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It’s hard to start a new habit, but I love a good challenge and it always seems to be the first step in kickstarting good behavior. So this summer, from June 1st to August 31st, I’ll strive to live a life that’s mostly local and zeroish waste.

Let’s be honest: these “30-day challenge” things are a little silly. But for whatever reason, they get me every time. I love doing them! Yoga every day? Uhh…yeah! Express gratitude? Of course! Bike to work? Sounds great! Minimize and de-clutter for a month? Not a problem!

Go about it the wrong way, though, and suddenly you’re left with a heaping pile of items you intended to donate two months ago when you first did the minimalism challenge, but you never got around to it… (Actually, if I’m being honest, the 30-day minimalism challenge is typically a huge success for me with regards to purging the excess crap in my house…I just have to follow through with the donating and whatnot.)

While there are a great many healthy habits that I want to cultivate, it’s daunting to imagine changing my life forever. But I can do anything for just 30 days, right? While the goal is to develop lasting habits, I know I’ll never get there unless I give it an initial go. Enter: the 30-day challenge. Challenge

A New Way to Challenge Myself

Well, this time around, I’ve got a fun one that is sure to challenge me. Each year, the Southern Maryland Agricultural Commission encourages participation in a Buy Local Challenge for a week July (you can pledge to participate here). Of course, the challenge is for just one week! Seven measly days? Psh! This year, I’m taking it up a notch. Forget challenging myself to buy locally for just a week….that’s easy peasy. Been there, done that.

I’ve participated in the past and I’ve done quite well—buying everything locally, even down to my meals at restaurants that grow food on-site! Nor do I want to limit this challenge to 30 days. While we’ve got peak produce season upon us, I want to buy local all. summer. long! From June until the end of August, I’m challenging myself to buy as much of my food (and other needs) locally!

As if that weren’t challenging enough, I thought I’d add another layer. At the same time as I’m buying locally, how about I also try to eliminate all waste from my grocery shopping? Better yet, why not try to remove waste from all areas of my day-to-day? Yep, I’m doing it. Summer 2018 will be a mostly local and zeroish waste summer! Feel free to call me out and hold me accountable! Or, you know, challenge yourself alongside me!

Here’s how I plan to hold myself accountable:

  • Weekly tallies, counts, and summaries that estimate how much of my purchases were local and waste free
  • Trash collection and documentation…I’ll photograph, weigh, or otherwise note how much landfill waste I generate (recycling and compost excluded)

And at the end, I’ll do a recap post to share about the experience. I plan to share progress on social media as well, so if you’re interested, be sure to follow me there! Alas, the true test will come September 1st: will I develop habits that stick?

Wondering Why it’s Good to Buy Local?

  • Support local farmers/economy
  • Reduce vehicle emissions generated by transporting food
  • Fresher food and you can know its history

What About Waste Free Living?

  • Our disposable society is consuming precious resources and filling landfills
  • Even for the most responsible among us, who sort our trash from our compostables and recyclables, much of our waste ends up littering our precious planet and its waterways and forests
  • Stray litter is found by curious animals who end up eating it or being hurt by it


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