With the rise in prices all over the place, from groceries to gas to clothing, we should all be seriously considering how to be more self-sufficient. I am not talking about refining your own bio-diesel, although that is becoming increasingly more common. I am talking about making a space in your life for bringing back a little of what our ancestors did on a daily basis.
Even if you live in suburbia-type dwelling, in a rural town or in a downtown high-rise, a little of Nature can be brought into your life and home, cutting a little from your food budget and reducing greenhouse emissions.
Consider a patio garden, where you could grown fresh herbs and maybe a few vegetables that you use on a regular basis. Compost kitchen waste, (do not include, meats, dairy, animal waste, or eggs), newspaper, stale coffee, coffee grounds and filters, tea bags with used tea, eggshells, leaves and spent flowers off of other plants; make your own organic garden compost to help provide nutrients to the soil. If you live where you have a lawn, be wary of using cut lawn clippings if they have been treated with fertilizers or other chemicals.
Composting helps to reduce garbage in landfills, which also helps reduce the number of animals that can be killed each year due to eating and being in landfills. This reduction in landfill waste will help reduce greenhouse gases. Growing your own foods can also help reduce the number of trips to the grocery to purchase produce, thereby reducing more emissions from your car. You can find many different styles and instructions for making your own compost container. The one we currently use is a 25 gallon Rubbermaid garbage can that has about 20 holes drilled into the bottom and about 1/4 of the way up the sides. I put in all my kitchen waste, except for the forbidden items, and leave it out in the sun to “cook”. The heat helps it break down quicker, along with liquid added, like water or coffee, and an occasional stirring.
If you’re lucky enough to have space, and the law allows, you could also look into raising chickens for eggs. All you need is some ground space, a chicken coop, and a couple of hens. Chickens make great bug eaters and the fresh eggs taste different than those you get from conventional, industrial raised chickens. Check with a local feed store to see what kinds of chickens they have available and to get tips on raising them.
Many of today’s meats contain potentially harmful antibiotics and steroid-type “additives”; many of us eat these on a daily basis, like chicken, pork and beef.(2) One common trick is to put carbon monoxide in with red meats when packaged to help them retain their red color longer, making them more appealing on the store shelves.(1)
If you have children, getting them involved in helping you with your garden, and maybe your chickens, will help them learn where their foods come from, and can teach them responsibility. It is good to get them out in Nature once in a while, and helping outside for 30 minutes each day is great exercise.
So look around you, where can you set up a garden patch and start planting? It can be as simple as a windowsill garden, or as complex as a full production garden of a variety of vegetables and fruits. Would it be a benefit to your family? Of course it would, and you would be helping Mother Earth as well!
MotherEarthNews.com is a great place to find all the information you need to start your own home garden or homestead project. Check them out today at http://www.motherearthnews.com. Sign up for free newsletters and get wonderful information at the tips of your fingers!
I urge everyone to take a few minutes out of their day and think about what you can do to make your world, and the world you live in, a little bit healthier.
(1) Mother Earth News, Shocking News About Meat, June/July 2007
(2) Mother Earth News, What You Need to Know About the Beef You Eat February/March 2008
Mother Earth News, The Hidden Link Between Factory Farms and Human Illness, February/March 2009