We've all heard it: Think globally, act locally. But what does that mean exactly and how can we apply it to our daily lives to become more green and sustainable?
At the University of Wyoming's recent Food Safety, Security and Sources: A Recipe for Tough Times 2009 Consumer Issues Conference
, these questions were addressed by two knowledgeable people on the topic: Melea Press, assistant professor of marketing and sustainable business practices in the Department of Management and Marketing at the University of Wyoming; and Karen McManus, co-operator of Wolf Moon Farms
in Wellington, Colo. Both Karen and Melea had some pretty interesting suggestions on how we can all act to become more locally-minded.
For example, Melea Press recommended that a good starting place is to read books such as Farm City, Plenty
and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
to become inspired by what other people are doing. Some of these books demonstrate one-year projects on eating locally and what happens when you do the best that you can.
Similarly, Karen McManus -- known to some children as Farmer Karen -- talked about working on her nine-acre organic farm in Wellington, Colo. and some of the local efforts that are taking place in her community about eighty miles away from Laramie, Wyo. (Click here to see another great article about Wolf Moon Farms
.) One such effort is a program getting kids to grow their own carrots, potatoes, celery and cucumbers in "kid friendly" gardens. Just like the perceptions associated with wearing seatbelts have changed over the years, Karen McManus hopes her efforts will affect the way youngsters view where their food comes from.
"When kids play an active role in growing vegetables, they are proud of their efforts and are excited to eat the vegetables they grew," Karen McManus explains.
Other examples of programs geared towards "getting local" in Karen's area include a BE LOCAL 20/20
project where community members pledge to spend $20 for twenty weeks at local, unique businesses and a Be Local Coupon Book
that offers special discounts at Fort Collins-based businesses. And even if you don't live in the Fort Collins, Colo. area, those highlighted links offer great advice on how to start your own "Be Local" initiative. Because in order to be a conscientious global citizen, we must do our best to act responsibly in the environment closest to us -- the environment right outside our own front door.
Want to do more?
Here is a list of my top ten favorite suggestions by Melea Press on how to become more local:
1) Shop at the farmers market when it is available to you; eat seasonal and local fruits and vegetables.
2) Drink fewer soft drinks and bottles of water.
3) Compost -- it keeps materials out of the landfill, and transforms garbage into nutritious soil.
4) Get involved in local politics -- food is political.
5) Buy foods in bulk when possible.
6) Have a garden; start small.
7) Save some local produce for winter (can or freeze, start small) but eat fresh when you are able because canning and freezing uses energy.
8) Start a potluck group and have potlucks!
9) Start a local food group.
10) Walk, ride your bike, take public transportation or carpool when you can.