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Oct 262012

From Green Right Now Reports

Food groups celebrated Food Day in the U.S. this week with a variety of commemorations.

But advocates know that recognizing the need for a food-secure world is the least of it. It takes dirt, sweat and vigilance to coax plants from the earth or raise livestock, as any serious gardener or farmer will tell you.

Despite the learning curve and the commitment, communities, small businesses and entrepreneurs are taking up the challenge and the shovel (or not, in the case of hydroponics and fish farming) to bring agriculture closer to the communities that need it.

They’re raising healthy food in abandoned lots,  inside reclaimed factories, on vertical surfaces and in pastures that endow livestock with healthy Omega-3 oils.

Nourishing the Planet project director Danielle Nierenberg knows all about this grassroots food production movement. She’s been traveling the world to study small scale agricultural for the last few years. This week Nourishing the Planet profiled 25 food projects from 25 cities, revealing a bounty of inspiring endeavors involving farms or healthy eating. Here’s a sampling of five, primarily excerpted from their article (the words are theirs and ours):

Alabama. The Jones Valley Urban Farm in Birmingham, Alabama has been in operation since 2007. Occupying 3.5 acres of once vacant space in downtown Birmingham, Jones Valley Urban Farm grows organic produce and flowers and offers hands-on education to the community about farming and nutritious foods.

The farm grows 60 different vegetable, fruit and flower crops, representing 200 plus varieties, and keeps bees for pollination.

Arkansas. The City of North Little Rock, Arkansas has been given $1.5 million to encourage healthy nutrition and lifestyles in low-income neighborhoods. The mission is to make the City of North Little Rock a Fit 2 Live community that is committed to healthy eating and active living by creating an environment that recognizes and encourages citizens to adopt healthy life choices.

One goal of the program is to support community gardens as a way to improve nutrition.

Illinois. Part vertical farm, part food-business incubator, and part research and education space, The Plant in Chicago, Illinois is converting an old meat-packing building into an indoor vertical garden. The Plant will include a tilapia fish farm, vegetable gardens, a bakery, a brewery, a mushroom farm, and a shared kitchen space.

The net-zero energy design hopes to not only produce zero waste, but actually consume more waste than it produces, eliminating waste from surrounding neighborhood food manufacturers.

Maryland. Rumbleway Farm, in the Chesapeake Bay town of Conowingo, combines animal raising, marketing, and community development. The farm experiments with “free-range houses” that provide chickens with more room to move, and with raising rabbits on pastures to boost their Omega-3 fatty acid content. The farm also hosts dinners around once a month, which are open to the public, to boost involvement and interest in the community’s agricultural system.

Missouri. To get a better return on their investments, the Shepherd family at Shepherd Farms in Cilfton Hill took entire control of their marketing and distribution. The farm focuses on unique markets by producing buffalo, pecans, and gamagrass, a plant whose extensive root system breaks compact soil and helps recycle nutrients.

To see all 25 Innovations visit the website, Nourishing the Planet.


Jan 162012

From Green Right Now Reports

Rochester Roots is helping gardeners get ready for the 2012 growing season with six workshops between Jan. 30 and June 23. Teens through adults are welcome at the classes will cost $15 per workshop or $10 for students or low-income individuals.

The series will help participants gain hands-on experience to make their urban gardening more successful. The classes will take place at multiple locations around Rochester.

Workshop 1: Urban Garden Planning & Design (Rochester Roots office). Jan. 30, 6-8 p.m. at the Urban Roots Conference Room, 4th Floor, Downtown Presbyterian Church, 131 N. Fitzhugh St.
Workshop 2: Companion Planting & Heirloom Seed Selection (Rochester Roots office) Feb. 29, 6-8 p.m., Rochester Roots Conference Room, 4th Floor, Downtown Presbyterian Church, 121 N. Fitzhugh St.

Workshop 3: Seed Starting, Greenhouse Growing, & Cold Frame Practices March 28, 4-6 p.m., Franklin Greenhouse, Franklin High School, 950 Norton St.

Workshop 4: Soil Testing and Preparation, April 28, 1-4 p.m., Clara Barton School #2, 190 Reynolds St.

Workshop 5: Spring Planting for an Early Harvest (Clara Barton School), May 19, 1-4 p.m., Clara Barton School #2, 190 Reynolds St.
Workshop 6: From Greenhouse to Ground Transplanting Techniques, June 23, 1-4 p.m., Clara Barton School #2, 190 Reynolds St.

For more information contact Rochester Roots at 585-232-1463.

You can mail payment, with your name, address, email, group affiliation, level of gardening expertise (beginner, medium, high) and the class you’d like to take, to Rochester Roots, 121 N.  Fitzhugh St., Rochester, NY 14614.


Sep 242009

By Tom Kessler

ADDISON, Texas (ADDISONGREEN.INFO) — When you have the word “green” in your school name, it’s probably safe to assume that environmental awareness is top of mind. That’s exactly the case at Addison’s Greenhill School, a coeducational private day school with more than 1,200 students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12.

Over the last four years, the school’s Green Team — composed of parents and faculty — has led a series of sustainability initiatives that are truly putting the green in Greenhill. School leaders have looked for ways to make the school a more sustainable place and to promote eco-friendly habits in the students. >> Read the full story

Apr 172009

By Shermakaye Bass
Green Right Now

Earth Day isn’t just a date on the calendar or an annual do-good commitment; it’s a way of life, a state of mind, a mission even – and certainly an intention. The date itself, April 22, merely reminds us that, January through December, all days  should be “earth days” in our respective, collective communities.

You know this is true when mainstream news giants like Time magazine feature cover stories declaring the eminent demise of millions of species. Climate change is real, and potentially catastrophic. Still, there are loads of things we can do to stem climate change, or even help reverse it. Which is why each year Earth Day gathers more meaning and momentum, urging us to expand our green consciousness to 365 days a year.

Eva Radke, founder of Film Biz Recycling in New York City – a nonprofit committed to greening the film industry – grasps that idea.

“This might sound trite, but everyday is Earth Day in my book,” she says. “I think it’s stupendous to heighten awareness, and these events across the country (which number in the tens of thousands) get more and more people involved and I salute everyone involved, truly. But to me personally, it’s just another day. … We have to think about what we do to the planet as a result of our daily lives — daily.”

That said, Radke – recognized as April’s “Industry Star of the Month” by the New York City Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting – concluded, “I will probably do nothing different from what I do everyday, which is build Film Biz Recycling as an environmentally and socially responsible model for every industry, not just the film business. If New York City’s film community can alter its thinking and methods, even slightly (to the tune of 62 tons since Radke started FBR in June 08), then so can the hotel industry, clothing and auto makers, chemical companies, grocery stores, conventional farmers, carting companies, toy companies, the U.S. government, banking, Renaissance festivals, construction companies, land developers, space programs, day-care centers. … On Earth Day, I’m just gonna keep on keeping on.”

But – you ask – how can I do something as meaningful? Something that can truly change my immediate community?

Let’s say you don’t have the time or resources to commit to a 24-7 venture, as Radke did. But ask yourself these things: How can I convince my family, my kids’ school, my neighbors, or my government to be more pro-active? Well, like any grassroots movement, these things start by applying our imaginations – and a few of those little gray cells.

Here are three potential approaches:

  • Plant trees. Join a tree-planting campaign in your town or city; make your community look more lush, and help Mother Earth breathe mo’ better.
  • Grow food: Carve out a plot in your yard (it’s easier than you think!) or join a community garden. If your burg doesn’t have one, then start one.
  • Promote Pedal Power. If your town doesn’t have designated bicycle lanes, grease the wheels at City Hall to help the town lower its carbon footprint.

Apr 202008

flower.JPGAre you looking to get down and dirty for the 39th Annual Earth Day? The commemoration brings a collection of great festivals this weekend (April 20). It’s also a time to renew our personal commitment to the health of the planet. So come with us as we talk about projects you can do, like composting, growing your own food or joining a community garden. Get inspired by two bicyclists who hope to plant a million trees and home and office-owners who’ve installed wind turbines. See the list of stories:

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