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(Family Features) Everyone has the power to make a positive impact on the world around them, whether it's choosing locally made products, making environmentally friendly home solutions or helping those in need. These actions can be beneficial to your family, your neighborhood and your local community. It's the simple things that make a difference.
Eco-expert and author Sarah Copeland blogs about her everyday food and lifestyle experiences on EdibleLiving.com, a website that helps readers discover easy and innovative ways to live the good life, naturally.
"For me, good, natural living starts with the little things," notes Copeland. "No matter how big or small the action, every one of us can take steps toward making the world a better place."
Copeland offers simple tips on how you can live good naturally, starting today.
For more fresh ideas on how to live the good life, check out Sarah Copeland's new book, "The Newlywed Cookbook: Fresh Ideas and Modern Recipes for Cooking With and For Each Other" (Chronicle, 2012).
Copeland says, "Your neighborhood is full of inspiring people, places and things. Connect with and support those who surround you." This includes:
Eating locally sourced food
Buying food that is grown and produced nearby cuts down on the number of miles between the food and your plate. It also means supporting local farmers and agricultural businesses. There are several ways to find locally sourced food:
Hosting a community potluck
Ask neighbors to cook their favorite dishes with ingredients they've picked up from the farmers market. Good food creates good memories.
"Natural foods and products are better for you - and Mother Earth. Take time to think about what you're putting into your body and into the ground," recommends Copeland. For instance:
Go green - literally - by growing your own herbs and vegetables. There's no faster way to enhance your meal than by adding freshly chopped chives, parsley or mint to your plate. Plant a windowsill herb garden so you can snip and serve up a bit of green in every meal you create.
Products made with sustainable practices give Mother Nature a bit of a break. Select brands and products that are continually improving their operations to help minimize their impact on the environment. Products like The Naked Grape wines not only taste good, but they do good, naturally. Created using 100 percent sustainable winery practices, The Naked Grape uses the highest quality fruit to craft honest expressions of the grape's natural flavor. Not to mention, it pairs perfectly with fresh-picked fruits and veggies. Learn more at www.TheNakedGrapeWine.com.
Do the most with compost
Help your garden grow by composting, nature's way of recycling. By biodegrading organic waste, such as food, grass trimmings, leaves and wood, you can create valuable organic fertilizer. Best of all - it's free. You can compost your waste by simply discarding kitchen scraps and yard clippings in a bin. Once it biodegrades, you'll have a dark, rich soil perfect for your own harvest.
Choose cleaning products that are effective but have less-harmful impacts on the environment.
"I support and create good in my community by volunteering my time and giving gently used items to others," says Copeland. Here are additional ways to live the good life.
Food banks need non-perishable items throughout the year. Find a local food bank and see what will best fill its shelves. Other organizations take unwanted furniture, clothes and household goods - and many will come pick them up from your home. There's always a way to repurpose.
Give your time
Volunteering is a great way to create good in your community, and you'll feel great doing it. Look for volunteer opportunities that fit your abilities, passions and schedule. Enjoy gardening? Get involved by planting and maintaining your local community garden. They always need help weeding and seeding.
Show them the money
Support local charities and organizations with monetary donations. Financial support, big or small, helps them provide services to others and keeps organizations running.
"You can make a difference no matter where you live, for both yourself and your community," Copeland suggests. "Simple, thoughtful actions can help you live the good life, naturally."
Make a positive impact on the environment and your lifestyle with these clever ways to keep things out of the landfill:
The Naked Grape