Zero Waste Food Festival Tips

Last weekend I went to the Peterborough Vegfest and tried to be as zero waste as I could. Vegfest was amazing with over 70 vendors. I wasn’t perfectly zero waste. I bought vegan loaded nachos from Rescue Dog on a paper plate, and a vegan mac and cheese pizza pocket wrapped in saran wrap from The Hearty Hooligan. I also took a gift bag… I know I should work on my ability to refuse which leads me to the tips.

vegfest

1. Refuse

-Try as best you can to refuse plastic and disposables

-Try and refuse any samples that involve plastic cups, mini spoons etc. Or do what I did and share the sample with a friend if you really wanted to try it

2. Bring a Water Bottle

-Bringing a water bottle was the best idea. It was so hot we were melting and the fest had a refillable water station

3. Bring a Jar/Mug

-I brought a mason jar with me so I could buy drinks and didn’t need to worry about finishing them

-I got an iced oat milk latte and an iced lavender oat milk cappuccino from Kit Cafe and both times got 25 cents off because I brought a jar

4. Bring a Container

-I brought a stainless steel tiffin set with me and used it when I bought a donut vegfestttt

-I wanted to use it for all my food but the line up for the nachos was insane and I didn’t want to add to the chaos. Make sure you try and time using your own containers so that you don’t add any stress, and you don’t have to worry about it

5. Bring a Tote Bag

-This is the most important tip.

-I brought a canvas bag with me and used it soooo much. It made buying things easier and I could keep my water bottle in it.

I hope that helped! Add any more tips you have below.

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How to use a Shampoo bar

I switched from normal liquid shampoo to my home made shampoo bars a couple months ago. I love my shampoo bars but I know there can be a bit of a learning curve.

I recommend using an apple cider vinegar rinse before you switch to a shampoo bar. That way any build up from your old shampoo goes away. Traditional shampoos can leave a residue on your hair so to truly test the bar I think a rinse helps. Just use a couple tablespoons to a quarter cup of ACV and poor it on your head straight or mixed with water, then rinse it off. I do this about once a month now just because it leaves your hair super soft.

To use a shampoo bar all you have to do is get it wet and lather it up on your hands. Once your hands are all sudsy rub your hands through your hair like a normal liquid shampoo. Then rinse it off really well. Any unrinsed shampoo will leave your hair feeling greasy. It’s that easy. The only thing not to do it rub the bar straight on your head, it won’t feel great and it won’t work well. 

Easy Zerowaste Almond Butter Recipe

One of my favourite things in the world to eat is almond butter. I love it on toast, in oatmeal, on its own, or turned into almond milk. But it is expensive to buy. Even at bulk stores, the price is a bit much for me. The only way to fix this is to make my own.

You can use regular old almonds or roasted. The roasted almonds add more flavour (you can roast them yourself or buy them that way), but sometimes I’m just too lazy to bake them.

What you Need:
-Almonds
-a food processor (or high-speed blender)
-a glass jar
-a spatula

Optional Ingredients:
-oil (coconut, vegetable, peanut, sunflower…)
-honey
-cinnamon
-salt

Step One:IMG_6919
-Add your chosen ingredients to the food processor
-I added almonds and a pinch of pink salt
-At this point, you can add a splash of oil to speed up the blending process

 

Step Two:
-blend starting on a low speed and moving to medium/high once started
IMG_6918-Use a spatula to scrape the sides of the processor
-it will look like it’s never going to blend, but I promise you it will
-If you want to add any additional ingredients nows the time you can add a spoonful of honey or a dash of cinnamon now

 

Step Three:
-Add to your jar and enjoy!IMG_6917
-I store mine in the fridge for freshness, and it prevents the oils from separating

 

Let me know if you try it!

 

Plastic Free July: Week One

If you follow me on Instagram (@GrowingGreenGirl) you’ll have noticed I’ve been posting daily tips for #PlasticFreeJuly.
If you want daily tips head over to Instagram but if you just want weekly updates you’re in the right place.
So far Plastic Free July has been going well. I’ve made a lot of changes already, so I’m mostly continuing the same way as before. Except with a trash jar! Not something I want to keep forever but it is an excellent way to see the waste you produce. For this plastic-free month, I’m not including any plastic from things bought already (I just finished a giant bag of quinoa, and it’s going in the recycle because I bought it a year ago), or from my family. I can’t control the plastic my family (I live at home) makes, so it’s not going in the jar.
So far my only #plasticfreefail is one styrofoam container from a chip truck. I wish more places would switch to paper/cardboard containers because they can be composted. My work (food booth at a local farmers market) switched to cardboard, so I know it makes no difference to the companies.
I won’t end up with a tip a day because I’ll also be posting my fails along the way, and I don’t want to post more than once a day on Instagram, or you guys will have enough of me, now on to the important stuff.

 

 
Now for a round-up of this week’s tips:
1. Bathroom swaps
~try choosing bar soap over liquid
~silk floss over plastic
~tooth powder, or homemade toothpaste over plastic tubes
~safety razors over disposable
~bamboo toothbrush over plastic
2. Bring Your Own Containers
~Bring stainless steel tiffins, glass jars, or reusable plastic containers when you buy food to-go
3. Bring a Produce Bagstraws
~Use a mesh or cotton bag when buying fruit and veggies
4. Reusable Straws
~Use Stainless steel, plastic, glass or bamboo straws that last forever
~Just rinse out after using and wash them                                                                       5. Use Your own Reusable Cup                                                             ~Use your own reusable glass, metal or plastic tumbler for iced coffee, smoothies and more
6. Use Glass Jars
~Store your leftovers, or prepped fruit and veggies in a glass jar
I store sliced lemons and limes in a jar so I can add them to my water whenever I want to
~They’re also a great way to store leftovers, or prepped meals
~You can get bonus points for reusing jar from pasta sauce, salsa, nut butters, whatever you’re buying!

 

Five Free Zero Waste Swaps

A lot of people see the perfect pictures on Instagram and think they can’t be zero waste or low waste. The stainless steel containers, the perfectly matching glass jars, it all seems to good to be true. So I came up with a list of zero waste swaps that don’t cost a thing.

1. Save your jars

This is the best tip because saved jars can be used for so many things. When you buy tomato sauce, peanut butter or anything in a glass jar keep it. Just wash it out, take the label off and you have a great zero waste tool. You can use them to freeze soups/veggies/fruit in, pack your lunches in, as a reusable water bottle, as a reusable coffee cup, it’s endless what you can do with it.

2. Save your veggie scraps

You might have seen my post a couple weeks ago on making your own vegetable scraps, but if you haven’t and you want to try check it out. It is a great way to reduce food waste. Instead of tossing your scraps out right away you get to use them.

3. Bring Your Own

Bring your own jar and cutlery with you to festivals, markets, whatever to avoid disposables. Just use the cutlery you already have in your home and bam you have a zero waste kit. It’s better to use what you have than buy a fancy set online.

4. Make your own

Making your own lunches for work, or your own dinners saves a lot of trash (and money). Take out at its best involves cardboard, and worst Styrofoam. You produce less waste by making your own and it’s probably better for you too.

5. Refuse

When you’re offered free samples of food or drinks in plastic cups or paper plates try and refuse it (I know it’s hard to say no to free food). When you go to an event with free things you wont use refuse them. Don’t take the free pen, pencil, magnet if you don’t need them.

Add any other suggestions below!!

Introducing my Bees

I’ve been a beekeeper for three years (just this spring is the anniversary) and I never felt qualified enough to write about it. I really don’t feel qualified yet! There’s so much to learn that I don’t think I ever will. My mom and I started Shamrock Apiaries after my grandpa’s friend starting keeping some of his bees on my grandpa’s farm. We named our apiary Shamrock because it is the street my grandpa’s farm is on. With Al (Albon Apiaries) as our mentor we started three hives, and in our first summer we caught a swarm and moved up to four.

We name each of our queens after real queens. We have Elizabeth, Victoria, Marie 14055146_10157297437665293_6911574687855759179_nAntoinette and Cleopatra. Elizabeth is the tallest hive and was always the strongest. Sadly this year Elizabeth and Marie Antoinette didn’t make it through the winter. Nether starved, both got sick even though we treated them in the fall sometimes you can’t protect them.

We will be replacing them and keeping the same names. We’re hoping to get one more hive (and name her Ru Paul) but we haven’t decided when we want to do that. Our yellow hives live with Al’s blue ones. The colour doesn’t matter we just like yellow.

We have a solar powered electric fence around them to protect them from raccoons, skunks, and even bears. Although I’m not sure it’s strong enough to stop a bear.

DSC_7161_preview.jpegWe do keep the honey and wax but we’re not in it for the honey. I like to think of it as the rent they pay. We just want to take care of them and learn everything about them. I think of them more as pets than livestock.

We try our hardest to keep the little girls alive. I just love watching them and working with them.

We harvest any excess honey they have in the fall. The brood boxes (the two large ones on the bottom of each hive) carry enough honey for the bees to make it through the winter, and the top boxes (honey supers) are for us. Sometimes the bees don’t fill the honey supers at all. Any wax I get comes from harvesting the honey. We only take the very top layer off of each frame and leave an almost finished frame for the bees to use next year.  I use the wax for candles, lip balms, and hand creams.DSC_6874_preview.jpeg

Beekeeping is getting popular and I think the majority of people doing small scale beekeeping are helping the ecosystem out by keeping the number of honey bees alive up. However many people go into it expecting it to be easy, and not following regulations and laws, which causes the spread of dieses between hives. I just try and take care of my bees as best we I can.

The photos are all by my lovely friend Katey who now has her own photography company you can find their Instagram here , the portfolio here and website here. The photos were taken before she created Little City Lifestyle, but her new stuff is just as good!

(not an ad just showing support for my friend)

Veggie Scrap Broth

Making broth out of veggie scraps is an easy way to give your veggies one last job before composting (or throwing them out if you don’t have access to a compost). It helps prevent food waste! Food waste is a massive problem and using up scraps that would normally not be used is a great step in helping.

I keep the skins of onions and garlic, the peels of potatoes and carrots, the stems of kale, scrapsreally anything in a container in the freezer until I have enough.  It changes depending on what I’ve been eating that week/month. Sometimes I add herbs in as well which adds to the flavour. I only add a touch of salt to my broth because I never know what I’ll end up using it for and you can always add more salt when your cooking. I like adding the onion and garlic skins because it gives the broth a nice dark colour. If I’m making a specific recipe with the broth I’ll add more than just scraps. For pho I’ll add ginger.

The longer you cook it the better. I bring the pot to a boil, then bring it down to a low simmer for hours. I’ll leave it on all day if I can. The longer it cooks the more flavour you get out of your veggies. Just leave it until it tastes and looks good to you.

As it cooks down it will get nice and dark. After that you can strain it and jar it. If you’re going to freeze it make sure you leave lots of room for it to expand in the freezer.

I strain it through a metal sieve to catch all the little bits but you can use a normal strainingcolander as well. I like to strain it into a measuring cup so it’s easier to poor into the jars.

Let me know if you try it and how it goes. For the longest time I thought stock/broth you made at home wouldn’t taste as good as a grocery store one but I really like it. Now that I know how easy is it I make it allll the time.

Do you make broth yourself?