A few weeks ago GOOD asked the question: what do you make or grow instead of buy? So I decided to make my own list. And I wanted to do it with our clients in mind. As it turned out, it was really easy to start a list, because we’ve been talking a lot here about the ways we can simplify and reduce. But, in starting my own list I realized that even though there are a bunch of things I’ve given up, there is still a lot more I could.
If you’ve recently discovered us, you’ll notice a lot of the focus has been on issues of food security. But, our OriginalGreen project grew out of encouraging use of natural cleaners in low-income households. In fact, we still distribute clean kits with our Clean recipe book. I’m sure this is why most of the “made” things on my list relate to cleaning products, as that is what I’ve been making the longest. So, here goes…
The things I no longer buy, because I make them are: laundry detergent; dishwashing liquid; all-purpose cleaner; oven cleaner; air freshener; facial astringent/toner/cleanser; furniture polish; bug spray. Then there is butter, along with pies, cookies, muffins, pizza (all still requiring flour, which I’m not brave or patient enough to produce yet). Wrapping paper, cards and notebooks are on the list, too.
The things I grow or glean include: various bell / chili peppers; squash; scallions; basil; peppermint; rosemary; lavender; platanos; tomatillos; oranges; lemons; peaches; apples; and avocados.
Doing these things makes me feel less wasteful and more conscious of the areas where I still am. I was actually surprised at the length of the list, but very much aware that it isn’t as long as a true homesteader’s! I don’t buy pre-packaged meals and don’t own a microwave, but I’d like to use the clothes dryer less and sew a bit…slow down a little more, in general…maybe make my own pasta.
Some of this “making” has become really easy. And often, once mixed, products last three and four times longer than pre-packaged items. The recipe book has been fairly easy to introduce to clients. We are working on a comparable plan for food security and nutrition, and have already addressed the issues of time and cost in a prior post. So right now, it’s also about simplifying and reducing in other ways.
You’ve seen my list. But what about yours? What kinds of things do you make instead of buy? And better yet, what will you?