Eco tips from the city

I’m impressed by all you back to the land and off the grid people. But I was raised in a city and that is where I am happiest. I tried living on a farm. It made me very anxious. But I have found it pretty easy to use eco friendly practices here, as do many of my neighbors. If you live in a city or town, here are some ideas you might support, lobby for, or even start a grassroots campaign to bring about.

I was walking home from the farmer’s market last week, when I heard an unexpected noise. A rooster crowing. For many of you, I’m sure that that is a daily occurrence. I am told that there are quite a few chickens in my neighborhood. It is the neighborhood in the state with the highest education level. Not the highest income level.

A 2 ½ block walk from my house is the best Farmer’s Market in the city, where I can get organic meat, eggs, produce, plants and flowers. It’s located on a major street, and from there I can see my bank, my hairdresser, 2 churches, a bike shop and three restaurants. No cars needed.

Louisville has curbside recycling of all paper, metal, glass and plastic. Any plastic with a number on it. Many restaurants have given up styro foam packaging for carryout. They provide utensils made from potato starch, which are biodegradable. Some restaurants have receptacles for glass and can recycling.

There was a design contest for bike racks. We have a thriving arts community and some interesting and even innovative bike racks have sprung up across the city. One of the best is made from old bicycles. The artist asked people to donate old bikes to use. “No bike too old or too rusty” was his motto. Great repurposing of other’s people’s ‘trash’.

The local zoo accepts Christmas trees for grinding into mulch and for composting. They add various zoo trash, such as straw from animal cages, then sell the finished compost. I have my own compost pile, but many, of course, don’t.

There is also an organization started by a local coffee roaster which takes leftover produce from local groceries, straw, cardboard, and coffee chaff (a waste product from coffee roasting) and composts it. The compost is sold in the coffee roaster’s stores. The money from the compost is being used to fund Breaking Grounds, an organization that sets up hoop houses to grow local produce in the city.

There are community garden spaces, where, for $5.00, people can grow all they can eat. The Ky. land grant university provides free advice.

There is also a local program called 15 Thousand Farmers. A group of people are trying to get locals to commit to growing some of their own food here in the city. Their goal is to have 15,000 people sign up. This, of course, will reduce their carbon footprint if they don’t have to drive to get produce,as well as improving their diets.

The closest shopping center has a section, front and center, reserved for scooters. There is a sign in the parking lot “Did you leave your reusable bags in the car?”.

The citizens asked for these programs. Otherwise we wouldn’t have them. No matter where you live you can be the catalyst for change toward a more eco lifestyle for your community as well as yourselves.

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  1. We too live in the city but have nowhere near the inititatives in place that Louisville does, way to go! I love the idea of the 15 Thousand Farmers. What a unique concept. Do you know how many have signed up so far? I might have to look into that one & see if we have something similar in Boston. We’ve got just a teeny little bit of land in our yard (we live in a 4 family) but we’re growing 4 kinds of tomatos, jalapeno, cilantro, basil, kale, raddish, rosemary, oregano & lettuce this year. Mostly in containers (we’ll have a killer salsa in a few months!) and it is that much less we had to shop for at the grocery store.

  2. a wonderful perspective … it can happen no matter the locale

  3. From one city dweller to another – BRAVO! My neighbor has a pear tree in her yard. Last year she found a group that would come and pick the fresh fruit for free and donate it: