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Spotlight on Neighborhood Living

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010 | Permalink

Neighborhood, image courtesy of Scorpions and Centaurs' flickr stream

Do you know who your neighbors are?  When I moved into my first house, I knew the old couple across the street because the woman gardened and her husband always looked a little cantankerous.  And I knew the single mother next door to us because, as our accounts manager David would say, she was an “unfortunate looking woman.”  But I never interacted with anyone on our street because their doors were always closed and none of them hung out on the front porch in groups like we did.

Regardless, as more people flock to the internet for Facebook farming and Skype sessions, maybe we should all make a little more effort to get to know each other.  I’m not saying you have to entertain thirty minute conversations with your neighbor about why his daughter is student of the week at the local middle school.  I’m just saying that maybe it’s time to say hi, or join the local tennis team like our CEO Linda Bryan did.  The warm weather is a perfect excuse to have neighborhood cookouts and softball games and pool parties.  Heck, you could even chat over the successes (and/ or failures) of your lawns and gardens for three minutes, and that would count!

You may end up finding out that your neighbors are caring, funny, or maybe even a little weird (you might like weird).  You may realize they enjoy the same TV shows you do, share your hobbies, or are even capable of babysitting your hyperactive eight year old on a Friday night so you can go somewhere for grownups.

Kyla Fullenwider actually did a great and simple list of ten things you could do to build some community in your, well… community.  And if some of her ideas do not seem apartment complex friendly (like, say, hide and seek), then just start knocking on doors anyway (may be less awkward if you bring baked goods with you).  Click here for the full list.

(For more from Scorpions and Centaurs’ flickr stream, click here.)

From Farm to Table

Monday, May 24th, 2010 | Permalink

Produce Travels Transparency, image courtesy of Good and Always With Honor

Did you know that broccoli travels for about 7 to 10 days before reaching your local grocery store?  That means that half of your broccoli’s life is already gone when you take it home.  If it sits in your refrigerator for a few more days, there’s a good possibility that by the time you want to make stir fry, you may need a new head of broccoli.

And if you live in Iowa, for example, chances are the tomatoes you’re buying in December are not coming from the surrounding area.  What does that mean?  Extra travel time, of course.

Beyond the mere problem of wasting food, buying produce takes on a whole new meaning when you really look at where your produce is grown.  This affects things like supporting local farmers, reducing energy spent in food transportation, and enjoying fresher foods.

What does this mean for you?  It means that maybe you should buy corn from the farm down the road this summer, guaranteeing that you are getting absolute freshness and supporting a local farmer.  My father would drive 45 minutes for corn from “the farm.”  I’m serious, I don’t even know the name of the place… we just call it the farm.  It always trumped store bought corn and thanks to local patrons, the farm continues today.

And it means that you may have to become more choosy about what you’re eating throughout the year in an attempt to eat the best produce available.  So if you live in Georgia you can enjoy lush, local blueberries in the summer, adding them to your favorite cereal, breads, and smoothies.  But know that enjoying them in November means they’ve done some traveling.

The folks at Good partnered with Always With Honor and created a neat infographic showing us “A season-by-season list of when 10 common fruits and vegetables are locally available around the United States.”  Check it out here and find another equally interesting infographic about food travel distances here.

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