I'm taking part in a 12 week challenge set up by Janet over at Green Urban Living. From 1st March to 24th May there are a variety of weekly challenges from going chemical free, to carless days, going foraging and recycling. Participants are encouraged to take part in as many of the challenges as you like, and interact on the websites forum and/or Facebook page. There are a number of judges including Wendyl Nissen from Wendyl's Green Goddess , Lynda Hallinan from NZ Gardener, NZ Eco Chick, and Malcolm Rands from Ecostore, who will give out prizes to some of the lucky participants.
Week One was to Ditch the Chemicals. I already use Baking Soda and White Vinegar for a lot of things - cleaning the toilet, Vinegar as Rinse aid in Dishwasher, Fabric softener in washing machine etc.
I cleaned the dishwasher with some vinegar in the top rack and some Baking Soda sprinkled in the bottom. Seems to have come up a treat and I think the dishes are getting cleaner too.
I have also made some Dishwasher powder too using Citric Acid, Washing soda and Baking Soda. I'm yet to try that as finishing the previous "green" one I bought.
A couple of years ago I invested in a second hand steam mop and love the result on the kitchen lino. The ultimate no chemical clean using just water.
We are using cloth wipes with bubs and after using up my bottle of Wendyl Nissen's wipe solution, I filled the bottle with water and added a few drops of both tea tree and lavender essential oil. It has worked really well, with no ill effects and it has saved me trying to track down affordable rosewater and witch hazel extracts that were in Wendyl's mix.
Week 2 of the Challenge was to shop local and source as many locally produced foods as you could. I have been using some of my own vegetables and fruit, and was also given some apples from my Mother-in-law. Buying local is one of those hard ones as everyone's idea of local will differ. For one Canadian couple the magic distance was 100 miles.
A few years ago, when Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon learned that the average food in a North American meal travels 1,500 miles from the farm to the plate, they decided to launch an experiment to reconnect with the people and places that produced what they ate. The 100 Mile Diet was born and they documented their journey in a really easy to read book. They discovered the story that went with the production of the food, and the disturbing trend of food that has travelled half way round the world. I enjoyed reading this book, and know that the connection with the growers and producers one of the reasons why local farmers markets have become so popular in recent years.
Next weeks challenge is to go foraging. I know there are quite a few roadside fruit trees in the neighbourhood so might have to take bubs for a walk in the buggy and load it up! I'm always a little wary of trying some foraged things so I am looking forward to other peoples ideas of food that is safe to collect in the wild.
What foods do you like to collect in the wild? I've always like paddock mushrooms and I loved picking wild blackberries when I was holidaying in the UK. There is something ultra satisfying collecting food that nature has provided for you without you having direct input.