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Entries in local (4)

Friday
May192017

Mosquito Spray Endangers Vegetable Gardens, Pollinators, and Birds

A new problem has hit for families trying to grow vegetables at home: mosquito spray. More and more of my neighbors are having their yards sprayed for mosquitoes. The spray drifts into other yards when there is any breeze. The technicians usually face the neighboring property as they blast plants at the borders, spraying 20 feet or more onto property that was not supposed to be sprayed. Vegetable gardens, laundry, pets, fish in ponds, solar cookers, and even children can all come into contact with the spray. Ironically, even mosquito predators are killed by the spray, which makes the problem worse.

Using a spray gun to spray for mosquitoes, Brisbane, 1946. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Read on for what this means for birds and what the toxic ingredient in many sprays does. Mosquito spraying is a big local issue that calls for personal action, new regulations, and more research as we try to create sustainable communities. Find out about a less-harmful alternative and other steps you can take ...

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Monday
Nov042013

The Walmart effect: SNAPcut Challenge encore

For this encore round of the SNAPcut Challenge, I'm shopping at Walmart. Ordinarily, I shop there once every year or two, when I'm traveling and there are no other options. A recent trip made me realize how lucky I am to live within walking distance of a Whole Foods Market.

I went to the nearest Walmart and bought most of my staples from the much-maligned center of the store, including beans, rice, flour, canned tomatoes, and tea. Very few organic items were available. The dried beans were sequestered in the Hispanic section. The produce section gave me a shock. A few unrefrigerated bins held just a few core items such as apples, cabbage, and onions. A clerk suggested going to the big Walmart about fifteen minutes away. I paid for what I already had and headed to the other Walmart.

$84.46 worth of groceries from Walmart - food stamps for two in NC on the SNAPcut Challenge

The Walmart Supercenter had a produce section about the same size as the one at my small neighborhood Whole Foods, but less selection. I bought as much organic produce as I could and bought replacements for some of the pantry items, including peanut butter and canned tomatoes. Items in the bottom of the pictures will be used both weeks, so 50% of that cost is included each week.

When I couldn't buy organic, I used ...

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Saturday
Nov022013

Lessons the SNAPcut Challenge - living on a smaller food stamp budget

I'm at the end of the one-week lull between my two SNAPcut Challenges. For both, my Taster and I will live on the pre-November 1 SNAP (food stamp) benefit in North Carolina for one week and then on the cut benefit of $79.86 for another week. Please consider joining me for a week or two when I do the Encore starting on November 4th. Click here to find out how to set your budget and get updates.

The SNAPcut Challenge reinforced my belief that we should raise the food stamp allowance, not cut it. Being generous with food stamps will suffering now and reduce the long-term demand as people become more self-reliant and our local economies thrive.

The chart below shows how much I was able to stick to our goal of buying as much organic food as possible and buying at least 15% locally grown food. The chart is for the October challenge, when I shopped where I usually do, at farmers' markets, Whole Foods, and the Food Lion. For the November challenge, I'll shop at Walmart.

Chart shows food stamp budget with SNAP cuts for November for a family of 2 in North Carolina with the amount of organic and local food purchased.

Lessons from the October SNAPcut Challenge - Living on Food Stamps

  • A smaller budget makes variety harder. I couldn't afford

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Monday
Nov192012

Wildly Affordable Cyber Monday Special

Celebrate the release of the new Wildly Good Cook video with this unbeatable Cyber Monday Special! Here's a preview:

The Cyber Monday special is over, but you can still get the new Wildly Good Cook videos.

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