I have been pro-environment long before it was a hot topic. I have known for a long time that we need to rethink how we live to conserve energy, natural resources, and the health of our planet.
I feel very strongly about keeping it local. What? You’ve heard me say that before?! I know, it’s like my mantra. I say it all the time. I love to support local businesses and local artists. Some of my favorites can be found here. I also love eating local, really local, like grown in your backyard local.
Gardening is an easy way to support the environment, support local businesses, and eat local. It’s like a win-win-win. A trifecta for good!
GROWING YOUR OWN FOOD FEEDS THE SOUL
Even if you have a small balcony or a little sliver of a yard, you can grow your own food. There is something so satisfying about eating something you’ve grown yourself. It tastes better IMO! Also, it’s just fun getting your hands dirty.
Matt Kokenes of Microfarm Organic Gardens helps urban and suburban dwellers in Charlotte grow their own fresh, organic food, harvest rain and compost. From what to plant, where to plant it, and how to keep it alive, Matt can guide even the greenest gardener.
There are several independently-owned greenhouses and garden centers around town that not only carry vibrant healthy plants, they also are staffed with knowledgeable and friendly folks to help you.
Here are some Greenhouses and garden centers I can confidently recommend:
Blackhawk Hardware is another great place to get inspiration, ask questions and pick up some beautiful plants. They also carry pretty pots (and just about everything else you need for your home).
FEED THE BEES
Honey bees are responsible for about 80% of pollination worldwide, according to Greenpeace and we desperately need more of them. Do your part by growing bee-friendly flowers in a window box or in a planter on your uptown balcony.
The folks at Renfrow Hardware in Matthews can help you find the perfect plants for your space. Visiting this mom-and-pop place is a wonderful kid-friendly outing. They’ve been in business for 120 years and are a one-stop-shop for everything you need for your garden. They can even help you learn how to keep bees, if you’re ready to go all-in and cultivate your own colony.
A PET THAT MAKES YOU BREAKFAST
You don’t need to be a farmer to keep a few chickens in your backyard. Here are a few reasons why you might want to give it a try. They produce FOOD. You can’t get any fresher than eggs from your backyard. Also, those eggs didn’t require any processing, packaging or shipping; that reduces your carbon footprint. Did you know they eat bugs? Finally, they’re pretty darn cute.
Don’t know where to start? Renfrow Hardware has live chicks and all the info you need to start your own coop. Check out their spring chick report. Learn about the rules for having chickens in Mecklenburg County here.
In addition to (or in lieu of) growing a few of your own fruits, vegetables and flowers, support our local farmers and treat your senses by visiting area farmer’s markets.
I always find great stuff at these farmer’s markets
In the spirit of farming and appreciating the bounty of our land. There is a very robust farming community in Western North Carolina. The Appalachian Sustainable Agricultural Project is a non-profit organization based in Asheville NC (my old stomping grounds) that supports farmers. Even if you just sign up for their newsletter it’s a treat. They always provide recipes, and what is in season and just beautiful pictures of our North Carolina farms.
I have been studying sustainability for years and have been trying to condense the immense idea of saving the planet into something practical, a bit more digestible, and a lot less preachy. Gardening is practical and fun. Give it a try!