A while back I made a resolution to eat sustainable, locally grown food as much as possible. I’ve done my best, but it’s next to impossible to grow or find seasonal locally grown food year-round in New England. When those cold winter months kick in there’s not a lot growing in our area and we have no choice but to depend upon local markets to bring in produce from other places.
I want my kids to know where their food comes from
The supermarkets neatly package our food and everything is ready for immediate consumption. As we’re going up and down the aisles we generally don’t give much thought to where our food comes from. Most food travels far to reach us- from another state or another country. The grocery store knows no seasons-you can buy organic strawberries in December although they were grown in June and corn throughout the year. Don’t get me wrong-I’m very grateful that this produce is available year-round, but I want my kids to understand the difference.
Ways to connect with food
Many years ago we joined a CSA (consumer supported agriculture). Every week our box is filled with interesting fruits and vegetables grown on a local, organic farm. My kids are interested in what comes in the box each week and it gives us a chance to talk about where the local, seasonal food is coming from.
I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin and spent many Saturdays going to the incredible farmer’s market. It happens to be the largest producer-only farmers’ market in the country. Now that I live on the East Coast I’ve discovered small farmer’s markets while on vacation and larger markets in neighboring towns. Farmer’s market’s can be found through out the world and they range from large to small, but they all have one thing in common: farmers selling directly to consumers without a middle man. When you buy direct from a farmer you’re recreating a connection between the land and the food you eat.
Grow your own
We decided this year to carve out a small garden in our yard and grow some of our own vegetables. HERE are a few photos of the beginning stages of our garden. It’s extremely small since we don’t get very much sunlight around our house. But that small patch of land has a few plants that are growing like crazy.
I know that our garden isn’t going to be a big producer of veggies and it’s not going to impact our weekly shopping list. Our kids are my motivation for planting a garden. They scan the garden daily looking for something ripe enough to pick. When they had friends over this week they all picked one cucumber and divided it into 5 pieces to share. It doesn’t get much better then that.
Check out this incredible plant in our garden. My friends on Facebook and Twitter helped me figure out what it is. Can you guess?
Finally we are seeing small vegetables growing on this gorgeous plant. Can you see what they are?
Looking for what’s local and seasonal in your area? There’s an app or two for that!
How do you connect with your food? Do you grow your own, go to farmer’s markets or join a CSA?
This post is part of the another fabulous Green Moms Carnival carnival hosted this month by the wonderful Abbie of Farmer’s Daughter. Be sure to stop by Farmer’s Daughter next week for lots of great information on ways we can all work towards becoming more food independent.
Chocolate lovers you are officially placed on high alert: a chocolate crisis is coming. Chocolate is something many of us take for granted. I know I do. The shelves at the grocery store are filled with chocolate choices, restaurants menus are lined with chocolate desserts. It’s hard to imagine life without chocolate.
But life without chocolate is a real possibility, or at the very least chocolate could become a luxury item with a high price tag. Chocolate comes from the raw ingredient cacao, mainly produced in West Africa, South America, Southeast Asia and the Pacific. West Africa provides over 53 percent of the world’s chocolate.
Chocolate is a heat-sensitive crop and even a small increase in temperature will affect the crops. A report released shows why there are big problems to come for the cacao tree:
…an expected temperature rise of more than two degrees Celsius by 2050 will render many of the region’s cocoa-producing areas too hot for the plants that bear the fruit from which chocolate is made, says a new study from the Colombia-based International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).
Warming temperatures and changes in the precipitation pattern will mean rapid declines in growing conditions over the coming decades. Not good news for the cacao tree and in turn bad news for chocolate suppliers and lovers on a global level.
Cacao is mainly farmed by small farming operations whose livelihood is placed at risk as cacao tree begins to fail. These small farmers are starting to look for other job opportunities in the more lucrative local logging industry and moving away from chocolate.
What Can We Do?
- On May 5, 2012 350.org is building a global grassroots movement to work on solving the climate crisis by organizing Climate Impacts Day. On Climate Impacts Day we are all being encouraged to Connect the Dots between climate change and extreme weather. Head on over to 350.org and type in your zip code – you’ll find an event in your area to help support the communities on the front lines of the climate crisis.
- I’ve also taken a personal pledge to fight climate change. Join me in any of my 4 Resolutions to Fight Climate Change.
There are many other things we can do to fight climate change. Are you taking any steps to fight climate change?
This post is part of the another fabulous Green Moms Carnival carnival hosted this month by Diane MacEachern of Big Green Purse. The carnival goes live Thursday, May 4, 2012. Be sure to stop by for lots of great information on ways we can all connect the dots and fight climate change.
Photo:Pile of dark chocolate isolated © Dmitry Rukhlenko #1109622 Deposit Photo
Everything from the food we eat to our cleaning products, furniture, personal care products and our yards can contain toxic chemicals. No one wants to be exposed to these harmful chemicals, but where do we begin? How do we sort through all the information? Sometimes it just makes sense to combine forces to find an answer. The astonishing and knowledgeable women of the Green Moms Carnival have once again joined together to share their wisdom, tips and stories, helping to shed some light on a confusing and overwhelming issue: how to keep toxins out of our home.
TIPS FOR KEEPING TOXIC CHEMICALS OUT OF YOUR HOME
Brenna of Almost All the Truth has written an in-depth post about Keeping Our Homes Free of Unwanted Toxins. She talks about making changes and doing it one small step at a time.
Shane from Environmental Booty shares 3 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Family’s Exposure to Harmful Chemicals in Your Home. Shane had the opportunity to meet the Deputy Director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, Lindsay Dahl!
Margie from Healthy Child Healthy World shares Eight Steps to Purging Toxic Chemicals From Your Home. Healthy Child Healthy World’s motto says it all: “No one can do everything but everyone can do something”.
Abbie aka Farmer’s Daughter has a few ideas to Keep Toxins Out of Our Home.
Amber from Strocel.com shares Eight Tips for Avoiding Toxins that she gathered from talking with other green minded folks.
Stephanie from Good Girl Gone Green put together a great list of 5 ways to Help Create a Non-toxic Environment.
Kathy aka Safe Mama has a few good tips for Keeping Toxic Chemicals Out of Your Home.
According to Erin from Green Kids Guide there are three primary ways that toxins enter our bodies. She shows us how to Keep toxins out of your body with the 3 points of entry.
Diane from Big Green Purse shares Clean and Green Dry Cleaning Methods Reduce Your Exposure to Toxic Chemicals.
Lisa from Condo Blues makes her own green cleaners and adorable labels. She explains why her Homemade Green Cleaner Labeling Privileges Have Been Revoked.
Karen from Best Of Mother Earth shows us how we can have a Self Cleaning Bathroom when we avoid using toxic cleaners.
Wondering where to start once you decide to make your home green and healthy? Tiffany over at Nature Moms has a few suggestions in her post: Green Housekeeping and Protecting Your Family from Hidden Household Dangers.
Micaela from Mindful Momma shares some info on the 3 Most Toxic Cleaning Products.
Charise from I Thought I Knew Mama has 5 Green Living, Spring Cleaning Tips to share. You’ve got to stop by to check out the adorable baby photo.
Have you ever noticed that horrible smell when you self-clean your oven? Suzanne of Mommy Footprint shares a very interesting post on Self Cleaning Ovens – Toxic For Humans or Only Birds?
Being green and toxin free doesn’t have to be cost prohibitive. Michelle from Simplify, Live, Love shows us how to Decrease Toxins with 4 Frugal Cleaning Ingredients.
Beth at My Plastic Free Live sheds some light on how BPA-Free Does Not Mean Safe.
Did you know that many plastic food containers contain antibacterial chemicals like Triclosan? Beth from My Plastic Free Life talks about how to Get the Antibacterials Out of Your Plastic!
Have you been wondering if Toxic Chemicals are Lurking in Your Furniture and Building Products? Anna from Green Talk shares what to look for when you bring new products into your home.
Do you love or hate that new car smell? CelloMom let’s you in on what’s behind that smell in her post: New car smell: good, bad or ugly?
Have you heard of a Soda Stream? Mary from In Women We Trust talks about how you can create a Toxic-Free Home with a Soda Stream.
Micaela aka Mindful Momma has a few suggestions for Non-Toxic Healthy Art Supplies.
Katy from Non-Toxic Kids participated in a body burden study and discovered that she had a high rate of Deca, a flame retardant. She explains what Deca is and how to Reduce Your Family’s Exposure to Deca (a flame retardant).
Betsy from Eco-Novice sheds some light on Avoiding Toxins in Baby Products. Betsy has a three month old and this is her third child. She has lot of tips to share about what she’s learned along the way.
Danika from Your Organic Life talks about the whys and hows of buying second hand furniture in her post: Buying 2nd-Hand Furniture that’s Off-Gassed from Model Homes.
INSPIRATION FOR NON-TOXIC LIVING
Carolyn of Women of Green shares a podcast with Liberty Phoenix, the sister of River and Joaquin Phoenix. Liberty’s story is heart-wrenching: she experienced the death of her baby due to toxic out-gassing in his nursery and started a green building store so no other parent would have to ever experience what she did.
I was and continue to be inspired by the untimely loss of a 5 year old boy in our community to cancer. His family’s strength and perseverance inspired me to find ways to Keep Toxic Chemicals Out of My Home.
Harriet aka Climate Mama focuses on Keeping our Air Clean and Our Children Safe while shedding some light on the Clean Air Act.
Whew! That was a lot of good information. What are your tips for keeping toxins out of your home?
Photo © Alx – Fotolia.com