Yup! I can’t resist. One day only EARTH DAY SALE on all day tomorrow (24 hrs), April 22, 2010. If you want to place a custom order for local delivery or pick-up at Cornerstone Market in Fishtown, just let me know. Otherwise, make your purchase in my etsy store, as usual, and I will reimburse 10% of your order (excluding shipping) via paypal. This refund will probably occur on Monday, as I am participating in Fishtown’s Shad Fest this weekend.
I wrote this DIY post for a local group of handmade artisans here in Philadelphia, for the Handmade Philly blog. But what could be a better project for my own readers than herb-infused honey, using readily available sprices from your kitchen cabinet and herbs fresh from the garden? Pop on over the Handmade Philly and check out the post.
It seems that living a ‘greener’ life can actually be a very subjective process, as individuals make specific choices for lifestyle habits, eco-passions, or environmental issues that he or she considers most pressing. I realize that my choices are just as biased to my own subjective views and particular soapboxes, or so-called ‘green’ priorities.
1. Support local.
There are myriad benefits to supporting local movements and businesses. For one, you are investing in your own local economy, which adds to revitalization of the area in which you live, builds community, and provides numerous long-term perks. Second, you are decreasing the use of energy to transport items long distances. Third, you are making choices to support items p1oduced by individuals who earn a living wage for what they do. And fourth, you are considering your choices more carefully, whether that be a hand screen-printed organic cotton t-shirt, or local produce. I am lucky to have Greensgrow Farms right here in my neighborhood in Philadelphia, and Greensgrow is a stellar example of an amazing local endeavor gone right. The farm was actually built on a superfund site, using hydroponic agriculture and raised beds, and it is thriving as it directly supports, and is supported by, its local community, with a spring nursery, a CSA program, a regular farm stand full of all kinds of local produce, mik, dairy, eggs, meats, and hand-crafted goodies like arugula pesto and the most amazing smokey eggplant dip imagineable.
2. Cloth Diapering.
I know that there have been studies ‘demonstrating’ that the use of energy and water to wash cloth diapers negates its environmental benefit. But I’m sorry. There are plenty of studies that show that water use is wholly dependent on where you live (and I live in the most flood-prone state in the union) and in my opinion, untreated human waste, wrapped in plastic, sitting in a landfill for the next thousand years (trash in landfills don’t really decompose very quickly, to say the least) is simply not the same as using a bit more water and energy. It’s not equal! Check out an earlier post about greener breastfeeding support.
3. Kitchen Gardens
I live in the middle of a working class, urban neighborhood in Philadelphia, I have a fantastic organic farm minutes away from me (right in the middle of the city), as described above, but I have no community garden in site. Community gardens are a fantastic investment of time and energy, and if I didn’t have so much on my plate, I might try to mobilize the formation of on. However, despite my absence of actual ‘land’ (we have what they call a “pavement” around here), I manage to grow quite a bit through the use of pots, trellises, and window boxes. Nearly everything in my garden is either a food or an herb, so that I can maximize the space rather than growing annuals that might not help feed the family. I just wish I could do more! Though I am an herbalist, that doesn’t mean I’m a gardener, and I am definitely learning more with every growing season, especially with a handy subscription to Organic Gardening. Someday I’ll have a ‘real’ plant-things-in-the-ground garden.
4. Keep your own Chickens
I had to put this in here because I think this is a brilliant move; many individuals are engaging in raising their own chickens, which is awesome! Fresh, organic eggs in your own yard; lovely fat chickens when needed; and certainly, a smaller population of pests such as ticks, a favored snacks of our poultry friends. This is a fantasy for me at the moment, but again, someday when I have my own yard, perhaps!
5. Composting, urban or rural
There is just no excuse for not composting this day and age, no matter where you live. I am a hypocrite here, because I have really wanted to figure out a good system for urban composting that is going to work for me and my family with extremely limited space. However, I have heard that many Montrealers have this down, and I have no doubt that there are resources out there for figuring out a good system. There is simply no excuse for throwing away kitchen scraps, tea and coffee waste, and especially herbal matter when one could be turning it all into garden GOLD!
Extra! Recycle, upcycle, downcycle, whatever
I love the many artisans out there who upcycle sweaters, vintage clothing, leather, plastic–you name it–in order to create incredibly useful, beautiful hand-crafted pieces. I’ve purchased leg warmers upcycled from cashmere sleeves, notebook cases from recycled herringbone fabric, and other items with this focus on re-purposing goods that would otherwise go to waste, languish in thrift stores, or end up in the trash. I was walking outside one night and it happened to be ‘trash night’, when I happened across a pile of so-called trash left out for the trucks. Full art boxes filled with sponge stamps, paints, brushes, markers, and other crafty items intended for children! I was shocked that anyone would throw this out rather than even trying to take it to the thrift store, but Americans are notoriously wasteful. We would do better to learn from our European cousins or even our Canadian sisters and brothers to the North: even the plastic wrapper from a tea bag can be recycled. Do it! (and pay no mind to this hilarious blog post that pokes a little fun at those who prefer to recycle.) Just as an FYI: there’s a new on-line venue, Cosa Verde, that tries to bring together many of these artisans with ‘green’ practices.
There’s no question that the impact of the ecomomy has affected all of us, not least crafters who depend on a loyal customer base, local craft events, and on-line venues such as Etsy and Artfire to sell our products. After hearing about a local Doylestown bath & body business closing its doors, I wanted to explore the impact the economy is having on businesses like my own. I wanted to share with my readers, especially all of you working on a business that is based on your own handmade items, my recent blog post with just that subject.
Please do check out my latest blog post for Tara Gentile at the amazing blog, Handmade in PA. Tara works night and day to bring the stories, products, and promotion of Pennsylvania crafters to the fore. She’s been such an awesome support and I’ve been having great fun writing for her blog.
Limited Edition Art Print – Puddle Jumper by Robert David Bretz (Girard, PA)
I’m still riding on the high from the fabulous Fishtown Shad Fest this past weekend. Awesome weather, great bands, wonderful location in the historic Penn Treaty Park.
Next Up: The Trenton Ave Arts Fest on May 16th!
This street fair is a fabulous event with great local bands, food vendors, and artists and artisans galore, including Lilith’s Apothecary.
Come out to support local vendors, including members of the Handmade Philly team.
In poking about the net, I found artist Jan Blencowe, and her lovely painting Cloud Mist (www.jenblencowe.com). I wrote her to ask her about using her painting on my label if I provided her website and name. She was more than willing, and dreamt up an idea to collaborate with a local tea shop in her area: Tea Savy, and perhaps have an art showing with her paintings and my teas! It’s such a great idea, I do hope it happens. Thanks Jan!