GlobalWarmingThe debate continues on whether global warming exists or not.  Is it caused by humans?  Is it nature just going through its phases?  Or is it a little bit of both?  Whether you believe in global warming or not, it’s no secret that we create a lot of waste and then dump it on other countries.  According to The National Geographic, the average American throws away 4.4 pounds of trash every day.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates 27 percent of our trash is food waste, which creates methane in the landfills.  This carelessness is becoming expensive, especially during these penny-pinching times.  So global warming or not, how can we help the environment and save some money?

  • Compost your food scraps/waste or feed it to animals.  You would be surprised at how many dogs and cats love veggies, and chickens will eat just about anything.  You can bring your compost to the Hollygrove Market’s compost bin, or you can feed them to the newest Hollygrove residents — our hens!  Make sure that you don’t throw into the compost pile any bones, meat or oil-based substances.
  • Eat more veggies!  According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a meat-based diet requires more than 4,000 gallons of water per day.  A plant-based diet requires 300 gallons per day.  You still crave that meat?  Reduction in meat and balance between the two is always a safe bet.
  • You’re already doing this one – buy locally!  On average, produce travels 1,500 miles before finding a tummy.  Buying locally ensures that the produce is fresh and more nutritious since it is picked when ripe, and it supports your local economy!

Here are some other non-food tips:

  • Set your refrigerator to 37-40 degrees.  This will keep everything cool enough without wasting electricity.  Along the wall or in the back is the coldest area for items that require cooler storage.  If it’s time to purchase a new refrigerator, look for an Energy Star rated-fridge.  The 2009 version uses 40 percent less energy than the conventional refrigerator in 2001.  They also consume 20 percent less energy than required by the federal standards.
  • If you have a convection oven, consider using that over your traditional oven.  If you don’t have one, consider getting one.  They cook 25-30 percent faster.
  • Run your dishwasher only when it is full.  This can reduce your water usage by up to 35 percent, not to mention savings on your energy bill.  Here’s a tip that you may not have known: running the dishwasher at night saves even more energy.  Power plants generate electricity more efficiently during off-peak hours.

Above all, eat your food!  We’re all guilty of the need to slow down our schedules so that we not only enjoy our food but also to eat it!  So sit down with your family, call a friend, or have some alone-time and eat your Hollygrove veggies!

And now for your weekly recipe and the Farms Map:

Recipe: Roasted Fairy Tale Eggplant

Map: Farms

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IMG_0553Makin’ Groceries nowadays is a tough thing to do. Walk into any local grocer and you may find yourself feeling like you are in a horror movie: contorted faces and a few sighs or even gasps. All the drama you may be witnessing is over the cost of food and other necessary household items-maybe even you catch yourself having those exact same mannerisms like we do sometimes.

According to the media this past week food prices are on the rise again. There several reasons for spikes in the economy of food supply and demand. Some predictions are that long after the recession is ‘over’ the habits we have changed during this (that) time is expected to have a lasting effect.  However, it seems that watching or reading the news is like being on an emotional rollercoaster. Do this but don’t do this. Grow your own food but worry about lead which by all means is important concern but the recent NY Times article bounces back and forth between:

“Harmful even at very low doses, lead is surprisingly prevalent and persistent in urban and suburban soil. Dust from lead-tainted soil is toxic to inhale, and food grown in it is hazardous to eat.

Thanks in part to the influence of the local-food movement and to economic considerations, more households in the United States plan, like the Obamas, to grow their own fruits, vegetables, herbs and berries this year. . . seven million more households than prior years. . .

Soil is likely to contain high levels of lead if it is near any structure built before 1978, when lead-based paint was taken off the market, or if a building of that vintage was ever demolished on the site. Pesticides containing lead were often used on fruit trees, so land close to old orchards is also of concern. And beware of soil around heavily trafficked roadways; it, too, is probably laced with lead. But environmental engineers and soil experts said any place is potentially tainted.”

That’s just the first page. It almost felt like we were re-living the last eight soil_art_workyears of lives: be afraid, be very afraid.

Okay so now we are afraid what are we supposed to do?

Continue to pay high prices for food with what seems like an ever shrinking wallet?

Grow your own food but be certain that somewhere lead or no lead there may be some other contaminants. Amendments will have to be made–requiring more work and learning about how stirring up the soil in your backyard may be potentially harmful to your children is enough to send anyone over the edge.

One answer may be to make better informed decisions (from sources you may not even like or trust but will help in the decision making process; digesting both sides of the story), make time to learn about gardening, cooking, and eating the food you may have grown or purchased. All of the work it takes to making and applying those decisions are much harder than going to the store to purchase your food.  Sometimes you have to remember there is no such thing a perfect or ideal environment and right now the American public demands control with transparency especially when it comes to food.

Fear and the media’s use of fear is a highly motivating factor so now is the time to take things into your own hands and Get Your Dig On!

For more thought provoking articles check out:

The Jew & the Carrot’s post about Planning Ahead for Sustainability’s Sake.

NY Times: Food Prices: Myth vs. Reality

NY Times: Glorious Food

And now for your weekly recipe and the Farms Map:

Week 31 Recipe:Mushroom Ragout

Week 31 Map:farmer map wk31