Go Green: Buy Local

When I was a younger lass — say, in high school and college — I was a bit more environmentally conscious than I am now. I was really into recycling and buying recycled products, and my mother placated me by buying Green Forest recycled bathroom tissue and paper towels.

I also walked a lot in high school and college, but that was mainly from necessity, not so much from a sense of reducing my carbon footprint. Not that anyone knew what a “carbon footprint” was back in the ’90s.

These days, I find I’m much less environmentally conscious than I once was. Recycling is more of a hassle than a given (except for donating to Goodwill, which is ongoing, mainly because I’m a packrat). Walking everywhere (especially to work) is just not feasible. I use more disposable products than I need to. Now, getting myself back to the environmentally-conscious side of things is more of a “what am I willing to do” gambit, kind of like dieting. What am I willing to give up? To change? Am I willing to adopt a slightly different routine?

This weekend, Aaron and I took a trip to a couple of local produce establishments to try the whole Buy Local concept. Thompson Farms, just a few miles from our house, was selling fresh strawberries — you can’t get much more local than that! Granted, the hand-sorted high-quality quarts were $5 each, which is a little pricey, but they looked great. (They also had jam-and-jelly grade quarts for nearly half that price.)

We then visited Monnette’s Market on Reynolds, also just down the road apiece. There we found produce that wasn’t *quite* as local, but still more local than the friendly neighborhood megamart has, I’d bet. There were Canadian tomatoes, complete with a sign deeming them safe per the FDA. There were homegrown strawberries (not as ripe as the farm berries, but cheaper), and I can only assume that most of the produce was locally grown. We got some bell peppers, tomatoes, green onions, pineapple (yes, I know it wasn’t locally grown), vidalia onion (also not quite local), and an impulse buy of some fat-free chocolate muffins.

So, our first foray into buying locally grown produce was relatively successful. We’ll see if this is something we continue, or if it was merely an interesting excursion. Monnette’s actually has some competitively priced deli items, too, so we might end up going back next week for more of our normal shopping.

Not sure what the next step in “reducing our carbon footprint” will be. I’d like to keep taking baby steps toward joining the revolution.

4 thoughts on Go Green: Buy Local

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  1. here in Ft Worth the recycle part is no problem trash cans are non-recycle and recycle if you don’t you can be fined up to $500. although I’ve never seen anyone going through my trash to see if I put things in the right place.

  2. Buying locally is something we’re trying to do more of. I do try and go to the BG farmers market each weekend to get some items like herbs, fruits, and vegetables, but right now there are a number of things that still haven’t quite come into season. Once certain items, such as tomatoes, apples, squash, and peppers become available, the amount of money spent at the supper market for them will decrease. We may look into canning and freezing some to keep them once it gets late into the fall.

  3. I recently moved to Ann Arbor, and while we’ve gone to a few different grocery stores, I try to limit car stops to when I am already using it.

    Our goal was to get a place in the downtown area that is still quiet (check) and within walking distance of all our basic necessities (semi-check).

    Basically, we walk to the farmer’s market as well as to a local in-store market. Prices are a bit higher than what I am used to, but I also haven’t found any squishy produce. I just haven’t found a good local place for basics like soap or shampoo.

    Similarly, I suppose I’m trying to make the most of what I purchase. For example, I had a big bunch of bananas going bad… so guess what? Banana bread. I froze half of it as soon as it cooled, to thaw and warm up if we ever entertain guests. We ate half over the course of the week. I thought that was better than throwing out a big bunch of squishy dark bananas, and they were easy-peasy to make (although having a working oven helps).

    I did see another heating element in an oven break less than a couple months ago – I’m assuming this was pretty simple to replace.

    I haven’t spent any big bucks on *super organic* items or specialty food mixes though (your brownies, although I have considered that kind before). I’ve always had good luck with the cheapie Jiffy mixes. I suppose that may count as shopping local, as their factory is in Chelsea, MI.