Some of y’all remember Stephanie of Minnesota From Scratch, who guest blogged here on wellness topics this spring – well I’m so excited to now feature her as one of my subjects for my weekly interview series. Steph writes about everything from canning to parenting to wellness to recipes and more! Take a look at her awesome blog and keep an eye out for those great giveaways she does!
What or who inspires you most?
My daughter definitely inspires me to live a healthy and natural lifestyle more than anyone or anything else. I want to set a good example for her and also, I want to be around as long as I can be to see her grow up.
What do you turn to when you need strength?
Music. I love all different styles of music and it has a power unlike anything else for me.
How can women best support and/or empower other women?
By encouraging them instead of discouraging them.
What do you love to grow? What would you like to try growing someday?
I love to grow cherry tomatoes. They are so simple to grow, but my daughter loves them and so do I. I’d someday love to grow enough raspberries and strawberries that I wouldn’t have to buy any from the Farmer’s Market during canning season. I would also like to try growing asparagus someday.
What are your creative outlets? Is there anything you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t?
I really love to paint. I don’t spend as much time painting as I’d like to, but whenever I do give myself the opportunity, I feel very energized and refreshed afterwards. My next hobby to tackle is imprinting metal and making jewelry! I have wanted to get started with that for nearly two years now.
In what environment(s) do you feel most in your element?
I feel most in my element probably when I am doing something creative. Whether it’s in the garden, or on canvas or even when I’m preserving, I feel the happiest.
Who are your top three nonprofits you support and/or volunteer with and why?
- NON GMO Project – I believe GMOs are bad for your health and our environment. I think that everyone should be aware of what they are consuming and therefore all GMO products should be labeled (and avoided)
- Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota – They provide medical care and rehabilitation for all injured, sick or orphaned wildlife. I bring wild animals there each spring it seems and if it was not for them, I would have no idea what to do with these helpless baby animals. I really appreciate what they do.
- Second Harvest Heartland – They are a hunger relief program that focuses on reducing waste and helping the hungry people of Minnesota and part of WI get the food they need. In 2012, they distributed over 76 million pounds of food. They are also part of “Feeding America” which is a national network of more than 200 food banks.
What recent “green” change have you made in your own life? What’s next?
Over the last five years or so we have begun living a much more “green” life. Some of the changes we have made include: Switching to homemade/natural cleaning products and skincare products, we shop locally more often and buy free-range/organic, we barely use anything plastic and use glass for our liquid containers and leftovers. I began canning, we compost, we donate used items instead of tossing them in the garbage, we don’t use any lotions, soaps or perfumes that include “fragrance” or other harmful additives, we have NEVER used any sort of weed killer on our lawn, we started washing our clothes with cold water, we added three more gardens to our yard so we can grow our own food, I started working from home (less gas), we never buy plastic bottled water, we recycle whatever we can and we buy a lot of second hand items.
What’s next? Once I feel that we are doing all we can do from home, I’d like to get out in the community more. Once my daughter is school-age, I’d like to volunteer with a few organizations in Minneapolis.
Where in the world do you consider a sanctuary? Why?
Sitting on an ocean beach at nighttime. Listening to the sound of the waves, looking into the darkness. It is scary and at the same time very, very calming. So many unknowns and possibilities.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I hate to say it, but I would tell my 12 year old self, “Listen to your mother!” My mom has always been a bit of a health nut, or at least that’s how I saw her as a kid. Now that I’m aware of all the harm in so much of the food offered at the grocery stores and all of the chemicals in so many household products, that I totally get it. I could have avoided a lot of toxic exposure had I just listened to her sooner…
How can we as a society be more radical in supporting a healthy planet?
Pardon my language, but get your head out of your ass people! It is your decision to live a healthy life, stop living in denial that the government has our best interest in mind. That unfortunately is not the case. I’d’ begin with food production and what the conventional farming methods are doing to our land – it’s awful. There needs to be better regulation and guidelines that focus on the future of our planet, not just the present. For the folks that do have their eyes wide open, just don’t be afraid to stand up for what is right and spread the knowledge to all that you can.
What sparked your interest in environmental issues? What’s the first “eco” thing you ever did?
I guess composting would be the first “eco” thing I ever did. It’s so easy and so wonderful for the garden.
How do you live simply?
I love to garage sale. 90% of the items in my house are second hand. I have received many items from family members, bought them at thrift shops or found them at a garage sale.
Can you leave us with a favorite quote of yours?
“It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment.” ~ Ansel Adams