As more and more trash piles up, it is important for us to look towards a sustainable future that minimizes waste and today I will explain why plastic bags are part of the problem. Every 5 seconds, 60,000 plastic bags are consumed in the United States, according to a study done in 2007 by Worldwatch Institute. They found that 4 to 5 TRILLION plastic bags are produced globally every year. 80% of which are used in North America and Western Europe. On average, we only recover about 5% of the plastics we produce. Billions of pounds of plastic can be found floating on our ocean surfaces while the average American throws away about 185 pounds of plastic per year. 12 million barrels of petroleum oil (or natural gas equivalent) are required to make 100 billion plastic bags. When we consider the impacts fossil fuel extraction has on the environment and the scarcity of fossil fuels, it becomes obvious that we need to find a more sustainable solution.
My research began when I heard that the Henniker, NH recycle station did not allow plastic bags. We were told that the plastic bags clog and can even break recycle machines when they try to melt them down. This really got me thinking about how many plastic bags we were using. That is a lot of material to throw into the trash that will someday become a landfill. Since we are unable to recycle them we made a conscious effort to refuse plastic bags whenever possible. I recommend putting a few reusable bags in your trunk so you always have them when you shop. People will give you strange looks if you refuse a bag then proceed to pile your purchases in your hands. It is funny until you find yourself at home without an automatic door to assist you. I did hear that you can bring plastic bags to Shaw’s Grocery store and they recycle them. It can be hard to walk through the checkout line of a grocery store knowing all of these facts but that is why I have listed below easy ways that you can be part of the solution!
1. Reuse– Reuse plastic bags as often as possible.
2. Refuse– Say NO to plastic bags. Reusable bags are readily available in a variety of sizes and materials.
3. Reduce– Reduce overall consumption to start. Chose biodegradable and renewable resources whenever possible.
4. Recycle– Recycle what you can’t reuse, refuse or reduce. Consider this as a last resort.
Thank you for reading and the environment thanks you for your contribution! Share your stories with us about ways to reuse plastic bags! Stay tuned into LOF blog for more ways to contribute to a sustainable future.
Fair trade is worth you’re money and so much more! Make a positive impact by simply choosing fair trade certified products. Buy fair trade whenever possible to benefit consumers and producers! Buying fair trade is not only better for EVERYONE But also the environment, too.
Fair trade empowers producers to invest in their organization and community. It also allows producers to help protect the environment. Consumers can buy fair trade to guarantee that the products they purchased were produced and traded fairly. It gives us, the consumers, the power to vote with our dollars for fair and sustainable products. We all get busy but buying fair trade is a simple way to impact our world for the greater good.
The fair trade certification requires environmentally sustainable farming practices that protects farmers health and preserve vital ecosystems. If we want future generations to be able to buy organic, we need the resources that fair trade practices preserve. “Fair trade for life” is another organization striving towards the same goal. Both of these are a great option for a brighter future for all! You’re money is your power. We love our local co-op because they always have fair trade, local and sustainable buying options. Take the extra two seconds while shopping to make sure you’re buying fair trade when you can. It is a purchase you can feel good about!
Organic Pineapple sage is the BEST herb to have in your garden because it has so many uses and the best smell. We bought a large starter plant at the Concord Farmers Market on Saturday. The farmers market is open every Saturday From 8:30am-12pm. We got a bunch of plants for under $20. I am going to tell you my top five uses for pineapple sage.
Add leaves to hot or cold water
Add to fruit and green salads
Add to smoothies
Add minced leaves to salsa
Add minced leaves into Homeade bread.
Pineapple sage is a tasty compliment to almost any dish. It is refreshingly sweet and like a taste of the tropics. It has a wonderful smell and pretty leaves. The plant gets its name from the pineapple smell of the leaves, although, it is not actually related to the pineapple plant.
This herb is said to be used in traditional Mexican Medicine. Pineapple sage is said to help with anxiety, digestion, calming and more. Eating this exotic sage is only one option. It could also be added to a flower bouquet potpourri and even used in perfume. I love burning regular sage and look forward to drying pineapple sage leaves and burning them. Enjoy!
I made my own non-toxic cleaner in under five minutes with a few common household items. You will need:
Vinegar (we used apple cider vinegar)
Organic Orange Peels
Optional- Other Citrus Fruit Peels
Optional- 3-4 drops of orange, lemon or grapefruit 100% pure essential oil.
It is is important to use organic orange peels as conventionally grown oranges absorb many toxins into their peels. Essential oils should be packaged in dark glass and have botanical name on them. Learn more about 100% pure essential oils. Follow link to buy pure essential oils online.
Fill the jar you choose with orange peels and then fill the jar with vinegar. We saved a spaghetti jar and used that. It took 2 orange peels to fill. Once you have made your solution all that is left to do is shake daily for 2-3 weeks. The longer it sits the more potent it will be. It is a good idea to put a date on your jar to keep track of how long it has been sitting. After this time, your non-toxic cleaning solution is ready. Drain out the peels and any debris that many be floating in the jar. You will want to add water into solution at 1:1 ratio. It is best to put your all natural cleaner into a spray bottle. Fill spray bottle with half solution and half water and it is ready to use.
Other options in making this cleaner are to add other citrus peels like grapefruit and lemon to soak in vinegar with orange peels. You could add a few drops of vanilla extract for a sweeter smell. You may also add a few drops of 100% pure essential oils to solution for a refreshing smell. We recommend lemon, grapefruit or orange essential oil.
Just when you thought you couldn’t grow and you didn’t have a green thumb, learn these simple tips and tricks to succeed this year in your vegetable and herb gardens. It is not too late to start your garden! You can buy organic NonGMO starter plants today and eat off of them tomorrow! We bought ours at the Concord, NH Farmers Market. It is located next to the state house every Saturday from 8:30am-12:30pm. Co-ops are another good place to buy NonGmo starter plants and they are open daily. There are also many organic farms that sell starter plants.
The plants we are growing from seed are still very small. We bought starter plants so that we will have food to enjoy sooner. We bought many Kale plants from a country store near by that were ready to pick leaves off of that day. The store owner was able to tell us where the plants came from and how they were grown. This is important to ensure you are eating local sustainable and nontoxic food.
It is essential to buy NonGmo Plants. Locally grown starter plants are best. They can be found at
Local Farmers Markets
Country Stores (ask to be sure)
Local Organic farms
The bigger the plants get the stronger they get which makes starter plants easier to maintain. All they need is space to grow, water, sunlight and a little protection from unwanted plant-eaters! Stay tuned into LOF blog for more gardening tips, tools and resources.
We check our plants regularly, usually, about twice a day to be sure they are all doing well. We highly recommend checking on your garden often. This morning we found that something had been nibbling our cabbage leaves and we lost one cabbage plant. We dug out the dead plant and found a fat, white grub. We took it far far away from our garden.
When you see that a plants roots may be damaged, carefully scoop your hand deep around your plant to dig it up below the roots and check. If they are check the soil they were in for grubs or other plant eating bugs. White short, fat worms with a set teeth in one end are bad. They may also be a darker color if they just ate a bunch of your veggies but long reddish brown earth worms are good 🙂
We noticed there were tons of ants in and around our flower beds. There were tons of them in the soil that we dug the dead plants out of, too. Ants can be beneficial in gardens but too many can attract unwanted insects and cause physical damage to your plants roots. We found that cinnamon is a natural way to keep the ant population around plants under control. An under control ant population means less unwanted insects in your garden. We sprinkled cinnamon around our plants as well as around the flower boxes. Stay tuned to LOF Blog to hear updates on this and more gardening tips!
Many conventional deodorants are filled with toxins and chemicals that plug your pores. This is unnatural and it is safe to assume it is not good for you. The body has critical lymph nodes in these areas that effect the immune system. Check to see if your deodorant has aluminum. If so, I recommend throwing it in the garbage.
We tried out a lot of different all natural deodorants. We buy them at our local co-op or natural food store. We bought a lot that we didn’t like before finding one that we really liked. Some even made our armpits smell worse! Lafes is by far the best all natural deodorant! It continues to work throughout the whole day and I smell the deodorant when I start to sweat.
I have always had very sensitive skin so finding a soap that worked well while still being gentle on my skin was important to me. When I began buying organic personal care products from the Co-op and health food stores I found that they can get expensive if you are not careful. That is why we love the 3 in 1 soap made by Everyone Soap.
The large bottle costs around ten dollars and can be used as shampoo, body wash and even bubble bath! They have scented and unscented varieties. Our favorites are coconut&lemon and Citrus&mint. The best part about this all natural shower product is that it was created for all skin types and sensitivities.
Everyone Soap is made from non-gmo organic plant extracts and scented with pure essential oils. The quality ingredients leave your skin feeling clean and moisturized. This 3 in 1 soap is gluten-free, cruelty free and made without synthetic fragrances. I used to break out in rashes using certain shower products but with everyone soap I never have to worry!
Our bean plants are growing more and more each day. We wanted to make sure that they had a route to grow where they would not over power or entangle other plants in that flower bed. We decided to use metal fencing and sticks. We planted our beans on the edge of our flower box so that they could grow over the side.
We stuck two tall sticks into the garden before the row of beans and another two sticks in the ground and draped the fencing over the beans. The fencing extends beyond the flower bed and has another bump in it on the ground. This will provide plenty of space for the beans to grow and grow!
As soon as we began filling our flower beds with soil I noticed we attracted the attention of many insects. I had a feeling we might want to use something to mask our fresh soil. I wondered why bugs swarmed the soil in our flower beds but not when it was in the woods. Last year, some of our friends used black tarps to cover their soil. They cut holes in the cover that were only big enough for the plants to grow through. They had success with this method but I really wanted to find a more natural solution.
I began to consider wood chips as another method that could be highly effective after watching a great documentary called, Back To Eden. The movie documented Paul Gautschi regarding his experience with wood chips in his natural and sustainable gardens. We liked the idea of using something found in nature as our top layer- it just seemed right.
We went out into our woods brushed back some leaves and filled a bucket with the top layer just before the soil becomes visibly darker. I was very intrigued by the fallen branches and sticks I found. Many of them broke up effortlessly into wood chips! We filled a box of top soil and wood chips. We lightly covered our smaller plants and will add more as they grow. We believe this will help to keep the soil from drying out while also helping to protect the plants. Sometimes the best ideas can be found in nature! Happy Gardening!