Slow-living prepared sustainability advocate Anne-Marie for the pandemic

by Hayley Tai  /   June 17, 2020

Getting used to having less rather than more isn’t a bad idea, says the Los Angeles-born sustainability advocate and author of zerowastechef.com Anne-Marie, 51, who lives in an “intentional” community that practises a mindful lifestyle.


“It’s interesting how people are using this time to take note of their bad habits. It has forced people to do more with what they have on hand, like exercising rather than shopping, and wasting as little food as possible due to the sparse supermarket trips. 

The idea of not having much shouldn’t be a negative one. Instead, we should be satisfied with what we have instead of always wanting more. 

My lifestyle prepared me for the pandemic. I’m using what I find around the house and finishing “old” food before it turns bad.

My daughters and I love to cook and I think it’s important to pass on these habits to the younger generation. These days, many kids want to go as fast as possible, but I think it’s the speed that’s causing us to forget things like being in touch with yourself and taking time to appreciate what your have. 

And, knowing what goes into your food and where it comes from is what many of us have forgotten. I go the farmers’ market every week and this is also a form of relaxation for me. 

I live in an ‘intentional’ community in San Francisco Bay Area. We grow fruit trees for the neighbourhood to share. The fruits from the trees are put into a common box, and anyone in the neighbourhood gets to pick from the box at the farmers’ market.

From Left: The fresh produce grown by the neighbourhood folks; and the community garden where the produce is grown.

Most of us would rather shop at the farmers’ market than buy mass-produced items. That way, we control our output of waste and help the community. 

This mindset has helped my community get through times like this. It has fostered a spirit of sharing, and we’re always reminding one another to contribute. It’s not a competition of who contributes more, but more of a lifestyle where we help in any way we can. 

From Left: Pickling vegetables; and making delicious homemade treats.

Even though the pandemic has put a stop to the farmers’ markets (for now), we’re still sending homemade care packages to each other. I’m now staying at my parents’ home in Canada and I’ve been cooking a lot for them. 

I hope the (good) habits continue for many people after the pandemic ends and that, through this, we’re able to look at the bigger picture of climate change, disaster relief, and improve our living conditions.”

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This story was first published on Her World’s June 2020 issue.

Her World's sustainability issue