Ahh! Sorry for the absence! I will be back up again hopefully this week. Since February 25 I have been eating a vegetarian diet and I feel great about it. Breakfast and lunch for most days includes almonds, fruits and raw veggies. I joined my local co-op, where I've started doing most of my grocery shopping. It is within walking/bike riding distance of my house, so I'll be doing double the good while shopping there on warm days. The co-op has its own farm for seasonal produce, stocks a lot of organic items as well as fair trade/ethically produced items. It is community owned, so when shopping there, I am giving back to myself rather than a faceless corporate giant. There are monthly specials, great deli/prepared dish selections and the prices aren't out of line. If you have a co-op in your area, I highly suggest looking into becoming a member. There are many benefits.
It's also getting to be garden season, and that means another great vegetable garden this summer. Our nation's economic crisis has shown seed and gardening copmanies a rise in business, and it makes sense. Some statistics I have recently seen while doing research for a presentation show that an investment of $70 in a 600 sq. foot vegetable garden can yield 300 pounds of produce, a $600 value. The Burpee seed company is ready to ride this wave, offering buyers a $10 starter seed pack with 6 different types of vegetables yielding $650 worth of produce. How's that for a good investment in shakey times? If you're going to be doing your own gardening, be sure to do it right. Research your plant groupings (certain types of plants all need similar nutrients from the soil, so if you plant then together this year, you can rotate them to an undepleted patch of garden next year). Also, try using integrated pest management (IPM) rather than a quick spray of herbicide, fungicide or insecticide. To do this, try using cheese cloth to keep rodents and birds away (or hang a bird feeder elsewhere as a distraction), plant marigolds around the perimeter of your garden as a pest deterent and use a soap and water mixture to spray on your plants to keep bugs away.