I Dream in Green
15 February 2009
  Actions: What You Can Do With the City
Through April 19th, The Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) presents the exhibition Actions: What You Can Do With the City, an exhibition with 99 actions that instigate positive change in contemporary cities around the world. Seemingly common activities such as walking, playing, recycling, and gardening are pushed beyond their usual definition by the international architects, artists, and collectives featured in the exhibition. Their experimental interactions with the urban environment show the potential influence personal involvement can have in shaping the city, and challenge fellow residents to participate.

Action #85 is "Plastic Bag Feeds Neighborhood," a system for the transformation of vacant lots into community gardens, using plastic "grow" bags (pictured) filled with dirt, seeds, and water. In London, concrete lots lacking soil were planted with beets, kale, and broccoli, among other things.

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05 February 2009
  Greenopia & the return of the Brown Bag Lunch

As we call try to cut corners every way we can to save money during these tough economic times, a tried-and-true method is regaining popularity: "brown-bagging" it.

A recent study from The NPD Group, a market research company, reports that weekday lunches carried from home reached a new high point in 2007, with adults 18 and older carrying some 8.5 billion brown bag lunches last year. More than half of these lunches are consumed at the workplace, and most often at the diner’s desk or workstation.

According to Greenopia, a website that provides consumers with the means to make daily decisions that reduce their impact on the environment, the average school-age child who carries a lunch daily generates 67 pounds of waste per school year. That works out to 18,760 pounds of lunch waste for just one average-size elementary school. While brown-bagging might be good for family finances, in the long run, it can cost people more in terms of waste removal and environmental damage.

To decrease the amount of trash generated by home-packed lunches, Greenopia suggests:

–Replace paper napkins with cloth versions that can be washed and reused.

–Pack stainless-steel utensils instead of using disposable plastics. Do not send knives to school.

–Use reusable drink containers instead of disposable juice boxes, juice pouches, cans and plastic bottles.

–Avoid using plastic wraps, plastic bags, wax-paper bags and aluminum foil whenever possible. Opt for reusable containers instead.

–Cut down on packaging waste by purchasing foods in larger containers that can be divided into individual servings at home rather than buying many smaller packaged products.

–Choose sturdy lunchboxes or backpacks over paper or plastic bags. Remember to wash lunchboxes thoroughly before packing the next lunch, or at least wipe them out with a cloth soaked in an antibacterial product.

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13 January 2009
  Yes We Can

I recently created this graphic for the non-profit organization Just Food, which works to develop a just and sustainable food system in the New York City region. Organic t-shirts hand-printed with the design are currently on sale in the Just Food gift shop.

Among other things, Just Food connects local farmers to direct marketing opportunities in New York City. Their current Food & Farm Issue is a petition to legalize beekeeping in NYC. Beekeeping in the city is currently illegal, under The New York City Health Code Section 161.01. Many other cities, including Chicago and San Fransisco, permit and regulate urban beekeeping and have found that urban apiculture can benefit human, economic, and environmental health. You can learn more about the benefits of urban beekeeping and sign the petition on the Just Food website.

I have been fortunate to have developed on ongoing partnership with this fine organization. Just Food contacted me in 2007 after seeing someone wearing one of my "Beet the System" shirts at a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) pick-up. We talked and decided to print Beet The System shirts with their logo on the back. The LETTUCE EAT LOCAL and YES WE CAN designs were collaborations that came later - the Lettuce shirt this summer, in conjunction with their conference in early September called “Let Us Eat Local,” and the idea for the YES WE CAN shirts came after the election.
14 November 2008
  100% Cotton - India
The maker of this shocking and revealing documentary says: "From its polluted landscapes to its poisoned workers, India is paying a heavy price for Europe's desire for cheap cotton. Pesticides banned in Europe readily find its way onto the Indian market."

Very interesting to watch. Will definitely convince you of the importance of buying organic rather than conventional cotton.

11 November 2008
  Real Food and the Fort Greene CSA podcast
New Idealist Podcast: Buy Local, Eat Local

Guest contributor Cambra Moniz-Edwards explores how Community Supported Agriculture is positively affecting the Brooklyn neighborhood, Fort Greene.

In recent years, communities across the five boroughs have become more concerned with eating "locally" and developing a sustainable food system for all New York City residents. Community Supported Agriculture--the model of pairing groups of community residents with small local farms--continues to gain in popularity all over the city as an alternative to supermarket shopping. But how exactly does CSA work? What does membership in a CSA model mean for community residents?

In the latest Idealist.org Community Podcast, guest contributor Cambra Moniz-Edwards follows Fort Greene CSA Coordinator Jen Datka as she explains the ins and outs of one of Brooklyn's newest CSAs. For more information on CSAs in the five boroughs, and on developing a sustainable agriculture system in New York City, visit JustFood.org.

(I recently drew the above graphic for a Just Food t-shirt - available for sale through Just Food.)
16 October 2008
  The Election
I know this is an environmentally-oriented blog, but the upcoming election is so important (and in fact will have an impact on the environment, as well as on so many other things) that I feel the need to post this.

This web page was put together by a friend, Brian Smith. Brian argues that it is of vital importance that Americans elect Senator Obama as president. I, of course, agree with him.

There are some videos to watch, and thoughts to ponder. If you are undecided about the candidate you will support, or if you are a McCain supporter, or know someone who is, please read this, and pass it on.

11 August 2008
  Garden Cycles Bike Tour
In 2007, Liz Tylander, Kat Shiffler and Lara Sheets took three months to cycle from DC to Montreal to shoot a documentary film ("Garden Cycles Bike Tour") on urban and suburban farming and gardening.

I heard about their project in this Washington Post article. The three women have also put together their own blog about the film.

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Location: Hudson, New York, United States

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black sheep heap [my other other site]
the adventures of josie bliss [poetry]
nosepilot [animation]
smart gals [happenings]
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firefly films [films & theater]

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