Glossary

Here's a list of some handy terms that I throw around like it's nobody's business. You'll be hard-pressed to find a post without any of these in it... In fact, if there is a post specifically about that thing, click on the word to be brought to it for even more info.

Direct trade
A trade relationship where the company buys directly from producers and therefore more of the money goes back to farmers or artisans that typically would not be making enough money to live a dignified life. This is also a good way for consumers to know where their products come from, as direct-trading companies can usually identify the exact cooperative that the product was purchased from.

Fair Trade
A system within which producers in other parts of the world are given a fair price for their harvest/handicrafts so that basic human rights and environmental stewardship can be observed. Things like forced child labour, unsafe working conditions and discrimination against women are not allowed under Fair Trade standards. Most of these products are also organic, making sure the environment isn't suffering, either.

Green
A pretty colour that's a combination of blue and yellow. Also a term I use to describe an attitude of respect for the planet and the people in it. It is about minimizing our footprint by reducing how much we consume, then re-using everything until it can't be re-used anymore, and then recycling products that reach the end of their useful life. I wrote a Green Plan a couple of years ago, which is pretty representative of what "green" means to me.

Hippie
Someone who does things their own way because the mainstream world isn't wired in such a way as to let them easily lead the kind of positive life they want to lead. I consider myself a serious hippie, making all my own things and refusing to purchase things at the store because I know that the way they were made is not consistent with my values. Things like shaving and wearing deodorant are also optional for hippies (FYI, I chose the option of not shaving but decided that wearing an all-natural deodorant was best for all involved).

Local
A consumer movement that supports produce and products that are grown and/or made within about 100 miles of your home. In my case, that's anything from the Ottawa Valley, more or less. (Wakefield counts. Toronto doesn't.) This is usually with the end of increasing consumer awareness in terms of the practices used in producing the goods, and building a relationship with the producers, as well as reducing the carbon footprint associated with transporting the goods.

Natural
When I use this term, I mean things that your grandma used to use that come straight out of the earth in roughly the same form we use them in. Preservatives don't count. Cornmeal does. Usually when I use this term, I also mean you can eat it, even if it's not something you'd usually eat. My personal policy is that if I couldn't eat it, why would I put it on my body? So when I say my homemade hand cream is natural, I mean you could eat it (though you probably don't want to).

Organic
This is a whole certification system in and of itself, but when I say organic, I'm usually just talking about the idea that no pesticides or chemicals are used in the process. I most often use it to describe my garden, or else am referring to certified organic products (typically certified through the USDA).

Repurposed
Usually used when talking about crafts, it's when you take something that was made for a specific use and use it for something else. For instance, you might make a coaster out of an old CD, and that would be repurposing the CD. You might make envelope liners out of magazine pages, and that would be repurposing the magazines. You get the idea.

Rescue(d)
I'm not going to lie; this can just be a fancy word for garbage-picking. I call things "rescue _______" when they would otherwise have ended up in a landfill. My mother dropped 40 balls of yarn in my living room one day because she thought they were garbage and I told her otherwise. That's rescue yarn. My roommate came home one day with a whole stack of flower pots out of someone's trash. They're rescue pots. These things are the stuff most of my crafts are made of.

Vegan
Either a person ("a vegan") or an adjective ("vegan ____") used to describe a lifestyle where what you eat is plant-based, and free of animal products. Vegans typically don't eat things like milk and eggs, because they come from animals (though I have a vegan friend who will eat what she calls "happy eggs"). Some vegans don't even eat honey because they feel the bees that make it are not treated with respect. Standard vegans will eat any plant-based food, like grains, beans, nuts, and any number of fruits and vegetables, berries and fungi. That is, unless they don't like them.

Vegetarian (a.k.a. "veggie")
An adjective to describe something that doesn't have any meat or meat by-products in it. I use this to differentiate ovo-lacto vegetarians (those who eat dairy and eggs) from vegans (those who won't). Most of the time, if I'm posting a recipe or what have you, if it's called vegetarian, it is not vegan-friendly.

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