As we conclude a week of attention on all matters of our environment, we need to figure out how to put all the pieces together.
Let’s start with the compost pile. It sounds like an ending for many of our thoughts, but today we focus on its multi-tiered value. For instance, every time you avoid running your garbage disposal, you are saving electricity. Create a compost pile or collect your compostable items and take them to a business that accepts them. A number of farm markets or green grocers are happy to let you join their efforts. Look at what New York City is doing. All that waste has a great second life. If you have the space, purchase a composter, but buy one that makes it easy to turn the contents so that you are diligently mixing up the items and making terrific compost. Numerous examples.
For many people, this week needs a heads-up on being a locavore, being a consumer of goods that we can purchase locally from nearby growers and producers. Those who live close enough to a farm market have a distinct advantage; a parallel to those who live in the country and can easily visit the nearby producer. For others, great distances are involved and then the inverse question needs to be asked: How much money does one save by supporting local if we are adding significant carbon miles to our outings? Likewise, if the farmer travels great distances, what impact does his farm market participation have? OK, the obvious answer is, he has an outlet for his products and we as consumers have the advantage of purchasing truly fresh foods. We are helping maintain a farm.
The emphasis on buying local has convinced numerous grocers to sign agreements with producers as consumer awareness, especially at the beginning of the farm-fresh, produce season, is focused on buying local. Many grocers now have huge entryway signs telling us how many local products they have for purchase each day. More grocers are making deals with the nearby producers giving us an additional outlet to support the smaller grower. Freshness remains unmatched; we just need to calculate the distance and put it into the equation.
Maybe this is the week you focus on your own growing efforts. We are just weeks away from being out of the frost zone in most parts of the country. The markets have plenty of starter plants. Plenty of opportunities to have your own garden. Nothing more local than that!
One day; one week: It will take an on-going dialogue and action to help put our house in order.