The Earth is an incredible and magical place. You could even say, as a planet, it’s one in a million. We are lucky to call this planet home; to enjoy the natural resources and live among the thousands of unique plants and animals. There’s a lot to celebrate and even more to protect.

Your footprint matters, and like everything it’s the collective baby steps that make a profound difference. This year we’re challenging ourselves to renew our commitment and here are a few ways you can join us at home.

Composting

Composting is an easy way to lessen your global footprint. It keeps waste out of the landfill and transforms it into prized soil. Adding a compost bin to your home is easy. You can find classes and workshops through your local municipality or farmer’s co-op, many of which are free and include a starter container.

If you’re eager to get started now, here are a few tips from the experts:

Start with a container. Good compost relies on holding all of the ingredients together so the beneficial bacteria can grow and flourish. A well-designed container will retain heat and moisture, as well as allow for easy rotation of the material.

Get the ingredient mix right. A good ratio of green and brown material makes for a low-maintenance compost pile. Wood chips and leaves are ideal for brown add-ins and kitchen waste and grass clippings are perfect for green add-ins. (You might want to skip meat, fish and dairy in outdoor bins that can be accessed by critters like mice or raccoons.)

Don’t start too small. The breakdown process needs a critical mass in order to do its job, so find a container that best suits your waste needs.

Remember a few simple chores. Add material regularly and turn the pile with a pitchfork. Always check for moisture balance and you will have dark, crumbly soil ready to put to use.

Bee Friendly Plants

Our pollinators may buzz around silently but these humble workers are vital to our ecosystems and food supply. More than 35% of global crop production is reliant on pollinators but aggressive agriculture practices have threatened this population. Global action is needed to support our bees, vertebrates, butterflies and hummingbirds.

Your own backyard is a great place to start, whether you are dedicating the entire yard, a small patch or just a window planter. Plus, you will have a front row seat to watch these amazing creatures in action.

Not sure what to plant? Start here:

Choose a patch of land and plant flowering plants. Grass is overrated anyway!

Plant native flowers. These will feed the bees uniquely adapted to your region – because bees like to ‘buy local’, too.

Select single flower tops. The blooms of flowers like daisies or marigolds produce more nectar. Ready to grow a blooming herb? Echinacea plants are beautiful and a favorite among the bees.

Diversify your plants for every season. Plant flowers that bloom in the spring, summer and fall, because who doesn’t want flowers all year long?

Use only natural fertilizers and pesticides. You don’t want these chemicals on your food and neither do the bees.

Create a bee bath. Fill a shallow tub with water and stones or sticks so the bees have a place to land and hydrate.

Waste-Free Cooking

Have you ever thought about putting your scraps to use? Waste-free cooking is a great way to invent new ways of enjoying perfectly good food that often gets sent to the compost bin. It’s a great way to nourish your body and the earth – and the perfect excuse not to take the garbage out.

This Earth Day challenge yourself to waste less and eat adventurously. Here are a few tips to get started:

Start by inspecting your trash and compost bin. We promise it will be a revealing and rewarding process. Observe what you use the most and identify what is actually waste.

Make a list of useable scraps. Peels, greens and seeds have amazing potential! The skins and peels of fruit and veggies also pack a lot of hidden nutrients that you’d otherwise miss.

Make a plan, or maybe not. Planning is not essential to wasting less, but actively observing is. The most important element is to constantly question: “How could I use this?”

Start with the most perishable item in your kitchen. You might also find it helpful to shop more frequently and buy less – you will be less likely to forget a fresh broccoli stalk if it’s not buried under a pile of produce.

Don’t be intimidated by a need to be inventive. Simple changes can create a waste-free kitchen. For instance, vegetable scraps are the base for a delicious vegetable broth and fruit peels are great for juicing. You can also finely shred peelings to disperse the sometimes bitter taste – it makes a great garnish on a salad or on pile of mashed potatoes.

Remember you’re not alone. There is a lot of history behind waste-free cooking, and in many countries it’s a necessity. A little research will provide tons of recipes ideas.

Reusable Materials

Disposable materials like paper plates and utensils may leave our hands easily but they linger in landfills for years. Changing just one habit, like shopping bags, can have a huge impact.

More than 1.8 billion shopping bags are used and discarded in the U.S. every week! One person using reusable bags over their lifetime would remove more than 22,000 plastics bags from the landfills and the environment. And if that’s not motivation enough, now through April 24 Earth Fare is matching 100% of the sales of our “Real Food” reusable tote to donate to the Biodynamic Education Initiative, a non-profit group committed to teaching farmers about Biodynamic agriculture.

With a little creativity you can find a new use for almost anything. Many of our vendor partners offer sustainable and reusable packaging, like organicgirl’s signature salad clamshell which can be repurposed as a seed starter for your garden.

Earth Day, Every Day

Our daily lives are filled with simple opportunities to protect the planet for us and for future generations to come. The little things that make a difference, like small incremental changes, conscious habits and responsible choices. That’s why we appreciate Earth Day as a reminder to tread lightly today, and even lighter tomorrow.