Monday, December 28, 2009

Do you really need ANOTHER black dress or dollar store trinket?

Admit it - your closet is full of had-to-have items that have been pushed to the back of the closet. Everyone does it. That black dress was too good of a bargain to pass up, but do you really need three of them?

You have enough notepads, pens, and magnets to fill your junk drawer. Yes, our purchases keep the economy going, but most of us buy far more than we need.

Remember that packaging, waste, and pollution are created to make these items available to you. If you trash those once-new goodies when you're no longer interested in them, they will live in a landfill for years and years. When purchasing a new item, ask yourself, "Do I REALLY need that item?" You will be surprised what you answer.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Serve Local Foods at your Holiday Feast

How far does your food travel?
Food grown in Berks County was probably picked within the past 24 hours. It's crisp, sweet and loaded with flavor. Produce flown or trucked in from California, Florida, Chile, or South America is much older. Several studies have shown that the average distance food travels from farm to plate is 1,500 miles.
1,500 miles!

There are many other reasons to enjoy local Berks County food on your plate:

• Fresh produce loses nutrients quickly.
Food that is frozen or canned soon after harvest is actually more nutritious than some "fresh" produce that has been on the truck or supermarket shelf for a week. Locally grown food, purchased soon after harvest, retains its nutrients.

• Local food supports local farm families.
Local farmers who sell direct to consumers cut out the middleman and get full retail prices for their food - which means farm families can afford to stay on the farm, doing the work they love.

• Local food preserves open space.
As the value of direct-marketed fruits & vegetables increases, selling farmland for development becomes less likely. When you buy locally grown food, you are doing something proactive about preserving the agricultural landscape.

To find out where your can buy local food and to download a Farm Market map of Berks County, click here to visit the Penn State Cooperation's website.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Think Outside the Box for Holiday Gifts

Try these ideas for great holiday gifts.
Homemade gifts, such as cookies, crafts, or framed photos.

Handmade feeder or bird house for the outdoor lover.

Entertainment, tickets to the movies, Sovereign Center events, or the Royals Hockey or Reading Phillies; gift certificates to a local restaurant.

Learning, such as language or music lessons from the Goggleworks; classes in cooking, photography, or other favorite hobbies from Reading Area Community College.

Your time or talent, such as baby-sitting, pet-sitting, computer help, or home repairs.

Fitness, such as gym memberships, personal training sessions, or classes in yoga, Pilate's, or dance.

A gift membership to your favorite non-profit organization, such as the Berks Conservancy.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Use LED holiday lights

LED holiday lights use 90% less electricity than traditional bulbs. Not only does that bring your electricity bill way down, but it lessens your carbon footprint as well, and lowering your energy consumption helps fight global warming. Also LED lights last much longer than traditional lights, are more durable, and never have that annoying problem where one burnt out bulb kills your whole strand.

You can recycle your old holiday lights at