You’ve hopefully read some of our updates on the green business practices of our co-op, and how we’re saving money on energy costs and being thrifty, while also keeping our world safe and clean. Here are some things you can do around home to achieve the same goals.

1. Catch rain water – for your garden, for your indoor plants. The City of Harrisonburg offers workshops on building your own rain barrels, or you can buy them ready-made at lots of places around the county. Anything free is profit, right?

2. Compost – Harrisonburg Farmers Market program now allows you to bring your kitchen scraps, veg/fruit skins, peels, cores, seeds; meat scraps – bones, trimmings, grease; and even brown paper towels and parchment paper to turn into valuable compost. OR, do it yourself in a small corner of your yard.

3. Eat Local – yes shop at Friendly City Food Co-op and look for LOCAL tags in every department and every aisle, but also at the Harrisonburg Farmers Market or your town’s farmers market – they’re all over the place now – Waynesboro, Verona, and Broadway to name a few. OR maybe grow your own – we have seed packs from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, a Virginia workers collective in Louisa County, that grow very well in our area.

4. Recycle – out in the county, we have transfer stations that take all types of plastic, as well as glass, aluminum or tin cans, cardboard, chip board (cereal boxes,) magazines, phone books (why do we still get phone books?) and even shoes and used motor oil. Here in the city, the dump takes most of that, or you can let the city pick up everything in the single stream curb pickup, which was created to increase the percentage of folks recycling here in the city. I’ll let you city dwellers decide what you think of the program and give your feedback to the city officials.

5. Turn off lights when you leave a room, and unplug appliances (TVs, computers, etc.) when you leave town for vacations. Sign up with your power company for Smart Cooling programs or other such programs which works during periods of high electrical use between June 1 and September 30, your power provider (HEC, Shenandoah Valley Electric Co-op, or Dominion) may cycle your home’s cooling system on and off at defined intervals. Your fan will stay on, circulating already cooled air. This saves you money, and keeps your house comfy.

6. Wear sweaters, snuggle up with your loved ones, throw on an extra quilt, turn down the heat in winter. Open windows, install ceiling fans to keep some air moving or turn up the AC temp in summer.

7. Insulate your home. Get a free energy audit from your electric provider to see where your home is “leaking” energy, and increase the thermal layers above and below your living space.

8. Buy in bulk. It costs less because you’re not paying for branding and packaging. Plus you get as much or as little as you need. No wasted food. Less trash. Save money. Why not?

Extra credit: Learn about your water shed! When rain water runs off of your roof, where does it go? What’s the name of the nearest creek or stream to your house? Follow that downstream on a map to see where your water winds up….

Extra credit plus: Learn the names of all the trees in your yard. Most elementary school kids can name 50 corporate brands by just the logo, but not 10 trees. Can you do better than that?

Peace, love and granola y’all! See you at the co-op.

–By Steve Cooke, General Manager