Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Miss Scarlett and a little foot-stamping.

In response to my frustration at not knowing how to eat local and organic, my sister-in-law told me about a little store called Brown Box Organics. Yesterday while Boy 3 was at his gymnastics class, Girl 1 and I did a little local market reconnaissance. It is a beautiful shop and the staff is really friendly and helpful. They have local, organic, non-GMO foods, and I learned a lot just roaming the aisles. I ended up buying a leek and a bag of Chippery BBQ chips. 

What I'm learning is, I picked the wrong time of year to try and go local and organic. It's funny how what a late-onset realization this is. It's winter, and I'm out looking for fresh, local, organic produce. I am so detached from the growing cycle, and from where my food comes from. I have no idea what grows well in Idaho. I have no clue what is in season and what isn't. I think that's probably true of a lot of people. So now I have some catching up to do. I keep having flashbacks to the days when I used to read Jean M. Auel and her Ayla adventures. I thought that longing for greens was a cave person only problem. Turns out there's like, this whole natural cycle. Duh.

Looking back over my No Impact Week posts, I realize that I spend a lot of time being frustrated. I want to live this perfect green lifestyle NOW. I get so frustrated by what I don't know, what doesn't work, or what we can't afford. And the more I research the more I realize just how very expensive the food part of the green lifestyle can get. I am not saying it isn't worth it, I'm just saying there's no way we can go whole hog right off the bat. We just can't afford it.

Doing things in baby steps means not every aspect of our lives are green all the time. I worry about hypocrisy a lot, the need to be consistent is part of my identity, and I don't want to be accused of lying, cheating, or not living up to my values. I want to do things right, and I'm tempted to give up when I can't do it perfectly. There was a good article about this today on TreeHugger: In Defense of Hypocrisy- In Search of the Sustainable Double Standard

So, here are some truths and then I'm just going to move on and stop judging myself so harshly:

  • We have a ton of plastic bags in the basement. The things are like herpes, easy to get, impossible to get rid of. I can't throw them out, but I often fail to remember to bring my reusables. 
  • I bought Kraft Macaroni & Cheese this week, along with a slew of other non-organic processed foods. When one lunch of mac & cheese requires 4 boxes to feed the fam, I can't afford Annie's all the time. I buy what I can, when I can, but I can't do it all at once.
  • We use disposable baby wipes. Not going to quit that, it's too cumbersome and gross. Sometimes we use disposable diapers. 
  • The laundry room is disgusting again. 
  • My compost heap is frozen. I am failing on that one.
  • I love my gadgets, my iPod and laptop and such. I use them a lot.
I'm sure there are a million more failures, but the thing is, every day I try to improve something. I'm not giving up, and I'm probably going to crap out more often than I succeed, but every day I try. If I'm inconsistent? Oh. Well. Tomorrow is another day. Fiddle dee dee? Maybe. But at least I give a damn enough to try. 


  1. Stop being so hard on yourself! Change takes time. New habits take time. When spring comes around, try the local farmer's market, or get yourself into a CSA (community supported agriculture). Better yet, start your own garden, that's about the most local you can get. ;)

    Lots of places recycle those bags, Walmart, grocery stores all have bag returns. Take them there sometime, and let the guilt go. :) You'll get there...

    Green Momma

  2. Thanks! I'm hoping this "vent" is my last blog where I beat myself up. I'm just going to do what I can do. As our current cheesy video workout guru would say, "Do your best, forget the rest."

    There's a contest I'm thinking about entering that might use up some of those plastic bags too:

  3. the best thing in this post was:
    "I'm sure there are a million more failures, but the thing is, every day I try to improve something. I'm not giving up, and I'm probably going to crap out more often than I succeed, but every day I try."

    I agree. We aren't perfect. We were raised by our parents and our society to do things in a certain way. It's soooo hard to completely re-think how we do everything, top to bottom, and get things done, keep a house running, all that jazz.

    When I feel guilty for throwing away an empty can of corned beef hash (because I refuse to scrub congealed meat grease), I take a look at my city-provided recycle bin. It says "if we all do a little, we can accomplish a lot"

  4. Okay - so it has already been said - but you are doing a great job and need to stop being so hard on yourself.
    Thanks for following in and linking up with the Green Mama Blog Hop.
    I made the switch to wordpress after hearing about how easy it was to use, and how many people really loved it. That and on Blogger you never really own your own site...
    I love your site, but the white writing on black is hard on my eyes, but regardless I will be back to read more - you seem to have a lot to share!

  5. Thanks! Site design is something I still don't quite have a handle on, as far as what works and what doesn't. Maybe that will be a fun "no inspiration day" thing to focus on. Thanks so much for the feedback!

  6. Hi! I'm a new follower. I found your blog through the green mama blog hop.

  7. Heather, you are inspiring. I currently live in a place that is so lucky to have access to the city-wide support structure that makes efforts like yours like this and your work in Idaho is kicking my butt. Thank you for inspiring me to do more but also I reiterate what others say - every bit we do is more than nothing and is a small step towards where we want to be. Thank you for the inspiration!

  8. Stopping by from the Green Blog Hop. Have a great weekend!

    Your Green Helper

  9. I think you've touched on something which many of us feel. In a perfect world, living a green, no-impact life would be inexpensive, convenient and totally doable. But the world isn't perfect and living green needs to be balanced with so many other things, not the least of which is finances. We also have to deal with the economics of big business ... it's cheaper for manufacturers to produce our food in centralized locations, using chemicals to both grow the food and as an additive/filler to stretch the food. So often, finding local organic food is tough, and expensive.

    Having said all that, it's still worth the effort. We do what we can ... and every little effort counts. Perhaps pick one food to buy organic (there are tons of lists on the Internet about which foods are the most affected by non-organic growing methods). Refuse plastic bags and if you don't remember your reusable bag, just ask the cashier to put everything back into the cart and then bag it at your car (cashiers love this ... saves them time). Find an alternate for one "single use" product ... maybe cloth napkins instead of paper. Make that macaroni & cheese from scratch instead of buying the boxed kind.

    Every effort counts. Imagine if everyone in the world did one little thing ... ahhh ... it would be beautiful!

  10. Great points. It's so easy to get bogged down in what I can't do, rather than focusing on what I can. Perspective change time!