Earth Day is April 22 and it is a opportunity to remind ourselves that we are stewards of this planet. Earth Day Network works year round to solve climate change, to end plastic pollution, to protect endangered species, and to broaden, educate, and activate the environmental movement across the globe. Making simple changes to your lifestyle can make a big difference. Below are a few easy ideas you can incorporate into your daily routine that will help reduce your environmental impact while creating a more enjoyable lifestyle for your family.
#1 Get Outside More
Sit outside for your lunch at work, go for a walk in the evening when its cooler, take your kids to the park to play, plant some herbs on your balcony. The options are typically free and the possibilities are endless - enough said!
#2 Get Reusable Bags
It takes 500 (or more) years for a plastic bag to degrade in a landfill. Unfortunately the bags don't break down completely but instead photo-degrade, becoming microplastics that absorb toxins and continue to pollute the environment. At Fresh Family Goods we don't offer plastic bags because you all rock the reusable bags! If someone happens to forget their bags at home we reuse cardboard boxes to carry the goods to your car.
Its not just recycling, its reusing and reducing! We make every effort to not only recycle the by products from shipping but to actually reuse many items as well. We ask our members to bring back a number of items. The egg cartons go back to the farmer for him to refill and the yogurt/honey/coffee jars are sanitized to be used again. By buying bulk, we also reduce the amount of packing needed to ship the items and get them home to you.
#4 Buy Organic Food and Products
All of the products we sell at the Co-Op are either certified organic or supplied by vetted small family farms who use organic and sustainable practices. Many times these small family run ventures are unable to complete the rigorous and expensive certification process but that doesn't mean they don't follow the same if not more stringent practices for producing their products. Fresh Family Goods takes the time to find these small scale producers for you and get to know their practices so that we can offer our members the highest quality goods possible.
#5 Eat Less Meat
Animal agriculture is extremely destructive to the planet. Not only does reducing consumption help the planet, it has a long list of health benefits as well. When you eat meat make sure to select quality sources which of course we make a top priority when sourcing our meat products for the Co-Op. You can rest assured that our farmers properly care for the animals, feed them a natural diet, and use sustainable practices.
#6 Start Composting
If you hate tossing all your veggies scraps but don't want to make your own compost bring it to us! We are super excited to announce that we are starting a composting pickup out of our store, this service will be free for our members. There will be a bin where you can toss your veggie scraps from the week before. Less goes in the trash and more is given back to nourish the earth. This will start on April 15, please make sure to pick up the handout next week that goes over the rules for participating in the program including what is allowed and what isn't as well as tips for storing until you bring it in.
#7 Start Gardening
One of our members, Elise Pickett of The Urban Harvest, has organic tomato plants for sale. They retail for $5 but our members will be able to purchase them for $4! All varieties are heirloom and non-GMO verified seed selected for our climate. They will be listed for pre-order this coming week, limited quantities available.
Black Vernissage Cherry - Prolific and beautiful dark brown to black cherry tomato which has a savory taste. Black tomatoes are high in anthocyanins which studies have indicated have a wealth of health benefits.
Green Vernissage Cherry - Tons of tart and acidic cherry tomatoes, they never turn red! You will get a small handful a day all season long once it begins producing.
Pernon - A medium sized red slicer tomato that has a thicker skin so they are crack/split resistant despite our fluctuating rainfall.
Bonnies Best - A well known heirloom variety from 1905, traditionally used in canning but makes a good slicing tomato as well.
#8 Use glass over plastic
We produce roughly 300 million tons of plastic each year and half of it is disposable! World-wide only 10-13% of plastic items are recycled. The nature of petroleum based disposable plastic makes it difficult to recycle, they have to add new virgin materials to do so, and there are a limited number of items that recycled plastic can be used for. Although plastic will not biodegrade (decompose into natural substance like soil), it will degrade (break down) into tiny particles after many years. In the process of breaking down, it releases toxic chemicals which make their way into our food and water supply. These toxic chemicals are now being found in our bloodstream and the latest research has found them to disrupt the endocrine system which can cause cancer, infertility, birth defects, impaired immunity, and many other ailments. We encourage our members to bring in their own jars for spices, mesh bags for produce, and containers for bulk goods. We will happily weigh your containers prior to filling them so that you aren't charged for their weight.
#9 Make Your Own Cleaning Products
The Environmental Working Group has an eye opening article which details how many common household cleaning products can cause chemical burns and poisoning, allergies, asthma, cancer, reproductive and development problems. Consider cleaning out the cabinet under the sink and switching to non-toxic budget friendly cleaners you can make yourself. The Co-Op offers everything you need to get started including high quality essential oils, bulk vinegar, baking soda, soaps, and more.
#10 Plant A Tree
We all know trees literally create the air we breathe and are therefore critical to life on this planet but amazingly they can do even more. Trees filter pollution out of the air, sequester carbon back into the earth, and can make the environment (and your home) cooler. It doesn't have to be a massive oak, maybe its just a dwarf citrus in a pot on your porch. Whatever works for your living situation will still make a significant difference!
We are looking for a few volunteers to help out at the store. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Virgil at 727-666-5837 if you are interested in helping out.