Today’s Solutions: September 30, 2022

Though the pandemic has been difficult on a global scale, it has also given humanity time to reflect on the effects of consumerist attitudes and throw-away culture. How we celebrate Valentine’s Day often exemplifies some of the worst aspects of consumerism, but this year is an opportunity to explore ways to celebrate sustainably. Let’s use this Valentine’s Day to spread a little extra love to mother nature as well as to our friends, family, and partners.

Here are five ways you can use your very own garden, no matter how small, as a local and ethical source of Valentine’s Day inspiration.

Harvest food from your own garden: Nothing says I love you like a home-cooked meal, especially when you’ve worked the soil and nurtured some of the ingredients yourself. If food from your garden isn’t an option this year, then go for the next best thing by buying local, seasonal, and organic produce. Food picked from your garden, whether picked fresh or from last season’s harvest can also be arranged into edible gifts for your loved ones.

Give the gift of life: Giving bouquets of hothouse or imported flowers is a common Valentine’s Day tradition, but this year, instead of giving cut flowers that are destined to wilt, give a living plant that will endure. Giving your loved ones a little pot with a cutting of a plant that they had admired in your garden before, or some seeds for them to start their own garden is more personal than a bunch of flowers from the shop. Every time they nurture their new plants they will be reminded of your affection.

Use your garden’s natural resources for a DIY Valentine’s Day Gift: Your garden can provide more than edible goodies and flowers. Those of you in colder climates during this time of year might not have as many resources at your disposal, but if you have dried herbs or flowers from last year’s harvest then they can be a great material to use for a crafty Valentine’s Day present. If you’re up for the challenge, use plant fibers to make homemade paper for a card or use the vibrant colors of berries or other heavily pigmented plants to dye natural fabrics.

Use the seasonal climate to create a romantic mood: Depending on your region, your garden might be warm enough for a romantic picnic at sunset. If you’re in a colder area, use the chilly weather to your advantage by sparking the fire pit (if you have one) or cozying up under some blankets with mulled wine, hot chocolate, or tea. You can even decorate your garden with LED lights to create a magical winter wonderland for your loved one.

Enjoy a romantic stargazing session: Stargazing is one of the most romantic and sustainable ways to not only get closer to your friends or partner but to celebrate nature in all its beauty.

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