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Thursday, April 21, 2011

The importance of "Greening" getto

After reading author, activist, Van Jone's book, The Green Collar Economy, I have decided to create a blog dedicated to sustainability in the economically disadvantaged neighborhoods of Albuquerque, NM. By sustainability, I am referring to urban farming, recycling and basically living a "green" lifestyle , which can be a challenge in these neighborhoods. Please note that the term "ghetto" is merely used as a slang term for economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. The sometimes negative connotation derived from the word "ghetto" should not take away from the rich diversity and many positive attributes found in like neighborhoods across Albuquerque.

However, living  a "green" sustainable lifestyle is challenging in poorer neighborhoods because of the high price of good quality food, distance to grocery stores that sell organic and or natural food, and the general lack of resources available for residents to live a more "green" sustainable lifestyle. One of the topics I will cover and challenge this week is the issue of recycling in neighborhoods. I have noticed that in my neighborhood, the international district, few is any residents recycle. Recylce bins are not available since residents belong to one of the city's "test areas". Residents who wish to recylce are encouraged to place all  recyclable items in white plastic garbage bags provided by the city. Unfortunately, if you are one of the lone recyclers on the block, like myself, the yellow recycle truck bypasses your area entirely. I had to place a call to the city last week to request a pickup. Pickups are schedules for the following 24 hours after the initial call. This can be frustrating for the well meaning recyclers who have
to wait an extra day. Residents who live in neighborhoods where blue recycle bins are present are more likely to recycle.

I propose that the city offer recycle bins to all neighborhoods where residents show an interest in recycling. Perhaps residents who recycle should be given an incentive in the form of a rebate or a reduction in their trash bill. For those interested in recycling remember almost any kind of plastic or metal can be recycled! Just look for the recylce sign in the container you food comes in! Glass containers must be taken to specially designated places to be recycled. I'll look these places up and post them on this blog for those who are interested.

Another topic I mentioned earlier is the availability of reasonably priced, good quality, organic or natural food. I have noticed that there are more fast food places than grocery stores within walking distance in my area. A gallon of milk is at least one dollar more if purchased at a convience store as opposed to a gallon of local milk purchased at the Coop in Nob Hill. Yes, buying local is becoming more affordable everyday! The Coop also accepts SNAP benefits. While you're there shopping for your weeks groceries check out the bulk food sections. You'll find items such as rice, honey, sugar, olive oil and many more items, at prices that rival the big chain stores! I strongly encourage people to take the trip, whether it be by bus or car, one of the Coop's in the city and purchase groceries. By doing so you'll be supporting the local economy and you'll take pride in being able to feed your family some of the best quality food available.

The next topic I'd like to address is sustainability. If you have a large backyard or patio why not grow some of your own food so that you don't have to rely so much on the grocery store. I will discuss backyard farming in future articles and interview local backyard farmers. There's also someone in my neighborhood who has some chickens! If you're reading this blog, please respond! I'd like to discuss raising chickens in the city! Well, that's all for now! Someone is hungry and would like to go to Mc Donald's. I'm going to have to go offline  and find a more healthy lunch alternative!

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