It’s funny how one thing leads to another.
Take, for example, consumerism. At the outset of the Clean Bin Project, we decided that we wanted to buy less stuff. That lead to us taking a better look at packaging and trying to reduce that too. Then the whole darn thing became a “zero waste” project, and the non-consumerism became more of a means to help us achieve our goal of no landfill waste.
But even stranger, is where we’ve gone since then. It seems that once you get passionate about a single issue (for me, consumerism and waste), pretty soon you find yourself thinking about all kinds of topics that are somehow related. Take, for example, eating local.
I originally started shopping more at the farmers market in a simple attempt to avoid food packaging. But as I got to know the faces of our local food producers, I started to feel loyal to certain stalls, and I started to feel really good about buying fresh, local, organic food. The packaging thing was still important, but frequenting the market instilled other values in me as well. I love the sense of community, the knowledge that we are buying the freshest possible product, and the fact that we are directly supporting the local economy.
Don’t get me wrong, I was a fan of farmers markets before the Clean Bin Project, but I was only a casual browser. A couple tomatoes here, a piece of fancy cheese there. By sunday night, I’d be at the supermarket getting “regular” supplies for the rest of the week.
Our project made me realize that the markets are a real food source instead of just a lovely saturday afternoon activity. Now I grocery shop at the farmers market, trying to buy enough (package-free) apples, broccoli, eggs, and bread to last me until the next week. (In the winter, when it runs only every two weeks, I have to really stock up.)
And, as one thing contagiously leads to another, buying fresh food has also made me more dedicated to growing fresh food. This year, as I gear up to plant my veggie garden, I’m already getting excited about choosing which varieties of local and organic seeds to sow.
So, although I never would have predicted it, our little project in zero waste has turned me on to local food in a big way.
What’s your latest passion?