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D.I.Y. Fridays – Raíces Roots Style

by Nicole Wines

D.I.Y. stands for Do It Yourself.  Why D.I.Y.?  Very simply, doing things yourself is one way of taking control of your life.  By learning, making and producing things on your own, some things which you may use every day in your life, you also take a larger responsibility for your role in the consumption of goods and resources in our world.  You have fun doing it, you learn and acquire skills and knowledge, you understand how things work and are made, you take pleasure in sharing the results with your family and friends.

Coldframe/Mini-Greenhouse made from recycled and reused materials being installed at the Raíces Eco-Culture Micro Farm.

Coldframe/Mini-Greenhouse made from recycled and reused materials being installed at the Raíces Eco-Culture Micro Farm.

I was inspired to start the year off with a new column on our blog and spread the D.I.Y. love after reading Sadie’s D.I.Y. Friday posts on the All Natural Me blog.  I’ve always enjoyed making things myself, but became hooked on the idea of making/doing/fixing/creating things by hand after I saw the results of our commitment to grow food this past summer.  The Raíces Eco-Culture Micro Farms were truly micro, probably about 1/20th of an acre total, but we were able to grow chemical-free produce for 4 families and donate over 100 pounds to local food organizations over a seven-month stretch.  This abundance convinced me that we can easily take control over more processes in our lives.

Harvesting green beans on the Raíces Micro Farm.

Harvesting green beans on the Raíces Micro Farm.

If you make something yourself, you know more about what goes into it.  The energy, the ingredients or materials, the time.  You’re more likely to use and appreciate something made by hand.  D.I.Y. isn’t new, it’s natural.  It’s the way our ancestors lived, making the things they needed in order to live their every day lives.  It’s the way many cultures around the world continue to live, to this day.

Making coquito, a traditional Puerto Rican holiday egg nog type drink made with coconut.

Making coquito, a traditional Puerto Rican holiday egg nog type drink made with coconut.

To encourage our readers, friends and community members to take control and try some D.I.Y. projects of their own, each week we will be posting a “D.I.Y. Friday” blog article.  Some will highlight some of our own Raíces D.I.Y. adventures, some will give step by step instructions or recipes, some will compile resources for diving deeper into the D.I.Y. mentality.  The photos of projects included in this post are a sneak preview of what we will be posting about in the coming weeks.  We hope that you will try some of the projects and when you do, that you enjoy the time spent building, learning and creating!

Our wonderful soap-making teacher Hayley showing us how to cut the soap blocks.

Our wonderful soap-making teacher Hayley showing us how to cut the soap blocks.