• Susan Poirier

New year: local first, organic, reduce CO2

Updated: Jan 7

This is the year I’m determined to reduce my carbon footprint. I’ve already got a decent start on this. My mindset has always been comfortable with frugality—I jumped on the simple living movement back in the 1990s. I drive an electric hybrid Prius, I’m a vegetarian (nearly vegan), and I work at home which saves a lot on CO2 and commuting costs. But I’ve still got plenty of work to do.

Changing our lifestyle boils down to changing routines that are hard-wired in the brain. I’m targeting my daily routines, one habit at a time (this week I’m focusing on food) and working to eliminate impulse shopping (which usually happens at the wrong stores) by setting a weekly shopping schedule and sticking with it.

My commitment—avoid the big chain stores, buy only organic and as much locally-grown as possible (depending on season). And, always support local small businesses first.

What I believe: a self-determined, simpler lifestyle is not only the best ecological choice for reducing CO2, we also benefit from a psychological boost of self-confidence and contentment when we are a part of connecting with our community and making the local economy stronger.

So I’m driving a few extra miles to the health food store which I know sells only organic fruit and vegetables, Harvest Health Food. And now in Grand Rapids we can shop through the winter at the Fulton Street Farmer’s Market which is open Saturday mornings through April 27.

Eating locally-grown, chemical-free vegetables is healthier, supports local farmers and small businesses, and protects our native bees, birds, endangered monarch butterflies and invertebrates. The high CO2 cost is slashed because it’s not shipped from thousands of miles away. (Bonus: doesn’t organic always taste better, too?)

It’s just not possible to put a price tag on both the physical and psychological benefits of home-cooked organic meals that we share with our family. I have a deep appreciation for my food, especially when I’m able to meet and chat with the farmers who actually grow the vegetables I buy.

Be healthier. Support small farmers and local business. Be a part of building a stronger community. Save pollinators and invertebrates. Reduce CO2. What a great pay-off for minimal effort—just takes commitment to change a few habits.



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