Evergreen Syrup

                                                                          EVERGREEN SYRUP!

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So visiting my best friend in Canada was AMAZING! We did so many things that was needed for a vacation away from NYC. We went to a Nordic spa in the mountains, took long walks and trail runs through her acreage in the Canadian woods. We played card and read books by the fire. We made bonfires and most importantly made delicious drinks for the bonfires also!

This is a quick recipe for Pine syrup. We actually accidentally picked it from Spruce, so either would work but Pine has a bit more distinct flavor! It can pair well with a ton of different alcohols. We used gin with tonic and you can also use a whiskey, rum galore! A hot tea would be really nice with it too.

                                                     What you'll need to make the syrup

-3
cups water
-2 cups  of any of these > sugar/maple syrup/honey
-1/2 cup pine needle

              

What to do!
1Bring your water to a boil and then put your pine needles in along with your sugar
2. Heat it on low for 2 hours
3. Strain through cheese cloth or regular strainer
4. Mix with favorite alcohol or tea (about 1 oz or so depending on preference)
5. Enjoy and share!

Compost your Pine needles, sit by the fire and enjoy!

Trash free weekend vacation

Trash free weekend vacations may sound daunting but if you think of these three things before you go, you are in the clear! Easy!
1. Bring cloth produce bags so you can get those yummy fruits, veggies and bulk items (rice, granola, dried fruits) in non plastic bags!
2. Bring some bell jars just in case (bulk peanut butter, apple cider, olive oil etc…)
3. Bring a recyclable and compostable paper grocery bag for your compost!

Getting away from New York City for the weekend is probably one of the most fulfilling things out there ! My friends and I are trying to maintain a fairly new tradition of going to this forest house that these amazing friends of ours lets us borrow. So this year the excitement was high! Since going trash free, the first thing I thought of was, how cool if this entire trip could be trash free. It seems a bit of a stretch if you involve people who are not trash free, however my friends are eco-conscious beings so they were all in. 

I started by packing all of the things I already had in my house. Baking items, dinner ingredients, etc… It is super easy to pack up without creating trash since everything is already in a bell jar, because I shop in bulk for all my ingredients. You can find bulk if you just do a little research! I go to 4th street co op in Manhattan for most, and then whole foods has some good raw granola options. But I try and stick to co ops for their variety and sourcing. For fruits and vegetables, I get what is in season at the farmers market which you can easily find too! Not only are the things you will buy way healthier, but they will be local which cuts carbon emissions in the atmosphere from those long food shipments across the country. Make sure your grower has an organic and sustainable practice. I promise it makes what you put in your body worth the effort.

So alas this is the forest house! This post will be heavy on the photos because there are too many goodies to pass up. 

Our breakfasts were really simple and super flavorful! Sweet potatoes, eggs and onions from the farmers market and we had french press coffee. Nothing to throw away and we composted all our food scraps and coffee grinds. The mornings were so nice, chilly, and crisp. We played Andrew Bird and sat and ate outside in the sunroom. Its hard in the city sometimes to sit in thought for too long without thinking you need to do something busy. Here, we could sit all day amidst the trees that were doing the same thing. All in good company.

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This is a really important to-do if you are gonna be trash free. COMPOST!  Not only are you freeing up space in landfills but when food is suffocated in landfills it creates a green house gas called methane! Food also isn't trash! 

With all my food scraps I put them in the freezer in one of these bags you see to the left. I will take it to a drop off at a local farmers market once a week. You can do your research to find the best compost drop off near you! 

We went to the market upstate to grocery shop for our dinners and we made it a serious point to not create any trash! I brought cloth produce bags for all our veggies, and we made almond milk in case of any smoothies. We even brought a huge mason jar so we can have apple cider! No plastic gallon!

We did some really beautiful hikes and every now and then we would find a field to eat our snacks in and catch up on girly things. We are all going through some tumultuous stages in our life so it was really important we take in the energy of the trees and the air, and to re-absorb the big picture.

Love these girls so much! They are the most grounded, silly, and sweet beings I could ever know. It is so important for us as individuals to take care of ourselves, each other, and the well being of the environment we are surrounded in. To open our eyes fully to every aspect of our impact whether it be with our relationships, ourselves, and how we treat nature is truly the most important way to live. 

Buy it old, make it new!

When you think of climate change, pollution, and global warming what are the first things you think of?
I know that a year ago my response would have been gasoline from cars, oil spills and big tractors tearing down trees for paper. Then I assumed that since I wasn't driving or using too much paper that I was pretty awesome at steering clear of any big environmental impact. I would then go online for hours browsing my designated big brand sites and put a bunch of things in my cart and when they were on sale or cheap enough, all of them would be mine. What did I love about these cheap buys? Well for the obvious was that I could buy for quantity. It really didn't matter the quality. As long as I could wear it a couple times I was good.
So what is the big deal here? One person who buys some cheap stuff and wears them once and gets rid of them. It's just a handful of garments every couple months. It's accessible, it's legal, everyone does it and no one is saying it's a big deal. Well, welcome to the world where advertisements and big brands can fluff up ANY tragic situation that they are creating. They are their own elephant in the room. Also, you are one person that is making this decision along with the other millions of people in the world making that same one. That is the BIG problem. 
There is devastating environmental damage in EVERY stage of what you could be wearing right now. There is atmospheric pollution from constant transportation across the globe, and more carbon dioxide being emitted from the heavy machinery being used to produce these textiles/garments and now doubling because of the fast fashion boom. Throughout the entire supply chain, the industry places destructively heavy demand on every aspect of the environment by using copious amounts of energy, water, raw materials, and releasing harmful chemicals. After researching and realizing that I, the consumer, have all the power in this production, I decided I cannot live with this burden anymore. What's the remedy? Buy vintage or second hand. Not only is it cheaper, but it has far lower emissions.

You may be thinking: 
"Okay okay, what are the tedious steps to take to stop my habit of fast fashion? Man it seems really hard and inconvenient."
 First let go of that thought. Once you tie yourself to the idea of trying to break a habit, you end up feeding into your deviant thoughts about it and already want to fail. This day and age you can find a thrift store just about anywhere and there are amazing vintage shops on Etsy or ebay that will send you packages in all minimal, reusable, recyclable and no plastic packaging. I would advise you to do your research on this matter to spark your own motivation behind it, and I guarantee you will never look back.

These photos were by my wonderful friend and photographer, Kassia Phoy. She came to NYC to explore and she took some amazing pictures along the way. I had the honor of hanging out with her for a dinner and she made some time for a little roof top fun. Check out her website to be bedazzled by the way she sees the beautiful world:  http://www.kassiaphoy.com

My top is Free People top from a second hand store that was $8.00 and my white boyfriend denim jeans are from Reformation.

My top is Free People top from a second hand store that was $8.00 and my white boyfriend denim jeans are from Reformation.

THREE APPLE RECIPES

Happy Fall everyone! I am sure everyone has a bucket list of Fall "things to do".  A big one for me is apple picking!! I got the honor to do it with one of my favorite humans the other week. We drove upstate and explored nature, went fishing, searched for indian spears and told stories…oh, and picked about 40 beautiful apples. He left them at my house and I was a little overwhelmed with possibility. Here is a post that includes 3 apple recipes; all gluten free, and all ranging in flavor, density, and texture! Yummy! Oh, and what is the best part??! All the flours and ingredients are trash free/zero waste!  You can get them all in bulk  or make them (leftover almond meal into almond flour). The apple cores can be composted and now everyones happy and so is our earth. <3 

MELTED APPLE CRUMBLE!!! (warm, gooey, and the perfect amount of sweet)

The coolest thing about this is that all of the ingredients can be bought zero waste and trash free. Find a co-op or bulk section in your grocery store and they have everything you need. It always helps me to remember why you are going to these lengths to not create trash/live minimal. We are in the day and age that we can no longer afford to live life without responsibility. If we want to continue to enjoy our earth and the fresh air, we need to act like our choices depend on it….because IT DOES. This new industrial world has somehow created an easy space in our minds to be careless with what we buy when that is truly all that matters. Every action has a reaction. Lets make them count!

INGREDIENTS:

Base and top crumble:
2 cups almond flour or half with coconut flour too (I make almond flour myself, click HERE to do it too!)
1/2 cup maple syrup (or honey or whatever sweetener you have! mix and match!)
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (any spices you want)
3 tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Apples:
1 1/2 cups diced and cored apples (Compost your cores!!)
1/3 cup maple syrup or anything you prefer (sweeten to taste)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (any spice you would like)

RECIPE:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F and grease a loaf pan with coconut oil or olive oil.
2. Mix ingredients of base/crumble in big bowl and set aside. Toss the apple mixture in bowl and set aside.
3. Spread most of your mix on the bottom of your loaf pan, patting down lightly to form the bottom crust. Save some mix for your crumble topping!
4. Pour your apple mixture and even out throughout pan.
5. Take the rest of your mix and spread throughout the top of the apples. Pat down lightly assuring the crumble gets in between the apples!
6. Bake for 30-50 minutes depending on the texture you want. If you want it more crumbly and fall apart gooey do less and if you want more of a bar texture, do more! Enjoy! 

 

SIMPLE APPLE CAKE

A cake that's sweet and fluffy, yet moist! The lemon zest adds a perfectly light and unique zing.
This was one of my favorites because of how light, fluffy, yet moist it was. I tried THIS recipe and it was absolutely amazing so I tweaked it to to fit what I could get in bulk and what I already had in my kitchen. It has lemon zest so it makes for a really beautiful and unique flavor. It would be really yummy with some home made frosting but I did without because I thought it would be a simple and perfect breakfast treat with some earthy and milky tea.

So for this recipe you are going to need to make apple sauce! Which is easy!
Apple sauce:
1. Take at least 4 apples ( I used about 10 so I had plenty of leftovers for a snack)
2. Dice them all up (compost your cores!)
3. Throw them in a big pot with about a cup of water. Not too much but just enough for the apples to boil down with them.
4. Put in maple syrup or honey or brown sugar with any spices! I used cinnamon and nutmeg.
5. Cover and wait. Stir occasionally.
6. BOOM. Its done when you have a mushy or mostly mushy consistency. YUM.

INGREDIENTS:
2 eggs
2 cups apple sauce
Zest from one meyer lemon (or regular)
1/2 cup maple syrup (or any sweetener you have)
1/3 cup coconut oil or olive oil
2 cups brown rice flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt



RECIPE:
1. Puree all the wet ingredients with the lemon zest together
2. In separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients.
3. Pour wet ingredients slowly into dry ingredients and stir til combined.
4. Pour straight into your pan and into the oven!
5. Bake about 50 minutes or until the cake springs back up when you lightly touch it.

APPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE!!

This was my room mates favorite by far. Its not a dessert sweet loaf but it has mild hues of warm slight sweetness. There is a caramelized apple layer that pleasantly surprises you. Its dense and perfect literally for a snack or breakfast or dessert. It's so delicious when warm with butter on top. Remember to buy all your ingredients bulk or at the farmers market, or at your local co-op!

Bring your treats in a glass tupperware for a picnic to share! I brought a couple forks too. <3

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 banana or 1 egg (for binding)
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup or 3/4 cup of maple syrup
1 cup almond milk
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups diced apples
cut some apple rounds for the caramelized bottom. Maybe 8 slices

Recipe:

1. Preheat oven to 325 F
2. If you have recyclable cake paper then cut til it fits bottom of loaf pan and grease sides
otherwise
Grease bottom and sides of pan with coconut oil/olive oil
3. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl
4. Add in wet ingredients until smooth
5. Fold in apples.
6.(Read and follow instructions below for caramelized apple rounds)
7. After you put in your apple rounds and sauce, then pour batter over it.
8. Bake for 55 minutes or until ready.
9. Let cool and work edges away from pan with spatula or smooth knife, then flip onto plate!

Before you put the batter into the loaf pan:
Caramelized apple rounds for bottom of pan

1. In a small bowl whisk together
      1/2 cup butter or coconut oil
      1/3 cup maple syrup or agave
      1 tablespoon vanilla
      1 tablespoon cinnamon
2. Set up your apple rounds at the bottom of your pan
3. Pour mixture evenly on apple rounds at the bottom of pan.
 

So this is a double subject post. One is a simple outing with me and my best friend Leslie! Where we pretty much saved a small trash can that could have been filled with packaging, wrappers, and plastic nothings, but being prepared to be zero waste, we eliminated the need for one. It's so easy for you to do it too! Check out simple ecology to buy their totes and produce bags! I take them everywhere with me and I use it for morning treats, bulk, and all my produce. They come in a ton of sizes for all your needs. 
The other is exciting for me also!
I am so happy and honored to have gotten interviewed by a good friend of mine over at Etsy for their employee only E-zine!! The e-zine issue was their zero waste issue and my blog and I was their main feature! So here is the interview part of it in case anyone wanted to check it out!

Stevie Van Horn, Coming Down from Trash Mountain
Interview by Trey French

What a babe she is.

What a babe she is.

Stevie has been on a mission for some time now to throw trash to the curb. Well, to actually zap the trash on the curb, or turn it into something useful. There’s an impressive amount of waste-conscious folks out there, but Stevie is a full blown waste reduction/elimination zealot. She’s growing her young blog, Trading Waste for Abundance, where you can find things like 5 REASONS FARMERS MARKETS KICK ASS; trash-free banana bread, almond milk, smoothies and more; being trash free away from home; an intro course on how to get started producing less trash, and plenty more.

 

TREY ~ So Stevie, how long, approximately, has it been since you left trash mountain?

STEVIE ~ I hiked down from the treacherous mountain on my birthday this past April, on the 5th. So five months now! Woohoo! But planning to make the perfect abled and equipped descent took about 2 months prior.

TREY ~ How do you define trash, and can someone truly live up to “zero waste?”

STEVIE ~ Trash to me nowadays is anything that I cannot utilize or whatever cannot be composted, reused, or recycled (I try to make recycling my last option). It used to, however, be defined to me as anything I didn’t eat, use, or need.

It is 100% possible to be zero waste! I will say though, if said person is wanting to do it on the exact routine, diet plan or behavior of their old lifestyle, then they will fail miserably. To succeed in zero waste, one must be prepared for every situation they face in a single day. You get thrown a lot of trash per day out of convenience and it’s just replacing and being prepared to say no way. It also means truly changing the things you never even thought about, even wiping your booty. I am still having trouble with this one... and I’m not having actual trouble with wiping my booty, but you get it (toilet paper). Dedicated people out there use cloth paper for their feces though, and I just can’t quite bring myself to that point....yet. 

The hard parts though are the things you least expect. The random straws you get when you are out to eat, that lime with your margarita (I bring them home to my compost), when you hike or get a workout in and forget your own jar for water, and plastic water bottles are calling your name. Technically, these things register to a person as small and insignificant, but did you know each day we use 500,000,000 straws? These straws are made from petroleum plastics, which are designed to last forever, and we see them in oceans, lakes, parks etc... Do we really all need to sip on these plastic mini tubes? We have lips for a reason; for making out and drinking stuff. Don’t get me started on plastic water bottles....

TREY ~ The Etsy Sustainability Commission (ESC) aspires to achieve zero waste operations in the future. What do you think? Can a B Corp company like Etsy do it?

STEVIE ~ Uhhh hell yeah. I think anything can be done with mindfulness and an amazing team willing to be conscious participants of the earth. I am totally not surprised that a badass company like Etsy that has their eyes on the sustainable prize can make it happen. KUDOS.

Look at everything that is here, and now think of all of this that it is usually packed out in. So far it would be a plastic blueberry pint, a bag for my loaf, another plastic container for my almonds, and 2 cups with lids, straws etc for our drinks, and another bag to hold it all together. That would be just one outing for two people. So unnecessary! These bell jars can be found at thrift stores or any grocery store for cheap, and these bags by simple ecology (http://www.simpleecology.com) are saving so much trash every day!

Look at everything that is here, and now think of all of this that it is usually packed out in. So far it would be a plastic blueberry pint, a bag for my loaf, another plastic container for my almonds, and 2 cups with lids, straws etc for our drinks, and another bag to hold it all together. That would be just one outing for two people. So unnecessary! These bell jars can be found at thrift stores or any grocery store for cheap, and these bags by simple ecology (http://www.simpleecology.com) are saving so much trash every day!

TREY ~ What daily waste habits of the New York crowd just really bums you out? Be honest—be brutal, even.

STEVIE ~ Oh man. The plethora of cups and bottles. That really grinds my gears (I promise I’m not old or senile.) I dove into a trash can once because I’m insane and curious and it’s all coffee cups that can’t be recycled or composted and plastic cups! I was thinking…this one trash can that is overflowing with these things can be so easily empty if a group of people had a conscious effort in the morning to bring their own cup or jar. Now picture all the trash cans in the city. My mind wraps around that pretty much every time I see an overflowing trash.

TREY ~ There’s an environmental activist and farmer fellow named Wendell Berry who’s spent most of his career arguing that to be sustainable, one must first align the workings of their homes with the patterns of the ecosystem—or get themselves in order on the small scale and work outward to preserve Mother Earth. How have you in a sense reimagined the operations of your household to be more sustainable? Do you even have a trash bin in your apartment?

STEVIE ~ I still have repercussions of my old behaviors in my cosmetic bags and closet that I am still phasing out. I used to have a hobby and addiction called online shopping. I would get packages 3­ to 4 times a week ranging in sunscreens and lip balms to bulk chia seeds and cheap crop tops.

I have now reimagined my household by understanding what is a true necessity: food, few clothes, and being clean. All of these things I can accomplish in a sustainable and minimal way, whether it’s making my own almond milk, bringing my own cloth bags for groceries, or composting all my food scraps. I shop at the farmers market for fruits and veggies every week and I shop second hand for clothes and donate things I do not need. Minimal living is kind of my new obsession. 
As for the trash bin, I have 3 roommates all of which are not trash free, so we do have one. They are definitely thoughtful humans who try their best though! The perks of being trash free are never ever taking out the trash again. When it is filled to the brim, it does bring me sadness, however knowing I have no contribution to the bin and where it will be going is so fulfilling.

TREY ~ Do you have any dietary restrictions that you balance along with being trashless? If so, do these restrictions make the trash free life more of a challenge to navigate?

STEVIE ~ I am gluten free and try to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Being trash free with these restrictions actually make it so much easier. I don’t need to read the back of any boxes or plastic packages anymore because I am not buying them! Bulk is easy depending on what you get and farmers market produce is not an issue either. I naturally stop craving chocolates and sugar I do not need, and if I do crave it, I can eat some beautiful fruit or I can get chocolate in bulk or at a specialty shop. Now, for the first time ever, I actually feel in control of what I eat. There is the constant thought of, “Okay, what do you really need, what are you actually craving?” and now those questions always fall true to what my body is actually wanting and not what it wants to binge on.

TREY ~ If you were walking down a trafficless highway in the middle of a desert out West with no water fountains, cacti, or storm clouds brewing above, you had consumed all of your water supply, and there was a bottled water vendor on the shoulder of the road, would you purchase the water or be #core and go into ultimate survivor mode and recycle your already-consumed water—if you know what I mean?

STEVIE ~ Hahahaha, this is my favorite question, and yes I know what you mean. I would like to say I would totally drink my “own water,” but if put in that desperate situation of life or death I honestly may get myself a damn bottle of water. Give me some credit though, I would keep that bottle forever and when the comfortable kind of living greets me again I will make that damn bottle either a mini terrarium or a cocktail shaker.

TREY ~ Do you have a “trash jar” (you know, like a “curse jar” that yo mamma might have kept on the kitchen table) that you put money in every time you waste something? Is this a lame question?

STEVIE ~ Haha, I do have a trash jar! I like the idea that I utilize everything I purchase and to make sure what I purchase is all around sustainable (packaging, its source, its impact, material, lifespan, and life cycle).So when I do have to throw something away, it goes in there. It sounds a bit silly but it holds me accountable and I have one of many sayings to myself that goes... “If you would be ashamed of putting it on display, then rethink it.” So there are things in there that I am ashamed of, but gotta rep it to keep myself true to my endeavors.

TREY ~ Are there any people, groups, organizations, or any zero waste resources in the local community doing sustainable or regenerative work that you’d like to mention?

STEVIE ~ There are so many people making a difference that I want to name. A really important group is North Brooklyn Farms. Last year they created an empty space into a beautiful park called the Havemeyer Park. It lasted the summer and then got torn down and made into an apartment building. This year they reshaped this unused space next to the old Domino building into a beautiful park and farm. I think it is so important for people to reconnect with nature, especially in the city. As much as anyone can scold others on over­consumption habits that deteriorate earth’s resources and trying to educate them on the importance of nature, it will not mean a thing unless they have a personal bond with what is being jeopardized. This small but amazing group of people, who have worked day in and day out to create this space for others to enjoy and connect to, have made it so easy to make this idea surface in our brains.

 

***

My friend Trey over at Etsy interviewed me about my blog/lifestyle for a project by the Etsy Sustainability Commission and the interview does not reflect the views of Etsy, Inc… itself.

Purchase old, make it new.

My blog posts lately have been about how to stay trash free in your daily life, whether it be with coffee outings, groceries, or baking because I firmly believe keeping trash out of landfills, oceans, parks and everywhere else it gets leaked is so important! This post is a bit different as I have been researching a lot of things on how the way we live is being correlated to carbon emissions without even seeing it affect our lives…yet. Our personal transport, fashion, food habits and even how our home is set up has everything to do with our environmental impact. 

The fashion industry these days is scary. It is the second largest user of water in the world. Cotton is the largest single source of fibre for global apparel and over 53% of cotton fields in the world require irrigation, and most of these sources are where water is already scarce. The Aral Sea lost 70% of its volume as a result of diverting water to grow cotton in the desert.  With our unsustainable throw away fashion mentality, it seems like we care about quantity more than quality. I say this because I was one of those people who online shopped with cheap apparel eyes. If it was on sale, it was pretty much mine. I went through leggings about once every month and was obsessed with dresses I would never wear but "had" to have. Clothes were piling up and I would wear only 1/3 of what I had.

So what is the hope? Duh! Buy second hand clothes! Imagine if we all lived simple and had a few dresses, a few tops, a couple jeans etc.. and then donated what we got sick of and bought more vintage and so on and so forth. That cycle would be beautiful and we would never have to manufacture clothes again! That dream is far from reality but I shall make it come true for myself, and you can too!!

Here is an outing with one of my best friends, Dana. We went to the creek on this very hot day and we decided to have a picnic!

It is so much easier to bring your own cloth bags and jars for picnics. No throw away annoyances, it feels classier, and it looks way better. Make sure to compost any banana peels or food scraps after you're done! I bring a jar so I can bring it home to my freezer compost! 

It is so much easier to bring your own cloth bags and jars for picnics. No throw away annoyances, it feels classier, and it looks way better. Make sure to compost any banana peels or food scraps after you're done! I bring a jar so I can bring it home to my freezer compost! 

I have a vintage Minolta camera with 35mm expired film and I currently have an infatuation with how gentle, personal, and beautiful the photos turn out. I get them processed onto a memory card and I keep the plastic cartridges for reuse. So here below are a few photos from that. The dresses we each bought are from vintage thrift stores. I got my dress for $8 and those thrift sunglasses for $9 and Dana got her dress for $15. Its just one of those dresses you can go anywhere with because of the flow and ease of it. I'm in love.

Hey look at Dana sporting that classy jar full of sugar snap peas!! :D

Hey look at Dana sporting that classy jar full of sugar snap peas!! :D

Dana snuck in a picture of me while I was taking in the creek breeze before we swam. The top is a 70's vintage ribbed piece. My new favorite summer top.

I spy a blonde monkey babe in the trees. <3

No mug, no coffee.

There are small activities in our daily lives that bring excitement to an otherwise mundane day. In the western world we can all agree that one of these things is coffee! I love this culture because there are so many ways to delight in this beverage. Whether it's an intimate conversation, a date, a quick pick me up, or a morning pattern; coffee has wiggled its way into the lives of all of us in one way or another. We get our cup, have our conversation, and get rid of that cup and carry on with our lives. But as much as you'd like to think that the conversation/bond between the person you shared your cup with was the most permanent thing to happen from this outing, you can guess again. That cup you had a month ago that you drank for maybe 20 minutes and pitched is still in the landfill. That cup you had 10 years ago when you had your very first date is also still in the landfill. There is no hope of it disappearing either. Now multiply it by how many you've had in a year. Then multiply that by millions of people in the states each year who have a cup every day, maybe even twice a day. Is that not astounding? This is where the culture has gone wrong. It is not just a distant statistic where we can sigh, shrug our shoulders, and continue hoping that something will be done. WE are the culture. In a year, 14.4 billion coffee cups are used and thrown away. That is 900 million pounds of cups a year, just forever here on the earth.


What can you do? Grab a bell jar or mug in your cabinet! We all have one. If not, there are plenty of amazing old school mugs and bell jars at thrift stores so you can make your carbon footprint even less. If this picture doesn't make you want to never buy plastic or non recyclable paper cups again, I don't know what will. I took this photo after the beach at this beautiful plant/coffee shop in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I spy with my eye an iced early grey tea with honey.

So make it a rule : No mug, no coffee. That way there is incentive behind it. Being sustainable is all about being prepared for the things we get offered in our every day lives for convenience (paper cups, plastic everything, straws, etc…) , and to decline it, and change it.  Be the different system. Not because you are trying to live an "alternative" lifestyle, but because you believe that everything you give and are given, should be utilized and sustainable for the well being of the planet. 

Farmers Market lovin'

If you were to ask me a year ago what I thought of farmers markets, I would have simply replied "they're cute!"
This thought saddens me because they are such an important part of sustaining our environment and the building of a community. The fact that I wasn't worried about where my food was coming from, what its environmental impact was, and what exactly is sprayed on or in my food is scary to me. Why have we been not taught to ask questions on our social, agricultural, or economic standards? 
In our world, we go to a grocery store and we are automatically closed off from the facts. Were these animals completely tortured their entire lives so we can get a discount on steak and chicken?  Do most of the products in this grocery store come from third world countries where they exploit workers? How many options do we have on cereals, chips, and other foods that have fake ingredients, but claim to be sugar free with no written indication that it causes cancer and other diseases? Welp, as long as there is nice lighting and irrelevant music, we can dismiss these things and purchase which packaging looks aesthetically nice.
Enough with the grocery store talk though, I wrote this post to give my reasons why the farmers market is so damn important and fun, and can be such an integral part of every day happiness.
 

I bring my own cloth produce bags and glass tupperware for zero waste storage! As pictured above! :)

5 REASONS WHY FARMERS MARKETS KICK ASS

1.  Supporting the local farm!  You walk through and see all of these amazing colors and bountiful produce and then directly in the same vicinity, you meet the men or women behind it all.  Nowadays I find it strange and just no fun to have my money and my belly go to large corporations based in other states and countries who don't practice environmental or social justice.  By supporting local farmers you can put a face to the grower, know that there are fewer hands behind the establishment, know they are getting a better return for their goods, and the food is way more delicious. 
2.  Better for the Environment! Without even realizing it, your food travels thousands of miles just to get to your plate. With travel, you're creating way more pollution. Factory corporate farms are also taking over our world and our grocery stores. The scary part is that these businesses are one of the most unsustainable practices of our time, poisoning our earth and their consumers. They are responsible for the destruction and abuse of the land, the animals and of resources. The best way to get your food is local and sustainable. Better for you, better for local farmers, better for the planet.
3. The food is way tastier! Buying for the season is one of my favorite reasons to buy local. Only bringing out the freshest of the seasons bounty, you know exactly what your climate can produce at the time. The flavors and the produce are at its truest peak and were just pulled from the trees and fields the day before. The farmers always love to tell me that their fruit was only picked only 12 hours ago. They urge me to try every type of berry and even urge me to go visit their farm which is only a 2 hour drive to meet everyone. This reason alone can be reason enough for me.
4. Better for you! In most of our grocery stores, they source from factory farms and corporate farms which means a high demand for cheap and convenient foods. This also means these agribusinesses use growth hormones, synthetic fertilizers, poisonous pesticides, and highly processed goods. This denatures all of the nutrients and beauty the food even has to offer. With local farmers, their entire paradigm is producing a item with the best integrity. Their intention is to grow the most wonderful produce possible, to practice sustainability and choose techniques fit for the environment. So not only are you getting natures full nutrients with the goods you buy, but you know that the practice itself is fit for earth.
5. Making friends! When I say making friends, it sounds bit weird. But I really mean forming a community. It is the best feeling to grocery shop outside and stroll through a farmers market feeling the calm, positive and excited energy of the consumers and growers. It makes it something to look forward to instead of something you have to cross of the to-do list. Bring a friend, make a friend, get educated on your food, and enjoy the scene! 

Also to make your farmers market adventure completely zero waste make sure to bring your glass tupperware for meats and cheeses and other berries that might have a stain effect and your cloth produce bags for all your other fruits and veggies!

After you shop for your heart and your tummy, bring it to your home and feel even happier.

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