Intentional Living Book Club stresses simple strategies to living

By on May 4, 2014
Kay Metcalf with a display of books geared to intentional living topics.

Kay Metcalf with a display of books geared to intentional living topics.

If you want to produce more and consume less, grow your own food organically and maybe even make your own cleaning products, a new book club at the Lift Bridge Book Shop in Brockport may be for you. The Intentional Living Book Club began meeting April 13 and is led by Kay Metcalf, a Lift Bridge staff member and local farmer.
“A lot of people are interested in lowering their carbon footprint, living more frugally and simply and growing their own produce,” she explains.

The new book club will “discuss practical information on simple living, sustainable living and frugal living such as gardening, making cleaning products, etc.,” Metcalf continues.

Other potential topics include: composting, backyard chicken coops, bee keeping, preserving the harvest, homemade beer and wine and shopping for local and organic products.

Some months, various books on a given subject might be read and members will share information gathered from the book they chose. Other months, members might all read the same book on a more theoretical aspect such as “Affluenza” (overconsumption), Metcalf explains.

She also says the club may vary from this plan as time goes on.

Metcalf brings an interesting mix of experiences to her new role as book club leader. She worked as an engineer at Xerox for 30 years before leaving that demanding world to take things more slowly and more intentionally. She now works part-time at Lift Bridge and at her family’s farm in Albion where she says her family strives to care for the land and limit the use of chemicals and pesticides.

“Even when I was working full time, I was interested in living ethically and sustainably – producing more and consuming less,” she says.

Metcalf is currently experimenting with making her own liquid soap and explains that intentional living is something that is great for any age group. “It’s multi-generational,” she says, and adds that the book club will not promote any “radical” practices, but will be about simple, easy things people can do to live life more intentionally – which means according to their values and beliefs.

“Many people don’t want to live off-grid,” she explains. “No one needs to be on a guilt trip. It’s the little things – if everyone does some things, they can make a difference.  It doesn’t have to be a big thing.”

Growing your own food will be a part of discussions, Metcalf says. You don’t need to live on a farm or have a large yard to grow your own food, she says. Raised beds, square-foot gardening and container gardening are all options even for people with small yards or no yard at all.

“You really can grow a lot of things even in an apartment,” Metcalf says. “You can grow herbs on the windowsill and have parsley all winter long.”

Metcalf says the book club will provide an opportunity for members to share their experiences, their successes and failures, and give one another advice about topics like preserving your harvest.

The Intentional Living Book Club will meet once a month, Metcalf says – usually on the second Sunday at 2 p.m., although with Mother’s and Father’s Days coming up, the meeting will likely be moved to the third Sunday during those months or months when there are other events on the second Sunday.

“It’s for men and women of all ages,” Metcalf says. “For people interested in doing what they can – we will work at it together.”

Photo by Kristina Gabalski