It’s a weird thing … going into a farming venture and the changes to a lifestyle that will involve is one thing I was expecting. The changes that running livestock and managing a grazing property were not unexpected. Even the concept of the super-eco-friendly-mega-energy-star-rated-autonomous-home that is going to be a third the size of our suburban home meant lifestyle changes involving space and the requirement for water and energy collection, and again, these were not unexpected.
In moving to the rental property, one of the tasks we have set ourselves is to begin to think and act like we are already on the property, as far as the “mundane and everyday” goes.
This has brought up some interesting issues and unexpected change management challenges.
We’ve always though we’ve been pretty good at purchasing products that were ethical and held decent green credentials, even so, re-examining products from the perspective of recycling our water for gardens or even simply going into the “sewerage tank” (which in our case will be a three stage worm farm system) requires a re-evaluation of the products and their immediate effect on microbials and megadrils. This has already caused two product changes to “garden friendly” products.
The same goes with product packaging and waste. We already recycle a lot. In fact, recycling day always finds us with a full bin. In our suburban place, we had two recycling bins and only put out the small landfill bin out once a fortnight. Even so, the farm does not have a weekly, fortnightly or even monthly waste pickup service. This means that any waste generated on the property will need to be stored until it can be taken by trailer to a waste management station or landfill depot … and that is not necessarily a sanitary option, let alone one I look forward to carting off every month.So, this leads one to think about the products we buy and the packaging they come in. Ideally, the majority of the waste should be utilised for compost or mulching. Thus, we have already started down the change management path of re-examining the products we buy with this view in play. There are some products already coming to the fore – with some meat and produce trays advertising their compostable nature. Plain recycled paper packaging that uses soy or vegetable inks is another big winner for me. Where these options do not exist, we have started putting together a priority list – choosing products that choose cellulose or starch based plastics and where they are not available choosing products that choose glass over plastic … well, you get the idea. Basically, if it can be used as a soil input (compost or mulch) or it can be re-used (e.g. bottles) it is becoming a product of choice.