Independence days

In the interest of hopefully making my life here a bit more sustainable, I’ve been doing Sharon Astyk’s Independence Days off and on for a few years now.  Independence Days is based on the premise that we can routinely do many different things that will help us to become more independent, and that even consistently doing what seems like a little bit at a time can be really valuable in the end.

With the coming of summer, some extra free time, and a strong desire to be productive and get back on track with some of my long-term projects, now seems like a good time to have another look at the challenge and get to work.  The goal is to inspire and motivate, but also to recognize accomplishments by reporting in weekly.  Ideally, in any given week, participants should try to:

  • Plant something
  • Harvest something
  • Preserve something
  • Waste not
  • Want not
  • Eat the food
  • Build community food systems
  • Skill up

Garden2013This week, I’ve been pretty focused on applying for jobs, completing an online course, doing some research on consumption-related issues, and working to get our apartment decluttered and into better shape than it’s currently in.  But I’ve also managed to work in a fair number of independence days activities, and I’m pleased with the outcome and how productive I feel as a result.  It’s also been a nice break from more work related tasks.

Plant something: planted tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, cress, celery, chard, chives, sage, thyme, mint, spearmint, and basil; sprouted mung beans

Harvest something: chives, basil, and thyme for some of this week’s dinners

Preserve something: dried lemon balm

Waste not: turned aging bananas into banana bread, frozen lettuce into smoothies, and leftover veggie bits into stock or compost; bought secondhand copies of The Economy of Cities, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Year-Round Vegetable Gardener, and Jamie’s Food Revolution; received rhubarb, lemon balm, and a t-shirt from a friend

Want not: stocked up on French green lentils, garlic, yeast, tinned tomatoes and beans, tea, whole grain rice, pasta, and toilet paper

Eat the food: tried a new recipe nearly daily, including butter lentils/chicken, sweet corn soup, shrimp with broccoli, everything bagels, strawberry fool, and banana bread

Build community food systems: shopped at the market and talked about food issues with the farmers; chatted with a friend about starting foraging walks

Skill up: learned new cooking recipes; practiced making bread and bagels

For next week, I’m planning on getting a few more things planted, working on my knitting, and hopefully preserving a few things – it’s strawberry season, and I’d love to put up some jam this year.  But for now, this feels like it’s been a good start – the food’s been tasty, the community building eye-opening, and the gardening relaxing.

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