Lunchtime Links: how to grow beets, a retractable window garden, and an online map for freegans

Here’s today’s things….

how to grow beets, with brian campbell.

It turns out I’m no Dwight Schrute when it comes to beet growing so I really appreciated that. This is only the second time I’ve grown beets. I could not figure out why my seedlings were so close together. I had no idea the beet seed was actually several seeds. And I had so many questions about thinning.

See,ya’ll? Years of gardening experience and there are still things I have to learn.

 


This is pretty neat. Barreau&Charbonnet created this window garden for people with little space. It extends out during the day so plants can get sun and retracts back in at night.

Retractable Window Planter

Retractable Window Planter

It’s a cool concept. It’s probably not super flexible to different window designs but I bet someone with  DIY skills could build neat custom designs.


 

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Caleb Phillips and Ethan Welty founded Falling Fruit , an online resource map for dumpster divers, freegans, and foragers. I checked out my local locations and no freegan sources have been added but lots and lots of fruit & foraging spots. This is the sort of map that thrives with user input. My hope is that freegans will be conscientious when adding comments about the personal and legal safety for other divers. As I’ve touched on here before, some dumpster divers’ main concern isn’t the food safety but more the risk of harassment and arrest , and other issues to do with privilege. 

Recently, the pair has begun speaking at food justice conferences, contacting online freegan communities and handing out stickers, expanding the site’s fan base. Calling it the most extensive and diverse map of its kind, the pair’s ultimate goal is to shed a bright light on the enormous quantity of food that goes to waste–in this country and abroad.

Phillips and Welty are raising money to create a FallingFruit mobile app for foragers and divers through Barnraiser.us, a newly launched crowdfunding site specifically designed for food and sustainability projects. They hope to raise $10,000 by the end of May.

To create the dumpster map, men spent months combing the Internet for dumpster location information and painstakingly checking each entry before adding it to their site. Their hope is that other freegan sites such as trashwiki.org and freegan.info will embed the FallingFruit map.

To date, there are at least 2,500 bins on the map with up to five new ones added daily. Welty estimates that around 500 people are using the site every day and he expects the numbers to rise as summer kicks in. Along with most U.S. cities, map users have entered dumpsters in Antarctica, Jamaica, and even the North and South Pole, says Phillips.

“We wanted to take [dumpster diving] from being a secret hobby to something that illustrates first-hand how ubiquitous food waste is,” says Welty. Despite the fact that 40 percent of the food produced in the U.S. goes uneaten, few people spend much time thinking about food waste. But, Welty adds, “You can only feel [the magnitude of] it when you open up a dumpster and see what’s in it.”

via Civil Eats


 You can’t tell these hens what to do.

 

How to DIY When You’re Poor

 

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If you spend any amount of time on social media, you see some really cool ideas for DIY projects. Pinterest seems to be that place we all go for inspiration and then end up just feeling bad that we don’t have time, energy, or creativity to be that awesome. For low income and disabled people, the frustration is compounded by the lack of accessibility and ability. Even the cheap projects or ones that use junk often require tools or equipment,  and sometimes being able bodied,right?

I have possible solutions,though!

Where to Get Free Tools & Supplies

  • freecycle or craigslist – Find your nearest group at the respective websites : Freecycle.org and craigslist.com.
    On Freecyle, once you join, you can post something like this: “WANTED: Thing You Need” , with a description of what you’re looking for. If it’s a tool you think you’ll only need for one project, you can specify that you only need to borrow something. On craigslist, same thing but you usually have to find a category for what you’re looking for. Both Freecycle and Craigslist are great places for finding materials that someone might have leftover from another project (like, for instance, PVC pipe just waiting to be turned into a hanging indoor window garden ).I often peruse the FREE section of craigslist to see what people are cleaning out of their homes. I just scored an old crib with missing parts — perfect for upcycling as a trellis in my garden.

    If you have transportation obstacles, be sure to mention that in your post. Some people will generously drop things off to you or at a location easy for you to meet at. Of course, use your best judgement and common sense when telling strange people you meet on the Internet to come over or meet somewhere. You’re all adults,though. We don’t have to say more than that.

  • Yard Sales & Thrift Shops – I have a lot of crafting supplies and tools. I would say that 90% of them were purchased at thrift shops,yard sales, rummage sales,etc.Again, transportation is the obstacle here. There are also sometimes when even spending $5 on yard sale finds is out of the budget but if you can, these are the best places to find an amazing assortment of tools & supplies to build your DIY crafting arsenal.

    One thing I do to help add a bit of thrifting money is to sell my family’s used clothing at a local consignment shop. The checks I get every other month aren’t huge but it gives me a little extra to set aside specifically for going to sales.

    I also have gotten into the habit of going by houses that have advertised a yard sale after the sale has ended. People typically will put a free pile curbside rather than haul it back into their garage or load it into the car to dump off at the Salvation Army.

  • Local Hardware Stores-  By local, I mostly mean locally owned. From my experience, the people who work at small hardware stores are more than happy to drill holes in something for you or cut a piece of wood to your specifications. It’s iffy in a big box hardware store but it never hurts to ask.
  • Find a Tool Share – There are community groups where people borrow tools from one another and others that have a “library” of tools that they lend to people. These may be tricky to find but I would start with Googling “tool share” and your area. Some communities have had very active tool shares for decades but never brought it to the Internet. If you can’t find anything online, call local carpenters, hardware store,mechanics, bike shops and ask if they know of any tool sharing groups around you.
  • Sewing Machine Shares- They exist! I’m fortunate to have one here. If there’s one in your area, your local fabric store will most likely know about it.Give them a call.

Where To Find Help With Projects

If you aren’t physically able due to disability or the aches and pains that come with aging  to do some parts of a project, here’s some ideas of organizations that might be able to help.

  1. The Girl Scouts – ok, any scouting group but I like the Girl Scouts.
  2. 4-H
  3. Local Office of the Aging /groups that help the elderly – they often have volunteers with a wide range of interests and skills
  4. Local school shop classes or a vocational school
  5. Veterans groups

I am positive there are many more I missed or don’t know about. Please let me know in the comments if you know of any and I’ll add them.

Lunchtime Links: Eat for 40 cents a day, use up those broccoli stems, and alternative recipes to boxed foods…

All the good foodie stuff around the web today…

The Prudent Homemaker has a decent  series on frugal cooking that covers all the areas. Not everyone can do all of these but if you’re able to put a few bits into practice, it can help.
Eat for 40 Cents a Day: Introduction
Eat for 40 Cents a Day: Part One: Eat More Meatless Meals
Eat for 40 Cents a Day: Part Two: Buy in Bulk
Eat for 40 Cents a Day: Part Three: Make it From Scratch
Eat for 40 Cents a Day: Part Four: Only Buy Food When It is at Its Lowest Price
Eat for 40 Cents a Day: Part Five: Grow More in Your Garden
Eat for 40 Cents a Day: Part Six: Glean
Eat for 40 Cents a Day: Part Seven: Eat In Season Produce
Eat for 40 Cents a Day: Part Eight: Eat More Soup
Eat for 40 Cents a Day: Part Nine: The Price Per Pound, or in Other Words, Comparing 

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Use up those broccoli stems – can’t wait to try broccomole.

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Something asked frequently here is what to use all the tortillas you get with WIC (besides the obvious) . There’s some good inspiration here : 5 Ways to Make a Tortilla Into a Snack

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Corporations are working to convince us that cooking from scratch is hard. Not. So.

I know,I know… sometimes the box is cheaper.Sometimes the boxed stuff is all you can get.  You all know that I know this . So, no shame if you can’t get your hands on the ingredients but if you can and you have the time, here’s some great ways to get the boxed stuff off your menu. Make It At Home

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ICYMI: Food & Clothing Swaps, food bank pizza,building a greenhouse from plastic bottles….

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Recipes &  Food Budgeting Tips

Healthy Eating on a Budget – Week 4 – There’s 5 weeks of “budget” meal menus to look at here. I *think* this is for one person. Week 4 looks like it was the least expensive – $38, still more than a food stamp budget but maybe could still be done if you get lucky at the food bank. It’s still worth looking thru and adapting a few meal ideas to fit your own needs. I’m just always looking for inexpensive meal ideas that don’t involve beans and rice. Not every poor person likes beans & rice, so I like to present variety.

March Food and Product Swap- “Swap It Chicago is a food and product exchange that takes place every month in Chicago. We gather monthly to exchange our homemade goodies–there is no money exchanged and the event is FREE for those who register.”

Your Fridge: You’re Using It Wrong- How to store fruits & veggies to extend shelf life.

 

 

Hey,now…this is fancy. Where’d they get that pepperoni!?
(But seriously…food bank English muffins, the canned sketti sauce, and some commod cheese… good-enough-pizza)

DIY & Frugal Living

The streets of San Francisco are lined with pear , plum and apple trees thanks to ‘guerilla grafters’ secretly grafting fruit-bearing scions onto ornamental, non-fruit bearing trees making fresh fruit free and available to everyone who wishes to pick some.| Food Warrior Network  – Guerrilla Grafters !

Swap Positive -“The idea behind Swap Positive is to offer and get free clothes, forever. No money changes hands with these clothes ~ even if you get them home and decide they aren’t quite `you’, we ask that you GIVE them away to someone. That is the mission of Swap Positive.”

 Build a Greenhouse Using Plastic Bottles- If you’re thinking about building a greenhouse and need material cost to be low, here ya go.

ICYMI: A few yummy recipes and a lot of DIY gardening stuff

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All the things you might have missed this past week from the Facebook page.

Food & Recipes

45+ Frugal Meals to Help You Eat Well, Spend Less | Life As Mom -I didn’t look at every single recipe but most of them do seem to be truly “budget friendly”. I mean, there is a recipe that uses EIGHT EGGS , so not all of them are low budgety…..
Some perspective on “budget-friendly” recipes…
The average SNAP budget is about $1.25 per meal, sometimes less. There are also MANY people in the U.S. right now who are ineligible for food stamps who need to keep their budget within that same range.
So, if one meal costs even “just” $2/ serving, it is not frugal enough for poor folks.

Easy Homemade Bread | Artisan – I have made this a few times and it turned out well, but I *like* to knead, so it’s not my preferred method. I think of kneading as a bit of therapy, so much that I have a whole music-oriented routine  …but in a time crunch, the no-knead method is good. If you have a good library system, see if they have My Bread by Jim Lahey. It’s pretty good.Another good one is Artisan Bread In Five Minutes A Day

Vegan: Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Panini With Sun-Dried Tomato Mayonnaise | Serious Eats – I made this for dinner one night and was going to do a whole blog post of it’s own. I just wanted to demonstrate how something that sounds really wonderfully fancy-schmancy can be cheap & easy to make. BUT I lost my grocery receipt, so I couldn’t do an exact cost breakdown, which would have been the whole point of the post. It was a hit, so I’ll probably make it again and do a better job at keeping track of the receipt.

This is my kind of breakfast…
“Good morning, rice bowl. (Brown rice, sweet potato, kale, scrambled eggs)”

via Mary Makes Dinner

Gardening

the peony and the bee -peonyandbee.tumblr.com Garden by Jeroenc71 on Flickr. – a beautiful small backyard garden. There are many possibilities, even in compact places like this.

Mark your calendar, guys and gals. The ONLINE Food Growing Summit is coming up, March 3-7 — and it’s
F-R-E-E. Just the inspiration you need!http://www.attainable-sustainable.net/want-advice-experts-especially-joel-salatin/You’ll hear conversations with Will Allen, Ocean Robbins, Joel Salatin, Erika Allen, Vandana Shiva, John Valenzuela, Stacey Murphy and many other farmers, backyard food growers, and urban food activists.

I’ve used this method in gardening since I was a teenager, just learning to garden. I had a great gardening mentor (Hi, Susun!)
Later, my daughters used the method to create their own tradition..a real “Three Sisters” garden. Each chose which seed/plant they were to be in charge of and took responsibility for the care from seed to harvest.

Another great advantage is space saving for small space gardens.

You can also combine raised beds like these with lasagna gardening technique if you can’t fill outright with composted soil mix.
I like to be creative and thrifty with what I build my raised beds with… old bookshelves or dressers with the drawers removed make great frames. Last summer, I tore apart an old couch… the wooden frame looks like it’ll make a nice raised bed with a handy built in trellis (the back of the couch). You can also use upcycled pieces at the end of a raised bed to act as a trellis, like my crib springs cucumber trellis.

I grew all my beans this way one year.I used bottles,mostly plastic,that I fished from recycling bins in my neighborhood.

Recycled Wine Bottle Herb Gardens Self Watering
These are Pretty Easy to make and can be made with any Glass or plastic Bottle , Good idea to start herbs now to get ready for spring

Recycled Wine Bottle Garden Tutorial 1
http://www.designsponge.com/2010/05/we-like-it-wild-bottle-gardens.html

Reycled Wine Bottle Garden Tutorial #2
http://homemade-modern.com/ep01-diy-herb-garden/

If you need a Video tutorial here you go
http://vimeo.com/44260011

ICYMI:Real Food for the Broke, Wool Dryer Balls, more food waste tips,and more

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The Food Stuff

25 Baked Alternatives To Potato Chips And French Fries -The only one here that has been a complete fail for me has been zucchini chips. Prolly just me and not the zucchini’s fault.
We make tortilla chips often… especially good to do with stale tortillas (dumpster divers,freegans,and food bankers might see that more often)

Saving Money on Real Food at Costco – Real Food Real Deals -Not something I have firsthand knowledge of…no Costco in my area (nor the competitors they mention) but …sounds good.

Real Food Meal Plan for the Broke – We Got Real -This is decent. Good for a #SNAPfood budget.
I saw another Real Food on A Budget thing the other day . Almost $3/ serving. I laughed and laughed.
Anyway, these aren’t like that. It’s for a real low budget.

Dinner Tonight: Senegalese Rice and Peas | Serious Eats : Recipes-So cheap and quick.
I personally leave the fish sauce out because I can’t even get past the smell when I’m cooking and I’m sure that breaks every rule with this recipe… so probably you should use it,right? But Hikers for the Homeless suggested: “Maybe use veggie stock or chicken broth??” Good idea.

Food Waste Tip – Freeze Vegetable Scraps and Use Them to Make Vegetable Stock- I always have a pile of scraps that don’t end up in the compost that can be recycled into broth.

Easy Pantry Dinners: 5 Recipes with A Can of Black Beans -For dry bean users: 1 can is equal to 1/2 cup of dry beans before cooking.

Little known info: If you lose your food due to a natural disaster, long term power outage,or sudden evacuation or relocation and receive SNAP, you can receive Disaster SNAP or Replacement SNAP.

The DIY & Frugal Living Stuff

8 Ideas for Repurposed Seed-Starting Pots | The Prairie Homestead -The amount of toilet paper tubes & little yogurt-type cups I’ve stockpiled is making me look like a hoarder.

5 WAYS WE DEAL WITH POOR PEOPLE STRESS from Beyond Mom -tips for coping with the stresses of being poor.

How to Make Felted Wool Dryer Balls – Petals to Picots- I started using wool dryer balls a few years ago and can’t imagine not using them. They save money by reducing drying time in the drier, as well as cutting out the need/want for store bought fabric softeners. They’re also really easy to make (I used an old wool sweater that was being tossed out by a thrift shop because someone had shrunk it).

Can a Major City Grow All Its Own Food?- I like what he says about looking more to repairing the “parasitic” relationship between cities and the rural surroundings …. having city dwellers spend some time on farms to get a better understanding of the work that goes into producing their food.

10 Things You Should Know Before Making Homemade Dishwasher Detergent- “Washing Soda is KING!”
I definitely agree with that.

14 Food Waste Facts That Will Make You Want to Change the World -www.foodbeast.comFOODBEAST is the premiere food news resource. A one-stop location for food news, culture and entertainment.

Cat Litter Compost, Installment #3 – Links to the 1st & 2nd are in this post. Someone asked me one day here about composting cat litter. I found this stashed in my bookmarks. I think I will try it myself in the Spring when I can build a proper compost just for it. We have to pay for garbage and have indoor cats. We compost all food scraps and recycle everything that can be, so without the litter box waste, we have very little garbage.
Anyone else try to compost their little box waste?

21 Ways To Reduce Food Waste & Save Money! -I like the “Eat First” tray idea.

Five Things You Should Never Throw Away & How to Reuse Them -Uses for food scraps and other things. All good stuff.

Twitter / SeedKeeperCo: Grew green beans indoors in .. – You can grow green beans on your windowsill.

Ok, so I have my lines when it comes to stealing but if we’re talking about food in a dumpster or something that literally was thought of by someone else as trash, go for it.
(And you know….all the other stuff is relative to if you CAN, as always…)

ICYMI: Winter produce guide,vegan avocado recipes, more tips to reduce food waste, homemade scouring scrub..and more

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The Food Stuff

 

10 Tips for the Black Thumb – Like, if yu swear you can’t grow stuff because you have a Black Thumb, these tips might help you get past that.

Winter Produce Guide – The Sprouting Seed- Really helpful buying tips for each produce item.

 Vegan Avocado Round Up  -I know finding avocados cheap can be a crapshoot for a lot of ya’ll but these… zomg…

RuralMom.com: Keep Your Refrigerator Organized with Four Simple Tricks – helps reduce food waste

Soup of the Day: Broccoli Cheddar- comfort soup

How to stop wasting food in 2014-This list excites me.
On a related note, if I had a video camera and a less chaotic household, I would SO love do a Dumpster Diving Cooking show.
For real.

10 Easy Ways to Stay Within Your Grocery Budget |- some tips might help, depending on your situation and resources already available. Reading all the lists around the blogosphere of how to save money makes me realize I need to write one that is specific to people living in technical poverty, since most are written with voluntary simplicity and frugality in mind.

Food Storage: Storing Herbs and Spices for Long Term Storage- this is handy if you’ve managed to buy in bulk or grow your own.

 

The DIY Stuff

Homemade All Purpose Scouring Scrub -3 ingredients (and two of them you can buy with food stamps.Well, actually…you can make super washing soda with baking soda, so technically all 3 ) …plus essential oil, but that’s optional.

Make Your Own Washing Soda (For Homemade Laundry Detergent) |  -turn baking soda into washing soda

Gardening small? Many fruits grow in containers -You lucky people who are able to be thinking about gardening this time of year. I have MONTHS.
Thought this could be helpful for urban & small space gardeners.

 

ICYMI: Lots of low income & food stamp budget friendly recipe links

A round up of the stuff you may have missed this past week.

 

Food & Recipes

How to get kids to eat vegetables | No Ordinary Homestead -I used to be a pre-school teacher. One of the things I found thru my own experience teaching as well as raising my own children is that if kids participate in cooking & growing the food, they are much more likely to eat it.
And not surprisingly, tons of research confirms

Social Supermarkets -“In a nutshell, Social Supermarkets are markets that take surplus from other stores {items that are about to expire, are dented, mislabeled, etc.} and sell them at significant discounts to patrons who need some sort of economic assistance, instead of tossing them into the trash.”

Real Food Recipes to Replace Your Favorite Junk Foods – how to transform your fave “junky” recipes to real food ones. My tip: Don’t be intimidated by recipes that call for ingredients you’ve never heard or can’t find in your area. I’m an experienced cook and I had to google what an ingredient was yesterday lol
Totally use goggle when you are trying to find a substitute for an ingredient that is too expensive or hard to find.
(For example: Peanut butter or Sun Butter is a pretty decent sub for tahini)

25 Easy Crock Pot Dessert Recipes – Mmmmm, desserts.

100+ 30 Minute (or less) Meal Ideas for the Busy Cook | Love Bakes Good Cakes -Quick,easy…and a lot of them look pretty frugal,too.

Freezer Friendly | Well Rounded NY -budget friendly.

Frugality Gal: $1 Dinner: Super Cheap Meal to Make for a Lazy Night – It’s a group turkey-macaroni dish. Total cost $1.15 (her onions & peps were free,though)

90 Meals For $1.25 Per Serving (or Less!) – Daily Deals Blog – I was so confused because I scrolled down to the bottom and only saw 30. There’s 30 recipes for each meal.

1 Organic Chicken, 22 Healthy Meals, $49 Bucks  – There were skeptics when I posted this on my social media. I’ll have to experiment with it myself, maybe after the hollerdaze.

Secret Freegan scored all this food to donate to a teen shelter. Otherwise, it would be slated for trash.

 

 

Thrifty Living & DIY

A Thrifted and Thrifty Gifts Discussion: You Giving Thrifted Gifts? + Gift Wrap Ideas -I’m a big fan of thrifted giving. It’s about the only kind I do. Well, besides handmade.

5 Ways to Give Back This Holiday Season –           I like this list for several reasons. Mindful donations, caring for people and the planet, and practical things nearly everyone can do.
I was happy to see Treecycling. I collect them from the neighborhood & drag them into the woods. #goofypaganlady

 Literacy Launchpad: 20 Places to Find Free Children’s Books Online – A good resource for families w/ Internet connection at home but can’t make it to the library when they’re open to take out actual books.

25 Ways to Naturally Clean with Salt ~ * THE COUNTRY CHIC COTTAGE  – Non-toxic. Cheap. And you can use food stamps to buy it. It works,too. I had coffee stains on my counter and salt totally worked.

Articles & Thoughts

Iowa wants its poor to give up smoking and drinking to qualify for Medicaid – “A single person at 50 percent of the poverty line makes less than $500 per month. That’s obviously not someone who can afford even a nickel in extra expenses. But that was the income level in Iowa’s initial application, which means that for all practical purposes the original goal of this program was to (a) deny government benefits to poor people who are smokers, drinkers, drug users, or overweight, but (b) provide the benefits if these poor people agree to fairly intrusive government monitoring that ensures they improve these behaviors.”

Study: Over 21 Million U.S. Households Can’t Afford Their Rent - yeah.

 

Activism & Awareness

Campaign Aims to Get Cell Phones to Survivors: Donations Wanted – If you have an old cell phone laying around, consider donating it to this program. They help domestic violence victims have a lifeline to help when they need it.

 

Transgender workers are nearly four times more likely than the population as a whole to have a household income of less than $10,000. It’s absolutely important to address how poverty and trans issues intersect. Check out http://transequality.org/ for more info.

When Drones Guard the Pipeline – Militarizing Fossil Fuels in the East By Winona LaDuke with Frank Molley.http://bit.ly/16cjzqz

Staff from the Chicago Bulls are spending the afternoon volunteering at the Food Depository! Thank you! They’re also fighting hunger with the Social Donation Plate. Check it out at www.thedonationplate.org.

 

Homemade Liquid Dish Soap

via Homemade Liquid Dish Soap – Kitchen Apparel

Making homemade cleaning products may seem like it’s more expensive at first but when you consider that buying  the ingredients you use can be used  for SO many things and as a replacement for store bought items at a fraction of the cost, it starts to make economic sense.

This recipe calls for tea tree oil and I do recommend investing in a bottle because it is so useful to have in your home but it’s not necessary here. TTO is antibacterial ,but so is vinegar. It does have a clean scent when used sparingly.