The Easy Way to Help Your Local Ecosystem

A visit to Native Nurseries in Tallahassee proved to be an educational treat! Not only did I learn about the plants that are native to Florida, but I also learned why they are so important to our local ecosystem. Local plant guru Lilly Anderson-Messec gave me some great information to help me understand more about this under-discussed topic.

The whole concept revolves around the simple concept that native insects use native plants for food, and native birds and other creatures use native insects for food. If there isn’t enough food for the insects, the whole food web is therefore depleted. That means it’s VERY important to choose native plants over imported plants that aren’t useful to the local insect population. Moreover, I learned that the number one food of choice for birds is caterpillars! It sounds awful that those caterpillars will never become beautiful butterflies, I know… but out of hundreds of eggs, only a few will become butterflies, and the rest will be caterpillar bird food. That’s life!

I’m happy to report that I am doing my part to increase the native plant population in my own yard and garden after such an eye-opening experience. I hope you will consider doing the same now that you know too!

Dave Palmer

Dave Palmer is the owner and operator of Florida Farmers Market & Cafe in Paxton, FL. As a volunteer he serves as a guest educator for middle school agriculture students at Paxton School (K-12) teaching a hands on approach to plant science as well as the business of growing and selling organic plants and produce. His focus is, no surprise, growing food and eating it!