There are many websites and publications that discuss things like gardening or cooking at high elevation or high altitude. Often it seems like the words “elevation” or “altitude” are used arbitrarily and interchangeably. It is certainly inconsistent, even on websites focused on a scientific approach. Since I want to be grammatically correct, I looked it up to be sure.

ALTITUDE is generally used to indicate an OBJECT’s relation to sea level, such as an airplane, hot air balloon, or spaceship.

ELEVATION is generally used to describe a PLACE on earth and its relation to sea level, such as a city, mountaintop, or a home garden.

When I talk about the garden, or the act of gardening, am I talking about the PLACE ON EARTH where I’m located, or is the garden or a plant in it, or even the act of working in it, an OBJECT at that point?

Is the act of cooking in it relative to this place on earth, or relative to using an OBJECT such as a pot or pan?

At one time I went through this website and changed every reference to my high location from “altitude” to “elevation”, to be more accurate. Then I realized that most folks search for information about gardening or cooking by using the word, “altitude”, such as “high altitude gardening”.

In the end, I don’t really think there is a black-and-white, right or wrong answer. It really doesn’t seem to matter. The dictionary is not helpful. I’m going to use “altitude” and “elevation” interchangeably, to the best of my knowledge.

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