For our first blog post, I thought I’d share a little bit about our family and the eco journey we’ve been on the past few years. In 2015, we moved onto 2.5 acres with our now 5 year old and 3 year old girls, in outer northwest Brisbane - it’s been a learning curve, but here’s the top 10 things we’ve changed in our family’s life to become more eco-friendly over this time. This is the summarised version, as I plan to explore these in more detail in future posts.
1. Backyard chickens
We currently have 6 chickens who run free on our acreage and lay fresh, tasty pastured eggs. They are easy to care for and also a great way for our kids to learn where their food comes from - so much so that both the girls turn their noses up at eggs from the shop! They can certainly tell the difference. We are about to have our second go on breeding ducks, so watch this space!'
Over time we’ve switched a lot of our plastic products and single-use items to more eco-friendly options. I love my reusable coffee cup, glass water bottle, beeswax wraps and Norwex products (just to name a few things). There are so many great eco-friendly products out there now, I am always looking for new things to try. I am also a big fan of second-hand and op shops and am about to embark on a challenge of not buying new clothes for a year. Wish me luck!
Over time we’ve switched all of our cleaning and personal care products to non-toxic, chemical free and other safe options. I am a huge fan of Neolife, Norwex and doTerra products, which is why I selected these as the products to use in our business. It’s because I personally use them and know they are effective and safe.
4. Power Usage
We had additional solar panels added to our stable roof and took the dive to install a solar battery. It has really helped us reduce our power usage! Our battery comes with a handy app that lets us track our power storage and usage, and even alerts us to the best time to use power.
5. Organic veggie garden and fruit orchard
We built an organic veggie garden on our property where we grow a variety of seasonal vegetables, as well as planted a small fruit orchard which has just started to bear fruit. I was able to pick a gorgeous sun ripened fig a few days ago. It was so juicy and sweet, unlike anything I have ever had before. We are also blessed that our property came with a mix of established fruit trees. There’s nothing better than eating organic fruit and veg that you have grown yourself! And the kids love getting involved too.
6. Farm fresh veggies
To supplement our vegetable garden, we purchase a weekly vegetable box from an organic family farm in Ipswich. It’s organic, well-priced, and grown by lovely people. Farm pickup is the highlight of our Sunday. If you live in the Brisbane or Ipswich area I highly recommend checking them out - https://hillfieldsfarm.com.au/. Here is a picture of our share from today.
7. Farm fresh meat and poultry
We purchase our meat farm-direct from local farming co-ops. The meat tastes way better than store bought, it’s economical, it’s sourced from farms which use sustainable and ethical farming practices, and not to mention it's organic, free-range, grass-fed and free from antibiotics! We have ordered from both Free Range Family Co-op and High Brit Beef and have had great experiences with both.
8. Dairy choices
We opt to buy our dairy from local producers rather than national brands. Our go to’s are Maleny Dairy and 4Real Milk for basic milk and yogurt, but we are always looking for new things to try. Our kids drink so much milk I sometimes wonder if we should get our own cow. On the topic of farm animals, we do have a lamb. Here's a few pictures of him just because he is cute.
9. Buying local
We buy local as much as possible as we think it’s important to put our money where our beliefs are. We love going to markets and local cafes and buying products from other small businesses. As I’ve said in a previous post, the best thing about small business is that it's not just a product or service - it's a person with a name, a face, a dream and a set of values! Just like us!
10. Processed Food
We try cook from scratch as much as possible, focusing on fresh veggies and meat. Learning to cook from scratch was made easier by our Thermomix. We try to avoid processed food as much as possible, or should I say as much as practical. In our world, it’s very tough to avoid it altogether. We do read ingredient labels and opt for products with the least amount of ingredients or the most natural ingredients.