We are now Kingston, Ontario residents. I like the city a lot but it would be much harder to do a month garbage free here.
We live in a 5 story walk up with no yard, no balcony and a flat “NO” from the landlord when we asked if we could compost or garden in the side yard. I have sent one batch of compostables home with my brother and another two batches mysteriously landed in the neighbours green bin in the middle of the night. It is also an apartment building but it is less than 6 units so they have green bins, where as I cannot get one here because there is 25 units in the building. I did talk to one of the residents of the neighbouring building and she said very few people, if any, actually use the green bins and it should be fine if I used it. So I didn’t have to go in the middle of the night, that just happened to be when I had the time. I am waiting to here back from the near by community garden. Hopefully I can compost there and may be have a plot as well. I really miss our garden. I already had to buy zucchinis here and it just seemed so wrong after having an overabundance of them so recently.
I had no idea how privileged we were living in Toronto. We had so much variety and choice of where to go to get packaged free goods. If one place didn’t have something, there was always another place to check, and with the TTC it was relatively easy to get just about anywhere. Buses here run every half hour. There are two health food stores but one would take over 2 hours to reach by public transit. The one that is accessible to me (Tara Foods) is awesome and I can get more than I was expecting, but I can’t get cleaning products in bulk, nor sugar. Actually it doesn’t look like there is anywhere in the city that carries bulk detergent, baking soda, vinegar etc. Oh how I miss Grass Roots. We stocked up before we left, but we already ran out of toilet paper and I had to buy some in plastic wrap for the first time in years (gasp!) My sister is going stock up on bulk supplies at Grassroots and bring it down to us, but I’m not sure how many times I can ask her to do that. Hopefully I can charm someone into carrying what we need in stores here.
Last week, Kyle biked across town to pick up recycling bins for us and although we need to do much more sorting than in Toronto, it seems like a good program. If the don’t take something they will eave a tag explaining why, whihc I think is a great idea. Sometimes it was such a mystery as to why bins were left in TO. In one house we lived in, the garbage was picked up from the driveway every week except once. I called to ask why and they said we needed to pull it out closer to the street. I asked why we had never needed to do that before and they said because the bins were closer before. Apparently they had moved back an inch or so??? Anyhow I digress….
The good news is…FOOD! There is a farmers market downtown 3 times a week, and they have 6 organic stalls, plus many other combination stalls (some pesticide free). They have some wonderful baking booths with really delicious pie. It’s not totally trash free because the trays can not be recycled here, but we use them for crafts and painting . There are farms all around us. I suppose there were in Toronto too but they seemed harder to access. My sister-in-law took Aurora and I apple picking yesterday-it was great! I always assumed the trees would be tall and you would need to climb up high, but they were all short enough that even Aurora could reach. She was especially interested in the outhouse “stinky bapa (bathroom) outtide…poo!”, which I think is a very good description of outhouses in general.