Hood River Garlic is committed to help save our planet. We have strong values for having a small carbon footprint on the earth and we are always working on improvement. Here are 18 simple things that we do everyday.
1. Our home stays cool in the summer without the use of an air conditioner. We are very fortunate to live in a small and efficient home. Instead of an air conditioner we have insulated curtains (and reflective, insulated bubble wrap on REALLY hot days). Keeping our home 20 degrees cooler than the outdoors.
2. We are into extreme reduction of waste here on the farm, inside and out. With our dedication to reducing, reusing and recycling we only generate about 2 cubic feet of garbage per week. In the office, we recycle all ink cartridges. Clean shredded paper goes into the compost bin. Every bit of scrap paper is reused, recycled or composted. All other paper, glass, plastic and scrap metal is recycled. "Ugly boxes save trees" quote credit goes to Gaiam...we reuse boxes for our bulk orders and about 98% of packing material for our gift packs is all reused materials.
3. Compost happens! All green matter goes into the compost with the exception of carrots and apples and melon rinds that Spots (our horse) eats.
4. Recycle furniture. Eric built our shipping desk made of 100% recycled wood. Everything in our office and our shipping room is recycled; desk, chairs, shelves and tables were all purchased at yard sales. (With the exception of the computer and the new wood that Eric used to build garlic racks.)
5. We use 100% recycled, post consumer waste, elemental chlorine free paper for all office use, as well as our brochure that is printed with soy based inks.
6. Our cleaning products are all environmentally friendly products. No harsh chemicals are ever used in the office, home or outside on the farm.
7. We use all rechargeable batteries in our flash lights and camera. When lights burn out we replace all bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs.
8. Outside on the farm we weed all of our garlic the old fashioned way: by hand. No herbicides are ever used, nor have ever been used in the 13 years we have owned our farm (and we have the dandelions to prove it!).
9. All tree limbs and branches go to the dump on Green Day, where they are chipped and recycled into bio fuel. Besides burning weeds once a year for weed control, we do not burn anything: no barrel burning of garbage or yard debris.
10. Recycle those farm tools! Almost all of our farm implements: rakes, shovels, wheelbarrows, water bins, garden hoses, buckets, etc. come from yard sales.
11. Plant a tree for Earth Day. Every year we plant new trees and bushes from Arbor Day to Earth Day.
12. Besides planting trees, April is also the month that we can start hanging our laundry out to dry. Throughout the winter we minimize using the dryer (mostly to remove the dog hair!) then hang clothes on drying racks. When springtime comes nothing beats that fresh spring air on clean laundry.
13. Water conservation is crucial to our irrigation practices. We irrigate our garlic using a drip irrigation system. Besides watering our fields, garden, trees and pasture grass for Spots, the rest of our lawn goes brown.
14. Give new life to old wood! All interior walls of our barn were built with recycled wood. All fences around our garlic fields came from recycled wood. And our entire shipping desk and tables are made from recycled wood and materials. As well as two sheds are built from 100% recycled wood. One shed from 100 year old barn wood and the other from a recycled cedar fence.
15. Give new life to your old Arbor Wear pants too! I repair and mend all of Eric's work pants: from Arbor Wear to Carharts to Carpenter shorts. Eric's custom patched pants get about 100% more life than if they were not mended.
16. Donate your hair to Locks of Love. We're not sure how this helps the environment but it will make you feel good knowing that young children can have a new wig made form your organically grown hair! Terri donates her hair as fast as it will grow. (December 2007, June 2010 and March 2013)
17. Reuse vegetable wash for outdoor plants. I keep a clean 5 gallon bucket next to my kitchen sink for rinsing off my fresh spinach and lettuce from the garden. After I clean the greens, I dump the water from my salad spinner into the bucket, then I water a tree with the water that would have just gone down the drain. (usually it takes 3 or 4 rinses so the trees love it)
18. We support local and organic farmers. Buy USA grown food!
Happy Harvesting! ~ Your friends, Eric and Terri Hixson