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Going Green? Four Tips for Taking the Neighborhood With You

All over the country – and right here among northwest Florida home owners – loosely organized alliances of green-leaning friends and neighbors are comparing notes and sharing resources. According to, they’re forming carpools, splitting bulk purchases, and liberating vacant lots to plant community gardens. At your next block party, grab a clipboard, collect e-mails, and friend your neighbors on Facebook, all with the goal of turning your neighborhood into a greener community. Here are some great ideas to help you get started.

You can both satisfy your eco-conscience and use your green thumb by tending a patch of neglected earth. You can work a plot in an established community garden, although openings can be scarce. You can also join a match service, that pairs gardens in need of tending with gardeners in need of soil. A great example of this is Urban Garden Share, which matches property owners with would-be sharecroppers.

Why not join a group that promotes the gleaning of fruit from neglected or overlooked urban fruit trees? Fallen Fruit offers online maps showing locations of publicly accessible fruit trees in cities around the world. The group also promotes “Public Fruit Jams,” canning parties to share the taste, savings, and hard work of preserving peaches, plums, blackberries, apricots, and other fruits. Neighborhood Fruit lets you to type in your ZIP Code to pull up public fruit trees in your area.

Did you know that on average, US car owners spend almost $900 per month financing, maintaining, and insuring a single car? Considering that most of us use a car for only a few hours a day – if that – car sharing with neighbors makes financial and ecological sense. You can share cars with neighbors informally, or you can draw up contracts that state who drives the car when. Car insurance can be an obstacle, but a frank discussion with your agent should yield a solution.

Or, you can join one of the many car-sharing networks (such as Zipcar) that have more than 10,000 cars throughout North America. Cars are parked in lots throughout a city. And for an annual membership fee, typically around $50, and a per/hour cost of about $10, you can drive on demand. The organization covers insurance (usually the state minimum) and gas.

Swapping your stuff reduces the energy consumption that goes into the developing and purchasing of more stuff. Swapping also diverts waste from landfills, helping to create a more sustainable economy. Arrange and attend neighborhood swap meets. It will cost you time (about 10 to 12 hours to organize the swap).

Do you and your neighbors have any great ideas for going green? Leave your comments below and tell us what you’re doing to help preserve the environment!

Are you ready to buy or sell a Fort Walton Beach home or your Destin dream house? The Veach Team is prepared to help you find the Florida home of your dreams. Contact us today, and let us show you why “Life is a Beach” here in beautiful Destin! And don’t forget to “LIKE” us on Facebook – we’d love to talk with you.

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