In bold and unapologetic letters on their website, New Country Organics farm in Virginia proudly states, “We are all organic. Organic doesn’t mean trendy or cool or pretentious. Organic doesn’t have to mean expensive. Organic simply means living in ecological balance. Living real life. Real life sustained by real food.”
As a team of dedicated organic growers, New Country Organics is passionate about educating people on the farming practices that allow us to enjoy a healthy and sustainable planet, produce and people. I was lucky enough to talk to one of their team members, Bill Ahrens, about what exactly organic means to them as a small-scale organic farm and what they think we should know as conscious consumers.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO PRACTICE ONLY SUSTAINABLE METHODS?
One of the things we love about organics is that it has outright prohibitions against the use of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers. I spend a lot of my time trying to explain what organic is as opposed to what is now the reality that we consume chemical food. Our culture tends to rely on this idea that food is inherently good. However, today, there are so many chemicals being used not only in GMO products like soy, corn and wheat but also in conventional farming and non-GMO farming. We’ve been taught that as humans we can tolerate these minute qualities of chemicals, but unfortunately we can’t.
Happy National Coffee Day!
Coffee is something that’s ubiquitous in nearly every household, cafe and eatery around the world. Besides being the best part of the morning (just me?) it’s effects are far-reaching, impacting communities and the environment — not just our morning buzz.
When we stop and think about the term “Fair Trade”, the words alone make it obvious to me as to why this is important. Being compensated fairly for your work and treated as an equal human being is a simple concept that even a little kid could understand — I would know, because the term “fairness” was recently explained very clearly to me by five year olds kids in a yoga class. Despite that, there are many coffee farmers worldwide who are not treated equally and paid less than they deserve. Here’s an excerpt from a past post, How to Green-Up Your Morning Cup: Read More
If you are new to The Basic Goods or need a refresher on what’s at the heart of this blog, it’s dedicated to slowing down and simplifying our lives through a deep appreciation of the little things — the basic goods of life. Finding a connection to the beauty of our natural world, ourselves and one another in ways both large and small is paramount to living out this idea. So, when I can find a way to do one or two of those things at once I’m pretty happy. But doing all three? Well, that’s a moment to soak in for sure.
For the Fall Equinox we did exactly that. As a yoga teacher and someone who loves to be outside, a morning hike and outdoor yoga class bring together the best of both worlds — oh, and of course it’d be followed with a locally-brewed beer or cider, it’s only right, people.
When I reached out to my good friend and yoga teacher, Erica Spirko, she suggested turning it into a celebration of the Fall Equinox at a quiet spot in Warwick, New York. From there all of the pieces somehow came together.
There’s a whole lot of misinformation and fear-based news with over-exaggerated claims dominating headlines and social media feeds that it can make it hard to get your facts straight. For me, one of the best (and let’s be honest, less stressful) ways to cut through the noise is with a book. Plus, without the zombifying-effects of staring at a glowing screen with a hundred distractions, it’s somewhat easier to digest the hard truths we may discover in a sustainable and eco-friendly book.
What, you mean you don’t also turn into a sad, computer zombie after an hour of Google-searching global warming too? Just me? In any case, to help you live a more eco-friendly and conscious lifestyle, here are some of the best books on sustainable living.
Hey everyone, Since I started my newsletter, The Exhale, a year ago, I’ve been waiting for the perfect opportunity to bring together my yoga and writing projects here on The Basic Goods. I’m excited and really proud to share that, A Course in Calm, is exactly that. Don’t let my title as a yoga teacher fool you, I’m also a person who deals with anxiety and a distracted mind like many people do. So I created this totally free course to share what I have learned and teach in studios and schools that help others (and myself!) feel more settled and calm.
I don’t believe that we need to accept this stressed and over-reactive state as the norm. Peaceful bodies and calm minds are our baseline and I know that we are all capable of living from that place. Please feel free to send me a message or sign up a friend/loved one if you like! Read on to find out more about A Course and Calm.
Would you believe me if I said that making your own deodorant is easy annnd fun? Probably not, but I’m gonna say it anyway! I started to make my own deodorant a few years ago because I refused to believe that it could really be that complicated. Based off what I had learned from making simple and non-toxic home cleaning products I knew that my pantry was chock full of eco-friendly ingredients that worked in my house so why couldn’t they work on me too?
Besides that, I was also keen on avoiding many of the chemicals in store bought deodorants such as, aluminum compounds, TEA/DEA, Triclosan, propylene glycol (this is especially harmful to people with sensitive skin) and parabens. Shockingly, the government does not require any safety testing before the creation and marketing of beauty and personal care products, and some like TEA/DEA have been banned in Europe due to the evidence that they are in fact, known carcinogens (chemicals that can cause cancer when used regularly).
Here’s the question of the summer: how can you be eco-friendly while you travel?
This past June, my husband and I got married and after doing our best to plan a green wedding (more on that soon!) we decided to have a honeymoon fun-venture in the incredible country of Chile. Think: hiking, camping, boating and horseback riding in Patagonia, plus world class skiing in the Andes at Ski Portillo and of course, lots of wine! It lived up to the hype by exceeding every expectation we could possibly have had, most especially the Chilean people and culture. For all of you who love outdoor-adventure travel, I highly recommend putting it on your list of places to visit.
We were fortunate to discover that Chile is ranked the world’s best developed country for eco-tourism. However, the sheer impact of flying to the end of the earth gave us reason to pause and consider the effects of our carbon footprint on this beautiful world. There’s simply no easy way to travel and be eco-friendly at the same time but it can be done. Brian and I travel often and this trip really helped us to hone our green travel skills abroad, so I’m excited to kick off the sustainable summer travel series with one of my favorite places in the world: Chile! Read More
This summer, my husband and I joined a CSA from a local farm near us in Warwick, New York called Hesperides Organica. If you aren’t familiar with the term CSA it is an acronym for Community Supported Agriculture, which is basically a box full of delicious, homegrown fruits and veggies from a local farm every week. I wish I could say that we do this every year but no, we are first-time CSA members and are definitely in it for the long run.
For a vegetarian like me, the CSA is magical and here’s why:
- I never have to worry about unnecessary plastic wrap or waste
- The food is always organic, in-season and locally-grown
- It’s a box overflowing with delicious, amazing, fresh food
- Our farmer sends a weekly email with recipes to go along with your CSA share
Like I said — magic. The only downside is that, try as we might, we simply cannot eat all of the produce before it begins to rot and wilt. Seeing this beautiful homegrown food go to waste pained me and made me feel really guilty for not being “better” and eating this abundance of food in time. Which got me thinking of how big an issue food waste is overall. “According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, 30 percent of food is wasted globally across the supply chain, contributing 8 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions.”
Hey, friends! As you may already know, I, Katherine, am the sole writer and content creator here at The Basic Goods. Whether it’s green living tips, products that help you to be more eco-friendly, or general thoughts on treading lightly, it all stems from my personal experience and what I have learned as a sustainability writer.
What you may not know is that scientific data is my go-to source for all things eco. I rely heavily on this to make sure the facts I provide here are correct. I try to be an educated consumer and expert on the topics as much as possible but there are some things that I just don’t know! So, you can imagine how excited I was to connect with a real-life environmentalist. David Evans is founder of prch, a resource of eco-minded consumers and has a degree in environmental studies from UCLA plus years of experience working to raise awareness about marine conservation.
On TBG, Evans helps us break down the complex topic of ocean plastic pollution, an environmental issue that I personally am passionate and hopeful about solving in my lifetime. I’ll be talking even more about ocean plastic pollution in the future, in the meantime enjoy this guest post from environmentalist, David Evans who is sharing some crucial ways to take Inspired Action today.
Thanks, Dave! Read More
Finding your plastic-free groove in your everyday life is an incredibly empowering experience. When that confidence is shattered by a road trip or vacation where you have no choice but to use plastic utensils and other disposable items is not so fun. Trust me, I’ve been there and those guilty feelings can weigh on you — sometimes they can even undo some hard-earned habits, which is tough but unfortunately our reality. Since our society doesn’t yet see single-use plastics as the massive problem that they truly are it’s impossible to avoid these things while you’re on the road. That’s why being prepared and arming yourself with this knowledge is the best way to avoid these situations.
I won’t lie, it takes some extra effort and planning ahead to become self-sufficient enough to keep up your sustainable lifestyle when you’re traveling. Trying to go plastic-free on planes, at rest stops or even a restaurant without your reusable utensils can be a losing battle. Luckily there are plastic-free alternatives that are lightweight, multi-purposeful and beautiful for when you’re on the road. Especially during the summer, when you’re more likely to just drop everything and go, it’s so important to be mindful and prepared.