Saturday, April 21, 2012

Being Green - Urban Farming - The Chickens

Being Green:
I started being "green" back in 2005 quickly after I discovered the organic food movement. I guess you could say that organic food was my gateway to being more environmentally conscious and it's pretty much snow balled into a huge passion of mine. Most people that I meet don't get it. I think, for them, it's a huge inconvenience. For me, I feel like I'm doing something for the better good and I'm making a contribution to society. I wish more people would do and make the sacrifices that I make to help make the earth a better place, but I don't think society is there yet. Consumerism plays a large part in why a lot of us aren't privy about what being green is really about. Businesses want you to buy their products, and while the green movement is growing, it's not exactly bringing in a rapid, consistant, and/or repeat business. For example: Cloth Diapers vs. Disposable Diapers. If you buy cloth diapers, it's a one time purchase, it can even last through a couple of kids if your lucky. Do you think Pamper's is excited about the fact that you won't be buying a 100 pack of their toxic diapers once a week? I'm not going to go in depth and bore you about all we do, here are our 3 basic principals: Trash, Upcyle, and DIY. Allow me to elaborate briefly. Trash: We don't like it, we don't want it, and we do our best not to make very much of it it. Upcycle: Recycling sucks. I don't know what happens to it and most of the time it just get's down cycled. We try to take what we have and find a new purpose for it instead of buying something new. DIY: You remember back in the day when people used to do everything for themselves? We're trying to get back to that. Make your own food, make what you can, make your life...

Urban Farming:
To give a briefing on Organics: It started out as a really great thing. When the farm industry changed and GMOs were more frequently used, small farmers got together to get back to the root of farming. No GMOs, no pesticides, no chemicals, etc. It's hilarious when people try to dismiss organic food as something that we've recently invented to hike up the prices on your tomatoes. Organic simply means that it's grown the way nature intended it to be. And since non-organic farmers have found a way to produce a lot of food really cheap, it's really hard for organic farmers to keep the price as low. Same idea as Wal-Mart vs. The Small Business. Well, over the years, big business saw a market in the organic industry and began dabbling in it. -- Cool! They get what we want! Not so much. There's very little regulation on the organic industry (don't even get me started on how those big food business executives end up being on the board of directers at the FDA and USDA) and they've found loop holes so they can have the same old agenda and still slap on the organic label. Solution: Pfsh! Call me when you find one. The best I've got right now is to buy local or grow as much of your own food as you can. Which is what we started doing. We found a seed company that we really like, it's called The Sustainable Seed Company, and they sell non GMO, heirloom seeds. So we ordered a few. We don't live on a farm, so we've had to adapt to Urban Farming. Soil can take years to become organic, so we've decided to use planters and compost for soil. It's super cool and we've already got Romain Lettuce, Kale, Cabbage and Thyme sprouting up. We're still waiting on the Roma Tomatos, Basil and Cilantro. I feel like these guys are my little babies and I go outside at least 3 times a day to check their progress. Mr. Wonderful and I love gardening. It's something we started doing together when we first got married and it's always been something that we can do together even when we're driving each other nuts.

The Chickens:
I can't stop laughing about this... Are we chicken people? REALLY?! CHICKENS?! I can't even say it with a straight face. This is going to take some time to get used to. Mr. Wonderful had been begging me to let him get chickens. OMG! He brings it up at least once a day. "Wouldn't it be awesome?! They lay an EGG a DAY! And when they get old... we EAT it!". At first, I put him off on the cost issue. You have to buy a chicken coop, feeders, waterers, food... as if we really need more mouths to feed around here! We just don't have the money for all that. He said we could make all of it, but jeeze! even supplies can get up there. Finally I said no because I'm pretty sure our housing office has rules against it. It's lined out "no farm animals". --That conversation started a year ago... Last week, some huge wire-type cage ended up in our neighbor's front yard. Her guinea pigs died and she was throwing it out. Everyday when we'd go to get in the car, Mr. Wonderful would comment, "Wouldn't that be perfect for chickens? And it's RIGHT there!". As all married couples of learn to do, I tuned him out and just ignored it. -- So, today we went to refill our water at the natural market that just so happens to be next door to the general farm store. I don't know what it's doing out here anyways. We're in the freakin' city! We're pulling out of the parking lot when Wonderful looks out the window all weepy eyed... "They have chicks for sale... Wouldn't it be nice to get some chickens?". "For the love of pete will you PLEASE stop badgering me about it! Fine! Go get your stupid chickens! They'll probably die in a week anyways and then you'll shut up about it!!!" I backed into the parking space, looked him dead in the eye and said "Chickens. Nothing else.", he walked in and we were suddenly the proud owners of 2 stupid chickens.

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