An Introduction to Slow/Real/Whole Food (for my little sister)

My little sister, who just completed her first year of college, was forwarded this buzzfeed page containing a list of 8 common ingredients in food that are banned in other places of the world.  She wanted to know if it was “legit”, and my answer was YES YES YES this is a big deal and if you don’t know all about this already you should!

Because most of the blogs I read are written by other like-mindedly green people, they (and subsequently I) tend to write about more nuanced aspects of green living, like for example my last post on how to minimize organic kitchen waste. This post is for those of you, like my sister, who not only don’t have a worm bucket, but don’t know how to navigate a grocery store without inadvertently buying carcinogens and endocrine disruptors. Continue reading

Minimizing Kitchen Waste

If the best way to keep a neat and tidy house is simply having less stuff, I’m failing miserably because of my desire to use “waste” rather than throw it away.  This is especially difficult in my tiny kitchen because I’ve been trying to find a use for every food scrap.  My entire kitchen windowsill is full of herb cuttings and the root ends of vegetables that I am trying to sprout.  Whatever we can’t eat or use in some way goes into either the worm bucket or outdoor compost.  Besides not buying more food than we can eat and letting it go bad in the fridge (I let a sweet potato rot recently and was so sad), I’ve been consciously trying to minimize the amount of food that ends up in the compost.

My most recent waste reduction project was inspired by this post from the Kitchn on how to regrow food scraps.  I just happened to have many of these particular veggies in my fridge already! Continue reading

Adventures in Composting

Since we’ve started composting, I’ve realized that food waste makes up most of what Taylor and I throw out every day. Food scraps that end up in landfills are a complete waste (bad pun intended) of composing potential as they rot slowly surrounded by plastic, generating methane. We may only take out the trash a few times a month now, but our compost bag gets full and stinky quickly, and we have to cart it across town to dump it in Taylor’s compost pile. To make better use of our food scraps, we’ve started vermicomposting in my apartment.

Rewind. Yes, there is a plastic bucket of worms in my living room right now, and they aren’t smelly or gross, but don’t tell my landlord.  Certain types of worms (I’m using red wigglers) will live happily in a dark box with some organic matter to eat.  Their poop, also know as castings, are nutrient rich and will make my veggie plants very happy. Continue reading

New Green Habits: On Cars, Elevators, and Worms

This week, Taylor and I are trying to decrease our eco footprint by not driving at all.  Taylor estimates that we use about a 1/4 of a tank a week, which isn’t that much gas, but the everyday driving that we do could easily be avoided by just taking the city buses or walking.  So this week we’re doing our part to unclog the streets of Pittsburgh and reduce emissions, and hopefully we’ll be able to keep it up.

In the spirit of using less resources (and being less lazy) we have also decided to take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible.  That will mean quite a few sets of stairs every day because we work 3-4 floors up. I got a little out of breath this morning, but I think I can handle it.

Lastly, as of this week we’re going to start composing to provide organic matter for our [future] gardens and to reduce our waste.  As badly as I want a worm bucket (no sarcasm; I like worms), Taylor has a compost pile in his backyard that nobody uses. Perfect.