Monday, August 3, 2015

Celebrate National Farmers Market Week!

Did you make it to your local farmers market this past weekend? Well then, you kicked off National Farmers Market Week the right way!



Celebrated every year during the first full week of August, National Farmers Market Week recognizes the benefits of shopping locally and eating fresh, local foods. 

The Farmers Market Coalition aptly explains the myriad benefits of supporting farmers markets:
  • Preserve America’s rural livelihoods and farmland. Farmers markets provide one of the only low-barrier entry points for beginning farmers, allowing them to start small, test the market, and grow their businesses.
  • Stimulate local economies. Growers selling locally create 13 full time farm operator jobs per $1 million in revenue earned. Those that do not sell locally create 3.
  • Increase access to fresh, nutritious food. Several studies have found lower prices for conventional and organic produce at farmers markets than at supermarkets. Due to this and other factors, 52% more SNAP households shop at farmers markets and from direct marketing farmers today than in 2011.
  • Support healthy communities. Farmers market vendors educate their shoppers. Four out of five farmers selling at markets discuss farming practices with their customers, and three in five discuss nutrition and how to prepare food.
  • Promote sustainability. Three out of every four farmers selling at farmers markets say they use practices consistent with organic standards.
http://farmersmarketcoalition.org/why-farmers-market-infographic/ 

One key to farmers market shopping is following produce seasons. Instead of everything being available year-round, like in grocery stores, you get different kinds of produce throughout the year. A great way to follow your local farmers markets and the weekly vendors is through social media. That way, you can plan your trips and your meals in advance!

Find your nearest Acadiana farmers market:

Lafayette Parish

Farmers and Artisans Market at the Horse Farm (heads up: their Mid-week Market is moving downtown for the fall, starting this Wednesday!)
Hub City Farmers Market
Le Petit Magasin de Scott
Carencro Cultural District Farmers Market

Vermilion Parish

Abbeville Farmers Market
Kaplan Farmers Market

Iberia Parish

Teche Area Farmers Market

St. Landry Parish

Opelousas Farmers Market
Eunice Farmers Market
Washington Farmers Market

St. Martin Parish

Creole Farmers Market


Friday, July 31, 2015

Adventures in Sewing and Repurposing

One of my 30th birthday bucket list items was to learn how to werk a sewing machine. Up til a few months ago, my sewing knowledge consisted of fixing frayed hems and sewing buttons back on. By hand. One look at my work and you'd swear the eight-year-old kid down the street fixed my clothes for me.

But I get grand craft ideas in my head, and sometimes, a desire to attempt to pull them off. My first big sewing machine project came about when my fiance's stepmom showed me a beach bag she created. We made plans for a craft afternoon - a CRAFTERNOON if you will - and I started hunting around the house for materials.


I knew I wanted to repurpose some kind of fabric instead of spending money on something new. I can't do anything if I don't attempt to be sustainable! I grabbed a few shirts, a spare towel and a scarf. Now, I have a slight obsession with scarves. Collection of scarves, I mean. Damn autocorrect. I had quite the large pile of scarves, and while I loved most of them, I just didn't wear all of them. This berry-colored fringe scarf was one I didn't wear as often, though I loved the colors.

We decided it would be perfect for a beach bag, since it is a lighter material. Armed with instructions via iPad (paperless!), we started off on the project.


Saturday, July 25, 2015

#LafayetteStrong


Even though it's all anyone has talked about for the past almost 48 hours, even though there are multiple news satellite trucks camping out a mile away, even though the police tape proves otherwise, the evening of Thursday, July 23, 2015, still feels so surreal.

It's a movie theater in the middle of the city. In front of the gym I frequent. Just down the road from the farmer's market I visit and the Horse Farm where we got engaged a few months ago. In the same parking lot as my favorite nearby bar and a quaint coffee shop. The last movie I remember seeing there was The Wedding Ringer, but I've lost count of just how many movies I have seen at The Grand 16.

It was surreal to hear the cacophony of sirens from home at 7:30 Thursday evening, then learn that it was not just another car crash; it was something much more heavy-hitting.


Like pretty much the rest of the city, we spent Thursday night glued to the news. Stuck on the local broadcasts, but occasionally flipping to a national cable news network for the sheer shock of this being the top national news story. Why did Lafayette have to make the national news for THIS?

Then Friday morning, we learned who the victims were: Mayci Breaux and Jillian Johnson. Two beautiful ladies who are gone far too soon. Instantly, the tributes came pouring out. Jillian is well-known in Lafayette for her two businesses, Red Arrow Workshop and Parish Ink, along with her band, The Figs. I am a frequenter of Parish Ink, as a fan of their popular Lafayette culture shirts. And I am a supporter of Red Arrow Workshop and their unique collection of recycled, hand-made and locally sourced products. I've mentioned them many times here on the blog, as one of my favorite local shops.


 Baggu recycled cotton backpack and flag patch from Red Arrow Workshop

The Acadian flag has represented our region since 1965, but its popularity in art and clothing has
surged in recent years, undoubtedly partly because of Jillian and her work and creativity. You can find a representation of it just about anywhere these days as a symbol of our cultural pride, and it will now serve as a symbol of our unity going forward.

Park bench in Downtown Lafayette

Because of how interconnected Lafayette is, we are all deeply impacted by the events this week. So many of us have a personal connection to the victims or the survivors, and at the same time we are grieving for them, we are also staying strong for them.
Lafayette is not a small town. But, it’s a special place. It’s a microcosm of culture and faith, of tradition and progressive thought. There is no place like Lafayette. - Amanda Harris for The Independent


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Chocolate: Organic, Fair-Trade, Sustainable

I am not a huge chocoholic, but there are times when all I crave is some good dark chocolate. With sea salt preferably.

Chances are, you buy chocolate pretty often each year. Valentine's Day, Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day, birthdays, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas...not to mention that bowl of candy you keep on your desk. And that stash in your drawer. And that other stash hidden deeper in your drawer.

I hate to make you rethink your stash, but did you know conventionally produced chocolate is one of the worst destroyers of the environment? Behind only cotton, cacao farming uses the highest volume of synthetic and toxic pesticides. Synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers affect the environment, the crop, and workers.

Chocolate production also wreaks havoc on rainforests, fuels wars in production companies, and pays out low wages.

On to...organic chocolate!



Thursday, July 16, 2015

Help, I Need to Get Rid of These Electrical Cords!

Once upon a time, there was a striped cat named Milo. Adopted at eight weeks by a gullible sucker named Caitlin, Milo quickly became spoiled and decided everything he could see in the room was a toy to play with.



It was cute at first, but quickly became extremely annoying, and two and a half years later, Caitlin found herself with a pile of chewed phone chargers and AC adapters (and one fiance's laptop charger).


Hiding her one remaining phone charger, she researched how to properly dispose of her electrical cords so they didn't have to go in the trash. "Milo may be destructive and wasteful, but he is not going to keep me from being eco-friendly. AT LEAST I can use one of our spare AC adapters for my essential oil diffuser and save money," she thought.

(I am so glad I can write a short non-fiction piece on cats chewing through wires. Literary, I say.)

Maybe (hopefully) you are not in the same predicament. However, chances are, you've got a box full of spare cords and cables taking up room somewhere in your house. Not very minimalist! I wrote a post a couple years ago about electronics waste and why it's so important not to contribute to electronics pollution. So, how do you get rid of them the responsible way?

Do your cords and cables still work? 

  • Donate them! Goodwill accepts electronics donations, or you can ask around at schools, libraries or other nonprofit organizations to see if they can accept the items.
  • Sell them! Whether in a Facebook "For Sale In Your Town" group, at a garage sale, or on another website, you could make a little extra cash and help out someone who needs an extra cable.

If they've shorted out, don't work, or are frayed/chewed...

Look to your recycling options. 
  • Your local Best Buy has kiosks, just inside the front doors, to drop off ink and toner cartridges, rechargeable batteries, and wires, cords and cables, plastic bags and gift cards. Simply drop off your crap and go about your day.
  • If your city has an electronic waste recycling center, drop off your cords there.
    • The Louisiana DEQ has a list (albeit a two-year-old list) of electronics recyclers throughout the state. If nothing, this can serve as a starting point if you are looking around.
    • AllGreen offers electronic recycling pickup throughout the state.
  • This Apartment Therapy list provides available online recycling options.



Nice try, Sour Patch Kid. (He's sour and then he's sweet. Heh. Hehehe.)

Now, Milo, can you earn your keep and take this bag of cords you destroyed over to the local Best Buy for me?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Sun-stainable Sunscreen

You know the rules by now (or at least you should!): Wear sunscreen whenever you're going to be outside. It's super important for your health, but at the same time, added harmful chemicals could be hurting you and the environment. Similar to other conventional items I've written about, the chemicals in sunscreen seep into your skin and can have lasting negative health effects.

As living organisms, coral feed on algae, and they provide a safe breeding ground for fish and other marine species. Coral reefs also protect shorelines against damage from storms and floods, buffering against erosion.

NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science researchers and their partners have discovered that BP-2, a sunscreen chemical commonly used in many soaps, cosmetics and fragrances, is highly toxic to corals. As of 2003, 27% of the world's coral reefs have been lost. By 2033, 60% could be destroyed.



Thursday, July 9, 2015

Travel Throwback Thursday

A vacation is good for the soul, and a great vacation changes your spirit, even when you go back home. This year, the vacations are closer to home, so I'm reliving my past favorite blogged trips and pretending I'm somewhere other than here.



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