Plea + Solution for Food Sellers

My dear blog reader, if you or anyone you know agrees with the letter below, won’t you please share it, hashtag it, copy/paste it, add your name to it, and do whatever you like to get the basic sentiment out there? (And read on for an additional message to you that follows it.)

Dear Trader Joe’s, as well as other grocery stores and processed food manufacturers,

Food, glorious food! I love your stuff, and I adore it all the better when you sell it in containers that are healthy and easy to re-use.

Rather than cans and near-impossible-to-recycle (let alone repurpose) plastic vacuum-sealed boxes, sell us stuff in containers like these!…

Something delish…
Tastes better when it’s in something useful…
Like how this keeps a snack fresh!

Here’s the kind of jars I love best — think healthy, easy-to-clean, and uniform in which to store my beans, grains, flour, pasta, and such:

  • Straight-sided and where I can easily reach in wash clear down to the bottom.
  • Labels that require just a quick soak to remove.
  • Better yet, no labels at all, as in the case of the adorable drinking glasses illustrated after this letter — how sublime that the Welch’s name appears only in fine print!
  • Interchangeable sizes and lids would be extra classy!

The mustard sauce in the photo is great — and is all the better for the jar!

Yours truly,

da-AL — a customer who I doubt is alone

P.S. Don’t think you can get away with overpricing products with super-cute holiday gift-type containers and expect us to think you’ve done anyone a favor.

Back to you my dear cyberland friend,

As you can guess from above, I’m asking businesses to go beyond using less plastic. It’s lovely when grocers sell us food in glass jars. Let’s encourage them to take it up a gazillion notches by doing something that’ll benefit us while making us more loyal to them!

I hope you’ll share this with anyone who’s as upset as I am with how impossible it is to get away from plastic. Share this with individuals as well as with businesses. Even small gestures can go a long way when they’re multiplied. As consumers, our wallets wield immense power.

Every time I turn around, I read more scary stuff about how corrosive plastics are to our bodies, and downright catastrophic to the environment. There may have been a time when we deluded ourselves that plastic was better than glass, but these days, we know better.

When I was small, my family ate Welch’s jam. Why? Sure, it was tasty, and we needed something not too expensive for our toast — but with all the jams out there, Welch’s outsmarted the others! Theirs was in glass jars meant to be repurposed into drinking glasses! Customers wanted to collect the cute freebies while getting decent jams at the same time.

In the stone-age, harhar, jam came in these. They were great to drink out of and made shoppers want to go buy more to collect them!

Win-win joy here, there, everywhere!! Pardon me while I do a little jig at the keyboard! Why the heck don’t all stores and all brands continue to do something like what I described?

For crafty readers and those of us who enjoy looking at stuff we’ll never do — here and here and here and here and here and here and here are some links. Key search words: repurpose and up-cycle.

Do you know an easy way to help stem the tide of plastic?

Wash instead of throw away by Stella, oh, Stella

Facial dabbers with a holder for them are easy to make!

Making beautiful, useful things out of stuff that would otherwise get tossed does everyone a favor! Birgit, originally from Germany, blogs in both English and German from Denmark about everything from nature and cooking to gardening and books. On her Youtube channel, she plays music with her husband and shows us beautiful outdoor sights like this one (watch to the end to get a glimpse of her lovely smile). Read on for how to turn old towels into new makeup removers — and even how to crochet a holder that can be used to machine-wash them…

Stella, oh, Stella

Diese Idee habe ich von Youtube, ich weiss leider nicht mehr, von welchem Kanal. Es ging darum, dass man als Frau oft viel Watte benutzt zum Abschminken, Gesichtswasser auftragen etc.

… This idea I found on Youtube. I don’t remember on which channel, unfortunately. It was about all the little cotton-wool balls that women often use to remove makeup or to put on facial tonic.

Anstatt nun Watte zu benutzen, die man hinterher wegwirft, hatte jemand die grossartige Idee, runde Pads aus Baumwollgarn zu häkeln, die man waschen kann.

… Instead of using cotton-wool, which one throws away after use, somebody had the great idea, to crochet little dabbers of cotton-wool yarn.

Da ich aber welche hier und jetzt benötige, habe ich ein altes Handtuch, das ich nicht mehr benutze, von dem ich mich aber nicht trennen kann, weil es von so guter Qualität ist, auch wenn es jetzt einige…

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Guest Blog Post: “🐝CREATING A BUZZ 🐝,” in Katheryne Gatehouse’s exact words

Lucky for all of us, my (da-AL’s) recent post about bees inspired Katheryne Gatehouse, my new FaceBook friend, to tell us about her love of bees and what she’s learned about them …

Example of flowers that attract bees
Example of Bee attracting flowers

A warm hello from chilly Kent, the county known as the Garden of England. Historically Kent was widely populated with orchards supplying fruit for the South East of England, London, and beyond. Orchard keepers were often beekeepers too often ensuring pollination of fruit flowers, vital for both the edible crops and also a supply of popular drinks like fruit juices, apple cider, peri-cider and mead (honey based). The taste of honey varies depending on which flowers the bees visit, and a large range of flowers is generally held to produce the best honey.

Example of a Not bee friendly flower (I love it anyway!)
Example of a Not bee friendly flower (I love it anyway!)

Many of our old orchards have disappeared, fallen into decay, or land used commercially  or for housing . Agro-farming has diminished the numbers of hedgerows too, along with their flowers, and bees are fighting for survival. There has  been a shift away from more bees being in the countryside, to moving into urban areas where the bees can forage in gardens. There is a greater percentage and wider range of flowers per square mile and bees expend less energy in searching out and retrieving the pollen, which they store in the pollen sacks on their legs to bring back to the hive. Natures saddlebags! The forager bees search out the best and richest sources, returning to the hive to “dance” their findings to the other bees who will then also fetch honey for the hive. The pattern and speed of the dance depends on how far bees need to travel and which direction to go, and the quality of nectar and pollen. I find this utterly charming — the nearer and better the pollen the faster and more excitedly they dance.

Bees are highly organised, sociable and hardworking but they are not just a quaint visitor, part of the pastoral scene, they are essential to our food production. If we want the same levels and varieties of food available to us, we all need to do more to help and  this can be done easily in several ways — the most important two are growing more bee friendly plants in your gardens or allotments, and to stop using harmful pesticides and chemicals.

Sunflower, verbena bonariensus, penstemon and cosmos -- a bee banquet!
Sunflower, verbena bonariensus, penstemon and cosmos — a bee banquet!

My own interest in bees has resulted from a wider interest in the environment, horticulture and nature and has grown slowly but surely over the years . So, initially,  I increased the number of bee-attracting plants in my garden for the active bee year — late February to October, avoiding double or enclosed flowers where bees find it difficult to access the pollen and nectar, and increasing daisy-like, flat surfaced flowers like cosmos and zinnias.  Also, long-tongued bees like tubular flowers,  e.g., foxgloves and penstemon, which grow happily in my chalky alkaline soil.

Next I became a member of the Bumble Bee Conservation Trust a research facility based in Stirling Scotland and a charity I’ve donated to and held small local fund raising events for.  Then an allotment, more scope and space for bee friendly plants alongside fruit and veg for me, recently a second plot (no stopping me now!) where friends and I are planting it up entirely for bees and other wildlife — no extra food for us!! Our own crops  will benefit from having pollinators close because, and  most exciting of all, we are attending a weekly bee keeping course with a view to having our very own beehive on the Bee plot.

So here we are at the start of our Next Great Bumble Bee Adventure. Would you like to hear how we get on in future…the trials, tribulations and setbacks? Plus of course the successes and the pleasures involved in making room for, and helping our friends, the bees🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝

Katheryne Gatehouse. Nov 2016.