How is it possible to live with less waste in a rural community? Some may argue that it is inconvenient while others may say it is impossible.
In rural Arkansas every small town has a Walmart Superstore. It is after all the home state of the international commercial giant. Convenience based shopping has become the norm in our society. This shift in priorities comes at a cost. The quality of the products purchased and consumed at such Superstores far differ from what our parents and grandparents were consuming just a few decades ago.
The town we live in has a population of under 3,000 people. The capital city of Little Rock is two hours south of our community. Therefore, the largest city (just under 200,000) with the most shopping opportunities is not a frequent destination for regular shopping. Does that mean that our family must settle with what is mainstream? Definitely not.
Today I loaded my Ambatalia furoshiki and other reusable bags and went for a five mile round trip drive to do some zero waste shopping. My first stop was to meet the growers that prepare our family’s weekly CSA share. By supporting community supported agriculture, we are eating the highest quality produce while producing the least amount of waste. It is picked fresh less than 20 miles from our home. We have the added benefit of eating mostly what is in season and our bodies thank us for that. I have been posting weekly pictures on Instagram of what has been included in our box. Each week I anticipate the surprise delivery.
Our next stop was at a local farm produce stand to procure some fruit. Our CSA mostly delivers veggies, herbs and eggs. I purchased “ugly” peaches (aka #2) for under $1.00/pound and a seedless watermelon. The fruit was grown only 13 miles away. There is a great sense of satisfaction knowing that I will be feasting on a fresh, juicy peach that my neighbors put their loving care into.
That is the secret to rural zero waste living..relationships and community. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Find a source at your local health food store or other small businesses. Get to know local small entrepreneurs. They can provide you with a wealth of connections to find local, fresh food.