travel

Talking “Crazy” Trends

When I saw the picture of this truck bed with a garden literally planted in its bed, I thought:  “Now that’s just plum crazy!”  Who the heck gardens out of a truck?

Who the heck eats their hedge?  Maybe I’m the crazy one.  Well, at least in suburbia I am.  But these two fellas, Nick & Justin, just may have found the magic to self-sustaining living—road trip style.  They call it Compass Greenand their mission is to “teach practical farming tools and raise awareness on sustainability through presentations, workshops, and greenhouse tours at schools, camps, organizations and communities with a curriculum focused on Bio-intensive methods of sustainable farming—producing the maximum yields with the minimum amount of resources.”

They hope to inspire people across the country to be creative and utilize any and all space they can to grow food.  So far, I think it’s working.  Take a look at these school kids from a charter school in Queens, NY.

Seems to me they’re a bit taken with the idea of garden greens in the bed of a truck.  As they should be.  I don’t care where you’re from, this is unique.  In a totally fun and very cool way.

Why, if I could, I’d put a garden in the back of a semi truck and travel around the country, too.  Just think of it!  I’d map out my course based on visiting cities and countryside at their seasonal best, like Vermont in October, Florida in December, the Deep South in the spring…  It would be glorious, free-spirit living at its best!  Why I’m getting tingles just thinking about it. 🙂

Until I saw this.  Seriously? Are you kidding me? Uh-uh, no way in heckamundo am I sleeping there.  Not for any length of time, I’m not.  Plan B!

But it is really great that these two fellas are doing so, isn’t it?  I mean I touch one school and one group of kids.  These guys touch hundreds!  Kudos.  Peace, brother.  More power to you.  And if it’s really a trend that’s catching like Ian Cheney seems to suggest…

 
Well then I’m all for it.  Video (and more like it!) created by Ian Cheney and his film series:  Truck Farm.

Composting on Vacation

I think I’ve come up with a new invention.  I call it the Travel Composter.  Not sure if it will take off or not–maybe needs a catchier title–but I think it’s a great idea nonetheless.  It occurred to me over the past summer (past, as in, my kids went back to school today — yay!). Yes, well it occurred to me that everyone should have a Travel Composter.  Easy, odorless, compact and storable (or packable) this item is a must for eco-minded people.  Think of the guilt it would relieve!

And I am so all about relieving guilt.  No room in my life for the emotion, at all.  But this past summer, I felt it–to the core.  Gut-wrenching, heart-aching guilt.  Can you imagine? There I was, clearing the dinner dishes while on vacation and–as is my habit–automatically went for the kitchen composter to deposit my food scraps.  Ouch.  A kitchen composter that wasn’t there. 

Well of course it wasnt.  It was at home.  I was on vacation.  Staring at the plate of leftovers, my first instinct was to return them to nature.  My gaze drifted outdoors.  I’m in a rural setting.  No one will notice.  Maybe the wildlife will enjoy them. 

On second thought, maybe not.  If gone uneaten, they might cause an unsightly mess or worse–a stench.  Then of course there’s my husband.  If he saw me toss the scraps outdoors he would not be happy.  Nor would he let me keep them until we returned home.  Already tried that and it didn’t go over well. 

Trust me.  It’s never good when your husband spies you stashing away leftovers in a Ziploc bag.  “What do you think you’re doing with that?”

Wasn’t it obvious?  “Um…taking the leftovers home for the compost pile?”

“No, you’re not.”

What?  Why not?”

“I’ll not have my car smell like garbage number one and number two, you’re not saving the planet by taking them home.  They’re biodegradable.”

Hmph.  Doesn’t he appreciate the fact that I’m environmentally conscious?  That this will serve a higher and better purpose as organic fertilizer than it will as building supply for the local dump?

Not when it stinks up his car, he doesn’t.  Though he does have a point.  Is it worth ruining the interior of an automobile for items that will biodegrade anyway, no matter where you deposit them?  But what about the bottles, jars and cans we had to throw away?  The place where we stayed had no recycle bins, no options for guests to do the right thing. 

I have to admit, I was bothered.  It wasn’t right.  It’s too easy to accommodate individuals such as myself.  We only ask for a separate container.  A bin, a bag, heck–I’ll drive my trash to the corner if you’ll point me in the right direction!

But alas, there was no such offer.  Which is sad.  While I don’t like anyone being forced to comply with recycle standards and practices (I’m a Libertarian at heart), I would like to see them offer the same.  It would keep the skip in my step, the smile on my face, not to mention the guilt out of my heart.

On a brighter note, there are some companies out there doing the job I wish I could have done.  One of the largest in the Southeast happens to be GreenCo.  This company works the greater Atlanta area by taking food waste from not only restaurants and hotels, but grocery stores, colleges, hospitals–all sorts of places!–and hauls it to their area facilities.  Once there, they turn it into organic fertilizer which they sell to retailers who in turn, sell to the public.  Talk about full circle–the public who made the waste can then re-use the waste.  Ingenious!

Isn’t it nice to know someone out there cares?  Sure does relieve the guilt I feel about not doing so myself.  Perhaps I should restrict my future travel in Atlanta to these green-minded organizations.  At least I’ll feel like I’m giving back, literally.

How about you? Are you doing your part to recycle? Do you know of any companies who are?  If so, let us hear about them!

p.s.  Go ahead and feel free to take my idea for the Travel Composter, too.  Really, I don’t mind a bit.  Just get out there and make a difference (and earn a mint in the process! :))

Gardening Out West

Beautiful countryside, plain and simple.  Montana, Wyoming, Colorado…  These are some of my favorite places.  From snow-skiing to summer hiking, I could definitely hang out in these parts long-term.  But my family is in Florida and so am I–parked here for the long run.  We do have to have priorities.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t flit across the country and enjoy these gorgeous spots–I mean, I could stare at this view ALL day long.  Say hi to the moose, follow the deer, stand by and watch the playful antics of otters…  Bears can have their privacy, no problem.  No sense in tangling with those beasts.  Respect.  We respect them and leave them alone.

Besides, I’d be too busy in the garden.  Can you imagine–gardening in the cool of summer as opposed to the sweltering heat?  What a difference it would be.  Beautiful blue skies, moderate temps in the 70’s, a light kick of breeze…

Kinda like gardening in the spring here in Florida.  But we have no view.  I do love mountains.  And the vegetables–they definitely appreciate cooler temps.  My salad leaves have totally rebelled and refused to grow past an inch.  My swiss chard, too.  (Apparently they’re taking cues from their lettuce neighbors on the patio.)

Hmph.  What I wouldn’t give to stroll down rows that looked like these.  This photo was taken from an organic garden in Montana last month.  Unfortunately it wasn’t me behind the lens.  Didn’t make it out west this summer (for too many reasons to mention).

Not sure what those are but they’re rich, lush…amazing.  And so organized.  These must be professionals.

My garden looks nothing like this one.  It produces, just doesn’t look so…clean.  Can I blame it on the kids?  (That works for most other messes in and around my house.)  Moving right along.  This photo was taken from a community garden in Vail, Colorado.  (Photos courtesy of my friend Sheri Lou — she travels well.)  As you can see, it’s divided into sections whereby each gardener works his own veggies or flowers.

I like the concept.  Any community, church, or school for that matter can achieve this kind of coop and what fun.  Great way to mix and mingle with the neighbors, don’t you think?

Worth a try in your part of the world!  Perhaps next summer I’ll have the chance to stroll this one in person. 🙂