Monday, March 17, 2008

Suburbs and beyond.

Now selling and buying a house wasn't part of the 'master plan'. It just happened. In the end it has helped me solidify and support some of my 'eat local' efforts. And get this, I only moved 20 minutes away! Now I really LOVED my first house (top pic) but my new (old) house, is just my style for now and many, many years to come!

So what are the main differences?

  • I now own a generator and have used it twice this season to stay warm during winter storms
  • I now have a well and septic system
  • My commute to work is longer
  • I wear clogs to work because my heels get stuck in the mud on the way to the car
  • We bought a truck to haul manure, straw, etc
  • The sky is darker at night and I can see more stars
  • Spring peepers are LOUD
  • It is so dark at night that I ALWAYS need a flashlight to see where I am going
  • People wave as they pass by the house
  • I have a milk delivery service that brings local milk, meat, honey, and cheese to my doorstep each week
  • I have a large yard ready for a HUGE garden
  • I have 5 rows of grapes to 'play with'
  • I have several fruit trees
  • I have SLOW and painful satellite internet and pay much more money for poor performance

To some these are good things, and some bad. I definately don't have easy access to stores and services anymore - but I have new access to other things. Now the point of this post was not to say country vs. suburb, but is to say DO YOUR BEST wherever you are and look into what options you have around you. I probably had many of the same options for food in my old house, but never asked the right questions or spent the time to ask around. I know lots of folks who live in DC who have even EASIER access to local food than I do, and they live in the city, it just seems wrong! Tips for finding local food:

  1. Seek out local farmer's markets or shops that specialize in local food, ask the owners about the farmers and inquire about any food sources you are looking to find
  2. Seek out your local development office or agricultural office and ask them where to start
  3. Look into food co-ops in the area to get fresh vegetables delivered to you during the spring/summer
  4. At your local grocery store, ask them if/when they will be carrying local produce
  5. When buying either food or other items, try to buy things that are closest to you, hence used less energy to get to you (may also be fresher)
  6. RECYCLE or REUSE as much as you can. You would be amazed at what containers I used as little 'greenhouses' this year to start my seedlings!
  7. Support local vineyards. Just as local meat costs more, so does local wine. These vineyards usually specialize in quality not quantity- hence good wine takes time and money.
  8. COMPOST- whether you use it for fertilizer for your food garden beds, or flower beds- make a compost so you don't throw all that nutritious stuff into the garbage!

You get the point. Once you start, you can't stop!