how does your garden grow?
kind krafts supports Prescott's gardening program for adults with intellectual challenge in Halifax.
by: hannah baillie, prescott summer student
Prescott’s “We can, I can” motto was on full display this summer as we enhanced our partnership with the Prescott Street Community Garden Society.
This partnership has also inspired Prescott’s work with kind krafts. As kind kraft’s current cause, Prescott will receive funds they raise to support our community garden programming.
Here at Prescott, we support 160+ adults with an intellectual challenge through the development of work and life skills. We also manage four social enterprises (businesses for a social good): Prescott Bakery, Prescott Custom Bags, Prescott Mailing Services and Prescott Online Auction.
The newest skill we’ve added to our repertoire is gardening!
The idea came about last winter. Life Skills program instructor, Sarah Nartiss, immediately jumped on the opportunity to become a part of the Prescott Street Community Garden Society.
“I liked the idea of gardening because it was accessible to everyone,” said Sarah. “We started from seeds, so even those who couldn’t work outside were able to take part.” She also noted that it was a good continuation from other Life Skills sessions on healthy eating and food prep. “I wanted to show the clients where food comes from and how it’s grown. They were more willing to eat fruits and vegetables if they grew them themselves.”
In addition to Sarah’s gardening sessions, various community members have also volunteered to teach our clients new skills. “It reflects our values of community engagement” said Sarah, recalling sessions where other gardeners stepped in to demonstrate how potatoes, carrots and tomatoes are grown.
Prescott clients Martin, Trevor and Shawn watering the garden
This year’s harvest includes over 14 different varieties of fruits, vegetables, and herbs. “I learned about tomatoes, chives, potatoes, and cabbage,” said Jessica Watson, a client at Prescott Bakery.
In addition to being a fun activity, gardening has furthered the discussion around healthy eating – especially in Prescott Bakery. After harvesting an abundance of beans, beets, and zucchini, our bakery has been able to incorporate these vegetables into their products.
“I grated zucchini to make muffins and loaves,” said Jessica, adding “I like using garden stuff in the bakery.” In addition to baked goods, the bakery has been pickling vegetables like beets and beans for Prescott’s 18th Annual Christmas Tea and Sale coming up on November 16, 2019.
Even though there are many vegetables still to be harvested from our plot this fall, one thing is certain: this will not be the end of our partnership with the Prescott Street Community Garden Society. Thanks to generous donations of microgreens and terrariums from fellow gardeners, our project will continue throughout the winter and into the next season, with new varieties of fruits and vegetables to grow and taste – we can’t wait!
Pictured above: some of our harvest, client Jessica, client Shawn grating zucchini for delicious muffins in Prescott Bakery
composting at home: a complete beginner's guide
As one realizes how composting can be a relatively simple and effective way to improve their gardens and reduce waste, they may wonder why they did not start doing it sooner. About one in three homeowners in the United States compost at least occasionally, with nearly one in five doing it on a regular basis. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans throw away over 250 million tons of trash per year. At present, around a third of this refuse is recycled or composted.
As much as 30 percent of residential waste can be turned into compost. This effort could dramatically cut back on an individual's waste production. If they compost in the house or yard (make sure to check that it is allowed in your community), homeowners who are worried that the items they recycle will end up in a landfill can look for replacements they can decompose instead. People may be surprised with just how much they can toss into a compost pile. Composting can also save money by reducing the need to purchase expensive potting soil or fertilizers to promote healthy plant growth. It may also reduce irrigation needs, cutting down on water usage and utility bills. Composting is growing in popularity across the world. The Town of Collierville, for example, looks to increase the amount of yard waste taken to compost sites by 10%.
Here's how you can get started.
Useful Tools to Have for Composting
Most of the tools homeowners use for composting relate to adding to the pile, mixing it, or moving it when it is ready for use. Compost can be fairly densely packed, but it requires aeration to decompose. Shifting dense soil can be a physically demanding activity. The kinds of tools people need to have for this purpose depends on the composting setup—its size in particular. Fortunately, implements do not need to cost a lot of money or take up a great deal of space. A small compost bin for a modest property works best with smaller tools.
People who are just getting into the idea of composting may want to start with hand tools. This helps to minimize their investment while they figure out what they prefer to use. Popular tools include:
Some implements may not be appropriate, depending on the way people keep the compost. For example, a large pitchfork or shovel might not be necessary or practical for a small bin. Homeowners should select tool sizes that allow them to manage the compost with relative ease.
For larger projects, people may want to add a few pieces of equipment to their collection. A wood chipper or shredder will make short work of clearing out a lot of yard waste. A mulching lawn mower can collect lawn clippings or distribute it back to the lawn. Finally, a wheelbarrow allows homeowners to move a lot more compost at once.
The right setup can make a big difference when composting. Many people choose to buy or build a product that will help them easily contain and aerate the compost before it is ready for use. The time required to get the compost going necessitates solid research into the first purchase or build. Few would want to have to get a new setup after less than a year. A wise choice at the beginning will make the whole process easier and prevent extra work or purchases later on.
Common Compost Bin Materials
As composting grows in popularity and accessibility, people can choose containers in an increasing variety of materials and styles.People should consider their budget and the space available before selecting any particular style. The material for the bin can affect and be affected by the makeup of the pile, so it helps to understand the basics. Manufacturers may sell products made of the following components:
Before narrowing down available options, aspiring composting households should think about the size they need and its placement on the property. People who do not enjoy the scent of earth may want to position a bin away from the home's exterior doors and windows. Plastic, ceramic, or stainless steel may be ideal for people who want to compost indoors, since they would not need to worry about weather resistance. Materials like metal, wire, or wood should typically be kept away from excessive moisture to keep them in better condition longer. Larger bins are often made out of pre-molded materials like resin or polyethylene, and can be placed almost anywhere.
Types of Composting Bins & Bin Alternatives
There are a few types of compost systems that people can buy. Most current products on the market tend to fall into three categories: bin, tumbler, or bag.Homeowners typically need to dedicate about 4-6 square feet for the system. A compost bin is a stationary object of varying sizes and materials. A tumbler has a base that supports a drum homeowners can spin to turn and aerate the compost. Tumblers tend to have a smaller range of sizes, because the system has to support the entire weight of the compost. Large sizes may be physically difficult to turn, especially if they are full. People who need a more compact size, or who only plan to compost a few months a year, might consider a bag. Compost bags are ideal for easy setup and removal for storage.
Each option may have different features that homeowners can choose to improve their use or convenience. Common aspects might include:
People should identify the specific features of each product during their research to make comparison easier.
At times, aspects of a compost bin or tumbler can create problems while they solve others. For example, people might opt to buy a pest-proof container that seals fairly completely. However, this makes regular air circulation more difficult, and may demand more attention. Homeowners who buy products with larger holes for aeration could have a higher likelihood of rodent infestation. People should consider how they intend to manage either of these common issues before buying any particular system.
Easy DIY Compost Setups
Buying something that is designed for composting may be an ideal, quick solution for many, but others might prefer something custom-made. Building a compost bin allows homeowners to get the exact size and shape that they need, with a temporary or permanent placement that they can build right on their property. DIY compost bins are not necessarily cheaper than buying a manufactured option. They can be as simple or complex as the creator wants. With the right tools and equipment, handy homeowners may find that this option to be a rewarding experience.
Wire Bin Composting
Wire bins are one of the quickest and easiest homemade bin styles. This bin weighs very little and does not need a lot of material to set up. It can be made from chicken wire or wire fencing. Since this style does not allow for much movement, homeowners should confirm that they will be able to access the compost from above. People interested in this option can take the following steps to put it together:
Homeowners who wish to keep the compost tightly contained may want to choose wire with smaller holes. This will also help to reduce pest access—although covering the bin with a tarp can accomplish this as well.
Homeowners who are looking for the simplest, low-technology composting options may prefer to dig a trench. This approach is one of the most basic and can be done in almost any outdoor space where gardening is allowed. This is a great option for people in communities or neighborhoods in which composting bins or piles may not be allowed. Trench composting involves digging a long trench right into the garden space. This cuts down on the square footage needed to manage the compost, because it is not kept separate from the garden. Deeper trenches with at least 12” of soil on top will serve as effective pest prevention, as well. Homeowners can do these tasks:
People like trenching because they do not need to maintain the compost or wait until it is ready to use. Given its position inside the garden, the plants will access the nutrients as soon as they are available. It will require some patience, however, as one may need to wait a while before they can plant directly on top of the trench.
Trash Can Composting
People who have an empty garbage can made out of plastic or resin might wonder if they could use it as a composting bin. With a few slight modifications, trash cans may be a viable choice for a contained composting setup. There are a couple of choices people need to make before they begin. Every can needs holes for aeration. Larger holes will promote better air circulation, but need protection against mice or rats. To accomplish this, owners may follow these steps:
Those who need a lot of compost may want to set up more than one can, rather than using one big one. Bins made out of plastic may not be strong enough to support the weight of the soil inside, especially if it is full, so that will have to be kept in mind.
Finding the Right Spot to Compost
The ideal place for composting depends on weather, moisture level, access to the gardening space, and proximity to the home. Compost needs plenty of warmth to rot, especially during the colder months. Homeowners should track the sunlight in their yards and choose a spot that will help them get what they need. Areas in full sun will break down the scraps more quickly, but may dry out faster. Shady spaces usually call for less water, but take longer to compost.
Although compost needs water for the process, moisture control is important. This aspect may be more complicated for people choosing an open environment for composting, rather than an enclosed bin or tumbler. Too much water will increase odors. A dry compost pile will slow the decomposition process. Once users get the setup working, they may only need to add water to moisten dry additions.
Additionally, one may want to select a location that offers extra convenience for them. Composting near the garden minimizes lugging heavy compost from one place to another. People could also opt to set the bin a few dozen feet from the home, to avoid odors traveling indoors. A well-kept compost pile should not smell like rotting waste, but it can attract pests people want to keep away from their house.
How to Compost
Every composting setup needs the following aspects to thrive:
The way people can achieve these depends on the system they prefer to use. Some bins are designed to make aeration easy, and provide an extra layer of insulation in the winter. People should consult manufacturer recommendations for their particular setup, to confirm they can use it properly.
To get started, homeowners need a selection of ingredients that they can layer one on top of the other. Using layers in the right way will promote an ideal environment for decomposition. When first building the pile, homeowners should aim for thin layers of a wide variety of materials. The more variety, the better. Compost needs a fair bit of waste in order for the design to work well, usually at least a few cubic feet. People should look to add carbon-producing waste and nitrogen-producing waste each time they contribute to the pile, along with water for the new materials.
There are a few reasons that composting takes a variable rate of time to create compost ready for use, and the size of the waste plays a big role. Even the best composting materials may fail to work as expected if they are not broken up appropriately before placement in the bin. The bigger it is, the longer it takes to decompose, typically. A huge mat of lawn clippings will stick together. A whole piece of fruit will take longer to break down than a few peels or slices.
The pile needs plenty of aeration to promote healthy microbe growth. One can achieve this through mixing the heap regularly. Tumblers are easy to turn or rotate to aerate quickly. Stationary bins may need people to mix manually using a trowel. People may wish to add materials that help to preserve air circulation. Something bulky and lightweight but fairly small, like bark mulch, can create air pockets.
The last component is time. Some homeowners put in a compost activator to help them get started. It can take months to get a healthy system of microbes living in the compost, especially if people begin toward the end of summer or fall. Regular attention to the pile can give people a better sense of how the compost is working, and whether they need to make any adjustments to their routine.
What to Put in Compost
Putting the right ingredients into the compost is an important aspect of its success. Experts recommend using a combination of what they call “browns and greens.” Browns involve waste from trees and bushes, like leaves or twigs. They create carbon for the soil. Greens cover everything else, such as:
Greens provide nitrogen that plants need for healthy growth. In many cases, households may also be able to use other waste from the home, such as shredded newspaper and cardboard, hair combings and (sometimes) dryer lint. Note: Dryer lint is only compostable if clothing is 100% cotton, linen, or wool — drying commonly-used plastic materials such as nylon, polyester, etc will accumulate microplastics in lint, rendering it unusable. Although animal waste is usually not considered good for composting, eggshells may be a useful addition. In order to work appropriately, the compost pile needs layers of materials that receive plenty of aeration. People should avoid putting in too much of any one thing at a time. Balance is key.
What NOT to put in Compost
Households may be able to put much of their waste into the compost bin, but a number of items should typically be left out. Some waste materials are less likely to break down over time, or may create odors that attract animals or insects. Others could affect the soil and damage the plants grown out of the compost. As a general rule, people should avoid using:
At first, households may want to be more selective about what they choose to put in. If people are not sure about the condition of certain yard waste, they might prefer to leave it out. Over time, users will get a better understanding of how composting works and feel more comfortable making choices.
How to use Compost
Homeowners should make sure that they know when the compost is ready and how to use it correctly, for greatest efficacy.The compost pile or contents of the bin changes appearance as it breaks down. It will deepen in color until it is brown or black. Like soil, it will be relatively smooth in consistency, with the scent of fresh earth. These conditions indicate that it is at the right state for use in the garden.
For many people, compost may have several states in the same pile or bin. Households that contribute to the setup regularly should make sure they can separate ready compost from parts that are not quite finished. Pre-built bins often have a door at the bottom to bring out finished compost without unsettling the pile. Otherwise, a lot of people decide to buy or set up a compost screen to filter out larger materials, as well as rocks and other things that may not work well in the garden.
Once people have separated the compost from the pile, they can use it in a few different ways. The most common is to apply it as mulch on top of soil for planting seeds or seedlings. The compost helps the soil retain more moisture and provides food for the growing plants. This process may be repeated a few times throughout the season.
Compost can be overly strong in nutrients and chemical makeup, so people should use it somewhat sparingly. Households may choose to combine it with soil and sand to create the perfect potting mix for indoor or outdoor plants. In this case, they want to use mostly soil, some sand and a little compost. People can also soak the compost in water for a day, then use the liquid called “compost tea” as part of their irrigation routine.
Regular Compost Upkeep/Maintenance Tips
After households start a compost pile, they have to keep an eye on it regularly to make sure that it is working well. In many cases, good maintenance can help complete the process faster and more effectively. The microbes that break down the food scraps and yard waste need a regular supply of food, water, and heat.With proper care, a fresh pile should naturally develop these microbes. However, some people prefer to use a compost starter with the microbes needed to start or speed up the process.
Homeowners may have an easier time understanding the importance of maintaining a “hot pile” if they think about how they manage other kinds of bacteria, beneficial or otherwise. Water usually needs to be heated to at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit to kill most kinds of harmful bacteria. Temperatures below about 100-110 degrees tend to slow down the culturing process for beneficial microbes. As such, people typically want to keep their compost piles around 130-150 degrees (Fahrenheit) for optimal decomposition.
Temperature maintenance relies on a mix of activity and rest periods. When people turn the pile after adding new material or as part of a maintenance plan, they could help or hinder the breakdown. Experts recommend shifting aside the top few inches of the pile every few days to take the internal temperature, especially at first. Leaving a pile to sit while it is still increasing in temperature will promote microbe development. Once the pile cools down, turning can restart the heating. People may not need to turn the heap more than once every few days.
The amount of moisture in the pile can alter the rate of heat accumulation. Dry piles tend to be cooler. Piles that get too much water and inadequate aeration will promote growth of bacteria that can cause odors or slow the breakdown of plant matter. Areas with heavy rainfall may need to be covered with a tarp to help maintain the right humidity. Given how long compost takes to make, people can take the early weeks and months to learn the right balance for their individual heap. The experience of doing it can be an excellent informer, sometimes as much as the initial research.
There are a few things that can go wrong in the composting process. Thankfully, most of them are fairly easy to correct and should not permanently damage the pile. As a general rule, most issues relate to the progress and composition of the setup. Although homeowners do not need to attend to the pile daily, they should invest the time to look at it at least a couple times a week.
Usually, people know something is off when they can smell the heap at a distance. Good compost should smell earthy. Although not everyone loves this scent, it is much better than the strong odors of ammonia or rotting garbage. When homeowners notice this, they should inspect the pile and get some information:
Wet piles are prone to odors, as are heaps with too much nitrogen. This is why experts suggest mixing more carbon (brown) matter than nitrogen (green) into the pile, and always putting them in together. Adding straw or shredded newspaper can help to re-establish a good balance. It is important to keep contributions as small as possible. The larger an item is, the longer it takes to break down and the more likely it could contribute to problems. People should keep in mind that messing with a pile too often can be as problematic as neglect. A pile that is not progressing properly may be turned too often. This disrupts the microbe development.
When the heap is not developing as expected, households should consider the moisture and the kinds of waste they add. They may need to add water more frequently, especially if it is in an area of the yard with a lot of sun. Prompt attention to these issues can help get the pile back in working order, and shorten the amount of time needed to complete the compost.
Hazards to Avoid - Health and Safety
Although compost is a necessary and useful component of any garden, it has a number of components that homeowners need to treat with care. Regular upkeep should prevent or minimize most concerns about the spread of mold spores or harmful bacteria. This is more likely in piles that contain animal waste. To ensure that they protect themselves first, people should:
Keeping a pile of a moderate size, about one cubic yard, can help achieve the right temperature range without increasing the heat too much. Fire from compost is rare but not impossible. People should monitor and turn the contents before the temperature reaches over 160-170 degrees Fahrenheit.
Households may have to deal with periodic infestations of the pile, but there are ways to prevent this issue. Mammals like rats and raccoons are attracted to fresh food scraps just put into the pile. They will also come for fats or animal products, which is partly why many generally recommend against these additions.
People should try to keep the heap as contained as possible. If they do not use a specially-designed bin or tumbler, they should cover an open pile with tarp or build a fence. Once animals find the waste, it can be much more difficult to keep them out. Insects can be benign or harmful to the decomposition process. Typically, insect infestation inside the pile indicates that the temperature is not hot enough. Adding water, increasing the nitrogen content, and turning the pile may raise the temperature sufficiently to force the pests out.
Composting is a great activity for households of various ages and abilities, and nearly any property. From a sprawling 10-acre lot to a home with only a tiny yard, compost has the potential to cut down on waste production and put scraps to good use in gardening. Expert gardeners know that this addition to their efforts can increase produce output and quality. People do not need a lot of knowledge or practice to get started. They only need to get a grasp for the basics, devote a proper amount of space, and have the tools and equipment to make it a success. The biggest contribution is time and patience to let the ingredients do their work. Compost heaps can begin at almost any time of year, depending on the region and the investment homeowners are willing to make. People who are interested in learning how compost could change their gardens for the better can start as soon as today.
A big thank you to John Quinn from REMAX Experts for sharing this composting blog post with us! A link to the original blog post can be found by clicking below!
Hello, kind krafters,
We Haligonians are a lucky bunch. Not only do we have three large farmers’ markets to choose from across our municipality, but the Halifax Seaport Market will be celebrating its 270th birthday next year. This makes Halifax, Nova Scotia, home to the oldest farmers’ market in North America. Our somewhat mild seasons sustain many long-established farms and their farmers in Nova Scotia, especially along the fertile Annapolis Valley.
Over the years, like many of us, I visited the market. These markets seemed like ivory towers: inaccessible and expensive for a student. I saw these visits as a treat and wandered around wistfully. But in 2018, I became engaged in sustainability efforts. The further I delved into the subject of community sustainability, the further I began to realize how deep and misinformed our cultural perceptions of farmers’ markets are. That’s how my New Years’ resolution came to be: I challenged myself to shop exclusively at farmers’ markets from January 1, 2019 to April 30, 2019. So, today, I wanted to share a couple of things I’ve learned and unlearned.
1. Fresh produce at farmers’ markets is expensive.
I agree – no matter what someone on the internet argues, for most people, food prices at markets match supermarket prices or are much higher. During this challenge, I had the privileged opportunity to not think about food vs. rent, and so I was able to dedicate my monthly budget to food purchases. If you’re purchasing food from a vendor at a farmer’s market or an independent store, you will not be seeing sales on onions or cucumbers or the same prices a corporation can set with their buying power. That said, a lot of this has come down to how we view food and our ability to purchase it. We all expect food not to take up too much of our budget. This expectation has only grown with the amount of convenience food and the globalization of mono-cropped produce. It’s also grown due to rising housing costs and expenses. We now pay for cell phones, wifi, transportation, and frequent social outings. As students, many of us leave school burdened with tens of thousands of debt. We all want to eat well, but when you’re stressed over bills or over life in general, stopping by the supermarket sale can take a little bit off your plate. In fact, that brings me to my next point.
2. There’s nothing fresh at the farmers’ market between December and May.
I don’t agree with this. There may not be the same selection as the summer months, but there’s still plenty, just not what we think of as ‘plenty’. I think part of this stems from how globalization has transformed our perception of food. When we walk into the supermarket, we expect to see plenty. That’s part of the consumer psychology that corporations spend millions to get us to keep going back – which I did! (More on that in my next point.) Seeing tomatoes, blueberries and corn in store all year round can disconnect us from understanding what food is. Yes, it may be disappointing to see that all that’s in season is leeks, cabbage, and carrots, but it makes seeing the first new vegetables of spring that much more exciting. Importantly, that excitement can be a grounding experience. Just as establishing relationships with farmers and vendors at markets can strengthen our sense of community, an awareness of the seasonality of food can ground us in the present and create a future we can look forward to. Here’s a handy guide to Nova Scotian seasonality: https://www.selectnovascotia.ca/seasonal-availability
3. If you shop at a farmers market, you’re cheating if you drop by the supermarket.
I don’t agree with this either. Because a few weeks into my challenge to eat exclusively from the market, I failed. I hadn’t had any fruit for weeks. A few friends of mine had brought fruit for lunch. The supermarket was having a sale. And so, I bought some strawberries at the beginning of February. I spent my time at the market the following weekend anxious and paranoid, like the strawberries had stained my hands berry red for all to see. There’s a certain cultural cache to being a farmers’ market frequenter: you care about the environment, sustainability, and ethics. For some, being a frequenter signals that you want everyone to know that you care. I’ll admit I felt like I was finally doing something for sustainability by eating asparagus only come late April, when it’s one of my favourite vegetables. That was a victory! But that fleeting moment of moral superiority was nothing compared to the guilt I felt over a few strawberries. My friends influenced me into buying them. It was a moment we bonded over food that would look similar to how a few friends might have bonded over the first strawberries of spring a hundred years ago. We’re social creatures. We don’t want to pay more for our food, but it’s still a massive aspect of our social life. My challenge never felt as though I had deprived myself, but it was restrictive at times, in that sense. What’s more relatable than bonding over super sales while miserably grocery shopping? Not to mention, I bought strawberries for cheaper than I have from the market in July. Even at that price they were a treat, as strawberries are now. So, I froze them, and they kept me going through that long winter.
When possible, when able, I believe shopping at farmers market should be first on everyone’s list. It’s still a far off world for me. In an ideal world, there would be no massive corporations running supermarkets. Our food system would be one with our growing seasons, and our new scale of relatability revolves around over upcoming produce – the first Valley peaches! The tomatoes, sun-grown vs. hothouse! Winter greens vs. spring greens! But for now, and as always, we work with what we’ve got.
What are your thoughts on accessibility and farmers markets, Kind Krafters?
Hello, Kind Krafters,
I’m your new Ambassador! You can call me H.T. I am currently in between my undergrad and masters courses at Dalhousie University. My interest spans a lot of areas, but I’m passionate about community and sustainability. A few more short things:
* I love painting and reading. I just finished Vita Nostra by Sergey & Marina Dyachenko.
* My favourite season is fall.
* I also love to cook. I'm trying to recreate a dish from my favourite restaurant. I perfected the liver pate and the jelly. All that's left is the pickles - the best part!
* At the beginning of the year, I challenged myself to shop primarily at Halifax farmer’s markets and independent shops as opposed to the larger supermarkets. I’m happy to report that I have yet to fail that challenge. I’ll tell you all about the challenge in my upcoming post.
One fun fact
I can make coffee from scratch. Being from the birthplace of coffee, Ethiopia, I grew up roasting green beans and making fresh coffee. While most people are familiar with the process coffee shops use with electronic devices, Ethiopians traditionally roast their beans on a wide and thin clay pan. My family likes dark roast, which makes for a lot of smoke – and a lot of fire alarms set off over the years. Some of us may not have liked standing over the smoking pan as much as others, but the smell was worth it. Even in the summer heat!
How did you get involved?
Kind Krafts is a great place to volunteer. I have also volunteered with the PETA and with the IWK for gift-wrapping during Christmas time. To be completely honest, gift-wrapping is my one true hobby. Nothing beats the rush and excitement of the gift-wrapping table at Christmas, and I love catching up with everyone every year. Last summer, I worked remotely with a non-profit organization, but I found their scope to be challenging personally. When a friend of mine brought me along to one of the many events set up by Kind Krafts, I decided to commit myself for the length of the event. Kind Krafts organizes projects that reach a variety of people. Their community involvement inspired me to commit myself even further after their event ended.
What does community mean for you?
Community represents health. If I go into a pharmacy or a supermarket, I meet the same pharmacist or cashier and we begin to establish a connection. This connection is fundamental to how we live as human beings, even if it isn't the same ties to our friends and family. Knowing that we can all share something, whether it's a food, commiseration over the rain, or a certain colour of yarn, helps to keep us grounded, secure and healthy.
I look forward to discussing how we can foster kindness and community ties!
Until we meet again,
There is No Planet B
I am conscious of my actions as a 21-year-old for many reasons, but my main one has become the environment. Our Earth. Our beautiful planet that is trying so hard to sustain us while we all act so recklessly. When I talk to people older than me about what they were thinking of at my age, I get answers like “buying a car”, “finishing a degree”, or “getting ready to start a family”. At my age I am thinking about how the nine-year-old car I drive is bad for the environment. I think about how I am selfish for doing a degree in music when I could be learning about environmental sustainability and helping our planet. I think about if I really want to bring another human into a world that is already overusing its resources. What life would I be leaving behind for my child?
I can’t get mad at anyone for their actions before I was born because no one knew any better. But today in 2019, I am mad. We have known better for at least thirty-years and very little people have cared to make a difference or change their ways. So many people understand the implications of their actions on the earth but think it’s too much of a hardship to switch them up. Because of that, we now have the younger generations trying to fight a battle on behalf of all ages. Youth activists like Greta Thunberg, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, and Timoci Naulusala are trying to influence the population to listen to them and the earth and not enough people are listening. I always say that I agree with saying that we don’t need 10 people doing zero waste perfectly, we need 1000000 people attempting it. But how do we get people acting on it with governments and authoritative figures not setting good examples?
Xiuhtezcatl says that we (the younger generations) are the generations with the most to lose. And that’s true. We haven’t even lived yet! We will be losing our earth, but also our opportunities. It is estimated that we have just another 31 years before 90% of mankind is annihilated by climate change (Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration). This will happen due to climate catastrophes like floods due to rising sea levels, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. I will be 52.
Living in Nova Scotia makes it easy to ignore these warnings and global disasters. I can go to any beach and swim without having to navigate around plastic in the water. I can drink as much clean water as I like and not worry about droughts. One of the easiest things to notice for me are the rising gas prices. It’s easy to remain oblivious to the bigger issues facing our Earth when they’re not right on your doorstep.
I can’t stress enough that we need to change how we are acting! It’s time to try and be perfect with how you treat the earth! If you forget your reusable mug try and seek an alternative but if there isn’t one, don’t buy a coffee! If you can walk to work, then do it even when it’s raining! If you have businesses like Farmers’ Markets or zero-waste grocery stores, buy there instead of at a chain grocery store. Find the small ways that you can improve your life as well as your environmental impact and do them! This is not a drill and it never has been. We need to become more responsible and accountable for how we treat the planet. Think of your future, your family’s future, and the earth’s future!
“The analogy that I would draw is someone looking at their bank account and week after week, they’re withdrawing money and they’re enjoying the good life. If they would bother to read the statements, they would see that the bank account is dropping $900, $800, $700, $600. And at that rate you know that another six months of the good life, is not going to be the good life anymore.”
Tw: Mental Health
Hi kind krafters,
I recently shared a post on facebook about how I celebrating (sounds strange but I think it’s fitting) my seven year anniversary of being hospitalized. At this time seven years ago, my mental health was at an all-time low. I was struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts and was in a very dark place. I had no regard for my future and very little hope. Tuesday May 22nd I was admitted to 4 South in the IWK after talking to health professionals for hours throughout the day. I was involved in therapy leading up to the day and lots of therapy sessions after. There was lots to overcome and I am proud to say that I am now a stronger woman because of my struggles with mental health.
In my post, I talked about how being able to reflect at the seven-year mark is such a gift. I never thought that I would be here seven years later, and definitely not living the life that I am now!! I am about to head into my final year of a Bachelor of Music degree, I have a black belt in karate, I have an amazing job at the Wolfville Farmers’ Market, I am a Youth Ambassador for this lovely non-profit, I am going to the President of the School of Music student society, I have friends and family who I love with all my heart and that - I can now say and believe – love me back! I have been able to figure out who I am, as well as learn how to recognize and acknowledge my strengths, and work on my weaknesses.
A main message that I want to try and communicate to anyone reading this, not to be cliché, is that it does get better! The hospital wasn’t a magic fix for me. I tried different anti-depressants that caused some issues for me and it definitely wasn’t a fun time. I had years of therapy and my road of recovery was NOT smooth sailing. I thought when I first entered university I was all good again, but my first year was actually a complete mess! I am not trying to make anyone nervous or upset, I just want to enforce that it will take time and a lot of hard work. Lean on your support systems! You may feel like a burden – you’re not- but you will appreciate everything in the end.
Another key thing for me, was getting involved with groups that made me feel happy. School was okay for me, but definitely not my happy place. My favourite spots were the dojo and choir rooms. These two activities helped me more than I can explain. Music speaks when words can’t and was an outlet for me to express my emotions through singing. Karate was a place I could release stress and calm my mind while practicing the 5 parts of the Dojo Kun. I think it is essential for people to find these outlets in their lives. I encourage people to try these new skills and take the risk of finding something that you love to do!
Thank you for reading this personal blog kind krafters! Please also know that you can always reach out to me to just talk or ask questions!! Sending lots of love xoxo
Hey kind krafters,
I recently started a student summer intern position in Wolfville where I am constantly learning about food production within Canada/Nova Scotia and ways that I can do better when purchasing food, creating food waste, and producing food. I thought I might share a few of my new findings with any of you reading this today in hopes that all of us can try to be a little bit better ☺
So first off, I thought I’d share a few facts that I’ve learnt about food waste in Canada
Resources used :
Some ways that I try to have less food waste are …
Another thing to think about when purchasing food is where does it come from? I have spoken to so many people recently both producers and consumers who have said that they are trying hard to only purchase food from within Nova Scotia. I’ve known some people who try to purchase from just within the Valley region too! I think this is a totally awesome idea and it forces you to support local and eat seasonally too! When you eat seasonally you have an awesome variety of food all year round! Not only does it taste great, it’s also so much more environmentally friendly! Look at this link for markets near you - https://www.novascotia.com/eat-drink/farmers-markets
Thanks for reading kind krafters! Please leave any of your suggestions for helping to decrease food waste in the comments – I’d love to learn more.
Lots of love,
Hey kind krafters,
I’m sure you have all seen the recent news about the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and the outpour of support and memories being shared by Facebook friends and Instagram followers. Personally, I was saddened by the fire and sent good thoughts to those who were battling the flames and for people who were nearby and hoped that no one would get hurt in the incident. I feel badly for those who were deeply impacted by the fire and for those who the cathedral holds a very special place in their hearts. However, I was also saddened by the different posts I saw online surrounding the event.
I was amazed and upset by the amount of money that was raised within the first ten days after the fire had occurred. According to a BBC article published on Thursday April 25th, the amount of Euros raised had reached 750 million. The current exchange rate for the Euro to Canadian dollar is 1:1.50 which makes that total $1,127,497,500 in Canadian dollars. This amount is immensely unreasonable and apparently too much money for how much fixing the cathedral is actually going to cost. Though this building is gorgeous and obviously holds a lot value to many different people, I believe that this money could be used towards much more important restorations.
The picture above was shared over 500,000 times through just one Facebook page – I was one of those people that shared it! I believe that if the money spent to rebuild the cathedral was instead given to corporations that help our planet, a much smarter decision would have been made. There was a post circulating on the days following the fire that stated that the money donated to rebuild Notre Dame would have been enough to clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. I’m not sure how this was measured and if it is even correct, but I’m sure that 750 Euros could definitely go a long way with helping our environment. So, as I said before I was upset and my heart hurt for the people whose lives had been effected by the fire at Notre Dame, but I was disappointed with how quickly people were willing to leap to action for a building and how long it is taking for people to take any action at all to help our planet. A building is beautiful but only serves a select amount of people, whereas our Earth serves us all.
Another thing that was plastered all across social media after the fire, were posts being shared about how people should not be upset about the cathedral burning because there were more important things happening. A large part of this was saying that there was a load of discrimination attached to the money and the amount of social media coverage that the cathedral received. Personally, I think that if another building – let’s say the Taj Mahal – were to catch on fire, there would be a similar outpour of coverage and financial aid.
A few days before the Notre Dame fire, there were three churches in Louisiana that were also affected by fire. These fires were set on purpose however as a racist attack. This news is upsetting and to me, more upsetting than Notre Dame because the fires were set as an act of hate. After the Notre Dame fire, tragedy struck Sri Lanka as terrorists bombed and killed over 250 people and injured hundreds more. This was an act of hate against Christianity and it deeply hurts me to know that people who were just trying to worship peacefully were killed by extremists. These two current events are shocking and tragic; my heart aches for both communities. However, I am able to feel sad for the communities in Louisiana and Sri Lanka – as well as Paris. I’m crushed that people felt the need to shame others in a time of such immense grief for all communities across the world, and to say that their feelings weren’t valid.
I am saddened by many news stories that I read every day. Some stay with me for a long time, while others I now feel like I have built up an immunity to because I see posts about them every single day. As Nova Scotian’s, we can imagine the devastation felt in a community as a result of a fire. I know many of my friends have posted about both Louisiana and Paris and I think I saw an equal representation of both stories. With all three of the stories shared in this blog, we have seen how faith can be a target. But in all of these stories we can also see how strong faith can be for someone. Whether you’re religious/spiritual or not, I think we can all appreciate the beauty that people are able to find inside a faith. I saw someone share the following quote last week “people don’t go to church for the building, they go for the faith inside” – I think this speaks to the tragedies faced by the three communities mentioned.
At this time, (and in any time!!!!) we must be kind to each other. We have to recognize our own feelings and validate them, but we must do the same for others. I’m not sure if this article has really shared a specific point, or has allowed me to write out some of my thoughts and frustration surrounding all of the posts I have seen on social media recently. Either way, thank you for listening to me this week kind krafters!
Lots of love,
Hey kind krafters,
You’ve known me for quite a while now and so I thought I might tell you a little more about a certain side of me. Around the time that I started university I decided I wanted to start collecting postcards. I have never sent one of them, even though that is their intended use, but instead I have kept them all in a box or put them up on my wall. Whenever I go on a trip, I make sure to buy a postcard and if someone is going away, I’ll ask them if they could bring one back for me. In this blog, I’ll show you a few of my favourite ones and talk a bit about them. I think it’s so important to support our local artisans and buying their cards is a pretty inexpensive and beautiful way to do so!
Thanks for reading!
Hey kind krafters!
Over the last few months I have been watching an extremely powerful young female create change globally. I have slowly been learning more and more about her and I’m sure that many of you have seen her online or in the news. She is so influential to younger advocates as well as older populations as we all have so much to take from the knowledge she shares with us. Her name is Greta Thunberg.
Greta was born in 2003 in Sweden and has lived there her whole life. She comes from a family of artists which I found particularly interesting! Her mother is an opera singer and her father is an actor. In 2018, when Greta was just about to start grade nine, she decided that she was going to stop attending school until the Swedish government promised to reduce carbon emissions as they had announced by signing the Paris Agreement. Under the Paris Agreement, each country must figure out how they will contribute in reducing their contribution to global warming and give regular reports on their progress. The long-term goal of the agreement is to keep the increase of the global average temperature below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Greta’s idea to strike for climate came to her after she heard of the teen activists at Parkland School who did the March For Our Lives – she saw other youths trying to create change and so she decided to also. During the first part of her strike she would sit outside Sweden’s national legislature with a sign until the general elections commenced. After the elctions, she chose to only strike on Fridays but her story has travelled far and wide. By December 2018, over twenty-thousand students held strikes in over 250 cities. These cities include both Wolfville and Halifax.
In November, Greta did a TEDxStockholm talk where she discussed her story and what she is trying to do through her strike and other climate activism. Here is the link to her talk –
At the very beginning of her video, she mentions that she first heard of global warming at the age of eight. Personally, I can’t even think of the first time I heard about greenhouse-gasses, my carbon footprint, and ways that I could reduce my impact on the planet. While I was a child, being taught how to recycle seemed like another thing that I had to learn similar to my times tables. It seems so crazy to me, that we teach all of these rules about how long to shower for, how long to brush your teeth for, how to compost, how walking is better than driving, etc. but it was never done with any urgency. But now that the time has pretty much run out, people are still treating these rules with the same lack of panic.
In December 2019, Greta addressed United Nations at their climate change summit about her school strike. She spoke honestly and has been described as being ‘the only adult in the room’. Many people were upset with how a youth had to speak up and stop fully attending school because of the lack of changes being made by the adults in authority and positions of power that would allow for these large changes to be made. A quote that hit me while watching her speech goes as follows, “You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes”.
There is so much to learn from Greta and there is so much change that we all need to make as global citizens. If you are interested in finding new ways to better the environment, please look at my previous blog posts
Also, please feel free to share more tips/facts/comments/questions about how we can all take the necessary steps to protect our planet!
Lots of love,