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Tuesday, 30th November 2021

Go green for a more Sustainable Christmas says the Green Guru

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Green guru and founder of GIY, Mick Kelly.

Green Guru Michael Kelly has some top tips on how to enjoy a guilt-free and more ecologically friendly Christmas at home as well as tips to live more sustainably in 2022.

Top Tree Tips 

When it comes to the tree, Michael says, choose a live one; live trees are a renewable resource and are replanted on tree farms contributing to our air quality and natural ecosystems. “

You could also opt for a potted tree for indoors and then enjoy a ‘Nature Restoration’ activity with the family after Christmas as you plant it outside again or place it outside in a large pot and decorate it for the birds with seed balls, peanut butter and seed trays” he says.

“ It’s a fun activity for the kids and offers an important food source during the long cold winter days of winter for the birds. And finally, on the tree, for décor you could enjoy making some Dried Fruit Garlands and Trig tree stars and of course, use LED lights on the Christmas tree and at home. 

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Dinner Time

On to the Christmas dinner, the first tip is to buy less. Every year Irish households dump tonnes of food waste - we never need as much as we think so don't fill that trolley. 

A turkey and ham dinner with all of the traditional trimmings can see tens of thousands of food miles racked up. We all need to make a more conscious effort of buying as local as possible. Buy your food from a farmers' market or direct from producers themselves.

Not only will it taste better but it is a more sustainable food shopping practice. Most people buy a bird that is actually too big – so perhaps re-consider how much you actually need. If you do have leftovers – get creative with them; a turkey carcass makes great stock for soups and you can compost the vegetable peel. 

Or you could ditch with tradition and go veggie for dinner. It’s possible to enjoy the most delicious veggie Christmas dinner with nut loaves, veggie cottage pies and delicious in-season tasty veg. Local and seasonal vegetables mean fewer food miles and artificial ripening methods; potatoes, parsnips, carrots and sprouts are all grown in Ireland and available in December. 

A tip for every day in the GIY Almanac.

Supermarkets will often use veg as loss leaders to get us into the store at Christmas.  This is bad news for our Irish veg growers as the price tends to be permanently lowered and we end up putting them out of business. 

Remember, there’s always a cost to cheap food so be prepared to pay a fair price for your turkey, ham and Christmas veg. If you’re adding gravy and purchasing an instant one be sure to choose a recyclable glass jar – basically when shopping try to avoid plastic packaging. 

Another tip is to go organic, for both meat and vegetables – it’s a great way to ensure there are no chemicals being used in the production of the food and it’s kinder to the planet.

Start To Upcycle – with visitors calling it’s natural to fill your recycling bin more often at Christmas time, but this can be a good thing for food growers! You will likely find very useful veggie-growing aids in the shape of pots and other containers. Keep an eye out for yoghurt cartons and toilet roll inserts for sowing seeds in. Clear punnets and milk bottles can act as cloches in spring when seedlings are first put out into the soil. 

The ultimate Grow Kit from GIY.

Go green with gifts 

Homemade gifts are not only thoughtful but make for a more unusual and unique present. Homemade treats or sauces are completely unique. The GIY Know-It-Allmanac, has some delicious recipes for Rocket Pesto, homemade ketchup or Beetroot Chocolate Brownies all so simple that even kids can make them successfully.

Ideally, reuse wrapping paper and if you do feel you have to buy some then avoid the shiny and buy some brown paper which is fully recyclable. GIY’s Know-it-Allmanac is published by GIY. It is a 104-page hardback and is available now from all good book shops and also online at  www.giy.ie and is priced at €25.00 

Christmas is also a wonderful time to reconnect with nature. Consider starting a family tradition of a nature walk or plan a small patch of the garden for growing your family’s favourites during 2022.

The GIY Know-it-Allmanac is a month-by-month guide to growing, cooking and eating food and it has all the tips and tricks that you could need. It focuses on seasonal foods and highlights each month’s significant dates, likely weather, along with ‘get crafty’ projects and garden to-do lists. 

For more green living and growing tips see www.giy.ie 

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