Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sharing what we know

My husband and I often talk about community and about making a difference around us. At different stages of our lives this has meant different things to us. The most relevent topic to this blog is how do we share and encourage others to make a difference in their sphere of influence?

Obviously the first area we influence is our direct family. Husbands, wives and children are the ones who will see our lifestyles and our choices first hand. Last night when we had some friends over for a BBQ they asked me if I did this all myself i.e. the food garden makeover. Of course I could never have achieved this on my had to be a team effort with Superman and the other Incredibles helping. A question that followed that one was "Don't they grumble when they have to work?" Of course they do - some more than others and sometimes only one child instead of all.

It is hard work to grow your own food, conserve water, cook from scratch etc. But when children see that this IS what you are going to pursue as a family, it somehow makes it easier for them. Of course making sure that kids have sufficient down time is also important so we limit garden work to 1 hour a day on weekdays and only one morning a weekend. When everyone pulls their weight it is amazing how much you can get done.

I don't like to formalise everything my children learn, living life alongside them is a marvellous teacher. But we do have a few young girls who are keen to bake, sew and learn some homesteading skills. On Friday 4 little girls gathered in my kitchen to learn to make soap. They turned out some perfectly decent bars of lemon grass scented soap.

The next sphere of influence is our extended family. Parents, in-laws and cousins. Christmas 2008 saw us hosting the family for the day and our food garden was in full bloom. We also ordered organic meat for the day and everyone was amazed at the difference in quality for a slightly higher price. My mom in law and cousin-in-law (is there such a thing?) now both have container veggie gardens and have started recycling!

Our next sphere that we influence are friends and neighbours. Again last night at the BBQ we had friends walking around the garden commenting on this and that and asking questions. I feel so good to be able to share my limited knowledge with them so that they too can take some baby steps towards a healthier lifetstyle and producing their own food.

We have also had neighbours coming to see our gardens and to meet our chickens. Two have been inspired to get going on their own gardens and get some chickens.

I often smile when I hear my husband on the phone with clients and somehow the topic gets around to my profession. The conversation the gets onto our food's wonderful to see Superman sharing like this too.

Then in the broadest sphere is this blog, my green website and the forums I belong too. Here I can share with friends in cyberspace and you can take what you want to apply for now and leave the rest for another time. I think it is so important for us all, this worldwide community, to share what we know that can help build up one another, guide others onto a healthier path or just encourage others to take one step forward to improve their lifestyles.

BTW - these photos don't have much to do with this topic, but are just snapshots I have taken over the last while - 1. courgettes in waiting.
2. The girls soap in bags with labels. 3. Bird feeders 4. Freshly picked strawberries this morning for breakfast 5. Half barrel with herbs


Viggie's Veggies said...

Very interesting post. I've never been a terribly social person, but since starting to garden last year and beginning to prepare for urban homesteading this fall...I've ended up talking to people about it a lot!

In response co-workers are starting gardens, trying dehydrating, and my neighbors even followed the lead and put out a few veggies in pots and tended their scraggley forgotten raspberries.

Wendy said...

Hi there

It is amazing how one person has the ability to sow so many "seeds" (excuse the pun) which in turn starts to change others lives...well done!

Linnie said...

Thank you for sharing Wendy! You are changing so many peoples lives!

Sonja said...

This post of yours is so exciting and I believe in this too! We can all make a difference by living healthy and sharing it with other!