There's a lot of great information in this post and I encourage you to read through it ... however, if you don't have the time right now, you might find the following quick links helpful:
Our challenge, last week, asked us to develop a strategy for putting local produce on our table next winter. Last autumn I canned tomatoes for the first time. I love knowing what's in them and the flavor cannot be beat ... we've enjoyed them all winter long. But, I decided to preserve food rather late in the season. Consequently, I had to go out and buy everything ... jars, a canner, vegetables. It could have been so much more "green" had I developed a strategy earlier in the year. This year I'm planning out my garden so that I can preserve more herbs and veggies. I'm also watching second hand stores and garage sales for jars. As the season progresses, I'll be checking with local farmers about what they'll have available and when the produce will be at it's peak. Hopefully, a little planning now will mean a stocked pantry next winter.
The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing an article about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments. Here's what they had to say:
In CTWW - Local produce all year round Kris shares her plan ... it includes growing a few items (yummy berries which she freezes). She's also discovered a new market in her area and they will be providing local, organic produce. I loved the last paragraph of her post ... just goes to show that there's power in "asking".
Valerie gave us an update on the previous challenge to reduce our trash. She says, "... I DID find great ideas on Pinterest! My daughter and I made an upcycled bird feeder that our song birds were quite pleased with. :D I have plenty of cans now and I will do more outside with them , I think."
Mrs. Green discusses her efforts in Can you eat seasonal food in winter? She offers an interesting "take" on the challenge ... namely, what would happen if the world economy came to a stop ... could you survive with the food you have? Doesn't that just make one "pause".
Katie shared this, "I remember this challenge from last year! Boy, was it hard to find local produce in the middle of winter. I canned peppers from our CSA you-pick (http://allnaturalkatie.blogspot.com/2012/09/from-farm-to-jar-canning.html); we have enjoyed some of those. I was able to store potatoes from the CSA in the cold basement for several months. This year, more canning! Whole Foods did have some local pumpkins, gourds, and winter squashes, so I tried to buy the local ones when they were available. I love that Whole Foods labels local items." Katie is also excited about her efforts to reduce trash by upcycling & reusing (a previous challenge). When I read her POST, I could see why ... what a nice (and pretty) idea. Check it out! She also found a compostable plastic cup. Curious? Find out about that HERE.
Last year, when we ran "part 1" of this challenge, CelloMom decided to talk to her CSA about offering winter produce. True to her word, she talked to them ... and guess what happened? My lips are sealed but ... you can find out HERE. Nicely done, CelloMom!
Alaiyo accepted the challenge. She shares, "I have been thinking about canning all winter. It's something my grandmother and my aunts used to do. I was missing the taste of the fresh tomato sauce, which I made with tomatoes from my garden last summer. That's when I thought, "yes," it's time to learn how to preserve some of the tomatoes I grow every summer! This is the challenge that I'm going to accept this growing season." WhooHoo ... let us know how it turns out, Alaiyo!
When I read the list of things that Lois plans to grow, my jaw dropped. All I can say is WOW! Take a look at this ARTICLE and be amazed. She's not only growing for her own pantry but she plans to fill her grown children's cache as well. Here's a nice idea ... she'll be growing an item which will hopefully offset the money which she's spending on her garden expansion. Brilliant, Lois! From our previous task, she shared this: "Your question of living on a landfill has already been done with grave results. Children who have died as a result. While we have been told for years what shouldn't go in the trash, like batteries and chemicals, with no where to recycle them people have been hiding them in their trash for pick up. No, I would never be comfortable living or playing on top of a landfill. And I want to thank you for your mention of my re-purposed item last week."
İlhami Uyar stopped in and shared his thoughts: We have care for environment,we collect old batary in box and transport refinement factory,I dont apply chemicial manure,we grow our pepper,tomato and other fruıts with real manure,I wish succes all activities, with my regards"
I've been reading Alicia's BLOG for a long time and knew that this challenge would be easy for her. She says, "YEA! I love this challenge! We always plant several gardens each Spring. We grow tomatoes, peppers, squash, eggplant and beans. These all can be eaten all Summer and then canned or frozen for the Winter. We grow cucumbers, watermelons and cantaloupes It is so nice to freeze the watermelon and cantaloups balls. They are wonderful to add to smoothies. This year we are going to plant a Fall garden as well. We will plant cauliflower, broccoli, kale, spinach and cabbage. These all can tolerate cooler weather and are great to put up for Winter eating also. I make relish, pesto and lots of herb vinegars. We always have a huge herb garden and I love going out and cutting all of the wonderful fresh herbs to use in cooking and grilling. I freeze and dry lots and lots of the herbs to use during the Winter months. If you don't grow your own veggies Farmers Markets are the next best thing. There is a farmer at one of the Nashville area markets that marks all of the produce down at the end of the day and we like to buy his surplus of tomatoes to put up since we use so many of them all year. We have so enjoyed all of our harvest all Winter. It is awesome to know what you are eating was not sprayed with chemicals was picked ripe and is so much better for you. You not only have better quality of food but save money as well. Win, win situation!! Spring is almost here so that means time to be thinking about what you want to plant!!"
Argentum Vulgaris says that he doesn't do "strategy" ... and when I read this POST I could see his point. While he might not plan, he does incorporate green-living into his life so yes, he'll have fresh produce on his table next winter. His comments made me think about the real goal ... making an activity part of our life.
I've been following EcoGrrl's gardening progress for awhile ... and not surprisingly, she's totally prepared for the coming season. She shares, "Already do this (sauces, tomatoes, fruits, etc) and this year I got kale, chard, and spinach through the winter, but definitely upping the game to have more canned "recipes" (soups, etc.) after obsessing recently over the Food in Jars blog :) Also hoping I can more successfully grow sweet potatoes so I have some to store and not just eat by November!"
Lady JC accepted the challenge and shared this, " I'm using mason jars this year for preserving. My stash will consist of pickled veggies and fruits, dried herbs for seasoning/teas and frozen portions of berries for smoothies and blends. For freezing I'm using glass tupperware which is very good at preventing freezer burn. I'm also starting some herbs from seed indoors to put outside as soon as it gets warm enough. Alicia, I think I'll follow your lead and grow some colder weather greens in the Fall to extend the season."
Our Twitter friends joined the conversation ... here's what they had to say:
- Recycled Organization - Creative Storage Solutions - Bob Vila: http://www.bobvila.com/creative-storage-solutions/5752-get-organized-20-clever-ideas-for-repurposed-storage/slideshows
- 50 Creative Ways to Repurpose, Reuse and Upcycle Old Things Â«TwistedSifter:Â http://twistedsifter.com/2012/06/creative-ways-to-repurpose-reuse-and-upcycle-old-things/
- 30 Creative Ways to Repurpose & Reuse Old Stuff | Bored Panda: http://www.boredpanda.com/creative-reuse-upcycling-repurposing-ideas/
- Upcycle and Repurpose Ideas: http://pinterest.com/savvyb/upcycle-and-repurpose-ideas/
- what a great #ctww challenge! RL is busy, so blog is quiet, but I'll be reading others' comments with interest!
- this is the first summer we will have our own garden so I am all giddy about this week's #CTWW. I realize though it is best to start small
- as we aren't moving until late June I have to look up which seeds are best to sow that late. I'll get back to you on that :)
- oh! And we have some land! So that is awesome. Bought a great book on organic gardening so I'm really excited about it!
The #CTWW Gang are those folks who share our challenges on twitter using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I highly recommend following them ... they have a lot of great things to say. Let's meet them:
My Final Thoughts:
We lead busy lives and manufacturers have hurried to assist us offering convenience ... fresh produce year round ... canned, frozen, or dried varieties of everything we wish to consume. They do what we don't have time for so that filling our pantry shelves is as easy as walking down the grocery store isle. Are they altruistic? No, they simply saw an opportunity to make money. As time went by, they found that adding chemicals and fillers to the food meant that they could provide more at less cost to themselves. They discovered that growing food centrally, processing it and then shipping it made them rich. Processed foods became unhealthy ... for both us and the planet. There are many options for ensuring that we have locally produced, healthy foods year round and not all of them require our time and effort ... they just require our willingness. In my mind, it's an easy choice.
Thanks, everyone! If you wrote an article, I have Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share feature at the bottom of this post.
This Week's Challenge:
Awhile back, my North Carolina neighbor, Anita Adams suggested that it was time for a river clean-up in Asheville. Since today is the first day of spring, I thought I'd use her idea as the basis for this week's challenge. Here you go ...
Welcome to SPRING! This week take a walk outside. But we're not talking about any walk, this will be a walk with a purpose ... a walk which goes beyond the obvious "not using transportation" benefit. For example, walk to a library, gym or community center and post some basic green-living ideas on their bulletin board for others to read. Participate in a river, community garden or public park clean-up. Collect litter as you walk and recycle it or deposit it into trash bins. Join a "walk for the environment" ... an organized walk to raise environmental awareness or raise funds for a worthy project. The idea this week is to take that one additional step and make it count double.
So, are you willing to get your walking shoes on and head outside?
As always ...
WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!