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Ditch the Concrete – Choose a Forest Cemetery

Okay, I realize this is a sensitive topic for some. Not everyone is going to resonate, and that is totally okay. I respect everyone’s beliefs, opinions & feelings!

I wanted to share this option with people: Forest Cemeteries. How do they work? Well, a deceased person is first cremated, then their ashes are put into the base of a tree. The tree acts as the gravestone.

A truly peaceful place for your loved one’s memorial and resting place.

Why choose this? A couple reasons.

1. A cemetery offers a special, serene landscape for survivors to come visit those who have passed.

2. There is something special about knowing that even after life, you are in a way still part of an ecosystem.

3. Forest cemeteries are protected lands, just like conventional cemeteries. This means that by choosing this, you are actively contributing to conservation efforts.

4. Conventional cemeteries are proven to be very hazardous to the environment.

  • Both the Journal of Water & Health and the WHO report that cemeteries are one of the major sources human-related sources of pollution and contamination of water. Human bodies, over time, leach into the soil. Bodies may contain toxic chemicals like arsenic or formaldehyde (preservation/embalming), microorganisms like viruses or bacteria, and different chemical compounds from miscellaneous aspects such as pacemakers.
  • Conventional cemeteries also rely on fertilizers to maintain the grass. Forest cemeteries are able to thrive naturally.
  • Finally, conventional cemeteries use a lot of concrete. Concrete worldwide causes up to 8% of global emissions. Yikes! By reducing this even just a little can make some big changes.

Being buried in a traditional cemetery is no longer the only option. Check out Better Place Forests https://www.betterplaceforests.com/ for a glimpse of what one of these forests looks like & what they have to offer!

As always,

In Soil We Trust

Tiffany

Check out some of these resources to learn more:

https://iwaponline.com/jwh/article/13/2/285/28303/Impact-of-cemeteries-on-groundwater-contamination

https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/108132/EUR_ICP_EHNA_01_04_01(A).pdf;sequence=1

https://amp.theguardian.com/cities/2019/feb/25/concrete-the-most-destructive-material-on-earth

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Pre-Cool Your Home & Save Yourself the Complaints

Okay ya’ll! Fun little tip for you to give a try. It’s called pre-cooling.

Here’s how it work:

Turn your thermostat down pretty low after about 8pm or right before bed. We turn ours as low as 67 or 68. By doing this, you’re using energy during off-peak energy consumption hours.

Be cool. Like this guy 😎

This results in less strain on supplier and energy productions companies to meet supply demand during peak hours (usually 3-7pm, with over night being the less demanding time of day).

What’s more, you’re air conditioning won’t have to work as hard (draining your energy!) during the day because the inside building temperature is starting the day off at a lower temperature.

Not only will you sleep fabulously in the cold air, but the next day you won’t be so hot and sweaty!

Pre-cool your home and save yourself the complaints 😉

As always,

In Soil We Trust,

Tiffany

It’s Like Riding a Bike (To Work!)

This summer I spent a hunk of change on fixing up my old bike.

What a great decision!!!

I wanted to do this because sometimes I feel like I am all talk, and don’t take enough action in living a sustainable life. I wanted to do more. So, I opened up Google Maps and selected bike routes. I mapped out a nice, safe bike route to work. Was I surprised to find how absolutely glorious the ride to work could be when I’m not sitting in traffic. I have passed so much wildlife, gotten the opportunity to smell the flours, and just immerse myself in nature.

Now, my car ride was only about 15 minutes, and the bike ride is 45 minutes. But I no longer have to take time out of my day to workout, because the ride is my workout!

Not the best quality photo. If you look closely, though, you’ll see two little deer crossing the bike path! I see these guys regularly.

Biking has many obvious benefits, from lowering emissions and saving money on gas, to getting in your exercise. I was kind of surprised to find that the greatest benefit was just that I FEEL good about doing good. A bit selfish, sure, but I love feeling like I am contributing even just a little.

So, this is your sign to see if this transition is possible. You might grow to love the longer commute, because you’re getting your exercise in and always trying to beat your last ride time. I realize this might not be realistic for all (especially on those rainy days!) but for some I bet this is a change you can make. It might be a little challenging at first. I know it was for me.

Okay! That’s all.

In Soil We Trust,

Tiffany

Why I Love Soil

I love soil. Soil is the foundation of all life. Without soil, we would have nothing. Even aquatic requires soil for life to bloom.

We don’t often consider the dirt beneath our feet. We take it for granted. Yet, plants, animals, oil, or TVs, this laptop, your kitchen table, everything you see is derived from soil.

Earth is one of the ancient elements, next to air, fire and water.

Earth is probably a favorite element of mine, because all of the other elements rely on earth.

Soil provides sustenance. All living things find their nutrients from soil’s capabilities.

Soil is alive. There are trillions and trillions of little microbes that make soil a living, breathing thing. Just in the same way that there are billions and billions of little microbes in our own bodies that make us living things.

Soil is home; soil is Earth; Earth is home.

Soil is our medicines. Soil regulates Earth’s temperature – creating livable conditions for us. Soil holds waste, then turns it into nutrients like magic. Soil holds history, from dinosaur bones to lost civilizations.

I believe soil is the most valuable resource on our planet. It is a resource that we have immense control over, too. When we love our soil and steward it properly, the benefits are endless. But, when we carelessly plow our soil and let it degrade into the abyss, we also plow our own civilizations over and erode society.

When soil is good, we are good.

I love soil. Soil is life.

In Soil We Trust,

Tiffany

B Corporations – What are those?

Ever hear of B Corporations? What are they and why do they matter?

Here is the official definition of B Corporations (B Corps) from B Lab:

Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.”

I like to think of these companies as for-profit, nonprofits. They have a social and/or environmental mission. They consider profits AND people.

To be a B Corp, a company must undergo significant assessment to prove that they actually aim to accomplish good, not just make money.

B Corporations are focused on creating a sustainable economy, a sustainable environment, a sustainable society. A sustainable world.

The official B Corporation certification logo

When you see this label above, you can be sure that the company and product are better impacting the world in some way, whether that be for workers, consumers, government, environment, or community.

Here is a link to B Corporation so you can get a detailed look at what companies must do to get certified and more about the movement.

There are a ton of B Corporations you can support with quality products. You might be using some already! While there are many lists you can find by a simple Google search, here are some of my favorites:

  1. Thrive Market – a one stop shop for groceries.
  2. Navitas Organics – need a superfood powder? go here.
  3. Traditional Medicines – I love their teas.
  4. Athleta – quality sports clothes.
  5. Tillamook – my favorite ice cream!

That’s all for now!

As always,

In Soil We Trust,

Tiffany

What If… Street Garden Edition

What if the streets were filled with fruit and vegetables along with plants of beauty.

I’ve always imagined a world where the sidewalks were lined with herbs, fruit trees, and tomato plants instead of half-dead grass. Could you imagine if restaurants and cafes went to their back lot to pick the cilantro for your salad?

Community gardens could take place alongside roadways, and anyone could help themselves. If we grew and cultivated a community of gardeners, I bet hunger would decrease substantially. Although, I realize it might take time to get to a point of self-sufficiency like with building compost/soil or saving seed reserves.

This idea is not original to me. In fact, this is taking place in select parts of the world. One of my favorite examples is of Detroit. Check out this link to read more about the journey and success to make this “what if” a reality.

If you see a vacant lot, or a barren street, I hope this post inspires you to at least plant a seed there!

As always,

In Soil We Trust,

Tiffany

Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens – a Book Review

Okay, guys. This book is seriously detailed. I learned a ton!!! If you are interested in raising chickens, this is your book. You’ll learn everything from hatching chicks to growing birds, to processing to how to boil an egg or cook chicken wings.

I’ve been working this past summer on a farm that raises broilers and layer (meat chickens and laying hens), and I am so much more well-versed in what needs to happen now. I feel more confident in observing if something is wrong and then what to do.

The book starts off with choosing what types of chickens you want. There are sooo many varieties, so I would definitely take this part seriously before purchasing. It didn’t quite make sense why the author chose to start about breed types, but as I went on, I realized that picking the best breed for what you plan to use them for is important. Some birds stay small and so you wouldn’t want to use them for meat, others are really aggressive, and you would definitely not want them around your kids.

Author Gail Damerow touches on everything, in detail, too. From what to feed them, how much, where to buy feed and chickens, what to avoid, housing, environmental control, overall health management and diseases, marketing, and more.

I actually skipped a few parts because I didn’t so much care for them, like how to boil an egg, incubation, and showbirds. It was nice that some of these parts were included, but you might also want to skip some parts. If you don’t plan on raising meat chickens, just skip that part.

This informative book is about 300 pages of pure knowledge, and I am happy to have read it. Storey’s Guide has a collection of other titles, like how to raise goats, pigs, beef, dairy cows, and more.

Overall, 9.5/10

That’s all for now.

In Soil We Trust,

Tiffany

Creating Life. – aka Composting.

Composting can be a little bit intimidating if you’ve never done it before. You may be worried about the smell, the labor, attracting pests, or simply not doing it right.

Well, there is a way to avoid all of these worries, and it’s actually pretty simple!

I believe composting is more of an art than science. So, just have fun with it.

The Basics

Composting involves the combination of “brown” and “green” materials. Here’s a list of what these materials actually might be:

Brown = Bark mulch, dried plant waste (leaves, stalks, stems), household paper (napkins, paper towels, mail, newspaper), straw or hay, wood chips or branches.

Green = Manure (chicken, cow, horse, sheep, goat), coffee grounds/tea leaves, food scraps, garden waste (except diseased or seed), grass clippings, seaweed/kelp, eggshells.

Don’t get too worried about the ratio of brown to green. Some resources say you need a really specific ratio. Again, this is more of art than science; it doesn’t have to be perfect. To speed up decomposition, add more green. If it starts to smell or get slimy or wet, add more brown.

Here are some things to avoid = Pet waste, animal/fish products, glossy paper like some magazines, bones, hair, large pieces of wood, or seeds.

Finally – Just add water & air. Your compost is a living, breathing thing. You’ll want to give it water every so often when it is looking dry. You’ll also have to turn it with a pitchfork of shovel to allow air into the compost to help it breath. I highly recommend a compact compost tumbler like this one from Home Depot. This will be the best for easy turning and keeping away uninvited pests. It also is small enough to be used on a small property or patio. I, personally, just an old storage container and kick it around or give it a big shake every week or so. You can also just dig a whole or build a three-bin composting station. The bins are for (1) stockpile product, (2) building up a pile, and (3) finished, usable compost.

Compost is really low maintenance, requiring only 10 minutes a week of attention.

Thank you to bqlt.org for the image, and Acadia Tucker’s Growing Good Food for the composting information.

The benefits are endless, from your own property’s health, and also impacting global climate.

Do you compost? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments!

As always,

In Soil We Trust,

Tiffany

What If… Highway Windmills Edition

I was driving down the highway a few weeks ago and found myself checking out the light posts.

There’s gotta be hundreds of thousands of light posts on the highways.

Then an idea hit me. What if every light post had a wind turbine attached near the base?

Cars FLY by the posts, creating a burst of wind as they whiz by. This wind can be harnessed.

One of the difficulties with wind turbines is that they are not easy to maintain due to their extreme heights. But having them low to the ground would be much easier access. Plus, they wouldn’t have to be excessively large.

What problems do you see with this? Do you think this could be put into reality?

Let me know below!

In Soil We Trust,

Tiffany

Eat Your Veggies & Have a Meatball

I can’t be the only one who excitedly buys a bunch of veggies only to come back to the fridge after a few days and see them starting to wilt.

They’re a little mushy, definitely not crisp, and definitely not very flavorful.

You might be tempted to throw them right in the trash, but there’s another solution for the waste!

So here’s the tip:

Use your leftover, on the edge veg for meatball add-ins. Just chop them finely or grate them, and give those meatballs a little extra bulk and nutrients. Much better than having your money go straight into the trash instead of your stomach where they belong.

Let me know if you try this out 🙂 the soil that grew those vegetables will thank you.

That’s all for now.

As always,

In Soil We Trust,

Tiffany