apart.