Having grandparents that homesteaded on the Kenai Peninsula, Alex Jackson understands the importance of living a subsistence lifestyle better than most.
Jackson’s upbringing combined his occupation as a chef — where he sees food wasted on a daily basis — prompted him and his wife, Jen, to rid their lives of the inessentials, helping to preserve the world for future generations.
“This is how we live. We just believe in giving back,” Alex said. “It’s just important to us. We don’t even own a car.”
Both work as chefs at the same restaurant, Besaw’s, in Portland, Ore. They bike, walk or take public transportation all over the city. They only purchase seasonal foods from farmers markets and don’t even own a TV.
“We’re cutting down on things we don’t need,” Alex said.
Given the lifestyle Alex and Jen lead, it’s no surprise it played a major role in their wedding.
Described by Alex as a “sustainable, good-fashioned time,” the ceremony and reception, which took place Sunday, were 100 percent eco-friendly.
The fish served was caught locally by Alex’s father and uncle, all the vegetables were locally grown and only local and domestic beer and wine was available. No paper products of any kind were to be found at this wedding, including the napkins, which were linen.
For dessert, pies were baked using locally harvested fruit and every flower for the wedding was grown in Alex’s parents’ greenhouse.
As chefs, Jen and Alex prefer working with the freshest ingredients available. For them, freshest means locally grown.
Even Alex’s and Jen’s wedding attire supported local business. A Portland designer fashioned the clothes out of cloth made in the U.S.
“It feels good to support your community,” Jen said. Especially during the current economic situation, we need to support each other, she added.
The couple tied the knot on Alex’s grandparents’ homestead, located on Kenai riverfront property. The reception was held at the groom’s parents’ house on Salamatoff Drive in Soldotna, off Funny River Road.
When Alex and Jen shared their wedding plans with friends and family, they were overwhelmed by support. Some grew flowers, others donated time washing dishes, and even a friend of Alex’s parents — who he’d never met — supported the cause.
“People appreciate you working hard, sticking to your ideals,” Jen said.
Though at first, Jen thought an eco-friendly wedding would be a giant task to pull off, it ended up coming together pretty easily, she said.
“It’s more perfect than we could have anticipated or imagined,” Jen said.
Everyone should experience this type of wedding, she added.
Firmly rooted in their “green” lifestyle, Alex and Jen have every intention to continue to live this way forever.
“Once you start, you can’t go back,” Jen said.
Alex and Jen represent the fast-growing American population of environmentally concerned citizens. Alex said the repercussions of human behavior are finally being noticed, and a major reason for the increased interest in going green.
“The consequences of our actions are coming to a head,” he said.
Jen said the immediate result of taking care of the environment also attracts people to the lifestyle.
“One person can make a difference,” she said. “It feels good when you preserve something for the next generation.”
Mike Nesper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.