I must confess! It has been brewing little by little inside of me since I was quite young growing up in Puerto Rico. It is time for me to come out and share with you that yes, it is in my nature, it is what I am supposed to be, I, I am a... LOCALCYCLER!
The blame and inspiration goes to: all of the trips to buy produce and meat at the local markets; watching my mom sew some of our clothes; the radio that my grandfather rigged up and managed to power with a car battery; buying cheese from the guy who would ride his bicycle by our apartment building yelling out the types of cheeses that he had for sale; the smell of the carrot cakes that my mom sold to friends and friends of friends; eating freshly pressed tofu and watching how it is made; eating at small restaurants that members of my family owned; and so much more.
I blame it all on the experiences that life has brought me, and I am grateful.
Localcycling is not new, in fact, it is old-school remixed! Buying local, in my opinion, is at the heart of localcycling. Supporting local businesses is not just a sound choice for the economy of your community, it is also a way to strengthen that community. There is much more to locacycling than meets the eye.
... buy local! It gives you the opportunity to meet the people who make what you are buying, harvest what you are eating and who are proud of their products. Working at the farmers market here in Vancouver and talking to small business owners has given me the opportunity to appreciate the people who are passionate about what they produce and create. Those exchanges have guided me to channel my love into producing quality locally made products.
... reduce! Reduce what you throw out in the trash. Composting is a great way to get raw material for gardening. Now a days, even people living in small spaces can compost. Look in your community and online for information. I have a compost bin outside and I am looking forward to using the composted soil next spring for the garden. For information on composting indoors, here is an example... http://www.urbanorganicgardener.com/2010/02/kitchen-compost-bin-minus-the-worms. Also, for those of you in Chicago check out the Urban Worm Girl (http://www.urbanwormgirl.com)
... reuse and upcycle! Before you throw clothes, furniture, and everything out in the dumpster, see if you can use it to make other things that you have in your "to buy" list. You can also donate instead of throwing things out, or list it on Craigslist or Freecyle. If you are not sure about how to upcycle, you can always take classes like those offered by us at Meandering Design (http://meanderingdesign.indiemade.com/content/classes) and/or look online. There are many instructional videos and great ideas out there. Like Meandering Design on Facebook because we are constantly sharing upcycling ideas. https://www.facebook.com/MeanderingDesign
... recycle! Separate your trash and make it easy for yourself and others to take recyclables to the recycling plants in your community. Here in Vancouver we have two great groups working on recycling, FreeGeek (http://freegeekvancouver.org) and Our community bikes (http://pedalpower.org/our-community-bikes). I have volunteered in both, donate to them and buy stuff at their shops. In Chicago there is a great group called West Town Bikes that works with youth in Humboldt Park and they can always use donated bikes (http://westtownbikes.org).
... barter and trade! A great thing about being involved in your community is that you get to know who produces what, so talk to them! You may be producing or about to throw out something that they can use and may be willing to trade. I have traded vegetables, cooking herbs, almond croissants and much more.
It has and it still is an awesome learning experience. One that I am happy, thrilled and proud to share with you.