73: John Zahina-Ramos on Just One Backyard
Dr. John Zahina-Ramos holds a M.S. degree in the biological sciences and a Ph.D. in geosciences. His dissertation research was focused on the attitudes and perspectives of urban residents towards home food growing. Dr. Zahina-Ramos is an adjunct professor at Palm Beach State College teaching courses in environmental mapping and is the president of Casa Jardin Co., a consulting firm whose services are focused on urban agriculture and environmental issues. He is an avid backyard food grower and founded the Just One Backyard Web Resource to promote the practice of sustainable food growing, particularly in cities. Dr. Zahina-Ramos worked for the Duke University School of the Environment for 7 years, supporting a wide range of research studies in the Everglades. For more than 16 years, he was an environmental scientist with the State of Florida and worked on projects dedicated to Everglades restoration, Kissimmee River restoration, sustainable water use, and natural resources protection. He has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications, technical documents, book chapters and conference presentations on the topics of soils, ecological modeling, historic vegetation mapping, the impacts of water withdrawals on wetlands, food sustainability, the benefits of urban agriculture and the potential productivity of urban agriculture.
In this episode, Dr. Z explains from an academic perspective why urban agriculture is so essential for the future of our food and humanity itself. He also shares how his one garden saves 6 barrels of crude oil. That’s enough to power the average American household for a year! “You can spend $25,000-35,000 putting solar panels on your roof to save the energy or the fuel to run your home for a year,” John says, “But the equivalent amount of savings could come from one backyard food garden just by eating local.” Wow!
Check out his book, Just One Backyard: One Man’s Search for Food Sustainability! Dr. Z is also doing book signings in Florida and other places – check out his website for event listings or email him if you want a signed copy!
If you like Just One Backyard, stay tuned…he’s writing another book about the many ways agriculture is practiced, commercial vs. noncommercial agriculture, and all the hard data and hard numbers that “science people” want to back up everything he writes about in Just One Backyard.
A book that wasreally influential to him? My Weeds: A Gardener’s Botany and the follow-up Noah’s Garden: Restoring the Ecology of Our Own Backyards by Sara Stein
Where can you learn more from John?