Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Can we "Save the World"

We recently were approached by Melita New Era to include in their March 23rd Agriculture Issue. We were given a list of questions. One of these questions was "On your facebook page, you said you have been dreaming about “how we can save the world”, how else do you do this in your everyday life (do you try to be very environmentally friendly)?" This got me thinking about and writing down the things we do on an everyday basis to be environmentally and socially responsible.

  • we repair or make new cloths out of old or second hand clothes rather than purchasing new cloths. 
  • we reuse containers from yogurt or glass ice tea bottles
  • we use reusable shopping bags, cloth napkins and rags not paper towel. we only use reusable coffee mugs and water bottles. 
  • we recycle
  • we keep anything we think we can use as craft material or in making costumes 
  • we are exploring newspaper, toilet paper tubes, and egg cartons in our gardening
  • we are also exploring how we can use Green Bean Coffee's waste products, burlap bags to bean chaff
  • paper is used 3 times in our home. We use both sides of paper, once we can not write on it anymore we make our own paper that is mainly used for cards, or gift tags, or a back drop to photos
  • we participate in free cycle, an e-mail group where people can post unwanted items. If you want an item you reply and if it is still available you go to pick it up from the persons house. Its a great way to get rid of unwanted items without them going to the dump. Free cycle operates in a geographical area, our group is in Winnipeg, in the post people will also post the area of the city they are in. This can help you to determine if it is worth traveling to pick up the item before you reply to it. 

  • we eat food in season whenever possible this includes a lot of preserving food to ensure we eat in season in the winter as well. Our goal this year is to grow 75% of our fruit and veggie needs for the year (including winter) We will be aiming to produce as much of our own food as possible, a small amount of cereals, eggs, chicken, duck, pork, fruit and veggies. We will buy and share a local cow with others. The hardest part for us will be dairy, we will buy local whenever possible.
  • There are certain foods we ensure that we only purchase if it is fair trade and organic. Bananas, chocolate and coffee. We will be purchasing Green Bean Coffee ( from now on. It is fair trade, organic, shade grown, and roasted in Manitoba. Their decaf is processed without chemicals. They are also receiving a container of coffee from an agriculture cooperative in Bolivia. They are sharing this coffee with other roasters in Canada. This is some information about the coffee
  • We waste as little food as possible, getting creative to use and reuse every aspect possible from pumpkin skin to coffee grounds. (I will come back to this in its own post)
  • The majority of food that can not be eaten goes into the vermi compost worms, our only method of composting during winter. Newspaper, cardboard egg cartons, and toilet paper tubes are added to our worms as bedding. 

  • any water left in bottles at the end of the day goes into our indoor plants not down the drain. 
  • we turn off water when brushing our teeth
  • we try to limit shower time
  • We will be catching rain water for irrigation at one of our farm sites this summer
  • We drink tap water not bottled water

  • we use power bars in our home that are turned off when not being used
  • we turn off lights when not in the room
  • we have a small solar charger that can be used to charge phones, ipods, and other small gadgets
  • we turn the heat down and dress warmer and use blankets in the winter
  • we use the bus or walk as much as possible, this saves so much money on gas too!
  • we live in a basement suite without air conditioning, we stay cool enough from the ground temperature, we'll be staying cool on the farm from a great ventilation system in Bob and Betty's house
Community Economic Development (CED)
  • we support the local community and small business as much as possible, and avoid shopping at big box stores. Keeping money and jobs within the community.
  • we are involved in a barter group in Winnipeg, 
  • we look to partner with other local businesses, we are partnering with Green Bean Coffee Imports so get your coffee from us! 

Community Development
  • Ashley averages 100 volunteer hours a year with various organizations. So far this year those organizations include Boys and Girls clubs of Winnipeg, Manitoba Campaign to ban landmines, and Freight House community club door 3, She is also an active member with make poverty history Manitoba.
  • we are actively looking at opportunities our farm has to participate in community development. 
  • we will include volunteer work as a very important part of our business

We believe in continual improvement in ourselves, in our farm, and in our community be it our neighbourhood or the planet as a whole. There are environmental and social issues that can always be improved upon. We don't think that we can "save the world" but we are doing whatever we can to increase our environmental and social responsibility and believe if everyone were to do a little in their lives we could greatly increase equality and environmental sustainability.

What do you do in your everyday life to be environmentally or socially responsible? Let us know!

Write out a list you will be surprised how much you do once you see it on paper.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Shit Weekend Farmers Say

This is a pretty funny video, as per all the Shit People Say videos all over youtube, a couple truths behind it...Smell This!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Growing Local 2012

On February 23-25 in Winnipeg the Growing Local conference was held. This is a great opportunity to network and learn about local food issues, and what you can do to support local food in Manitoba. This can be done by lending your voice to food issues, supporting local producers, or growing your own food. Food issues matter to all of us!

I did a gardening 101 presentation on the 24th, I was really nervous but it went really well. I am glad I got to share some of my passion for gardening with others who are interested in increasing their food security. The workshop focused on creating a healthy environment to create healthy food, dealing with problems preventitivly and keeping in mind while gardening we need to do whats best for us. Take in information from others, assess it in relation to our needs, and implement methods that will work for our style of gardening.

I believe in growing and eating food that is healthy for us because it is grown in a healthy environment. A healthy environment means keeping out soil healthy, not spraying chemical and pesticides to supplement sick plants grown in dead soil.

I am taking the idea of eating local healthy food a step further and creating a personal food policy. This was an idea brought up by Sarah McGregor (Assembly of First Nations) the presenter in the Food Policy for First Nations sessions at the Growing Local Conference. A food policy is a set of rules governing food, a personal food policy is a set of rules you set for yourself around food. I will be posting my personal food policy and documenting my challenges and triumphs as I work to follow the policy.