“Did your grandma do anything green back in the day?” That’s what I asked my buds here at Soul Flower, and you know what? None of them said no.
Here’s the wonderful things they did say:
“Gramma has composted ever since I was a little girl. I used to always poke at the steamy mess with a stick. My grandparents also have organic gardens, and I remember going out to fill my ice cream bucket, picking and eating green beans as I went. I’d always come back to the house with dirt between my teeth! In their hometown of Fargo, they even supplied stores with their produce – Talk about keepin’ it local!” –Bri


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“My grandma grew all her own veggies & canned everything – she knew how to preserve all of her veggies so they would last throughout winter.” –Peggy
“She always had her homemade clothes on the line outside, and a garden. I know growing up my grandma had all sorts of duties on the family farm in Italy. Instead of plopping us in front of the TV, she’d read to us and take us for walks; luckily, she didn’t see TV as a way to distract us and keep us busy.” –Jenn


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“Besides the usual carpooling, wearing hand-me-downs, and repurposing leftovers, one cool thing that my grandparents did at their house was make their basement energy-efficient. They built a wall and door to enclose a small corner of the basement where the TV and couches were, so instead of heating the whole chilly basement, you just heat that one little room!” –Leiah


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“She taught me that beauty can be taken from the fridge and cupboard. All that fancy spa stuff is already in my house. I hated the egg whites mask she’d make me wear; I’d have to wait till it dried and it would pull at my skin…Uck! Lol…but she insisted it would make my skin great! Now that I’m older, I’m happy to know that things such as honey, olive oil, sugar and then some can achieve just as much as all those cosmetic chemicals we’re told we need.” –Jacqueline

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“She ate a lot out of her very own garden. Freezing and canning to make things last, and sharing with us so we weren’t eating a tomato off some truck from far off locations. I remember going through the garden, picking and trying everything…it was all so good and we grew it!” – Brit

“My grandma has a garden and is all about home cookin’ – no fast food at her house! Her idea of vacation is close to home, usually camping or horseback riding, no cruises or long flights. Hey, you remember that one poster that said something about reusing and making do? That makes me think of her.” –Joe

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Yes, I do, Joe! And now I realize there were many posters like this, especially during the war.

See, our ideas of green being the new black, and all that, they aren’t new. Our grandmother’s were doing all of these things before we ever decided to call it cool. And they did it with that brand of hard work and dedication we should all strive for. This Mother’s Day, we just want our Grandma’s to know, we appreciate all you’ve done to keep Mother Earth beautiful, and we’re thankful you’ve taught us what amazing things the earth can give us.

We couldn’t “make-do” without you! Happy Mother’s Day! 

May your smile be gritted with dirt! 😉
Your buds at Soul Flower

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4 Comments on How Our Grandmothers Taught us to be Green

  1. Leiah
    May 11, 2012 at 4:06 pm (8 years ago)

    I love that Jenn’s grandma didn’t use the TV as a way to distract her grandchildren. Great advice! 🙂

  2. Nicole Palmby
    May 11, 2012 at 8:23 pm (8 years ago)

    My grandparents live in the country. They have apple trees and used to have a small grapevine, so there was always fresh jams and jellies. Now my grandfather keeps bees, so I get fresh local honey! Delicious!

    For non-food things, my grandmother still makes the majority of her own clothes, mends whatever she can, and reuses lots of things. For example, she uses empty bread bags to keep other things fresh in the fridge.

    We could learn a lot from older generations!

  3. Angela Magnotti Andrews
    May 14, 2012 at 6:09 pm (8 years ago)

    What a fantastic post to celebrate grandmothers on Mother’s Day!

    All these beautiful recollections remind me of my Oma, who keeps a recycled cardboard milk carton on the left side of the sink into which she put “table scraps” for her compost pile in the backyard. Outside, in her small little garden, I used to find recycled tuna cans filled with beer. This was the great demise of garden slugs! And under the porch in the cool shade rested several white bins where she raised worms. Oh how we loved to dig through the piles of worms and dangle them from our fingertips. To this day, I love worms and all they do for a garden.

    From the garden, Oma would harvest ripe tomatoes for garden salads and crisp cucumbers for cucumber and onion salad. Her cupboards were filled with Mason jars filled with last season’s harvest, and her linoleum floors were decorated with handmade rag rugs. Until reading your post, I never saw the eco-friendly legacy she has laid down for us.


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