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We are preserving our planet with our lifestyles. We are creating sustainable communities for our children. We are living the lives we want to live. Please join us!

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All articles here are written by Melinda Briana Epler (that's me!) unless otherwise noted. I'm a documentary filmmaker, writer, and brand experience designer - I've dedicated my life to living a sustainable lifestyle and helping others do the same. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or thoughts for articles. Welcome!

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Great Reading

Q and A: White Tea, Seeds in Long Island, Joining the Growing Challenge, Chickens On A Rampage, and More!

I love the new email system I found for the blog, and apparently you all do as well, because I’m receiving some fabulous emails!  I thought I’d periodically share reader questions, and throw them out to our community for answers.  If this works, maybe we could make it a regular Sunday occurrence.

Please feel free to email me with questions you have about sustainable living.  I receive an awful lot of ads and press releases, of which about 99.9% of them I ignore (there are no ads on this site!) – so don’t send ads unless it really pertains to what we discuss here.  Questions and resources, however, are very much welcome!

And please, please, please answer any of the following questions in the comments – you all know more about some of this than I do!!

Questions

Where Can I Find Seeds and Seed-starting Information for Long Island?

From Nadya:

I am starting a modest garden, would love to make it a four season one, but need some advice. First of all about seeds sources, and starting plants before spring planting season.
Any suggestions?
Thanks

Nadya, I’ve created a page dedicated to Organic Gardening 101.  Included on the list of articles there are How To Grow A Four-Season Garden – Part 1, How To Grow A Four-Season Garden – Part 2, Seed Starting For Beginners, How & Where To Order Organic Vegetable Seeds, and My Ten Favorite Seed Catalogs.  Hope that helps!  Does anyone in the northeast have a good seed resource for Nadya? -Melinda

How Do You Grow White Tea?

From Gerry:

Dear Melinda,
I’m interested in growing white tea which is not being grown here in Kenya where I live.  Have you any advice to offer?  Growing conditions & times? How to source seeds/saplings to plant as an experiment.  Thank you & regards.
Gerry

Gerry, I’ve written about how to grow tea here:  How To Grow Tea (Camellia Sinensis).  Unfortunately that post includes the extent of my knowledge – does someone else here have more experience growing tea? -Melinda

How Do I Join The Growing Challenge?

From Marlene:

I am starting my FIRST vegetable garden. And I stumbled across your web-site.  I would like to join the Growing Challenge but could not figure out how to do so.

Marlene, congratulations on starting your first garden!  Leave a comment in the post here:  The Growing Challenge.  In your comment, include your name, where you’re gardening, and your hardiness zone.  (There are directions in that post for finding your hardiness zone if you don’t know what your zone is.)  That’s it! -Melinda

Why Are My Chickens Killing Each Other??!

From Monica:

I have 150 leghorn chickens who lay brown eggs and seem to have problems with them packing each other to death.  I have had chickens for four years now and have never seen this before.  Can you tell me why this would be happening?

Hi Monica, A while back Shawna wrote asking a very similar question.  While I didn’t know the answer, several experienced readers did – please check out this post as well as the great comments from readers below the post:  Where Do You Turn For Chicken-Raising Advice? -Melinda

Where Can I Find Scrub Oak Seedlings?

From Arline:

I want to start a scrub oak project at my school.  Do you know where I can get seeds or seedlings for free or for a very small price? Thank you, Arline  I am in central florida

Arline, Great idea!!  I mentioned Forest Farm in my list of favorite seed catalogs the other day – I would try there, though it is not free by any means.  You might ask them if they can give you a discount, donation, or a suggestion for a free resource, given the great project you’re working on.

In Seattle, there is a local program where you can volunteer to transplant native plants for a day and receive any left over plants you like for free.  Maybe try one of the local environmental organizations and see if they know of such a program in your area.

Anyone have a good resource for Arline? -Melinda

Resources

Buying Locally Database

From Megan:

I read your recent post “Sustainability Begins at Home” and decided to stay and look around the website.  I found the “Buy Sustainably Challenge” and noticed that number 2 on the list is “Buy Locally”.  What’s great about your text that follows is the last 6 words, “…has a local source for them.”  My husband and I created and run a website, www.gobelocal.com, which is a national database of vendors searchable by state and category – Bath & Body, Food, Restaurants, Pet, etc.  Specifically, we only list vendors that have a “local compenent” to their finished product.  For example, a restaurant that uses local produce/meat in their dishes or a weaver that uses local wool to make scarves both qualify to be listed on our site.  We created the website to help consumers/distributors support local vendors and their suppliers as well. It is good to see other people acknowledge the supplier part of buying locally.  Thanks.

Steel Baby Bottles

From Ann:

Note that this is pretty close to an ad, but I thought some of you would find this useful.  If you’re interested in trying one out, let me know – they’ve offered to send me a sample, and I’m happy to give one or two away!

For the first  time, there is a stainless steel baby bottle! I thought you might have interest in a  first look at this great green find…  This electro-polished stainless steel bottle is BPA  free, hygienic, lightweight, durable and will not leach anything into a  child’s drink.  The bottles are available in an array of colors including spring green, racing red, pretty pink., aqua blue and tangerine…. The feeding system grows with a child – turning  from a bottle with slow-flow silicone nipple to a medium-flow bottle and  then ultimately a sippy bottle with sip  spout! www.purastainless.com

Answers?

Please help answer the questions above!  Leave a comment below, or if you’d rather, send me an email.  If  you enjoy these posts and find them useful, please let me know.

Thanks, everyone!

What Is Your New Year's Resolution?

Happy New Year!!

I hope your long weekend was absolutely fabulous.  This year Matt and I did things a little differently, and we celebrated at home, bringing in the New Year together, deliberately and retrospectively.  Oh sure, we did walk down to the rooftop deck and watched the fireworks over the Space Needle with a group of neighbors as the clock struck midnight.  But then we came back home, and celebrated quietly and honestly.

And I must say I really do feel renewed and ready to move forward in 2010!

So whether you formally make a resolution, or you have resolved to do things a little differently in 2010, please share your new goals!  Let’s all help one another to reach those new goals in the coming months.

My Goals…

1. I have struggled to keep our community strong through 2009, as I moved and reoriented my life to a new city and new career.  But I love this community, and I believe we are creating a much-needed resource in the world:  a community where people can learn how to change their lifestyles, and find support through those changes.

So my goal this year is to bring One Green Generation to a whole lot more people!!! OH YEAH!! And you can help me by spreading the word, becoming a Facebook fan, leaving comments, asking questions, and in general visiting regularly.  Here’s what I will do:

    • Write more about my daily lifestyle changes.  It is clear from the comments and emails I receive that you all are looking for more about how to make those little but oh so important changes in your lives.  So in addition to working together to change via some key Challenges, my goal is to write more about the daily struggles and solutions I come upon.
    • I know I’ve been absent from the comments, and haven’t had the time to engage as much lately.  My goal is to work those interactions into my daily schedule so that this becomes a more interactive site again.

2. I started my own business a little over a year ago, in the bottom of the worst recession in my lifetime.  It has survived, and I love the work we are doing.  But it has been a struggle financially.  My goal is to make a good living doing what I love this year. What do I love?  Telling stories that change the world.

3. My third goal is to do whatever it takes to accomplish #1 and #2 together. They are both meaningful, important aspects of my life, and there are some things I can do to make them work better together without my sacrificing my amazing life with my family and friends.  So I will start to enact those this week.

THIS IS GOING TO BE AN AMAZING YEAR!!  I’m looking forward to it.  Are you??!

What Are Your Goals For 2010?

Please share your resolutions!!

Welcome to the New Year and the New One Green Generation!

Hello and Happy New Year to all tenured and new readers!  Welcome!

I’ve spent many hours updating the back end of the blog so that it has the latest software, plugins, etc.  I’ve been able to fix some quirks that were irking me for a long time.  And thanks to those of you who offered your input – I hope I’ve addressed all of your concerns.

Tell Me What You Think!

Ok, quick poll:  please tell me what you think of the design and the new features listed below.

New Features

There are a few new features that you’ll discover here.

  1. “Question? Just Ask!” In the sidebar you’ll see a section for asking questions.  I often receive emails from people asking how to do this or that, or what product I use for so and so.  I love these emails, and want to make your questions more a part of the site.  So if you have a question about something I haven’t answered in the Archives, please ask them here!  I will either try to answer them in a post or I will ask them of our community.
  2. Rate This Post. Maybe you just want to say you like a post, but don’t have time to write a comment.  Now you can give it 5 stars to let me know you liked it!  That will help me considerably to know which posts are hitting home for you all, and which ones don’t help as much.  It will also help other readers find the posts that you all like most.  Please rate posts often!!  I will start using this to cater my writing to what you all respond to most – it will help me become a better writer.
  3. “Lifestyle Changes” Page. This new page (in the navigation at the top of every page here) will include many posts about how to make simple changes in your home, as well as bridging those changes into the rest of your life – including work, commute, recreation, and long-term choices.  It’s almost complete, and will be up shortly.
  4. Donate Button. I have realized over the years that a lot of readers think I make money writing here.  I don’t.  I turn down the many offers I receive to put ads on the site.  I write without pay, for the good of the world and for the good of all of us.  In fact, I pay to write!  I pay for the website hosting, domain, etc.  It works out to about $100/month.  As I’m also running a startup and Matt is in school, it’s actually a lot of money for us at the moment.  So I have put a donate button in the sidebar.  If you feel you have the money to help, and you feel this website is helping you in some way, please donate any amount here.  However, if you are in a similar situation to us where you don’t have money to help, please don’t worry about it and continue to add value in your comments, post ratings, and lifestyle changes!

New Quirks

Unfortunately, everything new has it’s own set of quirks.  There aren’t many, but there are a few…  Mainly, the new theme has made old posts look a bit wonky.  I will go through the most popular posts and correct them, but considering how many hundreds of pages there are here, I won’t ever have time to do that for all of them.  Apologies.  They’ll remain visually wonky but hopefully still full of good content.

Find a Bug?  Let Me Know!

If there are quirks and irks you discover as you peruse the new site, please let me know.  I’m only one person here, so while I’ve troubleshot and tried my best to fix everything, there are likely a few things I’ve missed, or things that only come up in certain browsers.  Please let me know.  Leave a comment here, or send me an email letting me know.  Please – I’ll be very grateful for your help!

Still Hoping For A Feature That Isn’t Here?

Maybe you were shy and didn’t tell me something you wanted, hoping that I’d fix it on my own.  Or maybe you were out of town and didn’t have the chance to tell me earlier.  Or a month from now, something comes to you that you wish was here.  Don’t be shy – I want to know!  Please leave a comment here, or send me an email.  You can always send me an email.  I won’t guarantee that I’ll be able to add the feature, but I’ll take it into serious consideration.

Happy Holidays Everyone – See You In The New Year!

Melinda and Matt, 2009

 

I wanted to take a moment to thank you all for reading, and for your participation in this community.  You all are amazing in all that you do, and I feel privileged to be a part of each of your lives in some way.  Thank you.


I’ll be spending the next few days doing some housekeeping here.  There are some usability issues that I’ve been wanting to fix for a while, and I need to update the WordPress software – it’s extremely out of date!


And I would LOVE your input.  Is there anything you’re missing?  Anything that drives you crazy?  Or conversely, anything you want to make sure I keep, or that you want to see more of?  PLEASE LET ME KNOW!! I want to make this the most incredible and useful site it can be, and you can help by telling me how you feel about it.


You can just write your ideas straight in the comments below, or you can email me if you’re more comfortable.  I appreciate in advance your thoughtfulness – this really will help me a great deal.

 

Until the New Year… Have a safe and wonderful holiday season.

 

 

Going Tech Free At School – Looking For Ideas!

by noticelj on Flickr


Hi everyone.  Hope you’re having a lovely start of the week, and that my “feeling sluggish” post helped a bit!


I just received an email asking for thoughts about going technology free at school.  I think it’s a FABULOUS idea, and thought you all might have some great suggestions for this young reader:


I am currently trying to organize an technology free day event here on my school, it would be a festival where we have fun with friends and family field day events and reading and storytelling. i was wondering if you had any ideas about games i can play or just ideas in general.


Please don’t be shy – I’m sure everything you suggest will be helpful!!!!


Also, come check out my post at the Co-op:  “Making Sustainable Purchases.”  And my post at The Lab:  “Best Practices in Storytelling:  What is a Story?“  I just redesigned The Lab – come visit - there are loads of good posts there about world-changing things!


Thanks For Sharing!


We Have A New Forum for Conversation – Please Join Me!

 

As many of you know, I’ve been thinking about creating a forum here at One Green Generation.  Unfortunately, I am already trying to do too many things at the moment – some of you pointed out how much work maintaining a forum can be, and I agree.  So, I think I may have found a solution…


Yesterday I spent several hours creating a Facebook Page for One Green Generation.  There, we can each post photographs, recipes, questions, ideas, and even local meetups.  If you have an event you’d like to let everyone know about, you can post a link there.  If you have a new resource with fabulous information, you can post a discussion about it.  And if you have a burning question, please ask there!


I am thinking of the Facebook page as an extension of our discussions here – a place where we can allow our sustainability ideas to move into our personal lives just a bit, and use one another as better resources for finding information and learning new things.


So please come be a fan, and help create our Facebook community!  Don’t be shy – post questions today if you have time.  Let’s get the ball rolling on starting this new space!


Thanks so much for reading everyone.  I welcome your thoughts and suggestions about this blog and it’s new extension at Facebook.  See you in both places!

Why Bother? Why Live This Way? What Motivates You?

Why are you looking for ways to change your lifestyle?


Why are you looking for ways to change your way of doing things?  What motivates you to do the things you do?  Why do you come to One Green Generation?  And what is your goal – is it to be frugal, to simplify, to become more self-reliant, to live healthier, to prepare for the future, or for some other reason? 


There is a great conversation happening over here – first I wanted to thank you all for being so civil and kind in your disagreements – and second, I want to applaud you for getting everything out in the open.  I love that we come from different places, have different perspectives, and live quite different lives – and yet we all have similar goals.  That’s why I created this blog in the first place!  I truly enjoy seeing it happening.


So… What Motivates You? Why Bother?  Why Live This Way?


Please everyone, share your thoughts – it’s fascinating to know, and I believe we can learn a lot from each other.