Sustainable living, buying local, and changing how we live

From going green to spending wisely and living more simply.
musicmonkey
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Sustainable living, buying local, and changing how we live

Unread postby musicmonkey » Tue May 06, 2008 1:16 am

Not to sound all doomsdayish, but what if oil prices continue to rise? We already know that both China and India have growing middle class economies. China's GDP is skyrocketing. As gasoline prices go up, so does the cost of transporting the food we eat. Are we in a world food price crisis? What if we are slowly heading to the day when a piece of bread could buy a bag of gold?

Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, from tree-huggers to end-timers to the frugal, I think we can all agree that buying local and doing some gardening and canning is a good thing.

I grew up with farming parents and we grew almost everything we needed. Even in their senior years, my parents have a garden every year and a hothouse for cucumbers, tomatoes, etc. My mother still cans and preserves food every harvest season. I want to start helping her again so that I don't lose that valuable skill and tradition. I love the idea of having a pantry with homemade preserves. Plus, it's quite economical and that in itself is a good reason to change how I live.

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Is a "buy local" economy really sustainable? wrote:There's no silver bullet to sustainable living, but rather a toolbox to pick and choose from. Sustainable consumerism is intentional consumerism. Buying local is one of those tools, one with many benefits, but it will never be the whole solution. Organic, fair trade, and manufacturing practices (like avoiding discharge of hazardous waste) are also key. None of those is inherent in buying local... Given that, buying local creates jobs and recycles money through local economies, and there are buy-local options everywhere... No place in the United States today has a self-sufficient local economy. The community-based economy our parents and grandparents knew has been systematically destroyed... Plus, some products simply cannot be produced locally... If we are serious about buying locally, we will have to change how we live. Consumers will have homework: What is produced locally? Where do I get it? Is it worth paying a little more? But it goes further, to changing habits... if I want to eat local in the winter, I'll have to begin canning and preserving. [READ FULL ARTICLE]

musicmonkey
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Re: Sustainable living, buying local, and changing how we live

Unread postby musicmonkey » Mon May 26, 2008 9:33 pm

So with sunny days and hot apartments, I want to eat more fruit. I was too late to get to the local Asian store where I normally get all my fruits and veggies, so I ended up at a big boxed store. They had cherries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries and grapes on special but then I began reading the labels. I spent a few summers as a child picking raspberries in the raspberry capital of the world near me and was surprised to see that these raspberries, blackberries, etc. were either imported from Mexico or the US. I chose not to buy them. I did, however, buy a few cherries, but I am going to wait until I can get to the local Asian store for some BC fruit. The whole idea of someone picking blackberries in Mexico and all the gasoline spent getting them here is just absurd when we can grow them ourselves. With things like oranges or bananas, it's a little different since we can't grow them here.

How about some of you? Do you look at the labels when you buy your fruits and veggies?

bareskin73
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Re: Sustainable living, buying local, and changing how we live

Unread postby bareskin73 » Thu May 29, 2008 1:02 am

musicmonkey wrote:How about some of you? Do you look at the labels when you buy your fruits and veggies?


Nope, if I want some berries I just get them when I can. It doesn't matter much if I can't get the local fruit for a few more months if I want it now.

A person with some land can deal with the vegetables easier by increasing the growing season by building in ground green houses, which for me would mean a 12 month growing season here in Missouri instead of the 5 or 6 month that we currently have. I'm guessing that the attic (Canada) would see about an eight month growing season with an in ground green house. One thing I'm not clear on though is how well these would work for you northerners because of the angle of the sun. Seems like they would barely provide 10 months of good growing here in Missouri where we have decent sun exposure even when the sun is it's lowest. I guess I need to look into them some more.

musicmonkey
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Re: Sustainable living, buying local, and changing how we live

Unread postby musicmonkey » Thu May 29, 2008 5:18 am

bareskin73 wrote:I'm guessing that the attic (Canada) would see about an eight month growing season with an in ground green house. One thing I'm not clear on though is how well these would work for you northerners because of the angle of the sun.


Well first of all, lumping all of Canada into one sentence is a bit illiterate considering that 26 of the 50 states touch NORTH of Canada's southern most borders and we extend to the North Pole. Canada is a HUGE country.

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God bless Alert, Nunavut!

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Ontario and BC are like comparing NY with California. My parents have a small "hot house" on their property in BC and grow lettuce, tomtaotes, cucumbers and even bell peppers from May to October. If I did my math right, that's 6 months.

And in the winter, I buy my bell peppers from BC Hothouse. Things like potatoes can easily grow here until the first frost around Halloween. If you're talking Quebec, Ontario, Newfoundland & Labradror, or Manitoba, I have no idea. It's much colder there in the winter.

And for the record, Vancouver has warmer average temperatures than windy San Francisco. It's still snowing in Minnesota in May while I'm off to the beach here in BC. So enough of this "attic" business. It has a heck of a lot more to do with the jet stream than it does with latitude.

bareskin73
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Re: Sustainable living, buying local, and changing how we live

Unread postby bareskin73 » Wed Jun 04, 2008 7:34 pm

Also saying that Canada is an attic to the U.S. is not at all acurate since Alaska is further north than most of Canada's mainland. From where I'm at, Iowa (which is south of Minnesota) and even San Francisco would be concidered in my attic based on latitude. But I'd say it has more to do with sea currents and elevation than jet stream regardless. Costal regions enjoy milder weather than many areas just 50 mile inland (At least that's the case near where my sister lives in Portland, OR...which is way up in my attic since I hail from south Missouri.) But your partially right, Portland has better year round weather than I do here in Springfield. But move 50 miles inland and that equation is reversed. In spite of all this my point was about the angle of the sun getting into an in ground greenhouse which is solely dependent on latitude for possible season duration (inside the greenhouse) The reason why the angle of the sun is important for an in ground greenhouse is because the vegetation is actually below ground level (where the ground is warmer in winter) that's a stark difference when you compare it to an on ground greenhouse which can get sunlight much more easily, but have a shorter possible season duration because unlike in ground greenhouses they are more suseptable to the colder weather (where applicable) This is of very little use to coastal regions, but can be of a huge benefit in the mainlands of every country that has winter (regardless of latitude)


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