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Bats in your garden: Go Batty!

Bats in the belfry?  Nah.  How about bats in your backyard?  YES!  

Bats can work as natural pesticides.  One lone single bat can catch HUNDREDS of insects per hour.   Bats can protect gardens and farms from damage by many pests including moths, June beetles, moths, mosquitoes, and more.  

If you'd like to use bats to protect your garden or crops, you might need to get them into your yard.  Luckily, it's easy to attract bats.... read more

Green Profile: Joe Lamp'l of Growing a Greener World

I recently had the pleasure of talking to Joe Lamp'l, gardener, green media personality extraordinare, and host and executive producer of Growing a Greener World on PBS.  

About Joe Lamp'l

Joe initially got into horticulture as a child, after breaking the branch off a shrub, sticking it into the ground, and seeing a mere few weeks later that it had taken root.  

Joe how he has been interested in sustainability for his whole life, but "there was an a-ha moment."  That moment was when he was using synthetic fertilizer in a hopper.  He hit a root and the fertilizer spilled, and he knew that using more than the recommended about of fertilizer is bad, so he tried to remove some of it.   The following day, there was a huge dead spot on the grass where the fertilizer had spilled.  "That was a huge graphic demonstration to me of what was in that stuff," he said, "It really got me going."... read more

Localvore Challenge In Review

My month as a localvore can best be summarized by the trip I took last Saturday to Shared Bounty CSA. I wrote about them earlier, when discussing the benefits of knowing where your food comes from, and was excited to receive an invitation to their open farm. Jim and Ramona had already harvested all they needed for themselves and local needs (Jim has delivered innumerable heads of cabbage to a local retirement home), and the first freeze had already come. In other words, what was left in the ground needed to go and go fast. 

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Shared Bounty Purple CauliflowerShared Bounty Purple CauliflowerWhen we got out of the car, we were immediately welcomed by Jim and Ramona's dog. We met another family who experienced the first year of Shared Bounty CSA with us, and then headed to the field. Jim handed out bags and knives and told us we were welcome to anything we wanted. He briefly told us what was located where, and turned us loose. My family and the other who came out, though, didn't just come to pick food. We came to spend time with the folks who fed us so well for the past 20 weeks. Ramona went off with the other family, and we sidled up to Jim. As we walked the rows, he talked with us: about the food (even asking what we'd like to eat next year), about the farm, about growing up on a farm, about the season's rains, about the first frost, about the animals they keep, about anything and everything.

Veggies for All at Unity College

Veggies For All is a community service hunger relief program by the "Unity Barn Raisers" that grows food for a local food bank in Waldo County, Maine. They have various gardens on the campus of Unity College and the program provides organically, locally grown produce to those who have the least access.

Unity College is dubbed America’s Environmental College. Situated in rural Maine, the classrooms often are the bogs, mountains, and forests. The majors are mostly environmentally related.  You can major in Agriculture, Food, and Sustainability, Aquaculture and Fisheries, or Parks, Recreation, and Ecotourism to name a few.... read more

The Vertical Farm

I caught an interesting interview on The Diane Rehm Show on Boston's WGBH Radio yesterday.  The interview was with Dr. Dickson Despommier, author of The Vertical Farm: Feeding Ourselves and The World in the 21st Century and Bob Young, chief economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation.  

Dr. Despommier's book is coming out next week, and I can't wait to read it.  Last month I wrote about urban farming, and the concept of "vertical farming" takes urban farming to a much bigger and exciting level.  

Despommier's website says that by the year 2050, nearly 80% of the earth's population will reside in urban centers.  Meanwhile, much urban space is being underutilized and urban centers often don't have access to fresh, local food.  The solution?  Farm vertically.  Farm "up."  Build indoor farms on this land, such as tall greenhouses or using hydroponics.  Think of how green this is.  No shipping produce long distances, no tractors, and less water usage.  ... read more

Farm to Family: Mark Lilly's "Veggie Bus"

How does one get fresh, local produce to urban areas?  Mark Lilly uses a bus he bought for $3500 off craigslist, dubbed by Richmond, VA locals as "The Veggie Bus."

In 2009, Lilly created Farm to Family.  Farm to Family offers produce from within the community, featuring chemical-free products.  The bus brings the farm to local neighborhoods where residents may not otherwise have access to these fruits and veggies!  Sometimes they'll even bring chickens and rabbits so kids can truly understand how to "know your food."  From lettuce to fresh pasta to bacon, they've got all sorts of locally sourced food.... read more

Knowing Our Food, A Summer CSA Adventure

This summer my family and I purchased a share in a CSA. Shared Bounty CSA, to be specific. The experience has been fabulous in more ways than I could have ever expected. In fact, I have multiple blog posts about them (and my culinary experiments from the summer) just waiting to be written. This week, though, I realized just how fortunate we have been to be part of the Shared Bounty family. 

Shared Bounty CSAShared Bounty CSA... read more

Common misconceptions about water

People believe there is enough fresh water and that all we need to do is ‘harvest’ it. We should remember that where water falls is not necessarily where people live or need it. Certain geographical areas have abundance, but we cannot utilize water everywhere, as usage depends on where people live, produce, and function. From read more

Aquaponics - the inside scoop on the closed-looped, fish and produce yielding system

What is Aquaponics? 

It is a closed-looped, symbiotic process involving fish and produce where fish waste provides a food source for the plants and the plants provide a natural filter for the water the fish live in. So that means you can raise your own fish and grow your own produce in a self sustaining nutrient system.... read more

Killing two birds with one stone (not literally)

How about saving the planet and its animals, all at once?

Many people give up the consumption of animal products for numerous reasons, which may include personal health and well-being, ethical beliefs, food expense reduction, and more. Thinking today about the reasons why I choose to follow a vegan lifestyle lead me to considering the environmental impact of the lifestyle. For those of you who are opposed to giving up your cheeseburgers regardless of the information presented, this will at the least provide you with some food for thought (a small side order for your burger).

In the past, the United Nations issued a report, somewhat like a call-to-action, for the world to reduce its consumption of animal products (both meat and dairy). As quoted in the U.K. Guardian, the UN feels that a "global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change." Clearly, this is a pretty serious issue.

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