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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 11-11-09, 02:59 PM   #1
PotatoSlayer
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Corporate Freedom

I figure this is a good place to point me in the right direction.

I am trying to get the corporate crap out of my life and only support local businesses and such. But at the same time I am trying to go green and switch to organic. Can some people give me some pointers on this?

I am already car-lite, but I am working to be car-free.
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Old 11-11-09, 03:14 PM   #2
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Its a tough one. You basically have to just pay a lot of attention to where you shop and what you buy. Farmers Markets are always good for groceries, but sometimes (at least where I live) you have corporations with booths set up there in addition to the small local stuff. Keep in mind that large chains sometimes are locally owned franchises (The ACE Hardware where I live for instance) so its a judgement call on your part.
Sadly it is getting increasingly difficult to find non-corporate-chain places to shop and things. One of the things I love about the SF Bay Area and my town in particular is the sort of cultural lean towards locally owned and operated businesses.
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Old 11-11-09, 03:15 PM   #3
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BTW you generally do have to accept that shopping only locally, small business, etc could easily add 25% or more to your cost of living. Just something you have to accept. Hence the reason for the continued success of large corporations.
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Old 11-11-09, 04:17 PM   #4
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Buy more things at garage sales? That keeps stuff out of the landfill and puts a few extra bucks into the local economy. It's also a great excuse to get out on a bike on Saturdays.
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Old 11-11-09, 05:20 PM   #5
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I know this is a tough one and I am working on setting up a website to catalog my journey, but the idea is turning out to be one hell of a project.
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Old 11-11-09, 06:39 PM   #6
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Contact your local small farms directly. My sister ran a small goat dairy farm and never setup a farm stand for the first year, because local people just came to her door and asked for for eggs, dairy products, and vegetables. Most small farms have a surplus that's not worth the trouble of packaging for sale at a local market, but are more than happy to sell you if you ask.
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Old 11-11-09, 06:47 PM   #7
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Another thing about going corporate free, just reduce your purchases in general. My wife and I are of a similar opinion, so we live fairly simple lives close to work. We do still buy from corporations, but avoid those that we are completely opposed to such as Wal-Mart. Living minimally has the added benefits as freeing up a lot of money for saving, and makes moving a LOT easier. The catch is to learn to be happy with what you have.

I grew up in a very wealthy town, and in doing so quickly learned that acquiring wealth for the sake of wealth more often breeds misery. There were multi-millionaires who were miserable and believed themselves poor because they couldn't afford that one extra mega-toy that their friends have. And once they got the money to buy that toy, there was always something else they didn't have. I quickly learned that if you have money, great, and if you don't that's great too. As long as you have a roof over your head and food in your mouth, everything else is just details.
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Old 11-11-09, 06:50 PM   #8
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Do one little thing at a time and continue to constantly evolve.
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Old 11-11-09, 07:06 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Platy View Post
Buy more things at garage sales? That keeps stuff out of the landfill and puts a few extra bucks into the local economy. It's also a great excuse to get out on a bike on Saturdays.
+1

Unfortunately, garage sales tend to be rather seasonal. However, there are things like craiglist (sp?) and kijiji (or newspaper classifieds) where stuff can be found on the cheap/semi-cheap. Or thrift stores (Salvation Army, MCC, and Value Village depending where you live).

For fair trade stuff (particularly trinkets, etc) you can see if you have a "Ten Thousand Villages" near you (I live in Saskatoon and we have a couple here. I believe it is a Mennonite run operation, although I could be badly mistaken).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Llamero
As long as you have a roof over your head and food in your mouth, everything else is just details.
How true this is (and how difficult it can be to learn). I am gradually starting to realize (again... I've realized and then sort of forgotten/neglected this) the need to live simply, and to be mostly content with what I already have.

@PotatoSlayer: As far as going green and eliminating corporate crap from your life, one potential step is to ditch the TV. While my room-mate and I still have a TV (which I bought at a Garage Sale), we have gone on a TV-fast for nearly a month now. Most of the "TV" we have watched since beginning the fast have been a few shows on the weekends streamed to us via the Internet (We had been watching Defying Gravity on spacecast.com, and I have been watching StarGate Universe via spacecast.com). We had several reasons for fasting from TV. For one, a lot of the shows we were watching were garbage and unwholesome. Another (and this is the one that could actually pertain to you) was to reduce the amount of advertising we subject ourselves to (lets face it, TV is rife with advertising. In one hour you can watch nearly 20 minutes of advertising, which encourages you to be dissatisfied with what you already own, and so on). So, if you want to eliminate the corporate crap, I would say that eliminating TV is a good first step. It is made even easier by the availability of many TV shows on the internet or DVD (and something you can do with DVD's is bring them to a pawnshop and trade in ones you don't like or don't plan on watching again). At the same time, cutting the TV out also allows you to be a bit more environmentally friendly (lets electricity consumed, especially for the old CRT televisions or Plasma TV's). And if you decide to literally ditch the old TV, I'm pretty sure there are electronics recycling places you can bring your TV to for further environmentally friendliness (in Saskatchewan, I believe you can bring such old electronics to Sarcan).

Anyway, thats my 10 cents (CDN).
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Old 11-11-09, 10:15 PM   #10
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difficulty varies in locale.
some places are easier than others.
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Old 11-12-09, 01:13 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by benajah View Post
BTW you generally do have to accept that shopping only locally, small business, etc could easily add 25% or more to your cost of living. Just something you have to accept. Hence the reason for the continued success of large corporations.
I disagree with the 25 % surcharge on local stores. I think it's much less than this--usually just a few pennies more at a local supermarket compared to Kroger or meijers, for example.
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Old 11-12-09, 01:37 PM   #12
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This site may be of some use to you: http://www.greenamericatoday.org/
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Old 11-12-09, 02:11 PM   #13
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What's your living situation like? Do you have the ability to grow some of your own food, in a garden, or in containers, or in a shared community garden, etc.
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Old 11-12-09, 03:32 PM   #14
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Quote:
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I disagree with the 25 % surcharge on local stores. I think it's much less than this--usually just a few pennies more at a local supermarket compared to Kroger or meijers, for example.
where I live, you have to pick between traveling a relatively long distance for low prices or shopping at local small businesses which are more walkable/bikeable. if you account for the cost of using a car to travel extra distances (or if you consider your free time to be worth several dollars per hour) it might make sense to shop locally.

On the other hand, if you have a car then it might seem financially sensible to use it, since major costs like insurance and registration (and to some extent depreciation or repair cost) will exist whether you use the thing or not.

If I shop at the farmer's market, I end up paying more but get better food. (at least, the food is better according to the criteria promoted by Michael Pollan!)
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Old 11-15-09, 01:33 AM   #15
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I disagree with the 25 % surcharge on local stores. I think it's much less than this--usually just a few pennies more at a local supermarket compared to Kroger or meijers, for example.
exactly why I said "could" rather than "will". I have lived in places where shopping locally was much more expensive, and places like where I am living now in a little town in Northern California where there is pretty much no difference in price.
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