For those of you who read my blog you’ll know by now that I try to be as green as I can. There are many out there who are far greener than me but I like to think that, when I can, I make my choices and actions as green as possible. I like the simplicity of some of my green ways like recycling and upcycling and I love the health benefits of others like growing my own chemical free veg and fruit and ditching the chemicals by making very simple cleaning products and cosmetics. When I started to question why I did certain things/bought certain things and looked for alternatives I’ve been surprised at the many benefits that I have enjoyed. I’m always on the look out for other small changes to make my life, and that of my family, greener and healthier.
I was therefore thrilled to hear about this new 12 week challenge initiated by Janet Luke of Green Urban Living starting this Autumn 1st March. It’s completely free to enter and it’s all about challenging ourselves to make a positive green difference to our lives and the environment. By sharing these ideas on Green Urban Living’s FB page we can connect with the whole of New Zealand and, quite possibly, The World! There are some great prizes up for grabs each week and a starry cast of Green Judges to pick the winners including Te Radar, Tony Murrell, Lynda Hallinan, Malcolm Rands, Annah Stretton, Nz Eco Chick and Wendyl Nissen.
I love the simplicity of this challenge; you can choose what changes you want to make for your own personal Green Revolution and these changes can be as big or small as you want to make them. Here are the weeks that I’m really looking forward to and some that are going to challenge me Quite A Bit.
Week 1 – Ditch the Chemicals
This is a subject very close to my heart (and more specifically my arm pits!). I’ve ditched the chemicals in my house by substituting homemade cleaners, peppermint bathroom cleaner, homemade laundry powder, deodorant and moisturiser to name a few. I’m still on the lookout for a good DIY shampoo so I’m hoping to find inspiration for that in week 1.
Week 2 – Shop Local
I wrote a post about this very topic just before Christmas. I have been so inspired by the local businesses here in Hawke’s Bay and I love nothing better than to shop at the local vege shops, markets and small businesses that make for a colourful and unique community. The challenge here is to cook a meal from Local Ingredients. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just local.
Week 3 – Foraging
Who said there’s no such thing as a Free Lunch? I’m really hoping to learn where to go foraging in my local area. The whole concept of eating Free Bounty is quite a challenge for me. I am after all essentially a Menu Planner and List Writer. Foraging adds a bit of mystery and surprise to the whole operation of eating. Depending on the time of year you could end up making blackberry jam or elderflower cordial. Embrace the element of the unknown!
Week 6 – Grow Something
I grow a lot of veges. I’ve been moved to post as many zucchini recipes as I can to cope with the glut in my garden. However, I also grow other types of plants for medicinal reasons and for teas and I also grow flowers for picking and some are edible too. The sunflower pictured above contains edible seeds that I’m going to toast with spices for a tasty snack. For those who don’t grow their own then it’s a chance to experience the tiny bit of magic that happens when you plant a seed and water it and watch it grow. For those who do grow veges, why not try growing some culinary herbs like lemongrass or cinnamon basil for an exotic twist to dinner or chamomile and lemon balm to make into tea. Once you get the growing bug you’ll never look back!
Week 7 – Reduce Waste
On a good week you can hear me gloat to Mr Fig that our Wheelie bin isn’t even close to being full. We’ve managed to reduce our waste significantly with little effort by recycling the usual plastic, glass, paper/cardboard and by composting and feeding scraps to the chickens (and the chocolate lab). However, I’ve since been learning that the Next Step on the recycling ladder is to think about recycling before you even buy….. That means buying store cupboard items in bulk from places like Bin Inn. You can take your own recycled bags/containers to re use so You don’t Even Bring Waste Into Your House. It’s so clever and so obvious but it does require some forethought and you need to Train Yourself to remember the bags and containers. This is how I’ll challenge myself for this week.
Week 12 – Cook Leftovers
I think some people are born Leftover Eaters. Mr Fig is quite happy to eat last night’s dinner for breakfast or yesterday’s lunch for dinner. I find it Confusing and A Little Bewildering. I also tend to cook Just Enough for us with a tiny portion left over so these tiny portions tend to be left in the fridge and get pushed further to the back until they grow legs and hop in the dishwasher themselves. I did make the cakes pictured above with leftover mincemeat but I know there is more to leftovers than that and so will be challenging myself this week and learning lots.
The other weeks of the challenge include Carless Days, Clothing Swap, Eco Alternative, Recycle, Reuse It and Spread some Seeds. So Give It a Go! You might even win a prize! Start your own personal green revolution; the little changes add up to a big change that can only be a Good Thing. Hop onto Green Urban Living to get the poster and instructions delivered to your inbox for your very own challenge or find out more on Green Urban Living’s FB page. Have Fun and Good Luck!