September 10, 2012
Just a quick post about an article in the Wall Street Journal I found interesting. According to the article, written by David George-Cosh, thieves recently made off with about 10 million lbs of maple syrup worth an estimated 30 million Canadian dollars or US$ 30.4.
As a way to protect producer’s harvests The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers keeps a certain amount of maple syrup in reserve.
Go here to read the full story in the Journal
March 30, 2012
Did you know that most of the to go cups we drink out of are made from oil meaning they can not be recycled? I didn’t until I found out about a company called Repurpose Compostables and read about what they have been up to lately. I urge you to go to their web site and find out the exciting things they are doing.
It seems they have figured out a way to make cups out of plants. Cups made out of plants can be composted to make more cups out of plants. Pretty cool, right?
You can visit the Retail Locations page of their web site to see when new stores will be carrying their innovative new product.
March 17, 2012
I ran across this post about creating an Herb Spiral on Antony Jones’ web site The Kale Yard. It is an amazing way to grow a number of different herbs that require different growing conditions in a small space.
According to Anthony the idea behind the Herb Spiral is “to get as many different herbs as possible in a confined area. The spiral and the subsequent hight differences mean that you create a number of different environmental conditions which normally would not be possible in a small space.”
The link to directions for how to build an Herb Spiral are here at The Kale Yard.
March 9, 2012
The Gowanus Canal is a 1.5 mile long man-made waterway in Brooklyn. The canal was originally built in the mid 1800′s for barges, and the surrounding land was used for various industrial activities.
Today, parts of the land are used for heavy industrial undertakings, some for light industrial use and some of the area along the canal is mostly residential.
The Gowanus canal has been cited by the EPA as one of the most contaminated bodies of water in the country and currently a large scale effort is being made to clean it up.
If you want to read more about the clean up efforts all you have to do is an internet search for Gowanus Canal and clean up. There is tons of information out there. What I want to write about is something I found a lot more interesting. (Although don’t get me wrong. As someone who lived in NYC for 12 years, 6 of those in Brooklyn, I am thrilled about the clean up process.)
Sweep was started by Christina Kelly and Jeff Hutchison who run Husk in Brooklyn. The two met when Christina was growing corn and Jeff was drawing plants in CAD. They found they had a common fascination for the history of Brooklyn agriculture and decided to stat Husk.
At Husk the two work as a duo on multi-platform projects that explore the agricultural histories and possibilities of New York City.
Sweep, one of their current projects, focuses on the Gowanus Canal. With funding from the Brooklyn Arts Council and Feast, and the go ahead from the Gowanus Canal Conservatory, the steward for the site, Jeff and Christina planted a terraced garden of Broomcorn which was used to make brooms before synthetic materials took it’s place. They even brought in a broom maker from the Catskill Mountain Broomworks, a company that sells brooms made out of Broomcorn, to give a broom making workshop.
Jeff and Christina hope the garden and the broom making will bring attention to the efforts being made to clean up the Gowanus area and help restore it to it’s original state.
My aunt told me an amusing story once. She and my uncle were living in London about 35 years ago and the first time she went to the grocery store she took her cart to the cashier, checked out and looked for bags to load her groceries into. There were none. She wound up making several trips to the car.
At the time I thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea of we did that here in the U.S. Now many of us do but there is a new grocery store opening up in Austin called in.gredients that is taking things one step further. In.gredients is opening a package free zero waste store.
What does that mean exactly? It means a few things. One, you bring your own containers to fill with food. Many products such as grains, spices, oil, vinegar – even wine and beer (some locally produced) will be offered in bulk. You buy as much as you want, label your container and pay. Easy.
The store will also source food and other products locally whenever possible thus reducing the amount of energy used to transport food over long distances. And the store will not carry processed foods.
You can follow their progress toward opening day on their web site at this link.
February 28, 2012
February 24, 2012
Like every other kid in America I once stuck two toothpicks in an avocado pit and put the pit in a jar only to be saddened by the realization that although my plant grew it did not bear fruit. How incredibly sad I would have been to have read this article featured in Discover magazine about 30,000 year old fruit bearing fruit.
Apparently an Upper Pleistocene squirrel burried the fruit along the banks of the Kolyma River in Russia, according to this article in Discover magazine. Click on the link to read the full story written by award winning writer Ed Yong.
February 24, 2012
Most of you have probably never heard of SWANA, The Solid Waste Association of North America. Until an hour ago I hadn’t either, but it turns out that for fifty years now they have been “the leading professional association in the solid waste field.”
Recently Jennifer Santry at the High Country Conservation Center in Summit County, Colorado wrote a piece about a SWANA conference she attended called The Road To Zero Waste run by SWANA’s Recycling & Special Waste Division.
Most people would think a conference titled The Road To Zero Waste would be about how to more effectively get rid of our garbage: composting, recycling and turning waste into fuel. However this was not the case.
“Surprisingly,” Jennifer wrote, “my take away message had more to do with the purchase than the garbage.” In other words Slow Trash. Instead of focusing on how to make our trash into something useful, concentrate on creating less waste.
In the article Jennifer wrote “Slow trash challenges you to slow down consumption and connect with the purchase. My favorite line in the article is, “slow trash is all about taking a snapshot of the life-cycle of a particular item.”
Think about that for a moment. (Or two since our theme here is slow.) Think about where the product was made and by whom. Was he or she paid a fair wage? Did it have to be shipped from across the globe using tons of fuel? How long will you use this item? When you are done with it can you pass it along to a friend?
The conference was here in Austin and Jennifer gave Austin’s Future Craft Collective a big thumps up for their “Don’t Shop; Swap” event where Austinites can swap clothes instead of going out and buying a new wardrobe. She also touted the fact that the landfill here has a last chance pile for people to go through.
February 19, 2012
At Resolution Gardens, which is located here in Austin, I read about The Congress for New Urbanism which had a post about the Partnership for Sustainable Communities which I posted about yesterday. Got all that?
CNU touts itself as “the leading organization promoting walkable, mixed-use neighborhood development, sustainable communities and healthier living conditions.” Co-founders include Peter Calthorpe, Elizabeth Moule, Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Stephanos Polyzoides and Dan Solomon all people with a wealth of experience developing sustainable communities. This organization has some real potential to do good.
Also read about this good news at the CNU website Obama Administration Releases 2013 Budget, Protects Partnership for Sustainable Communities.