Rooted to the Earth

A Fort Worth sustainability writer shares her favorite sustainability resources.

By Erin Ratigan
Illustration by Conny Gonzalez

When life hands Erika Pitstick lemons, she saves the seeds. Growing up in El Salvador, she remembers picking lemons from her family’s trees to make lemonade. She says those early years taught her to value fresh produce and to not waste resources.

Erika explores this philosophy in her book, Taking Roots at Home, wherein she shares recipes, tips and eco-friendly practices like upcycling (reusing items one would otherwise throw out). Her focus is on zero-waste living, which seeks to minimize the amount of trash one produces on a daily basis. “It’s a lifestyle that aims to reduce not just waste for the environment, but to also live more intentionally and frugally by adopting ways to reuse things,” she says.

Household waste levels have increased over the last few years (even before the pandemic), with Americans producing 292.4 million tons each year according to 2018 Environmental Protection Agency estimates. Between 30%-40% of the food supply in America is discarded, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

Erika says going green is a way to care for others while protecting the planet. “Yes, we want to create less waste and toxicity in our air, water and environment, but it’s also about thinking about the impact for future generations,” she says. 

Erika’s top sustainability resources:

River Legacy Nature Center

Home to the River Legacy Foundation, the center offers composting classes and environmental education classes for children.

Fort Worth Botanic Garden Compost Outpost

This self-guided display space shows visitors how composting works and what materials to use. The garden also offers composting classes.

This online retailer features personal care products, home goods and reusable kitchen sets. Erika recommends its Instagram page,, which posts tips for minimizing waste and reducing energy and water consumption.

@sustainable_valerie on Instagram

Environmental awareness never looked this aesthetically pleasing. This account features posts about reusable products, thrifting tips, recipes and more.

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