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Edible Utensils: Cutting Waste

Eating on-the-go is a way of life for most people. We are busy, and we don't apologize for it. With that lifestyle come certain compromises that we otherwise would prefer not to make. For instance, we may opt to eat fast food rather than a home-cooked meal. And when we grab that fast food, we are also likely to grab a plastic fork or spoon to eat with.

No matter how you look at it, plastic utensils result in a lot of waste. Whether it relates to recyclable goods being tossed into the rubbish, the packing materials the utensils come in, or the manufacturing process required to make the plasticware, there is waste involved.

Where's this garbage going?

Just a Few Facts

The typical plastic spoon or fork, just like the ones you pick up at your local deli or fast food restaurant, is made from petroleum. When it comes to the length of time it takes for a plastic spoon or fork to decompose, online resources vary greatly; the range found is between 10 and 100 years with a maximum of up to 1,000 years. Of course, it should be remembered that while the material is decomposing, it is releasing unhealthy substances into the earth.

But if you are on-the-go and hungry, you have to eat, and you may not have a lot of choices. There's a good chance you will need to grab a plastic fork or spoon from time to time. After all, you can't always be expected to have just what you need readily available.... read more

Urban Farming

The word "farm" often conjures up images of pigpens, silos, and acres of corn, not urban “farmers” living in a city.

Urban farming isn’t new. Ancient Persia had urban farms, and so did Macchu Picchu. However, now with the popularity of green living, urban farming has become more common. The environmental benefits of urban farming are numerous. Cities are often the most environmentally-friendly places to live, with public transportation and being able to walk everywhere. If you can grow your own food, it just adds to the “greenness.”

One hurdle when it comes to urban farming is space. Here are some ways around that:... read more

5 Reasons to Build an Indoor Kitchen Garden

Building an indoor kitchen garden doesn't have to cost a lot of money. It can be as simple as a few pots on shelving units near the windows, or it can be as elaborate as you wish with heat lamps and UV lighting. There are many bonuses to investing your time into cultivating an indoor kitchen garden whether you are looking to increase the "feeling" of the room or would just like to add fresh ingredients to your cooking.

1. Organic Eating - Of course, eating organic depends on the chemicals you put into your fruits and vegetables. However, you may be inclined not to use such chemicals within your home. Growing your own veggies will provide you with edibles that are unscathed by the devices of humankind. In reality, you can't get any cleaner tomatoes and such outside of utilizing your own garden. Having it in the kitchen only makes it easier for you to add these components into your cooking plans.... read more

Farmigo: An online farmer's market

Yesterday Farmigo announced that it has launched the first ever online farmer’s market!  

The online farmer's market is designed to connect communities such as workplaces, schools, or community centers to local farms.  This will help them provide a personalized online farmer's market allowing people to purchase local, fresh food. The first food communities are starting off in San Francisco and New York.  Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, Denver, Chicago, and Philadelphia will be rolling out soon. 

“At Farmigo, we envision a community-oriented food system in which people and farmers in the same geographic region are connected, and everyone has access to fresh-from-harvest food,” said Farmigo founder and chief executive officer, Benzi Ronen. “The Internet has been collapsing supply chains and rewriting conventional business models for nearly two decades, but until now it has had limited impact on the food industry, which is ripe for change. There has never been a better time to disrupt the status quo and Farmigo is poised to fundamentally change the way food is purchased and distributed.”... read more

Process To Prepare Cheese At Your Home in a Natural Way

homemade cheeseCheese begins with milk, as most people know. But vinegar is a key ingredient that really gets the process going. Vinegar is what encourages the milk to curdle and give cheese an acidic flavor. Before vinegar, bacteria was used to produce the acid. Using bacteria is a lengthier process and the cheese continues to increase in flavor as it ages. Some of the most expensive cheeses are still made with acid-producing bacteria instead of vinegar. 

Many cheeses can be made with vinegar, including the simplest of all, cottage cheese. Cottage cheese does not require rennet, which is an enzyme that helps to harden the cheese curds. This enzyme is derived from calf stomachs, as they have natural enzymes for processing cow milk. But rennet, as well as acid-producing bacteria, is temperature sensitive and requires several steps in processing. Vinegar bypasses several of these steps, leading straight to the cooking step. Harder cheeses also require the time-consuming process of draining, pressing, and drying the cheese, in addition to aging for several months.... read more

Eating Locally Year Round

Of course, we all know the environmental benefits of eating locally grown food.   In much of the country, it's still tricky to eat locally year round.   It's tricky, but not impossible.  

Here are some tips to help you:  ... read more

  • Become a seasonally savvy shopper and learn what’s in season in your neck of the woods and when.  This makes it easier to shop for local food.  Epicurious has an easy-to-use map, making it quick and simple to learn what’s in season.  You can even click on the list to get recipes in case you're stumped.  
  • Whole Foods Markets often have locally grown produce, even in the winter.  Many of these items come from local greenhouses and root cellars.  Even if the local produce pickins are slim, Whole Foods Markets often has other local foods, such as meat, baked goods, tomato sauces, ice creams, and more.  Every Whole Foods Market in the North Atlantic region has a Forager.  Kathleen Connolly, Forager at the Newton, Massachusetts Whole Foods Market explains:  "Every Whole Foods Market in our region has a forager whose duties, in addition to their everyday responsibilities, are finding local companies whose goals and mission are similar to ours and helping them bring their product to sell at Whole Foods."

Time to can apples!

It's my favorite time of the year - autumn!  Cool nights, changing leaves, Halloween...and APPLES!

We go apple crazy every fall.  We go apple picking and then I like to buy damaged apples ("seconds") as well.  They're perfect for canning recipes.  I also love canning apples because then I have that fresh taste of autumn ready in the pantry all winter long.  Plus, they make excellent gifts for the holidays!

Here are some of my favorite apple canning ideas:

Applesauce.  Gotta love good old fashioned applesauce.  It's a great, healthy snack for kids and adults.  Perfect to put in a small container for a school lunch.  A treat around Hanukkah when eaten with homemade latkes.  So simple and delicious.  We always skip the sugar and sometimes add cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.   It makes the house smell amazing!   We also like applesauce fruit blends, especially my son.  Blueberry, strawberry, and peach applesauce are all fabulous.  It's still peach season in much of the US, so stock up on some local peaches or go peach picking, too!... read more

Family Time: Benefits of Family Meals

We’ve all heard a million times how important it is to eat meals together as a family, but in practice few American families make it a priority. In 2010, The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA) released a comprehensive study looking at over a decade of data on family eating habits.  Here are some of the benefits of family meal time and tips to make it a reality in your home:... read more

Have a Green 4th of July!

Green 4th of July

The Fourth of July is a time to get together with friends and family, to celebrate American history, and to eat BBQ in the summer fun.  Traditional 4th of July celebrations can create a lot of pollution.  It's easy to replace some old habits with new ones for this year's Independence Day.

Greener Grilling: On the Fourth of July alone, an estimated 60 million barbecues light up nationwide, consuming enough energy to power 20,000 households for an entire year. But who says you need to give up your hot dogs and steak in order to be an environmentalist? Buy a natural gas or infrared grill instead of dirty-burning charcoal. Avoid chrome-coated aluminum grills and instead opt for steel or cast iron (my favorite). Also, go with a smaller grill, as they take less energy to heat up.... read more

Go Green and Save Money!

Our friends at Easy Finance look at some different stats for the finances of going green and saving money.  

They go on to explain:  "There are a number of ways to help our environment almost effortlessly and without spending a single dollar. Some principles of a sustainable lifestyle are pretty straightforward and easy to put into practice."

Check out the graphic below to learn more.  ... read more

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