Last month I joined a work party to help clean up the McCarver Community Garden in my new neighborhood. The payoff? A meaningful connection to my neighbors, two garden plots to fill with vegetables, and enough cherries plucked from their mature fruit tree to make one of my best pies yet!
With a long commute and travel-filled weekends, it’s been tough to do much more than a quick water ‘n’ weed of my own plots. However, this weekend keeps me close to home, which means it’s time to roll up my sleeves and get to work. Community gardens rely on volunteers, and I encourage you to seek out a garden in your neighborhood!
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Looking for inspiration? Check out Ron Finley’s work with LA Green Grounds, or listen to his powerful narrative describing his work and passion for growing your own food. In Seattle this weekend? Perhaps you can pop by this Art in the Garden event—a great opportunity to see Ryan Henry Ward transform a retaining wall in one of Ballard’s community gardens.
I try to practice zero waste in my life in a bunch of different small ways, including:
- washing and reusing plastic baggies or finding alternatives to them;
- trying to have a refillable water bottle and coffee mug on me if I’m traveling or going out for the day;
- making awkwardly extended and pleading eye contact with grocery deli staff until they agree to use my very clean tupperware to package what I’m buying—they have really inconsistent policy on this, so I just keep asking;
- asking my younger sister with a sewing machine to make as a birthday present (thanks, Celeste!) reusable bulk bags for the grocery store from old t-shirts;
- shopping—infrequently—almost totally thrift and consignment (there’s SO much great clothing out there in the world already, without producing more! Side note: just checked out Seattle’s Green Eileen store for the first time on Wednesday evening—good stuff!);
- and (drum roll, please…) making my own deodorant!
This last one I’m particularly proud of, a) because I am far from one of those dainty women who can forego deodorant; and b) because it actually works. I’ve tried loads of “natural” deodorants, but nothing quite cut it. (No, nothing. I have the super-sweat.) So just last week, I finally tried out the Trash Is for Tossers recipe, using a bit of tea tree oil, which has some anti-bacterial properties, and peppermint oil for a light scent. The stuff is magic, and I just keep it in an old, small jam jar with my toiletries. Voila! Highly recommend. And while the initial ingredients were a touch pricey, I’ll save loads in the longer term—and spare the packaging!
We’ve been talking some more on staff about white privilege. A Seattle Times video and the article “Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person” were among our shared reading assignments. A recent New Yorker article on the subject also stood out in my evening reading, providing both a historical context and contemporary interpretation of the idea that were new to me and that show how white privilege is all the more pernicious, from its origins to today. Oh, and are you a white environmentalist in Seattle? Don’t miss this White Ally Assembly cosponsored by Got Green and Sierra Club in a couple of weeks: learn more and RSVP.