I Have an Idea

from green­hem via Flickr

 

If you’ve talked to me in per­son in the last year or so, it’s no sur­prise that help­ing peo­ple, sup­port­ing char­i­ties, and engag­ing in social jus­tice are con­cepts that I val­ue.  So, when I was going through a pile of stuff that I have been accu­mu­lat­ing for at least a year and I found a brochure for the Hunger Free North Dako­ta Gar­den Project my mind start­ed run­ning.

Maybe I could donate some food from our gar­den.

Maybe I could plant some food specif­i­cal­ly for dona­tion.

Maybe I could get some friends to donate with me.

Maybe, maybe, maybe.

Maybe I could get some friends to com­mit to tak­ing care of a com­mu­ni­ty gar­den plot (20 feet x 40 feet) and donat­ing all of the veg­eta­bles we get to the Hunger Free Project.

That sounds AMAZING to me!  If I could com­bine two of my inter­ests and be able to pro­vide for peo­ple who might not have enough oth­er­wise, I would be so hap­py.  What could be bet­ter?

So, now I’m in the mak­ing con­tact and doing research phase of my idea.  I’ve con­tact­ed the Ag Depart­ment to get any updat­ed infor­ma­tion they might have on the project.  I’ve con­tact­ed a local gar­den cen­ter that has com­mu­ni­ty gar­den plots.  The next step would be to put this out there to friends and acquain­tances to see if any­one would be inter­est­ed in help­ing me.

I loved my gar­den last sum­mer, and at times I wished I could have had a big­ger space.  The thing that wor­ries me is time.  New gar­dens need a lot of care.  Our gar­den last year need­ed hours of weed­ing every day for 3–4 weeks.  Hours.  Every day.  I’m not sure that’s fair to my fam­i­ly.  That’s why I think I’ll need help.

And there’s the mon­ey.  The gar­dens cost either $125 or $150 to rent.  I can’t remem­ber which.  Of that mon­ey, either $25 or $50 goes toward a cred­it you can use for seeds or plants at the gar­den cen­ter.  That’s still $75 or $100.  That’s a lot for me to put up at once.

This is where my plan hits a stand­still.

In my head, there’s some­thing about a spread­sheet assign­ing dif­fer­ent jobs or break­ing up the respon­si­bil­i­ty by assign­ing peo­ple respon­si­bil­i­ty for a few days at a time.  I can see a big sheet of graph paper with the gar­den all planned out.  I can see work days where we go and do a mass weed­ing or har­vest­ing.  I’m just not clear on what comes in between these things.

So, as I said in the title of this post.  I have an idea.  I’m off to obsess about it for a few days and see if I can move it for­ward to the next step.

CSA Weeks #2 & #3

In a pre­vi­ous post, I wrote about our rea­sons for join­ing a CSA and how we were doing after the first week. Since then, we’ve received weeks two and three, and tomor­row we will pick up week four’s box.

Well, it turns out we did the best with our first box. Our sec­ond box was almost all greens (and LOTS of them). We ate the spinach and the romaine-like let­tuces. We didn’t even make a dent in the bag of leaf let­tuce we received. How­ev­er, I’m pret­ty sure the rasp­ber­ries we got were eat­en as quick­ly as any that we’ve ever bought at the store. They were also enjoyed immense­ly. The radish­es were not though. No one in our fam­i­ly eats radish­es so we gave them to Jason’s par­ents so some­one would enjoy them.

Our third box was a lit­tle sur­pris­ing. I expect­ed that it would just get fuller and fuller and more and more var­ied. When I went to pick the box up last week, I had made arrange­ments with a friend to leave some if not most of the pro­duce with her because we would be leav­ing town for a few days. I opened the box, and I was sur­prised to see a bag of let­tuce, sum­mer savory, beets, and rasp­ber­ries. As I write it, it sounds like plen­ty, but it didn’t even fill the box. We ate the rasp­ber­ries right off the bat again (as I’m sure we’ll do tomor­row when we get our next box), and we left the rest in the fridge while we were gone. Jason had a sal­ad last night, and I’m plan­ning to roast the beets for sup­per one night. I’m not quite sure what to do with the sum­mer savory though. I’m also not sure if we’ll eat the let­tuce. I thought I liked sal­ads, but at this point I am strug­gling a lit­tle to find enough vari­ety in them to keep me inter­est­ed with­out mak­ing a sig­nif­i­cant amount more work.

The more I think about the CSA, the more I real­ize that the prob­lem (if there is one) isn’t real­ly that we are get­ting too many greens. The issue is more that I am not doing as much meal plan­ning, prep, and cook­ing as I have in the past. Dur­ing this preg­nan­cy, I have had morn­ing sick­ness since I was 3 weeks preg­nant, and in addi­tion to the morn­ing sick­ness, noth­ing has tast­ed very good to me. If you add that to cook­ing in an apart­ment that doesn’t cool down very well, it equals more con­ve­nience food. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, sal­ads aren’t usu­al­ly the type of con­ve­nience food I’m talk­ing about. Usu­al­ly when it comes to sup­per time, I haven’t cleaned or cut the veg­gies. I am tired, and I can’t think of any­thing except the stan­dard sal­ad of let­tuce, veg­gie, some cheese maybe, and dress­ing. It’s good, but it also has its lim­its. I’m pret­ty sure I should prob­a­bly make some sort of goal about this. Maybe I should aim to clean the veg­gies with­in a cou­ple days of get­ting the box or doing my meal plan­ning on Wednes­day. Right now, I’m not quite sure I can think straight enough to make those sorts of goals, so as of now, my goal is to have goals for next week.

Taking Green Baby Steps

I’m sure I don’t need to start by ask­ing some­thing like, “have you noticed how every­thing seems to be green or going green these days?”  Green is no longer just a col­or.  It’s a move­ment, belief sys­tem, and set of actions.  It’s every­where.  It’s on prod­ucts at the store, com­mer­cials, books, and blogs.

It real­ly seems like a good idea.  Take bet­ter care of the earth.  Choose prod­ucts that are bet­ter for us.  Use few­er resources.  The thing that I’ve been notic­ing late­ly about going green is that there are a few “low hang­ing fruit” actions that my fam­i­ly can take, but after that I start to get con­fused and over­whelmed.  Bisphe­nol A, free rad­i­cals, hor­mone dis­rup­tors, nanopar­ti­cles, car­bon foot­print, methane, com­post­ing, sus­tain­able, loca­vore, and green wash­ing are all terms that come up often in my search for infor­ma­tion on green liv­ing.

We have made some changes which are a reflec­tion of our choice to become more con­scious of our impact on the envi­ron­ment, those around us, and even our own bod­ies.  We drink from water bot­tles instead of buy­ing bot­tled water.  We cloth dia­per.  We use cloth nap­kins.  We use some alter­na­tive clean­ing meth­ods.  We are start­ing to buy prod­ucts that are made by com­pa­nies with mis­sion state­ments (and prac­tices) that reflect our views.  Dur­ing the sum­mer grow­ing sea­son we attempt to buy as much local pro­duce as we can at our farmer’s mar­ket and by join­ing a CSA.  When we were home­own­ers we were com­post­ing.  Unfor­tu­nate­ly, for as many earth-friend­ly choic­es as we make, I am sure there are 10 that are not very earth friend­ly.

What I would like is a 1–2-3 guide.  First, do this.  Then, get rid of that.  Final­ly, once you’ve fol­lowed our easy to under­stand 81-step pro­gram, you are green!  Some­thing like that any­way.  I asked about this on twit­ter a lit­tle while ago, and I got a cou­ple rec­om­men­da­tions for sites and a book.  There are some days where I feel like we do pret­ty well.  Then, there are some days when I feel like we are the un-green­est fam­i­ly in our town.

Late­ly, some of the things that have been on my mind are:

  • Is it bet­ter to buy a green-washed prod­uct than a reg­u­lar main­stream prod­uct if a more envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly option isn’t avail­able?  Is that let­ting the green wash­ing com­pa­ny off the hook or is it pos­si­ble it’s slight­ly bet­ter than the “reg­u­lar” prod­uct?
  • If I buy a green prod­uct off a web­site because a bet­ter local option isn’t avail­able, how do I fac­tor in the resources and ener­gy nec­es­sary to get that prod­uct to me?
  • Is an organ­ic prod­uct from South Africa “bet­ter” (and how is bet­ter defined?) than buy­ing a non-organ­ic prod­uct from Chile or Mex­i­co?

My list goes on, but I think you get the idea.  I have been think­ing late­ly that it might just be best to pick one group of prod­ucts and one pri­or­i­ty and work on that.  For exam­ple, maybe I should focus on clean­ing prod­ucts and switch­ing our cur­rent prod­ucts to ones that are less harm­ful to us.  Anoth­er option would be to focus on what we eat and fig­ure out which foods and which com­pa­nies are both sus­tain­able and good choic­es for our fam­i­ly to con­sume.  I’m not sure though.  I sup­pose the idea is to con­tin­ue in the process what­ev­er deci­sion I make.  Choose some­thing to work on, learn about, etc. and keep on going.