Leaving Green Footprints: The Northeast

Phew, the first two months of Green Footprints have been a whirlwind! My name is Austen Hughes, and just in case you’re dropping in for the first time, let me tell you a little about myself. I’m traveling around the country in my green VW van named turtle, planting 50 trees in every state and running a mile for every tree planted– a total of 2,500 miles and 2,500 trees! The goal of the project is to inspire everyone to take small ‘steps’ to make their environmental Footprint a little more Green. I’ve been on the road since early September, and have seen and learned a whole lot already! Here’s what we’ve accomplished so far.

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A Huge Thanks to Christine Messier!

I want to give a huge thanks to Christine Messier of Your Voice, Inc. For those of you who have read my book, Dude making a Difference, you are already a little familiar with her work. Without her the book may never have happened! 

Back in 2013 I embarked on my first bike ride across America with intentions to live as environmentally friendly as possible while bringing attention to environmental issues. Almost every night of the 104 day ride I spent a few hours writing in my tent, on a picnic table, or sitting on the couch of whoever was hosting me for the night. I shared that writing in blogs and on Facebook throughout the summer and by the end of the ride I had more than enough to put together a book. The problem was that I actually had too much content and that it would take a lot of work to cut it down and patch it together into a book.

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Wild Fermentation

Notes for all recipes:

If the climate is warm and damp, your wild ferments will process faster than in a cool and dry environment. Store your ferments in a shaded place, near a window with a breeze is preferable. Sunlight will sterilize your cultures.

In the United States, 98% of municipal water supplies are treated with chlorine. It is important to de-chlorinate the water before using for your fermentation recipes. Chlorine will sterilize your cultures. To de-chlorinate water, boil for 20 mins, or fill up a container container for 24 hours so the chlorine can evaporate.

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Trash Me FAQ

Welcome to the FAQ for Trash Me. Here I cover all of the questions people have been asking so far. Before diving into the questions though I’d like to explain the project in a little more depth to help you understand what I did and why.

For 30 days I wore every single piece of trash that I created while living like the average American. The average American creates 4.5 pounds of trash per day and I aimed to live the lifestyle that results in this. Normally I aim to live a near zero waste lifestyle so this is not a lifestyle that I am accustomed. But for the 30 days I went about life in a manner that is absolutely normal in the USA. I ate, shopped, and consumed like so many of us are accustomed to in this country. Everything about my life was normal and the only difference is I had to wear every piece of trash that I created instead of putting it into a garbage can. Most people never think twice about their trash, once it’s in the garbage can, it’s out of sight, out of mind. Through this project I, along the award-winning filmmakers at Living on One, and Gary Bencheghib, am out to change that by creating an unforgettable and shocking visual of the trash that we create everyday, and inspire us all to drastically reduce our trash.

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10 Tips for Dumpster Diving Success!

I’ve dived into over 2,000 dumpsters in over 25 states across the USA. By now I’ve pulled out tens of thousands of dollars worth of perfectly good food. Most of it I’ve given away but I’ve also lived solely off food from grocery store dumpsters for months at a time. My mission is to raise awareness about food waste and to reduce food waste and hunger in the USA. I don’t see dumpster diving as THE solution to food waste or hunger but at the same time I figure if the foods going to waste right now, why not eat it? Dumpster diving is not a global solution but for thousands of people it is an individual solution to reduce their environmental impact and feed themselves. So for those of you out there interested in saving a ton of money on food, reducing your environmental impact, or sharing a huge bounty of food with your friends and people in need I’m here to help with that. After 3 years of dumpster diving here are my top 10 tips to dumpster diving success.

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This Guy is Running 2,500 Miles and Planting 1 Tree for Every Mile!

Meet Austen Hughes. He’s about to embark on an epic adventure.

Starting this month he’s setting out to travel to each of the 50 US states, running 50 miles and planting 50 trees in each state. That’s 2,500 trees and 2,500 miles of running. And he’s doing all of this while producing less than one pound of landfill waste per month and generating zero edible food waste for the entire trip.

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Healthy Eating on $4/Day. We Did It!

Today is day 30, the last day of my month in Bankhead of eating healthy on just $4/day. The idea was to see if it is possible to afford healthy food in an area where accessibility and cost are great issues. For the sake of this particular blog I am focusing solely on the issues of cost and accessibility and leaving aside the other issues such as time. I will get into that still in other blogs and in the guide that I make but I think it is wise to just discuss the issue of money in this particular blog which is a big enough barrier in itself for many people.
The following are photos of almost all of the food that I purchased this month. Some is missing but this comprises about 90% of it and represents it all very well. The photos show the cost, the store I purchased the food at, and the date purchased.
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Green Riders Across America!

Hello friends!
I’m excited to announce that I’m cycling across the USA for the 3rd time. But what I’m really excited to announce is that YOU ARE INVITED. The first thing that might come to mind is “I couldn’t possibly keep up.” Well great news for you, my partner, Cheryl Davies, is the co-host of this ride and she’s never rode more than 30 miles in a day. If she can do it, so can you!
This isn’t any old bike ride though. We are the Green Riders, cycling in the service of the many good people of our nation. All across the country we will be helping others to grow their own food and live more sustainably. We’ll be starting gardens at people’s homes, at schools, and in the communities of small towns and urban cities in every state that we pass through. Plus we’ll be Freestyle Gardening all over the country! Each place that we pass through will be left a slightly better place than we found it.
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Healthy Eating on $4/Day. Visiting the Food Marts

Day 21 – July 28th 2016

Today Cheryl and I had to do laundry so we walked down to Da Wash House on Joseph E. Boone Blvd. It was about a mile walk down streets of Bankhead that we have not been to yet. This place truly is fascinating. As much as half of the houses and apartment buildings are abandoned and falling apart. The major difference between vacancy here and in an upper income neighborhood is that there the buildings are maintained. Here they are being left to be absorbed back into the earth by nature. The trees are growing wild, the vines are creeping into every opening of the house, and animals and insects have turned the nooks and crannies into their own homes. Many are boarded up to keep people out and to keep people from living in them. Others have wide open doors and windows while some have entirely open sides of the house.

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Healthy Eating on $4/Day Update

Today is day 19 of my Eating Healthy on $4/Day project and I have not posted an update since day 6 on July 13th. I want to apologize for the total lack of updates. I have been working really, really hard over here and learning an incredible amount. I just have not been writing it publicly. The main goal of this was to create a tool guide from the month long experience and I have been making great progress with it. All is well here, I have only positive things to say about the experience and I am SUPER excited to share what I have been learning this month. We are eating super healthy and every day I am seeing that it is possible to eat healthy on just $4/day even in areas where accessibility is an issue. My daily journaling online has disappeared but I will catch that back up in the next few days and continue forward with daily journals this week.

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