Monday, 19 January 2015

Take a walk in my Footprint

How much land does it take to support your lifestyle? Working on a class project this week I was asked to calculate my ecological footprint using the website An ecological footprint measures the amount of resources required to support your lifestyle choices going through various parts of your life from how much you drive to what type of house you live in and how you eat.
I calculated my footprint last year and came out slightly higher then this year which is comforting considering I have tightened up some of my consumer behaviours during this challenge. A lot of that is made up of where and how I live. I live in a detached home, use electricity on the grid and shower... up to several times a week. Even though I do make choices about my consumer habits that help my footprint become smaller, certain things like how green my house is will be mostly out of my control during my student years until I can have an income that affords me the luxury of choosing my dwelling and amenities. It is reassuring to see at least that my smaller impact are in the areas I have been focusing of goods and food (whew). The diagnosis of 4.4 global hectares means that after all the work I put into living locally I still live relatively unsustainably. Finding new ways to decrease that number will be an ongoing challenge, hopefully for all of us.

The assessment included some tips to reduce my footprint including the recommendation that I eat more local produce, take public transit, turn down my thermostat and purchase more locally. Already doing all of these things begs me to question how thorough the results can be for those of us who already pay particular attention to these things and make concerted effort to reduce our impact. It also makes it harder to understand what more we can do to reduce our impact if we have already exhausted the recommendations of the "professionals".  At the end of the day it is a little discouraging to see that is would still require 2.5 planets to live the way I do. But I think the real question is; what realistically can we do when we live apart of a system that will only allow us to be as sustainable as the system itself?

Happy Monday,


"Live simply that others might simply live." - Ghandi

Monday, 12 January 2015

Ode to Cabbage

Cabbage from Cariboo Growers
Infallible Cabbage,
All wrapped up in a round package,
You can last for months in my fridge,
And survive falling from a bridge,
Green, Savoy and red,
Cabbage you are keeping me well fed,
A source of vitamin C and dietary fibre,
To which I am a subscriber.

Chopped up in Coleslaw,
A tasty treat to gnaw,
Diced and fried,
enjoyed far and wide,
Homemade Sauerkraut,
If I run out I might pout,
Blanched, baked and boiled,
Eating you in time so you wont be spoiled.

There is a nasty side to you,
You can taste good and not so good too,
University Farmers Market
Sometimes you make me gassy,
Which makes it hard to stay so classy,
You often have a funny smell,
That even scented candles wont quell,
You will be with me all winter,
Like a bad cold or a terrible splinter.

It is a love hate relationship,
In this winter vegetable dictatorship,
but for eating local,
at this time of year you are focal,
Maybe I should have been Polish,
Because I think you are delich',
and this winter from you I will survive,
Perhaps with cabbage, this locavore can thrive.

P.s. Here is a great recipe for Cabbage Rolls

Cheers, Melanie

"Cauliflower is nothing but Cabbage with a college education" - Mark Twain

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Local for the Holidays

The Green Team
This is the Christmas I couldn't go home because I couldn't purchase a flight and when I didn't go shopping on boxing day. It is the Christmas I didn't put up a tree and the time I didn't send anything as I didn't want to use mail. This is also the Christmas I spent with the loveliest of people in the best of places. Instead of a flight home I found friends to share rides and open their doors to me. Instead of buying in to the holiday sales, I hit the thrift stores for my sweet deals. Instead of a tree I bought a hand made wreath from my friends and crafters at Natural Wreaths. And instead of buying gifts I made cards and purchased micro-loans for my family to be able to 're-gift' to someone who needed it more (through Overall being local this holiday season did not make me feel as if I was missing out but allowed me to be more connected with the things and people that matter most to me.
Christmas with the Kehler's
 After two weeks away we came home to an empty house, and an empty fridge. We stopped shopping the week before we left in an attempt to not waste anything we had already bought. This meant when we got back we hadn't been shopping in over three weeks. What do you do when you come home to an empty fridge? Usually you go to the nearest grocery store, even stop at the corner store and maybe order take out from any number of popular brand names on your speed dial. But imagine they were all gone. That's what we did this time, instead of filling my fridge right back up the day we got back to Prince George we had to wait until our local grocer's would re-open and the next farmers market, a week away. In my fridge I had:
-1 purple cabbage, that upon peeling off the first few layers was still good inside despite being 2 months old
- an onion
- 4 sprouting potatoes
- 2 wrinkly apples
- eggs that I had to individually test in water to check they were still alright to consume.
Hope, BC
That and the various canned goods (mainly pickled) and condiments in my fridge were what I planned to get through the week with. Angela baked some homemade millet bread with flower she got as a Christmas present from very considerate friends and together we created a meal with what we had that turned out pretty good if I do say so my self. I can say that I have had quite a bit of cabbage this week but at this point I need to resign myself to the fact that I will most likely be eating cabbage all winter and should just get used to it. The home made chutney's, jams and pickles that I have really add to the basic ingredients and make them more edible (like the PG enchilada's I just made with, you guessed it, more cabbage!)
After hitting the farmers market and Home Sweet Home this week I have a few more things in my fridge like cheese and butter and carrots but those staples of potatoes and cabbage are still going to be around for months... and months so time to keep experimenting!

-24 in Prince George 
This is also the year I toasted New Years with newly discovered local spirits ;) After week's of holidays it is finally time to return to school and work and the daily grind they ensue. Living even locally, rests for no one!

Happy Holidays,


"An idealist is one who, on noticing that roses smell better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make a better soup." H.L. Mencken