Sacramento-based Morgan Daily Hagerty is the voice behind @dailyflourish, a digital daily love letter to green living. Together with her husband Kyle of @urbanfarmstead, she chronicles adventures in sustainability to thousands of Instagram followers who share their passion for elevated green living. We sat down with Morgan to chat about her version of sustainability and found plenty of inspiration along the way.
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We are honored to represent Sacramento as one of the best places to live in this month’s issue of Sunset Magazine. And we couldn’t agree more! Originally from the central coast, we moved to Sacramento 5 years ago and quickly fell in love with our Farm-To-Fork Capital City. What’s not to love about warm weather and bike-ability down tree-lined streets local restaurants, coffee shops, breweries, and farmers markets that support local farmers and producers?! Follow along as we guest Instagram for @sunsetmag all weekend, and be sure to pick up your copy, on shelves now! Photo | @sunsetphoto for @sunsetmag
Les Jardins Solar: Has sustainability always been part of your life or did something specific spark your interest in green living?
Morgan Daily Hagerty: Living sustainably has been a growing focus of mine for the past 6 to 7 years. My interest started with cooking and growing my own food. I realized the importance of knowing what goes into the food we eat and wanted to reduce the amount of chemicals and pesticides entering my body. From there my interest grew as I majored in Sustainable Environmental Design at UC Davis and continued to learn more about the dire need to change our behavior.
LJS: More and more young people are embracing social and environmental consciousness – to what do you attribute this shift?
MDH: As the environmental movement has evolved over the last 40-50 years, we are now witnessing the very real consequences of putting climate change warnings on the back burner. I think this scares a lot of young people and we are realizing that if we do not act now, we are not going to have a healthy planet for us and our children. We need to be the generation that steps up, whether that is making small changes on our own or promoting big societal changes.
LJS: What is the one change that made the biggest impact for you in terms of your sustainable lifestyle?
MDH: I tracked and collected my garbage for a week for a class assignment and realized that most of the plastic used in packaging is not recyclable. As someone who was already conscious of plastic consumption, this was a humbling experience, knowing that each little piece would outlive me, my children, and grandchildren. My consumption affects the health of the planet and following generations.
LJS: Please share some of your best tips for living sustainably.
MDH: With every withdrawal we take from earth comes an addition back to earth. Try to consume things that break down harmlessly (choosing natural materials over synthetic). Reduce and refuse when possible, especially when it comes to single-use plastics.
1. Buy secondhand. Clothing, toys, kitchenware, décor — you’d be surprised by the inexpensive treasures you will find!
2. Shop your local farmers’ market. This is not only healthier for you and the planet, but better for your local economy than shopping at a corporate grocery store.
3. Cut back on online shopping. The miles traveled and packaging adds up fast!
4. Be aware of peak hours. Cut down on energy and water use during peak times, if possible.
LJS: In your opinion, what’s the fastest and easiest path for someone to start leading a more sustainable life?
MDH: Make little changes to set yourself up for success rather than trying to switch everything at once. I would recommend starting with one goal per month, or whatever you are comfortable doing. Some examples that I have implemented one at a time are cutting out paper towels, bringing reusable bags, buying less packaged food, making my coffee at home or bringing a reusable cup to coffee shops, switching to LED lightbulbs, carrying a stainless straw in my purse, and shopping in bulk.
Right now, I am switching all of our soap, shampoo, conditioner, detergent and cleaning spray over to reusable glass bottles and refilling at a local refill store. This is by far where most of my plastic waste comes from. Concentrated Dr. Bronner’s is available in bulk and homemade cleaner is very simple to make if you do not have a refill location near you.
LJS: You started an urban farm with your fiancé (now husband). What was the inspiration behind it and what is the most rewarding aspect for you? The hardest?
MDH: We both enjoy cooking and growing different varieties that are hard to find in stores, and value knowing what goes into the food we eat. After establishing the farm, we had excess produce that we would share with neighbors, so we decided to open a donation-based farm stand. We also give out vegetable starts and act as a trading post for neighbors who have excess fruit, which is very common in Sacramento. Our farm stand is a community event rather than a source of income so we give everything away and accept donations that go toward the cost of running the farm. The most rewarding part is teaching and inspiring others to grow their own food, supporting local farmers, and eating seasonally. The hardest part of running our urban farm is the time commitment, but at this point we’ve got it down. Aside from seasonal shifts when we’re planting and pruning, we don’t spend more than 5-10 hours a week working in the garden.
LJS: Let’s talk about solar power. Have you harnessed solar power on your farm? What are your thoughts on solar power in general, especially as it relates to sustainable living?
MDH: I think solar power is a fantastic tool for living sustainably! I have really enjoyed seeing the growing number of panels over parking lots and on new buildings in our area. I’d love to start seeing it on more homes. Our chicken coop door and irrigation is solar-powered and we have wanted to put solar lights in the garden for a while, so we are very excited to add the beautiful solar lanterns from Les Jardins to our space!
LJS: What are some of your favorite sustainable products or brands, and why?
MDH: I’m currently switching up my beauty products: safety razor as opposed to disposable plastic razors, organic cardboard wrapped tampons or a menstrual cup, and Native Deodorant (now available at Target!). These products are not only healthier for the planet, they’re less toxic for our bodies as well!
A couple brands I love:
Seed Phytonutrients – Sustainable hair and skincare. Cold-pressed seeds sourced from small farms in compostable packaging.
Christy Dawn – Beautiful women’s clothing. The clothing industry causes water pollution so instead of producing new fabric, they source dead stock fabric which would have otherwise ended up in a landfill.
Thank you, Morgan! Follow this inspiring couple’s journey @dailyflourish and @urbanfarmstead on Instagram, or The Urban Farmstead on Facebook.
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I’m officially done with senior year today and graduating UC davis on Friday! Celebrating by spending the afternoon in the garden and cooling off in our outdoor tub with this pup and @urbanfarmstead, beers in hand of course. Also anticipating beer from our hops seen here! Photo | @urbanfarmstead
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Gotta love our hoop house to stay dry in the garden on stormy days. We get a lot of questions on how our arched trellis works and winter is a good time to share because it’s not covered with trailing fruits and veggies! It is made up of 2 16’ galvanized hog wire panels bent over the walkway, side by side, secured with 6 T-posts (3 on either side) and wire. The planters are basic rain gutters with drainage holes drilled in the bottom and holes on the back side for ‘s’ hooks to secure to the hog wire. All irrigated with soaker hose. In the winter we cover the trellis with visqueen and use it for delicate greens and starting seeds. In the summer, we take off the visqueen and rotate all sorts of edibles through the beds on either side which grow up the hog wire (with a little guidance) and shade the greens and herbs in the gutters. This vertical growing not only saves space but allows for great for air flow and accessibility for pollinators. Do you grow vertically in your garden? Note: We buy the heavy duty hog wire from @tractorsupply because the panels at Home Depot are not strong enough to support as much weight without losing shape. Photo | @urbanfarmstead