by Wendy Gabriel
Robin Shreeves is a work at home mom and freelance writer. A believer in writing what you know, she started writing about her family’s journey while going green on A Little Greener Every Day and eventually she found that people would pay her to write about what she was learning. She now has the best job ever, writing about being green for various websites including Mother Nature Network and Green Options Media network.
How do you make your day-to-day life a little greener?
My husband and I both work from home so almost every aspect of making my day-to-day life a little greener centers around our home. The first steps I took in going green were easy ones – changing out conventional light bulbs to CFL’s and replacing paper napkins and paper towels with cloth napkins and rags. Then I moved on to the more time consuming, possibly less convenient things (yet often quite enjoyable and fulfilling) like walking or riding my bike when possible, preparing meals from ingredients instead of buying convenience foods, growing some of our food, and hanging my laundry out to dry. It’s really become a process of looking at the things I do every day and seeing if I can find a way to do them in a way that does less harm to the earth. I don’t always succeed, but I have come a long way.
You are a self-proclaimed “locavore wannabe.” Can you explain why being a locavore is important to you?
How our eating habits affect the environment never occurred to me until I read Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. After I read that book, it occurred to me that I needed to change what my family eats for our health and the planet’s health. We do a lot of organics in our house, and whenever possible I buy from local, sustainable sources even if they aren’t certified organic. I call myself a “locavore wannabe” because where I live, eating local all year round is very difficult. I doubt I’ll ever do the amount of work it would take to be 100% locavore. But I do what I can, and I started South Jersey Locavore to help others in my region find sources of local food beyond the farmers market season.
Being a locavore isn’t just important to me for the environmental benefits, though. I’m finding that as I focus on local, sustainable foods, my family is eating a larger variety of foods than we used to. I find that I have more pride in what I place on my table. Even though I don’t announce that “these burgers I’m serving you came from grass fed, free-range happy cows” when I have a cookout, I seem to enjoy serving local foods more to my family and friends. There’s a sense of community and providing that comes along with it that I’m still trying to figure out how to articulate properly.
What have you found to be your biggest challenge as you create an eco-friendly home for your own family?
Honestly, the biggest challenge is my own disorganization. It takes a certain amount of planning and organizing to make sure we have enough time to walk or bike somewhere instead of jumping in the car. If I’m going to create meals from ingredients, I need to shop regularly to make sure those ingredients are in the fridge and pantry. I have to remember to actually get the laundry out of the washing machine early enough in the day to get it the line outside or it ends up going in the dryer. I’m not an organized person by nature, so I end up being my own worst enemy often in my battle to be more eco-friendly.
Not only do you have your own blog and write for a number of other green websites including an eco-friendly food blog for Mother Nature Network, you are a busy mom. Can you tell us one of your favorite fast recipes?
I’ve written about this recipe a few times recently, but really it’s one of my favorites. It’s called Yummy Honey Chicken Kabobs, and I found it one of my go-to recipe sites, allrecipes.com. It takes about ten minutes to chop everything up and then you let it marinade all day. While the grill is warming, you pop everything on skewers, and it only takes about ten minutes to cook.
It’s great for the kids because they like the chicken and they can pick and choose the vegetables that go on their skewer. No mushrooms need ever taint their chicken.
What makes this recipe even better is that in the summer, it can be a local meal. I made it just last week and everything but oil, soy sauce and pepper was found at my local farmers market.
• 1/4 cup vegetable oil
• 1/3 cup honey
• 1/3 cup soy sauce
• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 2 cloves of garlic
• Whatever amount of chicken breast you want, cut in 1-inch cubes
• 2 inch vegetable pieces such as: mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, green peppers, red peppers, cherry tomatoes, onion
Mix the marinade ingredients together and pour over cut up chicken and vegetables. Marinate for about 6 hours and then pop onto skewers. Grill on indirect heat until the chicken is cooked through.