Saving Family Green: 2012 Goals for the Year

As we enter into 2012, I have been thinking a lot about what can we as individuals do better in the year that lies ahead.  Some of this has been prompted by my recent reading of No Impact Man, however some of these ideas are just reemerging for me as I think about the new year and what I would like for my family to challenge ourselves with.

For 2012, I really want to share more about where we are in terms of Sustainability.  As I've mentioned before this blog is not really intended for deals related to Organic or Natural foods.  There are many great bloggers out there who detail how to purchase more healthy options while maintaining a budget.  The intent of this blog is really to chronicle where we are as a family, how we got here, how it has been done on an average family's budget and really share ways in which anyone can really change the way in which we do things.

A lot of these ideas are counter cultural.  We live in a disposable society of convenience everything.  The big question for myself is, how can I change that perspective for my little family in Suburban Ohio?

So, here is what I've come up with.  Ways in which we can lessen our impact on the environment, but still keep some modern conveniences.  Ultimately my goal is to keep my children healthy in terms of the food I give them and the air they breath (indoor air quality).

In the book, No Impact Man, Colin Beavan speaks towards the next great person who will make a difference in terms of idea of Sustainability.  The more I think about it, why can't my family be an advocate for living a different way.  We are truly embedded in it.  I have shared here before that I work in Construction, building "Green" Schools (United States Green Building Council - Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver Certified) in the State of Ohio.  I am an advocate for better learning environments, good indoor air quality, day-lighting and overall building efficient school buildings for future generations.  My husband, while an Architect by trade, has become an Energy Auditor spending his days analyzing homes to determine how they might make a home more energy efficient by additional insulation for example.  Prior to becoming an Energy Auditor, he was on the forefront of Sustainable Architecture specializing in residential design.  He continues to provide these services through his company, Symhome

I jokingly say that we are raising little "Teenie Weenie Greenies", but I think we have impacted them already at 6 and 3.  My son, the 3-year-old, informs me constantly about things wasting energy.  The kids know that when they are finished with their fruit, the remnants go in the compost bin.

Saving Family Green - Goals for 2012

For 2012, I have broken down the goals we would like to accomplish as a family into 3 areas of concentration.  They are as follows:

1.  Rethink Food Choices.  This will include where food comes from.  We will strive to eat foods that are grown and/ or processed within 500 miles of our home.

2.  Reduce Waste.  How can we better reduce the abundance of waste that is such a huge part of our culture?

3.  Cook and Bake from Scratch.  This also ties into reducing waste.  We will be figuring out ways to cook and bake from scratch with local ingredients (again, 500 mile radius) and to reduce waste by reducing packaging from items that we would typically purchase (i.e. bread).

Next week I will share the Goal for each month for each of these categories.  To give you an idea, the following is what we have already been up to this month (January).

January Goals

Rethink Food Choices:  Eat only Ohio grown produce.  With the exception of bananas, mandarin oranges and some grapes, we have maintained this goal since January 1.

Reduce Waste:  No Fast Food.  For the entire year.  If it has a drive-thru, it is not an option.

Cook and Bake from Scratch:  Bake bread. 

Note:  Some of the links referenced in this post are my referral links.  You can read Saving Family Green's Material Connection Disclosure Policy here.

Sustainable Saturday - It's All About Food! (and Local Resources)

This week I am sharing an article and resources which focus on Local Eating, Growing and Self-Sufficiency.  Next week I hope to share on Saving Family Green our Family's Goals for 2012 and specifically those related to Local Eating, Growing and Self-Sufficiency.

A Deliciously Resourceful Town Aims For Total Food Self-Sufficiency Within 7 Years

Admittedly, it sounds like the most foolhardy of criminal capers, and one of the cheekiest, too.  

Outside the police station in the small Victorian mill town of Todmorden, West Yorkshire, there are three large raised flower beds.  

If you’d visited a few months ago, you’d have found them overflowing with curly kale, carrot plants, lettuces, spring onions — all manner of vegetables and salad leaves.

Read more of this article hereAbout Incredible Edible:  We grow and campaign for local food.  Our growing around town is organised by our community growers’ group: find out about that here.  From our beginnings with herb gardens, we’ve taken to planting and growing veggies and trees round town we’ve planted several orchards and there are more to come, and we’re working with public bodies round town to use their land – like the fire station and the railway station – or to work with them on their own Incredible ideas – like social landlord Pennine Housing.  Every school in the town is now involved in growing with us and we promote food-based learning for the community as a whole.

Here in Central Ohio we have some great local resources available on the topic of Local Eating and Growing: 

Local Matters has put together 'Growing Our Own' Free Workshop Series.  "Growing Our Own" is a FREE workshop series packed with opportunities to learn exciting new things, network with growers and other members of the community, eat delicious foods and get some free giveaways!  

JANUARY 21 — 12:00–2:00PM 

Art and Gardens

Artists and growers, don’t miss this opportunity to connect creatives with gardeners who are interested in having creative input and art in their gardens. Artists Melissa Vogley-Woods and Elena Harvey Collins will discuss planning, funding and shared visions. Lunch provided. 

FEBRUARY 11 & 12 — 8:30AM–4:00PM

Growing Communities Free Weekend Workshop 

In this award-winning 2-day workshop designed by the American Community Gardening Association you’ll gain skills and strategies to work with the most important aspect of gardens—people.

Attendees will learn proven strategies to build dynamic leaders and create strong gardening programs, using a participatory approach to community building. Delicious food provided!

*Remember, this workshop will NOT be located at The Godman Guild. Check back for an update about the location TBA!* 

FEBRUARY 25 — 9:00AM–12:00PM

Grow Year-Round: Hoop Houses, Low Tunnels & Cold Frames  

Learn how to grow food and herbs year round! Join us for an information session on the wide range of ways that we can all extend the midwest seasons. Featuring a presentation from Hal Green with OSU Extension greenhouses. You'll leave the workshop with inspiration and building plans. 

MARCH 3 — 9:00AM–1:00PM

Planning and Seeding Your Garden

Join Pam Bennet from OSU Extension for essential garden planning tips and learn how to grow your own seedlings. Growers can increase diverse, healthy plants in their gardens, adding more to our kitchens and plate. Learn about heirloom plants and gain successful growing tips for lush gardens. All attendees will also receive free seeds!  

MARCH 24 — 9:00AM–1:00PM

Fruits and Berries 

Mark Meckling and Mark Langifeld of OSU extension will lead this two-part workshop about fruit and berries, the most in-demand local crop. Learn the basics of fruit tree growing and care and, plus

ways to include healthy, delicious berries in your meals. You’ll also learn about the best sources to purchase fruit trees and berries in Ohio. Includes a tasting of local fruits for all attendees. Yum!  

APRIL 14 — 10:00–12:00


Join the owners of Green Edge Gardens to learn how to grow your own mushrooms from start to finish. We’ll conclude by sharing a delicious mushroom and local herb pizza! 

MAY 19 — 9:00–12:00

Irrigating Urban Gardens

Dr. Larry Brown and Angelica Huerta from OSU will lead this hands-on workshop to learn how to build irrigation systems that will allow you to grow higher-yielding crops with less labor!  

JUNE 2 — 10:00–12:00

Water Harvesting: Methods, Care and Resources

Local experts Rain Brothers and FLOW (Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed) will talk about programs for discounted or free rain barrels, how to care for rain barrels and cisterns, winterization and other helpful tips.
You’ll also receive free materials for planning and planting rain gardens to direct water for your individual garden needs.

TO REGISTER: Please RSVP to Cole Wardell via email at or by calling the Local Matters office at 614-263-5662.

A cedar waxwing enjoys a berryThis six-part series will challenge your concept of suburban gardening. Learn more about beekeeping, urban farming, growing not-usually-found-at-the-nursery plants, the benefits of using native plants, intensive vegetable growing and spring flowers. Call 614-842-6320 for more information.

October 20: Jayne Barnes of Honeyrun Farm will discuss beekeeping and how to make honey and honey products. Items will be available for purchase.

November 17: Native shrubs and small trees play an important role in the ecology of suburban landscapes. Peter Lowe, a public garden horticulturalist at The Ohio State University, will explain more.

February 16: Don't miss the planting time! Don Humphrey, lifelong gardener and Worthington resident, will discuss how, through intensive gardening, you can grow a wide variety of vegetables for nine months of the year.

March 15: Welcome the arrival of spring wild flowers, a sure cure for the winter blues, as Sue Stevens talks about the principles of shade gardening.

April 19: Veteran hobby gardener Dave Marsolo grows plants you may not find in local nurseries and explains how you, too, can become a certified "plants person."

May 17: Urban farms? Yes! They are happening across the United States. Clintonville farmer Joseph Swain shares his experience with this new phenomenon. 

Where:  Griswold Center, 777 High Street, Worthington, OH 43085
Note:  Some of the links referenced in this post are my referral links.  You can read Saving Family Green's Material Connection Disclosure Policy here.

health freedom alliance: 7 Foods You Should Never Eat

7 Foods You Should Never Eat

Although this article was published almost a month ago, I just happened to stumble across the other day.  I thought it was worth sharing.  Some of these ideas I will be sharing when I publish our Family Goals for 2012.

Here is article which shows why a toxicologist won’t eat microwavable popcorn or why a farmer will not eat non organic potatoes or why a fishery expert stays away from farmed salmon. Read on to learn why, as well as other foods you should stay away from.

 Note:  Some of the links referenced in this post are my referral links.  You can read Saving Family Green's Material Connection Disclosure Policy here.