Sustainable living

This last summer and fall I undertook a sustainable project that I believe would help other interested citizens live a more fulfilling life.

I was fortunate enough to have at my disposal boxes of apples, apricots and pears that I sliced and dried successfully, mainly because of hot and dry weather of our valley. I also grew a garden and harvested boxes of tomatoes and cobs of corn that I prepared and froze for the coming winter. I was able to wander around my father’s farm and gather many edible plants such as service berries, lamb’s quarters, catnip, stinging nettle, golden rod and rose hips that I dried for future use in fruit bars, soups, breads and teas.

This undertaking was very much a worthwhile experience because it allowed me to purchase a minimal amount of fruits, vegetables and teas that were either grown in a greenhouse or transported in from an exotic place. As well, I found out just how much wealth our valley holds that has nothing to do with the money. I enjoyed the fact that for most of the winter I was able to snack on delicious fruit slices, consume various vegetable soups, eat freshly baked bread and sip soothing tea, none of which I bought. Being able to supply myself with these items over the winter made me appreciate how self-sufficient a person can become.

Although I realize not everyone has easy access to an abundance of cheap or free fruits and vegetables, the Okanagan Valley does have a variety of edible plants that, with the help of a knowledgeable book or person, can be gathered and preserved for future use.

As well, in the summer and fall our farmers have an abundance of fruits and vegetables that they often sell at a reasonable price from their fields, all we have to do is pick it and preserve it. In a society where we are being encouraged to live sustainably by buying more and more products, I figured that one of the truest ways to do so was not to purchase the latest “green” gimmick at a big-box store but to act on harvesting the bounty our valley already provides.

Monica Hoffmann