I first became interested in the environmental cause in the sixties when the anti-littering campaign “Keep America Beautiful” was jump started. At the age of twelve I got together a group called “People Stopping Pollution” and we met regularly at the school library. It was also my first taste of municipal collaboration. We arranged for several DPW trucks to haul out the litter we collected at a local park with media coverage.
Growing up our family always had a good size garden with squash, lettuce, beans and root vegetables to offset food costs. Dad used to hit the farm stands in late summer and buy bushels of tomatoes and corn to put up for the winter. Mom used to get to clean the kitchen up after he was done. My grandma and grandpa had a garden too and would share depression day stories that are still with me. In fact, the family always ate dinner together.
When I got married at eighteen and started a family right away, my upbringing enabled me to get by using a fiscally conservative household budget. Planning, planting and durable goods. The house we bought was a fixer upper but had several fruit trees and loads of berry bushes. Nursing the kids saved me a fortune in baby formula as did homemade baby food. I packed lunches with home baked desserts from the fresh fruit we grew for my husband. As time went on, the house was refinanced at a lower interest rate and for a shorter period. We saved thousands in interest payments. Home improvements were done by us for the most part. Painting and cleaning seemed to be fifty percent of what the house needed, and the yard was a diamond in the rough. The ornamental plants came from relatives’ thinning out their gardens which I shared with neighbors and visa versa. (For the record – I only do edible landscaping now)
That’s my story. A fiscally conservative environmentalist looking to create a completely sustainable lifestyle that I can share with others.