Maybe you’re not a social butterfly, or maybe you don’t have enough time in your schedule to commit to weekly gardening hours. Maybe you just like chilling at home. Whatever your reason for not attending a community garden, there are ways to be sustainable on a personal level that can make a positive impact — and five of them are listed right here.
Grow Your Own Herbs
There’s a reason “dirt cheap” is a phrase. Dirt is cheap! Your average bag of potting soil, which will more than cover the amount needed for a few pots of herbs, will run you a little less than five dollars. That’s like, one vanilla latte. Seeds are inexpensive too — two bucks can get you swimming in basil seeds, far more than any delicious homemade pizza can handle. You can set up your herbs in pots right outside your window or even indoors in your kitchen in a spot that gets a lot of natural light. Growing herbs means you get the freshest possible garnishes to your dishes, and you save on the high cost of “fresh” herbs that can be driven in from states away to the grocery store. Beyond that, you’re doing the earth a favor: every time I’ve seen fresh herbs for sale at a grocery store, they’ve been in tiny plastic containers, and one-use plastic pretty much cancels out any notion of sustainability.
Bring Your Own Mug
Remember that vanilla latte I mentioned before? This sustainable change is for those of us with a less-than-green thumb, no soil required. If you buy coffee regularly from a coffee shop or fast food restaurant, bring a reusable travel mug and have your barista fill it up with your favorite drink. There’s no spill risk like there is with a disposable coffee cup, and if you’re buying for multiple people, you’ll never have to guess which one is yours. Plus, if you buy on the higher end of travel mugs, there’s no chance that your hot drink will turn lukewarm — most brands boast that their mugs keep drinks toasty for the whole day. No more mid-day room-temperature chai!
Buy from the Farmer’s Market
This tip is the most fun. Any local farmer’s market is going to be a blast. Beyond being surrounded by tents full of delicious food, there’s usually some kind of music, and you’re guaranteed to run into a friend. Farmer’s markets just feel Good, like capital ‘G’ Good. When you buy locally, you’re supporting farmers who love to grow food and see people enjoying it. And the best part of all is that everything tastes fresh. And, to treat yourself for buying local produce, you can buy yourself a freshly made donut. There’s really no downside.
Go on a Walk
It may be tempting to collapse into the couch and enjoy the combination of air conditioning and whatever you’re binge watching after a long day at work, but going on a walk helps your energy bill lose a few dollars and raises your energy. There’s nothing more relaxing than putting on some tunes or a podcast, slipping on headphones, and ambling around. If you want to nix the music and completely disconnect with technology and strengthen some interpersonal relationships instead, walking with a friend or family member can lead to a lot of laughs and bring you closer together.
Buy from Thrift Stores
This may be the young liberal arts student in me talking, but thrift stores are one of the only things saving this world from complete destruction. Beyond looking cool in some vintage track jackets, you can purchase gently used cookware, dishes, cameras — really anything. And it’s all super cheap. It saves you money and it saves something from going to waste. That’s a win-win if I ever heard one.
With these five tips, I am signing off on this blog series. I hope you read along, got inspired, and felt your inner sustainability king/queen start to rule. Farewell and happy gardening!