On the night of what is represented on a calendar as Earth Day, my family and I evaluate what this means and how we can better cherish this ground that holds so much. In prehistoric times, goddesses were often worshipped for their association with fertility and agricultural bounty. Images are often drawn from the root terms of “mother”, “nature”, and “earth”; displaying the life-giving and nurturing aspects of motherhood. As we continue to tread, let us keep these nurturing images in our minds, thoughts, and actions. See below for a few of the adaptations we have made in our home that are simple AND accessible AND in the long run save $:
TO BUY ORGANIC OR CONVENTIONAL…THAT IS THE QUESTION:
The #1 thing that comes up with this topic is the cost of eating mostly an organic, plant based diet. It is a commitment and one must come to to terms that if shopping in a grocery store setting, organic will most likely be a bit more. HOWEVER, it is more than possible to make conscious purchases that don’t require a box, bag, or plastic sleeve (although bagged frozen fruit and vegetables are a great alternative). Not only will Mother Earth thank you, your body will too! As much as this blog entry is not about the debate of organic vs. conventional, I felt compelled to share this image to urge those who are the least bit curious to do their own research.
- Shop at local farms or farmers markets. Produce is not only found in mainstream grocery stores. Think of where it all comes from. Start there and see the $ signs for your own eyes! (HINT-buying from local farms saves mucho dinero because there are less things to factor in. Like transportation to start!) For those of us in Sarasota, we are blessed with more than a handful of options. To start: http://www.kingfamilyfarmandmarket.com, http://www.wordenfarm.com, www.detwilermarket.com, www.jessicasorganicfarm.com.
- Grow your own herbs. Herbs are expensive in the store. Period. When I planted my first basil plant a few years back, I was amazed at how much $ I threw away buying it from the store. And it is so nice to just walk outside, pick a few leaves and flavor a meal. No one can deny the enhancement in flavor by adding herbs to a dish. It is a trial and error process so try not to get discouraged and give up completely. We have been able to keep alive basil, rosemary (SUPER EASY), and mint.
- For the big kicker, start a garden! If you know yourself and yourself likes tomatoes in a variety of forms and dishes…why not try growing your own? If carrots are the only vegetable your picky child will eat…why not look into growing your own? And if you are scared out of your mind to start this project, talk with neighbors or friends and maybe start up a community garden! I get it, growing a garden is incredibly time consuming. So only attempt this step if you are ready and willing!
REDUCE, REUSE, RECYLE:
Jack Johnson says it well in his song Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Another ”r” I like to add to the bunch is replace. As you begin to think about this more, you will be amazed at the amount of daily “stuff” that can be reused, refurbished, etc.
- Glass jars. If and when we have to buy pasta sauce because we don’t have time to whip up our own, the sauce most likely comes in a large glass jar. Well…this jar can be cleaned and reused as a water bottle, vase, storage container, etc! For those of you that like to snack on pickles, think about saving the glass jar for another use or recycling it! Reusing and/or recycling glass is a very simple and effective way to reduce the amount of waste going into our landfills. Other examples of glass jars we have in our cupboards that were once one thing and now being used for another: spice bottles, marinated artichokes, juice or tea bottles, nut butters, jelly. Another great use for the handy dandy jars is in the garage. Throw nails, screws, drill bits into individual jars for an organized garage space.
- Replace plastic bags with reusable, washable bags. There are certain needs for plastic bags- lunches, school projects, storage, travel, etc. However, what if I told you the last time I purchased a box of bags was over a year ago? Would you believe me? Well, it’s true. As a family, we made a conscious decision to reduce our garbage contribution. It is so possible to replace those costly plastic bags. BUT if you must, when applicable, wash/air dry and reuse them. Although I am sure there are more companies that provide reusable bags, I have personally used dillybaby. http://www.dillybaby.com/products/butterful-snack-bag
- Replace paper with cloth. This idea began with my love to old things that can be used over and over again. I came across cloth napkins that were my grandmothers and soon discovered cloth napkins being sold at antique stores. So family mealtime is now wiped away (or stained) with cloth. For large parties we try to use up the collection of cloth yet have probably purchased paper once or twice over a year, just in case. Another way to do this is to replace sponges (or any other scrubbers) with cloth rags. I purchased from Target over a year ago, a pack of 4 cloths (www.fullcirclehome.com) and have not had to buy sponges since. We go through about 2 cloths a week. Washing them with a load of towels or sheets. But if you must, this company also carries walnut scrubber sponges. The plant-based cellulose sponge is absorbent and durable, while the abrasive side is made from – you guessed it- walnut shells!
So take this week to pay attention to the ins and outs of your household. Can one of the above tips come to life in your home? Do you have some to share? And may we remember: