Getting By

So far nobody has asked us why we’re taking a plastic fast. Seems to me that we’re not alone in wanting to clean up our act. What we get asked about is exactly how it is we plan to get by without the substance that seems to be literally engulfing the planet.*

Good question. A few weeks ago, I couldn’t have begun to answer it. I was busy filling my cart with what looked good, had a USDA organic label on it, and was cheap. Yep, that included a lot of plastic wrap, bottles, tubs, and bags. No doubt about it: food is at the crux of our plastic habit. Maybe that’s why it seems so difficult to “live” without it. I’ve done some thinking since then. And started making changes, some of them so simple I’m embarrassed it took a vow of abstinence to implement them. From easiest to most challenging, here’s the general program:

:: If we can find an alternative to plastic, we get it. This means simply choosing the product packaged in paper or glass (metal lids a bonus), or sold in bulk. It does occasionally take an additional twenty seconds of scanning the shelves before finding the plastic-free item in question.

:: Lots of things we’re learning to make from scratch. Mostly for the fun of it. But also because we can’t live without yogurt, tortillas, ricotta, and cookies.

:: A few things we’ll have to compromise on, like toothpaste caps.

:: Some things (like tortilla chips) we’ll have to go way out of our way to get (from the burrito stands that make them fresh).

:: And some things we’ll do without altogether.

So far we seem to be getting by just fine, with the unexpected side effect of eating healthier than we have in years. Our food is fresh, whole, and, more than ever before, local. Got suggestions or questions? Holler, please.

*In the movie Addicted to Plastic it is estimated that there are 46,000 pieces of plastic for every square mile of ocean, and that the ratio of plastic to plankton is 10:1.

Commencing to Feast

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Speaking of abundance, we’ve signed up for a winter share with a local CSA, Beneficial Farms. This week, the first in November, we brought home hefty bags loaded with apples, kale, collards, onions, baby beets, scallions, salad greens, arugula, and persimmons.

While our decision to go plastic free is a very personal, symbolic action, joining a CSA offers immediate and significant results. Our carbon footprint from importing food from out of state/country is vastly reduced, while our money goes directly towards strengthening local food systems. It helps create the world we want to live in.

Seasonal food from within our foodshed. You bet it tastes better.

Psst. It’s cheaper, too.