Where are those re-usable shopping bags?
So far I’ve shared with you how I came to my decision to adopt a more sustainable food lifestyle, my move from regular dairy to local and organic and my discovery of the local farmers markets in my area. But my journey doesn’t end there.
Once I tackled my dairy and produce dilemma I started thinking of other little things I could do around the house to be more sustainable or “green”. One of those things was using re-usable shopping bags. I’m happy to say that I jumped on this bandwagon long before I started making some of the other changes in my household. Anytime I visited a store that offered a re-usable shopping bag for sale I bought one. I now have a vast collection from Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Target, etc. Plus I love that my local supermarket deducts five cents off the cost of my order for using them, so someone please tell me why can’t I ever remember to bring them with me when I go shopping.
I started keeping them in the car thinking surely I can remember to reach in the back seat and grab them on my way in to the store, but that doesn’t work either. So if anyone out there has any suggestions for me other than a good swift kick in the butt to help me remember please let me know. I’ve since continued working my way through the house, changing cleaning products to more environmentally friendly ones, paper towels, toilet paper, and trash bags all made from recycled materials and speaking of trash that brings me to my next big project I decided to tackle. I was going to start composting.
I’m not a complete stranger to composting, my grandparents compost and I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty. When I was a kid I loved making mud pizzas sprinkled with marigold petals (that was the cheese) and I love digging in my own little patch of earth even more. But there was just something about composting that just made me think, “Do I really want to be bothered”. First thing I did to get me in the right frame of mind was to review exactly what composting is and its benefits. Quite simply compost is the decomposed remnants of organic matter. Compost can be used in horticulture, landscaping and as a soil conditioner and fertilizer which is where I planned on using my compost. The great thing about compost is not only is it beneficial in your vegetable garden but it also helps to cut down on the already crowded landfills. Items that can be composted are fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, and egg shells.
The first order of business was getting some sort of container to keep in the house and then the next thing that needed to be done was to designate an area in the backyard for what would surely be the ever growing compost pile. I didn’t tell my husband at first, sometimes it’s just better to spring things on Jamie. By the time he noticed the ceramic bin next to the kitchen trash can, I had already developed quite the pile of goodies in there and was ready to transport it to a spot outside. He took one look at the contents, asked me what it was and when I told him he once again looked at me like I had completely lost my mind then proceeded to walk away shaking his head. I hate to tell him, he ain’t seen nothing yet! I am by no means an authority on composting, I’m still trying to figure out it all myself but I do hope that my own little vegetable garden reaps the benefits of my efforts this summer, I’ll keep you posted. Oh and if you really want to know the down and dirty on composting check out The Complete Compost Gardening Guide by Barbara Pleasant.
Committing fully to a sustainable food lifestyle is not an easy feat. My advice is to start off small, take baby steps. I realize that not everyone is as blessed as my family and I are, and aren’t able to jump right in and take the bull by the horns. But remember, every step we make towards a more responsible and sustainable eating lifestyle makes for a better tomorrow.
Next Time: Thursday, March 5– I found a CSA but do I really need it.
Heather Jones is a wife, mother, freelance food writer, and graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. She has worked for Gourmet Magazine, TV Personality Katie Brown, and the New York based Indian-fusion restaurant Tabla. Heather resides in New Jersey with her husband and two daughters. She is a strong supporter of the Sustainable Food Movement and believes that education is the key to making a difference.