Sep 14, 2009

8 Ways to Green Your Fall

Head out to your local farmers' market to pick up local fruits and veggies for a scrumptuous fall feast. Photo: Amanda Wills,

Head out to your farmers' market to pick up local fruits and veggies for a scrumptious fall feast. Photo: Amanda Wills,

1. Visit the Local Farmers’ Market

Over the summer, many farmers’ markets across the country had to take a summer break, especially in cities where the temperatures reached triple digits. Luckily, as the weather cools down, many of your favorite farmers’ markets are back up-and-running with fresh produce.

So, if you have a craving for some home-grown goods, grab your reusable bags and head over to the local farmers’ market. It’s an ideal way to stock up on fresh produce and catch up with neighbors and friends. Visit Local Harvest to find a farmers’ market near you.

2. Reuse Your Raked Leaves

For those who live in areas of the country where the fall leaves pile up, raking them can be one of the season’s most daunting tasks. Instead of piling the leaves into a trash bag and sending them off to the dump, turn those leaves into a compost pile.

According to Home Owners Net, you can turn your unwanted leaves into compost by piling them, adding a layer of dirt in between each foot of leaves, sprinkling on some lime or ashes and checking the moisture level weekly. You can also add the leaves to a compost pile you’ve already created. With a bit of effort, your fall leaves can make great mulch or fertilizer for a spring garden.

3. Organize a Neighborhood Clean-up

It can be hard to get motivated to clean up your neighborhood when the temperature outside is sweltering. Now that fewer degrees have made spending time outdoors more pleasant, consider gathering some friends and neighbors and picking up around your neighborhood. It’s a great way to get everyone involved and beautify where you live.

4. Go Apple Picking

A classic fall family activity, apple picking at your local orchard is a fun way to enjoy locally grown produce and create family memories. For just a small fee, you can pick all of the apples you want. Plus, you can often tour the farm or taste more homemade treats, such as caramel apples and fresh pies. Visit All About Apples to find an orchard near you.

Now that temps have cooled, pack a picnic and take the kids to the park for some outdoor fun. Photo: Amanda Wills,

Now that temps have cooled, pack a picnic and take the kids to the park for some outdoor fun. Photo: Amanda Wills,

5. Return to the Park

While many families relaxed poolside this past summer, many local parks were empty and unexplored. Now that the weather has cooled down, take the opportunity to return to your favorite local park for a family get-together, play time for the kids or a game of basketball. It’s a fun (and free) way to get some fresh air and enjoy local amenities.

6. Cut Down on Energy Use

With the cooler weather, fall is the perfect time to cut down on energy use in your home and save yourself a little cash. So, if you had the A/C running on max all summer, turn it down as the weather gets cooler. And, before winter sets in, consider researching ways to maximize your home’s energy efficiency – it’s a great way to reduce the energy you use and many energy efficient products many even qualify you for an energy tax incentive next year.

7. Hike To See Fall Colors

In addition to pleasant weather, fall is known for the changing colors of the leaves. And, one of the best ways to experience the beauty of the season’s changing colors is to explore and hike one of the many parks across the country. This can be especially exciting if you’re from a place where the scenery stays the same year-round. For your next hiking adventure, visit the National Park Service Web site to find a new hike near you.

8. Visit a Pumpkin Patch

Whether it’s carved up for Halloween or a decoration for a Thanksgiving feast, nothing represents fall quite as well as a pumpkin. During this fall holiday season, instead of snatching up a pumpkin at your local grocery store, take the family to a pumpkin patch. Enjoy a hay ride and pick out the plumpest pumpkin. Don’t forget to bake the pumpkin seeds! That’s fall recycling at its best.

by Michelle Talsma Everson

Maybe in some ways the Recession has been favorable in that we are forced to find ways to have "good clean fun" oh yea that does not cost much. That can often mean just spending time with family or a loved one, reading a book, doing a crossword puzzle, playing card games, taking a walk, anything instead of running to the mall to buy something we may not need.

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