I need your help. I hear frequently from people who get what I do that it’s overwhelming. And those are the people who want to do this and understand the difference it makes. But trying to communicate this to people who are just beginning to consider sustainability is not going so well.
You see, I was just over at Planet : Home with a table set up in between a small table of “green” products and a table demonstrating canning. Because of the kiddos I wasn’t able to be at the table the whole time but I had a board up with my list of the top 5 things I think you can do to make BIG changes.
Top 5 Things You can Do to Make Your Kitchen More Sustainable
1. Eat only seasonally – no need to preserve.
2. Grow your own or buy only local, organic, sustainably produced vegetables, fruits, eggs, dairy, meats and grains.
3. Learn to properly store things to eliminate waste
cellar long storing things like potatoes, onions, garlic, winter squashes, apples ferment short storing things like cucumbers, carrots, beets, cabbage dry fuits freeze or can things you would otherwise be tempted to buy during the off season (peas, tomatoes, berries)
4. Ditch the grocery store – Grind your own and learn to make from scratch
These things would make what was on the tables flanking me obsolete.
I watched as people came and looked at the items on the table, picking up the Mrs. Meyers (which I consider more greenwashing than green and could be easily replaced by baking soda, vinegar and Dr. Bronner’s), the compostable toilet bags (which you don’t need if you don’t have wet waste) and then gravitate over to the canning table (which you don’t need if you eat seasonally all the time.)
On my table I had books about fermenting, cheesemaking, gardening and baking. I had a grain grinder for folks to try it out and see that it was indeed the same size as a burr coffee grinder and smaller than an espresso machine. I had a jar of spelt.
They would read the board for a moment, shake their heads when I asked if they wanted to know about anything in specific, and then move on.
I’m trying to think of ways to let people know they can start with small steps. You don’t need to rip out your entire lawn. You can buy that produce from a farmer’s market or at PCC when they have it (and you can encourage them to carry it more frequently).
You don’t need to learn to can or dry or freeze or ferment or cellar if you simply eat in season.
And if you stop buying processed foods you won’t have any waste that is not compostable or recyclable.
I’m still trying to come up with a good way to present this information to people in a way that makes it simple for them to understand. I think part of the problem is this is a HUGE paradigm shift. Moving away from a largely grain based and nutritionally-bereft diet towards a more seasonal, nutrient dense diet is a huge shift for folks.
But it is THE thing you can do to become more sustainable. Healthier. Leaner and Greener.
If you have ideas on how best to present this apparently ground breaking information – Help! I’m all ears. Just not ears of corn.