Sunday, October 28, 2007

Make your own Mac-O-Lantern!

Happy Halloween! Here's a great project from the supa-sweet site - Instructables. Make an old Mac into a Mac-o-lantern. And no candle necessary when your old Mac can still be plugged in.

it's almost "time"

Don't forget to get your clock entry in for the Make Time for a Green Cause clock design competition. Entries are due November 5 and the event is November 16-18 at Spring in Brooklyn.

going organic made easy

The New York Times had a recent article about what to buy to make the biggest organic impact on your diet. Buying organic produce is usually more expensive, so when price is an issue the following five items are a good rule of thumb to buy organic:
1. Milk
2. Potatoes
3. Peanut butter
4. Ketchup
5. Apples

The potatoes are what surprised me the most. As a kid, my dad planted a lot of these and I saw them grow in our backyard. While they sometimes did get potato beetles, he didn't use pesticide on them because the potatoes underground weren't harmed unless the plant was majorly under potato beetle attack.
Apples, on the other hand, make a lot of sense. My usual rule of thumb is to buy organic fruit when you're eating the peel or it doesn't have a peel - like apples, peaches, blueberries, etc. You can peel the outer layer away on bananas and oranges.
The Times article was based on Dr Greene's (isn't that an appropriate name?) book called Raising Baby Green and he dives deeper into organic food and what to purchase. My favorite item on the list? Bonus item - organic wine. Who says buying organic can't be fun?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

One of the many reasons I love NYC

I've recently been reading the book Plenty by Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon (and it's not just because it has a big tomato on the cover). It's all about how they spent a year in Vancouver eating within 100 miles of their home - now known as the 100 mile diet. I happened to be reading one of my email event lists and saw that James MacKinnon will be lecturing on this subject in early November in New York City. It's like my own personal book club with the author... except it's not really personal since this is NY and it's open to the public. But I'm excited to hear first-hand about his challenges of eating locally.

I've blogged about this subject before with a local lunch made from fresh tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, and a baguette. But after reading part of the book, I've now realized it's not as easy as I blogged. The first 2 ingredients on my list - tomato and basil are definitely local. However, I'm unsure where the milk came from to make to make the cheese, and am also unsure of the source of flour and other ingredients for the baguette. Flour was a big topic in the book because you need it to make a lot of things, but the authors had a really hard time finding anything created within 100 miles. Ah well, at least locally-made bread is way better than that nutrient-lacking spongy stuff that you buy at the grocery store that lasts for several weeks. And reading the book has made me think more about the origins of the ingredients in prepared food - not just where it was all mixed together.

One of the conclusions from the book is that eating local is a lot of hard work... and also includes a diet with a whole lot of potatoes. Sounds like the food I ate in the cafeteria as a college freshman. At least Alisa and James have proven that not all potatoes have to be deep fried to taste good.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

as if I needed an excuse not to throw things away

I've had a pair of jeans for the past 9 years (and they still fit!). And I'm happy to say that they've already gone out of style and are now back in style.

There have been a few times where I've cleaned my closet and donated my clothes and have considered adding this particular pair of jeans to the pile. But it's so hard to find good, comfy pair of jeans that when I do you have to pry them away from me with a crowbar. And now that I'm living in hipster Williamsburg, Brooklyn, I see all the hipster kids with the tight ankle jeans again. I can tell that my almost decade old Calvin Kleins are happy that I still have have them and that they've made their comeback. Now, what to do with all my flaired jeans?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

a whole row of beef jerky?

My recent trip to Nashville reminded me what an oversized and disposable society we live in. I spent most of last week visiting some good friends who recently had their first child. And boy do babies create a lot of waste! We're talking 10 plus diapers a day! I'm well-aware that cloth diapers aren't for everyone. And for such little people, babies sure go through a lot of laundry, paper towels, and wet wipes.

While there I also took a trip to Costco and Sam's Club. I live in Brooklyn, NY where space is expensive and buying in bulk really isn't an option for most items. But in Middle America, where most houses have loads of space, supersizing is the name of the game. I found strange humor in a row at one of the stores partially dedicated to Beef Jerky. And when I took my own shopping bags to the grocery store I got an odd look from the sales clerk. The good news is when I stopped by their local farmer's market, one chatty farmer told me how business has been picking up and there's more interest in knowing what you're growing.

In the meantime I'm happy to be back in NY with my local greenmarket nearby. All-in-all I think I'll stick to my own cloth hankys and reusable tote bags. But you do have to admit that kid sure is cute.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Kids + old CDs = EcoFest Fun

Thanks to everyone who came out to EcoFest! It was a great day and we were right between the Recycling Olympics and the biodegradable soap people.

Above are some pictures of the kids decorating old CDs and turning them into suncatchers.
There's going to be lots of sparkly windows out there.

Hurray for recycling!