Victor Alfieri wants people to understand that living sustainably does not take a lot of time and effort.
“A lot of people think that they can’t do this stuff or that you need big rows and rows of gardens and its not true,” Alfieri said. “The first thing you need is a willingness to learn.”
Alfieri is a self-taught sustainability advocate and expert on growing your own fruits and vegetables, raising chickens and how one helps the other.
There are several things Alfieri said people can start today to help themselves and the planet.
The first is gardening.
“You don’t need a lot of space. Just a few feet wide by a few feet across will do,” Alfieri said. “You can plant a lot in one small space.”
A variety of plants that grow both outward and upward can be planted to maximize square footage, Alfieri said.
Adding grass clippings and leftover organic kitchen waste like potato skins, eggshells, and the skins of other fruits and vegetables can be thrown into gardens. Nutrients from these materials will seep into the soil and be absorbed by the plants.
Heating one’s home using a wood-burning stove.
Alfieri has a large pile of wood in his backyard. He uses the wood to heat his home and doesn’t touch his thermostat.
He said the ashes left over from burning the wood make fantastic fertilizer for gardens.
Alfieri recently on his property. The animals lay about an egg a day. He feeds them everything from all-natural chicken feed to table scraps. His birds also eat bugs and worms. The birds each lay about one egg a day.
Alfieri now has a few quails too. The tiny birds live inside their own area in the chicken coop, fenced off from the larger birds.
“They’re fantastic little birds and easy to care for,” Alfieri said as he grabbed a few of their small eggs from the cage.
Alfieri has several small gardens throughout his property, each one dedicated to a different fruit of a few varieties of vegetables. He also grows his own herbs and creates his own compost. He insists that all of this does not require a great deal of time to maintain.
“I spend about seven hours a week out here,” Alfieri said. “People think you have to spend hours outside and you don’t if you do everything in small spaces.”
Alfieri said someone who lives in an apartment can start by installing a small window garden and growing herbs or a small variety of vegetable.
Alfieri is working with local officials to . He regularly shares what he learns on his Web site, woodlotfarms.com.