Rose Namajunas is an American MMA fighter, signed to the UFC and competing in the women’s strawweight division. She is the reigning champion. UFC commentator Joe Rogan has said he would be surprised if Namajunas didn’t become a big star in the MMA world, describing her as “one of the most unique athletes ever”. What is also unique is her passion for sustainability. On the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Ramajunas told Rogan how she wanted to get into urban farming.
Namajunas wants to change the world
On the podcast, Namajunas said that she is motivated right now to “change the world”. It may sound idealistic, but Namajunas plans to make a difference by “setting a better example” and “offering a different perspective”. As an example, she says that she wants to build an urban farm in her community. Indeed, many of her Instagram posts are about environmental concerns.
While her plan to build an urban farm may not be fully hashed out yet – and one urban farm may not necessarily ‘change the world’ – promoting urban farming is certainly a positive step in that direction. This is especially true when we consider the mess caused by the way we produce food.
The problems caused by the food industry
Namajunas said she wish she grew up knowing how to grow her own food and be able to eat in a way that did not depend on going to the grocery store. Ultimately, she wants to be able to provide this for other people in her community.
The food industry right now is not sustainable. The animal agricultural industry is damaging the environment in all sorts of ways, through its waste of precious natural resources, greenhouse gas emissions, destruction of ecosystems, degradation of the oceans, erosion of the soil and production of huge amounts of waste.
But the way that plant crops are grown is also very problematic for the environment. For example, major crops that lead to reduced soil fertility and degraded land include coffee, cassava, cotton, corn, palm oil, rice, sorghum, tea, tobacco and wheat.
Buying our food from supermarkets is also a problem. It means our food has to be transported huge distances, which contributes to climate change through the emission of greenhouse gases. And then when you buy your food in a supermarket it comes packaged in plastic, a material that we really have to do away with if we want to protect the environment.
The benefits of urban farming
According to researchers from Arizona State University and Google, “urban agriculture may be critical to survival or a necessary adaptation to climate change.” Researchers say that urban farming could supply nearly all of the vegetables that city dwellers need while reducing food waste and emissions from transporting food.
The United Nations points out that by 2030, two-thirds of the world’s population will be city dwellers, with the urban population in developing countries doubling. Farming in rural areas and transporting food to all these people is not a sustainable way to feed people. In his book, The Urban Food Revolution: Changing the Way We Feed Cities, author Peter Ladner writes:
When urban agriculture flourishes, our children are healthier and smarter about what they eat, fewer people are hungry, more local jobs are created, local economies are stronger, our neighborhoods are greener and safer, and our communities are more inclusive.
Furthermore, as Red Planet previously underscored, developments in urban farming are being applied to the colonisation of Mars. A group called Mars Farm Odyssey is using their knowledge of urban farming to figure out how to successfully and efficiently grow crops on the Red Planet. Conversely, farming on Mars could also teach us how to improve our farming methods on Earth. This interplay between sustainable farming and the mission to Mars looks very promising indeed.
About the author: Sam Woolfe @samwoolfe
Sam is a writer who is especially interested in space exploration, sustainability, animal agriculture, nutrition, well-being and smart drugs.