The island of Samsø, off the coast of Denmark, has a remarkable story to tell. Winning a 1998 contest sponsored by the Danish government allowed the island to become a showcase community for reducing carbon emissions.
We've been fascinated with the concept of tiny houses since we first learned of them. We've loved watching the reality shows that demonstrate the builders' amazing creativity designing multi-use activity areas for the most efficient use of the space they have to work with. One of my favorite uses of space was a quilting workspace and sewing-machine cabinet that doubled as a kitchen table! We have also followed the experience of our friends who had a tiny house built at Starseed Healing Sanctuary in Savoy, Massachusetts. Their off-grid tiny house is nestled in a quiet, wooded area and you can even rent it for the night on AirBnB if you want to try out tiny-house living.
This article notes that tiny-house plans are changing, with designs moving from cute, little spaces to those that sustain a more permanent kind of living, with the perks you would want for a well-rounded lifestyle. There is a trend now to build in a modular fashion to keep an extended tiny-house collection movable, with each piece able to be moved on its own trailer.
The tiny house featured in the article has a separate green house and a comfortable front porch with a swing. The interior of the house is beautiful, with full-size kitchen facilities, stairs that lead to a comfortable sleep space, and dining and lounging areas. You can even buy this exact house because it's for sale in South Carolina for $81,000. We're all set with our smallish house, but if I were looking for a tiny house, I might be tempted by the extra relaxing room on the porch and the ability to grow plants and vegetables through an extended season.
Speaking of the Fresh Express mobile deliveries in the Phoenix, Arizona area, Elyse Guidas says, “For a lot of our customers, this is one of their only lifelines and access to healthy food.” And it's not only inner-city lives that are affected. When we traveled across the United States a couple of years ago, along the East Coast and through the back roads of the Midwest, there were many rural, desolate areas where factory farms grew food for people far away and the people who lived there had to travel long distances to find anything other than convenience-store food.
Turning vacant lots into community gardens, delivering fruits and vegetables to community centers, and setting up urban farmers' markets are all examples of bringing the earth's gifts to barren food deserts and the people who live in them.
A simple, yet generous idea: providing a neighborhood cabinet kept full of food and hygiene products for anyone who needs them. Neighbors who need items and neighbors who give items have a chance to meet and learn from each other. The founders say at least 100 people pass by every day. They learned about the community cupboard idea online from someone else and now they're planning to offer help and ideas for other people who want to do it. Their Facebook page is Fountain Street Community Cupboard if you want to follow them.
This might be a good idea for our neighborhood, which is in the middle of a double cul-de-sac that combines rental properties and single-family homes with a mix of older people and families with young children.
The mighty plantain is a leafy champion that doesn't deserve its reputation as a weed in your yard. Crushed, chewed, or made into a poultice or tea, it can help you with bug bites and stings, digestive distress, arthritis pains, and more. You can learn more in the article above.
A couple in Sweden has built an environmentally-friendly house inside of a greenhouse. The functioning greenhouse not only provides food during the long, cold Swedish winters, but warms the whole house.