An interview with grandma...
I decided to interview my grandma about a few things that were different when she was a child, like:
-changes in the environment that she has noticed since she was a child,
-how they used to grocery shop and how things were packaged and so on.
I thought it would be really interesting to hear and to maybe take some inspiration on how to do things the “OG way” (isn’t that gangsta of me?) and see if we could do them similarly to produce less trash, buy seasonally and spare the environment.
So here goes the interview with grammy👵🏼:
❄☃What were your winters like?
-They were very different, we had a lot more snow.
From the end of October until early March when it started melting away.
Of course there were a few rainy days once in a while, but the Winters were mostly white with meters of snow piled up everywhere, so high that it was covering the garden's fences.
🌳🌷What about what nature looked like? Was there a noticeable difference in bio-diversity?
-What I can remember is that there used to be a lot more flowers in summer and spring.
We used to walk through fields which were covered in hundreds of different types of plants and flowers.
There were many more kinds of plants that were growing everywhere.
And a lot more bees and insects, too.
🍞🥚What did grocery shopping look like? Where did you get your food?
-We used to walk to a little store across the street where we practically got everything.
We also went to a farm close by with our bikes to get fresh milk and eggs and to a butcher’s shop to get meat.
Once a week there was also a farmer’s market where farmers from the surrounding areas sold their produce.
Of course we also picked berries from the forest and collected mushrooms.
My father knew a lot about mushrooms and even back then it was very important to only do that with a person who really knows about it.
🥕🥔Which groceries did you buy?
-We bought very basic things like fruits and vegetables.
Rice, oats, flour.
Marmalade, butter, milk, bread.
It was very simple and of course there was only available what was in season at the moment.
If it was plum season, we bought plums.
If it was strawberry season we could have strawberries.
🛒🛍How was the food packaged in the shops?
-Rice and flour were stored in drawers which you filled into paper bags.
Fruits and vegetables you just weighed and then put them into the bag that you brought.
Oil, vinegar and milk were all stored in canisters that had a tab which you could press and then fill the content into a glass or tin bottle that you brought from home. The milk was brought freshly every morning by a farmer who had just milked his cows, or we would go to his farm if we needed more and transport the milk in big milk-jugs.
Marmalade was also stored in canisters which you filled into glass jars that you used over and over.
Even the paper bags we got from the store were used until they were all kinds of broken, after the war people were very frugal and everything was used sparingly.
Fish and meat was also wrapped in paper, butter in parchment paper.
And if we needed grocery bags we knitted them at home.
🌡🔥Which kitchen amenities did you have and how was food stored?
-We had an oven that was powered by wood or coal.
Other than that we had cabinets and a sink of course but no fridge or freezer.
We stored perishables like butter, milk or fish in the cellar in porcelain containers.
The cellars used to be very cold so that food wouldn’t go bad even in the summer.
Because fruits and vegetables were only seasonal and we didn’t have a freezer to make them last, before winter came we boiled down fruit or preserved it and stored it in airtight jars.
Vegetables were pickled and also sealed into containers.
🏞🌄Was there any talk of environmental conscience or problems?
Was that a topic that people discussed?
-No not at all. There was no reason.
Nothing was polluted. Everything was natural and untouched.
At that time a farm that was considered “big” had about 20 cows which were all milked by the farmers and their helpers by hand.
There was no mass production or excess waste.
What was produced was eaten.
🚔🧺Was there any type of pollution anywhere that was noticeable? Or littering in streets of bigger cities?
-No not really. We used to visit Munich once in a while.
There was no littering in the streets. Everything was clean.
No one would have dared to just drop trash on the ground, people were too well-behaved.
There was no trash from things like take away food or plastic wrappers that could have been littered anyway.
And there weren't very many cars.
🌞🌱🌲Did you learn a lot about nature in school? Like which mushrooms to pick, household remedies,…?
-Nature was a big topic from 1st grade on.
We learned about different types of plants and what to use them for.
We went into the forest with our teacher and examined different plants which we then had to learn by heart.
We also learned about household remedies and what to do about all different kinds of illnesses.
We learned which teas to cook from certain plants and herbs or how to make cold wraps for a fever and things like that.
People didn’t have the money to go to a doctor for these “smaller” issues and were taught how to help themselves.
Also the chemically manufactured drugs that were available were very expensive and couldn’t replace a good home remedy anyway.
🖌📝What were school supplies made of?
-Folders were made of carton and pencils out of wood.
In elementary school we wrote on little chalkboards with chalk and then wiped the writing away with a sponge.
We had notebooks of course also made of paper and carton.
🌱Now, I think what we can take away from this is that it is very possible to do things very differently because they were done very differently before.
🌱Governments could fund small organic farmers and zero waste grocery stores for a change!
That is where I want my taxes to go to!
🌱And not into a new road that isn't really needed or into subsidization of polluting companies in the form of monetary benefits, discounts, guarantees and so on.
🌱If our grocery stores all looked like the ones my gran used to shop at it would be our new norm and no one would have a choice.
🌱What use are all certain kinds of inventions and solutions that are "easier, faster, cheaper" if they pollute our planet in a way that it might not be livable anymore in a few decades?
We could all do with a lot less.
Less clothing, less make-up, less trash, less fossil-fuels, less take-away.
🌱The less we have and the simpler we make these things the more room there is to really appreciate them and to be grateful.
I haven't bought any new clothing in over 1 and 1/2 years that wasn't sustainable or second hand.
I really don't have many clothes and it feels good.
It's easy and overseeable and I really don't have the need to buy many things any more.
And then if I buy something that is made by a local, sustainable company that I know will last me for years to come - I get so much joy from it.
This wasteful, trashy system of mass-consumption and throw-away mentality needs to seriously change!
💚🌿I am thankful for everyone who is on this journey together.
I am hopeful and grateful to all of those loving, inspirational people with
I hope you enjoyed what my gran had to say.
If you have any other questions for her you'd like to be answered,
shoot me a DM on @thrive_bynature and I'll forward and answer them in my stories.