Around Town, Education, Family Travel, Food, Health, Outdoor fun, Wellness

Staying “Green” During the Pandemic

November 1, 2021

As a conscientious mother, New Orleans resident Jennifer Bogart makes daily efforts to live a “green” lifestyle.

Her family recycles, they turn off lights when not in the room, and Jennifer tries to buy food that is grown locally instead of food that is shipped across the country. When the COVID-19 crisis became a full-blown pandemic, she was put to the test. “For a while we were afraid to go out much,” she says, “even to the grocery store.” Jennifer began ordering fresh fruits and vegetables, and sometimes even fresh shrimp, from Top Box Foods, a local food share program that sources foods locally and the proceeds benefit those in need. “I really liked it because they delivered directly to our house. We came up with so many ideas for healthy dinners.” 

The pandemic was a test to New Orleans families who conscientiously try to live their lives in a way that makes minimal impact on our planet. Go Green NOLA is a guide for the New Orleans community on how to build and live green. The website is a good jumping off point to learn about the people and organizations making a positive and green change in the city. Here are ways that families can make steps towards “going green.”

Shop at Farmers Markets

Shopping at local farmers markets is a great way to make an impact on both your family’s overall health and well-being, as well as making an impact on the environment. The variety of offerings at a farmers market helps a family to eat healthy while helping local farmers. Buying locally also reduces transportation emissions that occur when transporting large crops across the country. In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, other homemade items can be purchased, including jam, jellies, honey, preserves, bread, and more. A comprehensive list of farmer’s markets in the area is listed on the Go Green NOLA website.

Grow Your Own

Gardening has grown (pardon the pun) during the pandemic for many reasons. People have spent more time at home, incomes are often limited, and for a time during the pandemic, the compromised supply chain for food made finding some items difficult. Not to mention that home gardeners have discovered that food they grow themselves has better nutrition, flavor, and variety than food that is mass-produced. Any sunny plot of land can easily become a garden that provides a plethora of produce. Tomatoes, peppers, and other produce can even be grown in pots on patios or balconies. Community gardens have become popular as well. Schoolyard gardens are an ideal place to teach kids about both nutrition and science. Seed saving is a great activity, as plants that reproduce through natural means tend to adapt to local conditions and evolve as reliable performers year after year.

Shop at Art Markets

In need of a gift? Want to fluff up your place with new décor? Shop at the many art markets that are springing up around town. Most of the art markets are held monthly or bi-monthly, usually outdoors. You may find unique items created with reclaimed or recycled materials as well as other basic necessities, including handmade soaps, creams, bug sprays, and clothing items.

Build Green

There is a trend these days to build green, and for good reason. Many new builds are LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified, designed, and built to be environmentally friendly. But what can a homeowner do to make their existing home more energy and resource-efficient?

The pandemic forced people to quarantine in their homes, which in turn caused them to take a good look around and think about ways they can improve their environment. That, in turn, has caused a huge uptick in remodeling projects. Jessica Brown, the executive director of The Green Project in New Orleans says that they have been busier than ever. The Green Project accepts donations of usable building materials, both old and new, and sells it to the public. “Paint is our most popular product,” she says. Residents donate used cans of paint to The Green Project, and every Tuesday, they recycle the paint, mixing new colors. “It’s my go-to place to look for paint when I’m working on a project,” says Joe Gravier, an uptown resident. “We have also purchased old doors there for a coffee table project as well as old windows to make a room divider.” Gravier says he has also added extra caulking and insulation to make his home more energy efficient. 

Tips for Families 

While no one can accurately predict when the COVID-19 pandemic will end, we can all learn to reduce what we use, reuse what we already have, and recycle what we have used. Go Green NOLA shares these ideas:

By Susan Marquez

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