What's the best green shopping tip? Don't shop -- at least not for everything. Why buy what you can grow?
You don't need a huge backyard to produce a significant amount of food. You can easily grow your own produce in containers on front porches, balconies and windowsills. Raising your own food isn't just good for the environment, it's good for you and your wallet.
Square foot gardening gained popularity with the home farming movement of the 1970s and has recently undergone a huge resurgence. It is easy and yields beautiful results. Gardens are built in a raised bed or box divided into a grid. Because plants are grown so close together, these gardens maximize production while using a minimal amount of space. In theory, each square should contain a different type of plant. Be creative and feel free to plant whatever you like. Grow in season, show a little love and your garden will thrive.
Container gardening is another option for growing plants and is a fabulous way to use containers left over from food purchases. You can grow just about anywhere as long as you have light (or grow lights). And as long as it never contained toxic material, pretty much anything that can hold water can be recycled as a planter.
The choices you make in what you consume and how you consume it do matter. You don't have to obsess over every purchase -- just to be aware of the difference your shopping power can make.
More Great Links
- Bulk is Green Council. 'Bulk Food Facts.' 2010. (accessed August 20, 2010). http://www.bulkisgreen.org/
- Clean Air Council. 'Waste Facts and Figures.' 2006. (accessed August 20, 2010). http://www.cleanair.org/Waste/wasteFacts.html
- Marsh, Kenneth. Bugusu, Betty. 'Food packaging and Its Environmental Impact.' Food Technology Magazine. April 2007. (accessed August 20, 2010). http://www.ift.org/knowledge-center/read-ift-publications/science-reports/scientific-status-summaries/editorial/~/media/Knowledge%20Center/Science%20Reports/Scientific%20Status%20Summaries/Editorial/editorial_0407_foodpackaging.pdf
- Humane Society of America. 'Egg Carton Labels: A Brief Guide to Labels and Animal Welfare.' November 9, 2009. (accessed August 20, 2010). http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/confinement_farm/facts/guide_egg_labels.html
- Kindy, Kimberly. Layton, Lindsey. 'Purity of Federal Organic Label Questioned.' The Washington Post. July 3, 2009. (accessed August 20, 2010). http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/02/AR2009070203365.html
- Organic Trade Association.' Organic Sales Grow By A Whopping 17.1 Percent in 2008.' 2009 Press Release. (accessed August 20, 2010). http://www.organicnewsroom.com/2009/05/us_organic_sales_grow_by_a_who.html
- Resource Conservation Alliance. 'Focus on Paper Consumption.' (accessed August 20, 2010). http://www.woodconsumption.org/products/paper.pdf
- United States Department of Agriculture. 'National Organic Program.' April 2008. (accessed August 20, 2010). http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELDEV3004446
- United States Department of Agriculture. 'Community Supported Agriculture.' April 28, 2010. (accessed August 20, 2010). http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/csa/csa.shtml
- United States Environmental Protection Agency. 'Emission Facts: Average Annual Emissions and Fuel Consumption for Passenger Cars and Light Trucks.' http://www.epa.gov/oms/consumer/f00013.htm
Seed banks literally 'bank' seeds for our future. But a new study found not all seeds can be properly stored. HowStuffWorks looks at what this means.