Category Archives: Farmer’s Markets

Another Reason to Eat Organic

img_3732A friend of mine worked for a financial PR firm for an organic fruits and vegetables company based on the Mainland China called Chaoda. They were experiencing explosive business growth in 2004.

Traditionally, the Chinese who were wealthy would import all of their fruits and vegetables from Japan and other SE Asian countries. Chaoda was one of the only native players in the organic farm business providing a local alternative to this necessary practice, hence their profitability.

Why do you ask do the affluent native Chinese import?

Because their own commercially grown produce is so laden with pesticides as to be deemed by the educated class as being toxic and haphzardous to one’s health.

Where do you ask that many of those state farm grown veggies wind up?

Answer: As marinated and canned vegetables in private label grocery store chains in the US, often manufactured by middle men so as to make the country of origin of this food impossible to track.

Very little transparency here. Scary and even more convoluted when the foodstuffs are finished products that have several ingredients such as infants formula or dog food, by way of example.

Another great reason to support your local farmer’s markets,  grow and can your own food.

Be discerning with what you feed yourself and your family!

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The Future of Food – Vertical Farming

vert-farmWith 85% of the human population living in urban settings by 2050 – there is not doubt that a new way of raising our food, must be underway.  Lucky for us, a genius by the name of Dickson Despommier, has already created the solution for us – vertical farming.

Despommier  is a professor of Environmental Health at Columbia University, and coined the term, Vertical Farming.  It offers the idea of using hydroponic greenhouse methods to grow upward, rather than out.

As our needs continue  to grow over the next several decades, we are going to need to solve this issues, before they become problems.  The idea of a controlled environment, may be counter intuitive to us, naturalists, but the reality is that the use of Agri Business, has not been able to solve our food issues.

The method of vertical farming, forgoes the use of fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, mono cropping and a variety of other common used practices in conventional farming.

I had the honor of speaking with Despommier, at a TED conference after party.  It was one of the most fascinating conversations I have had.  He is, without a doubt, a pioneer in the movement of alternative food production.  I was able to inquire on a variety of issues, that only propelled his thinking, and was not able to give me a response.  Only affirming that we are in the mere inception of these ground breaking ideas, and innovation is abound, and an open field!

We need to continue to develop individuals’ relationship with food – where it comes from, the energy trail associated with it, and of course, whether it is organic or not.  Understand the intended principals of food, and how energy is put into food – and how it translates to nutrition and taste.

Mankind has lost its spiritual place within the natural world, and awareness of one’s humanity – issues that have transmitted to other areas of our life.  Clearly, our mainstream society is missing the dynamic balance between people, place and community.  Perhaps, this is also a problem that has created a dissonance with all aspects of our life – in turn the natural world.

With an increase in consciousness and awareness, this discord will begin to heal, and harmony amongst people will return.  Individually, we must step up and begin with ourselves, and that will transcend out.   Supporting our local farmer’s market through direct purchase or through CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in addition to, growing our own food, we can begin to grow our food within our region, and in accordance to the seasons.

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Free Green Living Workshops in Santa Monica

all-greenFREE  GREEN  WORKSHOPS

Workshops will be held:

SM Public Library (Ocean Park Branch)

2601 Main Street @ Ocean Park
Santa Monica, CA 90405

January 24, 2009 @ 2:00 PM
Part 1
Green Living

This workshop on Green Living, will help lay the foundation to create your green abode
– whether you own or not. Learn the simple ways to make your home energy and
water efficient while eliminating toxins and drastically improving indoor air quality!

The workshop will cover a DIY cleaning product demo, lecture, and interaction with the
audience.

I will provide all attendees with an E-Book on all material covered as well as local
resources!

January 31, 2009 @ 2:00 PM
Part 2
Green Decor

Few people are aware, that just as in our homes as our workplace, there is an
opportunity to choose objects and products that do not pollute our homes and are
harmful to us and the environment.

Learn how to decorate your home in a way that improves your indoor air quality, and
your overall state of being, by pairing down on clutter and waste, eliminating toxins,
and breathing in a new breathe of fresh air into your home!

I will provide a basis of information that will help guide you in a direction of knowing
what questions to ask from your suppliers and manufacturers to insure that the
materials and finishes you choose for your home are environmentally sound.

There will be samples and materials incorporated, to provide a better understanding for
greening your decor!


Februray 07, 2009 @ 2:00 PM
Part 3
Green Landscaping/Gardening

A basic introduction, offering everything you wanted to know about greening your
garden and landscaping!

This workshop will provide an introduction to Permaculture and good gardening
practices, that you can begin implementing in your green space today!

Information will be provided on local programs, through Santa Monica, on sustainable
gardening and landscaping.

Learn simple tools that will help you save time, money, water and energy in your
garden!

Calender of Events in The World Of Green – Winter 2009

January 15 Green Building Workshop (Brooklyn, NY)

Time: 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Location: LC 400, Dibner Library Building   5 MetroTech Center, Brooklyn, NY
A workshop that brings industry researchers and developers of green buildings technologies, entrepreneurs, investors, representatives from green buildings and sustainability initiatives, regulators, architects and building designers.

I will be speaking on ‘Integrating Green Building in the Urban Environment’

at 9:55 a.m. – 10:20 a.m.

January 24  – Green Living Workshop  – Part 1  (Santa Monica, CA)

Time: 2:00 PM
Location: Santa Monica Public Library (Ocean Park Branch)

2601 Main Street   Santa Monica, CA 90405
This workshop on Green Living, will help lay the foundation to create your green abode – whether you own or not.  Learn the simple ways to make your home energy and water efficient while eliminating toxins and drastically improving indoor air quality!

The workshop will cover a DIY cleaning product demo, lecture, and interaction with the audience.

I will provide all attendees with an E-Book on all material covered as well as local resources!

January 25 –   Go Green Expo –  (Los Angeles, CA)

Time –  10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Location: The Los Angeles Convention Center
1201 South Figueroa Street   Los Angeles, CA 90015

Go Green Expo is a showcase for earth-friendly products and services – a trade show that wholly focused on green living.

I will be on the panel for Green Building and Design on the tradeshow floor on Sunday at 3:00 p.m.

January 31  – Green Decor Workshop  – Part 2 (Santa Monica, CA)

Time: 2:00 PM
Location: Santa Monica Public Library (Ocean Park Branch)

2601 Main Street   Santa Monica, CA 90405

Few people are aware, that just as in our homes as our workplace, there is an opportunity to choose objects and products that do not pollute our homes and are harmful to us and the environment.

Learn how to decorate your home in a way that improves your indoor air quality, and your overall state of being, by pairing down on clutter and waste, eliminating toxins, and breathing in a new breathe of fresh air into your home!

I will provide a basis of information that will help guide you in a direction of knowing what questions to ask from your suppliers and manufacturers to insure that the materials and finishes you choose for your home are environmentally sound.

There will be samples and materials incorporated, to provide a better understanding for greening your decor!

February 07 – Green Landscaping Workshop  – Part 3  (Santa Monica, CA)

Time: 2:00 PM
Location: Santa Monica Public Library (Ocean Park Branch)

2601 Main Street Santa Monica, CA 90405

A basic introduction, offering everything you wanted to know about greening your garden and landscaping!

This workshop will provide an introduction to Permaculture and good gardening practices, that you can begin implementing in your green space today!  Learn simple tools that will help you save time, money, water and energy in your garden!

Information will be provided on local programs, through Santa Monica, on sustainable gardening and landscaping.

Nancy Astrid Lindo Interviewed By: Angela Orrechio of Good Life

What is green building and what is your role in it?
Who are your customers?

Green Building is a movement that has stemmed out of the need for man to return to our state of balance with the natural world. We began civilizations, building green, using natural and local materials. It has been through time and technology that we began to exploit natural resources, create synthetic materials and import and export – elements that all began to take us away from our origins.

Today, Green Building represents a wide umbrella of disciplines that encompass everything in a building from the orientation, the design, materials, sourcing, indoor air quality and the performance of the building in reference to energy and water efficiency.

As an Eco Interior Designer, with a wide background that includes interior design, green building and permaculture, I feel that I have a broad and encompassing breadth of what role I play in this field. I take into account beyond what a typical green designer may. Beginning with the core of the individual, and moving my way out through the design of a space all the way to the landscape of the land.

My clients range from citizens interested in moving towards a more regenerative way of life – be it through their personal life or in their home. I also work with businesses in applying ways of implementing sustainable practices in addition to making their office space more energy and water efficient – all while improving indoor air quality and employee performance.

Transitioning from conventional building to sustainable building and remodeling can be a difficult concept to grasp. How do you assist your clients with the transition toward a greener mindset?

Going green must begin with an intention to be more aware of the life you live. I believe once people are given the information, such as the fact that our water travels over 500 miles to get to our faucets or how electricity is created and transported – people may be more apt to raise their level of awareness.

Education is critical in helping people understand the importance in raising their consciousness. I walk my clients through the entire process – the facts, the cost differential, the justification in health and livelihood and most importantly, helping them see the bigger picture.

Having them see the holistic view, that every action truly matters.

What is the concept of green washing?

Green washing stemmed from the concept of whitewashing – it is taking advantage of a wide growing market and few knowledgeable individuals that know what questions to ask or what they should be looking for. Using key words such as ‘green, eco or natural’ have been widely abused without any regard to integrity. Sadly, there are people who believe this type of target marketing, and are deceived.

It is virtually impossible to validate or invalidate any of these claims in this country, when many of our industries are not regulated or monitored – leaving it an open opportunity for
anyone to take advantage of this exploding market. As consumers, people need to become educated and read labels and understand what to look for.

Having lived in Spain, Italy, New York City, Miami and San Francisco what are some of the trends you have noticed in green building in other cities?

Europe has been on the forefront of this movement. They have always kept things in accordance to human scale, be it their cars or their homes. They have outlawed GMO’s, and several countries to not allow American imported produce for that very reason. They are ahead, in the use of alternative fuels, building biology (Bau Biologie), alternative transportation and the use of local and natural materials.

In the United States, San Francisco and New York City are ahead of the game including a couple other cities. Taking advantage of their size – public and alternative transportation thrive in both cities. Federally both have passed laws that all new government buildings must meet LEED standards. San Francisco, in comparison, to NYC is ahead of the curve in educating its citizens, offering city wide compost collection, in addition to having more LEED certified buildings.

What are some of the current projects you working on?
(Currently working on a reference guide for the Interior Design industry and publishing articles on green living, and speaking about the importance of sustainable living) elaborate.

In addition to writing and speaking in public, of the projects I have on the boards, I am working in various industries in helping them be more sustainable – hospitality, commercial, corporate and residential. I also have a remodel in San Francisco and a new construction low rise residential building in Miami.

The reference guide for the interior design industry will be a guide for anyone in the field -from a seasoned designer to an amateur. It will hold a wide scope of information tailoring the various industries that we work closely with that maintain their own standards and vocabulary.

What are five things someone can do right now to green their home?
And what are the environmental and financial benefits to each one?

1. Eat

(a.) organic, (b.) seasonal (c.) local

Environmental Benefits:

a. No fertilizers, herbicides, sewage sludge or GMO’s – does not damage the land or water quality, promotes biodiversity & crop rotation
b. More nutrient content (not picked before harvest, allowing for produce to naturally mature)
c. Lower energy costs (less transportation)

Financial Benefits:

a. Supports a movement – vote with your dollar! If you shop at the farmers market, and you support small scale farming
b. You save on energy costs by not importing fruit from other countries when they are out of season here
c. Support the community (more money stays in the community on a fiscal level – versus shopping at a big box grocer where most of your money will end up at a corporate office outside your city )

2. Save water – we are in a drought and live in a desert! Purchase aerators for your kitchen and bath faucet and a low flow shower head. Educate yourself on the garbage patch in the North Pacific Gyre, and the dead zones in our oceans – spread the word!

Environmental Benefits:

Water is a precious and finite resource that is dependent on snow pack from the Sierras and the Rockies, in addition to the Colorado to sustain our demand – very little comes from our groundwater, most of it is contaminated

Financial Benefits:

Save on your water bill. Even, if you do not pay for your water, you will decrease the city wide demand for it

3. Use alternative transportation – walking, biking, bus, carpool

Environmental Benefits:

Less traffic, toxins, demand for foreign oil

Financial Benefits:

A lot less expensive than driving

4. Save energy – use power strips, use CFL’s, turn the lights off in unoccupied rooms

Environmental Benefits:

Less demand on the grid (nuclear or coal powered plants are extremely taxing on the environment)

Financial Benefits:

Lower energy bill

5. Avoid disposable items at all cost

Environmental Benefits:

Our landfills are reaching capacity and in 5 years, our garbage will have to be taken out to the desert – every bit counts, eliminate anything that is cheap and meant for a short life. Spending a little more on something that is going to last is well worth it.

Financial Benefits:

The need to constantly buy poorly made products. Buying built to last products assures that they are made for duration, versus so many products that are intended for one life cycle. People need to separate themselves from this disposable society mentality, and take responsibility for what they use and consume.  Think Cradle to Cradle.

Simple Steps to a Greener Life!

  • First reuse, then reduce and lastly recycle
  • Turn the lights off in unoccupied rooms
  • Save water from the shower, waiting for it to get hot, to water your plants!
  • Use biodegradable organic soaps and hair products
  • Stop junk mail
  • Don’t use toxic chemicals instead make your own!
  • Take your canvas bags to the store
  • Compost!
  • Park your car – walk, ride your bike, skip
  • Avoid plastic disposables – use reusable containers for drinks and food
  • Buy in bulk – forget individually wrapped items!
  • Reduce phantom loads – unplug unused appliances
  • Get seasonal, local, organic
  • Keep your tire pressure right!
  • Get involved in your community – do beach clean up!
  • Tread lightly – think of your decisions
  • Don’t leave the water running when you are brushing your teeth, shaving or washing the dishes
  • Shop vinatge or thrift store, remember its couture!
  • If its yellow, keep it mellow
  • Shop local – support your neighbors