Thursday, July 30, 2009

In a land of plenty

It's easy to forget we live in the land of plenty. Even during this economic downturn, most of us have much, much more than people in other countries even dream of having. Running water, electricity, a vehicle or two, the ability to cool or heat our homes with the touch of a button or the turn of a dial, food in the cupboards.

I've been thinking a lot about the food issue. I like to buy organic foods as much as possible, but sometimes choose conventional products because of the cost. "Well," I sigh to myself, "It must be nice to be able to buy all organic foods at the natural foods market, but I guess I'll have to make do with this."

The thing I need to remember, as I'm dumping spoiled leftovers into the compost (which I hate doing, by the way), is that I have much, much more than many others I share the planet with. Most of us don't have to hunt for food in garbage dumps or cans to survive. People I know don't worry if that last chunk of bread they have will last another two days and feed the hungry bellies of their family.

Feed my Starving Children is an organization which I recently learned about. They provide simple meals to starving children around the world. A meal through FMSC for six children costs $1.00 to produce and 94 percent of all donations go directly to food costs. They also offer hands-on volunteer opportunities if you live in the areas where the food is combined and shipped (see their website for details).

Friday, July 24, 2009

Books, books, books

I love books. I love the way they smell, I love holding them and feeling their weight in my palms. I love the excitement I feel when I open a book that had to be set down abruptly (which happens a lot these days), ready to dive back into a great story or learn some new information.

Right now I'm reading a great book called, "Made From Scratch". It's by twenty-something author, Jenna Woginrich. The book inspires everyday, ordinary folks who've always secretly (or maybe not-so-secretly) wanted to have a homestead of their own. With chapters on things like raising chickens, becoming a beekeeper, raising fiber animals, making one's own clothes, and playing mountain music, the author offers lots of helpful tips and advice for getting started.

Though you probably won't find this book yet on Paperback Swap or Abe Books, these are great sites to find free (Paperback Swap) or inexpensive books. I've traded quite a lot of books, both hard and soft cover on Paperback Swap and have saved a lot of money in the process.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Eat Well--Anywhere

In Mary Jane's Farm (June/July) I came across this interesting link to the Eat Well Guide. The guide assists you in finding fresh, local foods in whatever community you're visiting. Visit the website for a free online directory. The guide includes, "farmers' markets, CSA programs, partner organizations, water-conscious ratings, and vegetarian eateries."

Just in time for summer travels!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Inspired for change

What kind of changes have you experienced lately? Loss of a job? Relationship challenges? Financial adjustments? Or maybe positive changes like beginning to eat healthier and taking care of your body with movement. Have you left a bad work situation to strike it out on your own? Met someone you feel is "the one"?

Change is hard for most of us, but harder for some than others. I believe I'm one of the "others". I resist most change, unless it's my idea and I'm really passionate and excited about it. Right now I'm looking at a possible change in my career. I know that I'm meant to be a writer, but after spending the past few months floundering, I'm taking a good hard look at what I'm supposed to be writing.

I just came across this website, Girls for a Change, which is inspiring. Social change is something that I'm passionate about and I commend the women and girls who are part of this inspiring organization.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Authentically green

Being green is now a verb. When I was growing up it meant being looked at as different and even weird. "You eat toe fu? What the heck is that?!" My lunch bag packed with sprouts and homemade wheat bread made kids around me at school gag. My mother taught me how to clean and smoosh cans the right way so that they could be recycled. Back then there were strict requirements on how recycling was to arrive at the transfer station. She made most of our clothes, we grew huge gardens which she would dry/freeze/can for winter. I even remember us grinding our own grains for bread. We were thrifty--going out to eat was a big treat.
Now being green is cool and trendy. Everyone wants to jump on the green bandwagon, especially businesses. It's made me pause, more than once, in my own business, EcoMedia LLC and wonder, "Am I doing this for the wrong reason?" I don't want to become someone who uses greenwashing tactics to get ahead in the business world.
But where do we draw the line? Is it wrong to help businesses promote the things they are doing to become more environmentally-friendly? How do we determine if a company is truly trying to help the environment or just trying to put on a "green front" to help their own pocket?