I posted awhile ago about our household's efforts to be a little greener...I figured it was about time for an update. I was just doing the dishes, and realized, a bit surprised, that just about all of our cleaning products have now been switched over to natural (or at least earth-friendly) products. It just kind of happened on its own. And it was more painless than I'd anticipated. The organic contents of our cupboards and fridge are not-so-slowly overtaking the non-organic. I'm starting to read labels out of habit, to choose the product from the geographically-closer source. Showers are shorter, we're using less water to wash dishes, and we're getting better about planning our shopping/errands to minimize driving.
We've still got lots of room to improve, of course. I was a little slack with take-out coffee last week; but I did rinse out the cups after, and put them in the recycling. We could be more efficient with laundry. And we're still not great with turning out the lights. But we're working on it.
And I have little moments where I get to feel the teensiest bit smug about it all...like last week, when a student who wasn't in any of my classes popped into my classroom, cuz she knew there was a recycling box there. Ha!
Mr.Q's been pretty agreeable with the whole process. But I'm afraid he's about to be subjected to another level of soul-searching affecting the fridge and our shopping habits. I had a book I'd ordered come into the library today...Which I am so excited to read!
A lot of people know Barbara Kingsolver as a fiction writer (and a fine one; Prodigal Summer is one of my favourite books ever!) But her non-fiction and essays are less well-known. Her new book is non-fiction, and I'm about 20 pages in, about re-discovering our connection to (and dependence on!) our food sources, and I'm loving it:
Thing is, I can't read her writing without wanting to DO something. So I 'spect we'll be back at the East Van Farmers' Market when it opens in a couple of weeks. Paying ludicrous prices for produce, and trying not to whack the yuppies upside the head with my rhubarb. All in the name of shopping locally and supporting my friendly neighbourhood farms.
(Note to said yuppies: Yes, farmers' markets are "cool" and "trendy" - but some of us are actually grocery shopping here, could you confine the window shopping to Gastown or Granville Island, or at least keep it away from the tomatoes, for F&*#K's sake? Pretty please?)
The trick will be getting home with the bags and baskets on transit. Because it would really be ridiculous, if we're trying to be eco(veggie)wienies, to drive our gas-guzzling beast there. (The price of gas notwithstanding. As it stands, we'll soon have to have children just to be able to provide the gas companies with our first-born, in order to pay for the gas.)
For all the frustration I feel with the market, I also have rather a lot of sentimental attachment to it. I used to go every Saturday, when it was it its first year, and I was in university. It was a scraggly handful of tables under the SkyTrain track in the parking lot of the local community center. It's grown to a huge affair at Trout Lake Park. One of the first vendors sold amazing spelt breads...she's since opened a successful storefront on Commercial Drive. I remember having some great conversations with her, and I'm always happy when nice, deserving people are successful doing what they love.
Also, the market was where I first learned to love tomatoes. I used to hate tomatoes (having grown up with their distant, waxy Safeway cousins). An evil, evil man was handing out samples of his sun-warmed Golden Boys, picked fresh that morning. "Have some!" he coaxed. "But I don't like tomatoes," I said. "You haven't tried mine!" he replied. I didn't want to be rude, so I tried the proffered piece.
I bought about 5 pounds of the damned things. I ate them all in a week. My pH balance (or something) got all screwed up, and I broke out in horrible cold sores all over my lower lip and chin. I had to sing at a friend's wedding like that. There was a very, very cute (single!) guest at the wedding. He was very nice, but of course he couldn't help staring at my chin. I was mortified. Needless to say, I never did get to smooch him.
Damn tomatoes. Evil, evil tomato man!