The Nature of WasteFebruary 22, 2010 6:35 am
I hope that you have been enjoying the first bites of spring this weekend! We enjoyed warmer breezes and a few rays of sunshine peeking through the clouds. According to the Farmer?s Almanac, March 1st is the last possible day of a freeze. Since this is the last week of February, it appears that we are very close to the end of winter! We enjoyed absolutely beautiful, non-rainy weather on Thursday and Saturday, and it made playing with the fruits and veggies even that much more fun!
Before I get started on talking about waste, composting, etc. I want to make sure that I tell everyone to please go the speed limit in the neighborhood when you are picking up your shares, in Royal Oaks especially. The speed limit is 20 mph. Although it is s short drive from the neighborhood gate to the parking lot, there are about 3-6 people getting tickets every week. You will be ticketed, and the fine is approximately $100-$300!!! Yikes! I say this to help you! There are five signs when you enter the neighborhood that serve as a reminder, but I really want to remind people as to avoid the pain of having to be pulled over. The neighborhood has no sidewalks, and there are tons of children running around, so please, please, be conscious of the speed limit so that we can all live in peace and harmony. Take a deep breath and enjoy the ride. :o)
As for the topic of the week, I have had so many ask me about waste lately. When I say waste, I refer to the scraps that are not used or being eaten in your box. Is it normal to have waste when you eat produce? Of course! It is the nature of produce to have waste and scraps! I dislike even calling it waste because I do not consider it to be so (I will explain why). So many have been expressing their concerns that they do not know how to deal with ?waste,? and they feel badly when they have scraps. I?m here to let you know that this is completely normal. No fear! Produce leftovers or cutouts are not actually ?waste? at all, but they can be used again to create new life and help the earth. It is quite a beautiful thing!
To begin, it is important to know that nothing in nature that is grown organically will be perfect. Organic produce looks different all of the time. It can be smaller, bigger, dirtier, more colorful, less colorful, wrinkly, huge, or even crooked. Worms may even have eaten them in a few places. (That?s right?we are not the only ones who enjoy the bounty haha!) With any produce, you never know what to expect. Just because it is imperfect does not mean, however, that you need to completely chunk it. The most ugly looking produce is usually the produce that tastes the best! For instance, when we had local tomatoes, some people thought that they were going rotten because they had cracks and lines near the top of the tomato. These cracks are natural to the tomato, and it shows that the tomato will truly be sweet. I personally don?t mind eating those cracks, but they are very easy to cut around just in case you don?t want the eat them. It is ok to cut off the top. Just because you are cutting off a small part of the tomato does not mean that you are wasting the entire tomato. Sleep soundly and know that you are not committing a crime ;o)
Furthermore, there are pieces of produce that will have scraps no matter what you do. For instance, pineapples, oranges, and bananas have skins that must be peeled or cut in order to get to the delicious goodness lurking inside. You may be worried that having all of these out skins increases the amount of waste that you have, but to the contrary! These skins are GREAT compost! For many not familiar with composting concepts, composting is simply taking your scraps and giving them back to the earth. You do not need a special composting machine to do this in your own backyard. All you need is a shovel and a small hole in the ground. When you are preparing your meal using fruits and vegetables, collect your scraps in a tin, in a bowl, or in a small baggie. When you are done preparing, simply walk outside, dig a tiny hole, and place the scraps into the hole. Cover the hole with a bit of dirt, and voila! You have compost! You have just given the food back to the earth from which it came.
Ironically, even though you may be avoiding waste by not buying produce in the grocery store or even from the farms, it does not mean that you are decreasing waste necessarily. Grocery stores throw out tons and tons of food, especially produce if it is not purchased. I do not believe that any of this produce is composted. I tell people at the co-op that if the produce isn?t bought from the farmers, then it is all simply composted back into their fields. Composting gives a new meaning to the word waste in this sense. I would much rather people take the food home and try to use it than to have it not be given a home. Perhaps this is the reason why I love to but so much produce. I truly believe that the goodness can be shared and multiplied. There will be ?waste? even if you try to avoid it. Embrace this fact, and simply know that you can give it back to the earth or share it with others. This is what a co-op community is all about!
Want to hear something crazy? Even if you think that you can do wrong by throwing away produce, that is most likely untrue. I have a friend who deals with toxic waste for a living, and he has even told me that when people throw away produce, it can actually HELP other elements in the landfills to break down more quickly. If you think about it, the organic produce in the landfill is most likely the most nutritious thing in that field!! ?The poor land is being killed with so many other toxins that the organic produce must be a blessing! Ironically, we are doing the world a favor at times by sending our organic produce to it lol! Now that is a crazy thought!
Even as I use the sink decomposer to wash a few scraps down the sink I have thoughts that putting scraps down the sink can be good. The blade in the bottom liquefies all scraps, and then it sends these ?smoothies? to the rest of the water supply where it will be filtered. This may be a weird thought, but I sometimes feel as if I am adding nutrients to the water supply simply by sharing my greens with it. Just a thought, but I had to share.
All in all, there is absolutely no bad that can come from produce leftovers. In the produce world, there is no such thing as waste. The food will eventually turn back into the soil from which it came, and the seeds may even produce new life. The extra scraps benefit the world in multiple ways no matter what you do with them. When you hold something that is truly good, it can only multiply to share goodness with other things and with other people. Better to buy the produce and put it to good use than to have it sit lonely in a store or field to die alone. Become excited about the abundance that we get, and rejoice that we are able to share this bounty with the earth! Be grateful for every bite and know that the earth loves you!
I hope that you have a wonderful week. Hugs!