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Well what have I been up to lately?? I have to say its been a crazy 2 months but filled with lots of good people. I have had the pleasure to get to know the deep dark secrets (ok, not really) of the On The Fly catering and vending company based in DC. How you may ask?  My wonderful, enthusiastic friend Tinisi Paelay has started up his own IT business in the past year, Otivus Solutions. Supplying top-notch IT services including executive computer systems, we get to work closely with OTF and their wonderful employees. With a young, bright team, the behind the scenes is filled with much love and passion to keep this ever-so-green company afloat.

Haven’t heard of OTF?? Aaha…have you ever noticed the green little karts (not a misspelled word, that’s what they call them) zooming around quietly around DC??? Well take notice next time; they are fully electric vending karts that are strategically placed throughout the best DC hotspots! They offer the same kind of food, but 10x better than traditional ugly, gas-guzzling – mystery – meat vendors around the Mall. All karts are fully equipped with natural beef hotdogs, local empanadas, organic and local sweet treats as well as our fellow neighbors, Honest Tea, plus lots more.

Michel Heitstuman is the CEO at OTF along with co-founder Christopher Lynch and VP marketing director (all around superman) Todd Cavaluzzi. These guys know how to start up and handle a business. I almost forgot to mention the kafes throughout DC as well. You can check one out in Farragut North metro station as well as Corcoran and Phillips galleries, all offering even more fresh local sandwiches and entrees. I have tried lots and I can say for myself they aren’t kidding around when they say “fresh. local. fun.”

For more on On The Fly, check them out!!

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ontheflydc

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/ontheflydc

otf

ontheflycart

Hey everyone! It has been awhile, but we all know how summer can get a little hectic, hot but FUN. I have been busy with friends and family enjoying bbqs, beach trips, DC adventures and of course lazy pool days. With summer in full force, I have not been able to sit down and continue my weekly posts of green living in Rockville, but that’s not to say I haven’t been living green.

With lots of criticisms from my close friends (you know who you are) I still and will continue to hold my own. Between friend get-togethers and trips to the beach, I am on constant alert to live a little more simply. Whether that is making sure EVERYONE recycles (friends like to do the whole sarcastic “Caitlin, look, I am throwing a can directly into the trash…” which I have to just ignore and laugh but still make sure they don’t) or to suggest to go to the farmer’s market to grab a bunch of local veggies and grill them alongside their main dish. I am always living as green as possible at home, but yet it gets harder to do that outside the home, in social or group settings.

I am a young (I feel older) 22 year old that loves to go out and have a good time. This is at a cost. Endless amounts of consuming, whether it is food or alcohol, my friends and I will always be out purchasing something. This is NOT to say I try to hype on my friends’ choices, but it is to say that it is harder to bite my tongue when I know our choices could be a little greener. There are ups and downs to my social butterflies: we always try to take public transportation, or just walk. We usually strive to find unique, local business that offer local and organic food/drinks. But then again some friends may not agree with the choice and I have to sacrifice. We mostly live in suburban MD that means more driving than desire. Also the amount of my friends and I manage to drink on those summer nights is unthinking, lots and lots of bottles and cans (hopefully always gets recycled).

My friends are warming up to the whole “green living” aspect of me. They understand that this is my life. But I realized I have to be less of a lecturer and more of a loving friend to everyone. Summer time is exciting. There are amazing things happening around me that I am soaking up and sharing with everyone. But there are still harmful things in life that I want to provide an alternative choice to the ones I love; just sometimes they don’t want to hear it. So I have learned and will continue to learn to only answer and tell when asked about certain things, but continue to point out the positive, beautiful things in life, like the great vegetables springing from my garden!  Happy Summer!

So I have been a pretty busy recently with various projects ranging from my Argentina photo book (look here!), to working on computers for my friend’s IT company….But what I really enjoy lately is making things by myself, whether it be small craft projects, new clothing, or new recipes. 

RAIN BARREL
I already have my garden growing and I see some budding on the tomato and squash plants! VERY exciting! I have compost in action and the last thing I had to do to complete the outdoor project was to make a rain barrel catcher. Now you can surely purchase these barrels to attach to your gutter that has an attachable hose at the bottle, so it is as easy as 1-2-3 to water your plants. Check out these here. But they are quite expensive and plus for us, our gutter was far away from any plants we needed to water, so I made my own!

I purchased a cheap $10 plastic bin (like the compost one) with a lid. Then I purchased a gutter attachment that curves – see here, for another $10. Cut what you need off the existing gutter, attach the piece and curve it into the barrel. Easy as that! All for $20!

rainbarrel

What is left to do now is to cut a hole in the lid and stick the attachment in – this is so bugs don’t start feeding off the water…
When you want to water your plants, take a simple watering can and scoop up the water and take it where you need! After all this rain, it has been completely full for weeks – one step to save lots of water! 🙂

NEW(OLD) Skirt!
Next on the to do list I had was to make new clothes out of old. I am not amazing at sewing what-so-ever, actually I am pretty awful :/ but I wanted to try. So I took all the clothes out of my closet that I was going to sell but instead figured out how I can reuse them all together. So below is what I made out of 2 shirts…

Front

Side

So it’s not perfect, but hey, it is salvaging old clothes and one skirt less that I would otherwise buy… 🙂
I have been inspired by these few sites that are amazing! Check them out – anyone who wants to not buy new clothes, but would like to up-cycle their existing wardrobe…

Crafting a Greener World – sewing but as well as other home, craft projects…catch them on Twitter! @CAGW
Transforming a men’s shirt into a skirt … CraftGossip– This one is for a young girl, but Clever Girl has it figured out for woman.. I love them all and already got dad’s shirt to do my own! 

GOLDFISH!
I made my own Goldfish! Ok well in the end it was Goldcircles…I didn’t have any cookie cutters to make cool shapes but check it out!

GoldCircles

You can spot the few attempted “goldfish” I tried to make by hand. It was a simple recipe I found on Yumsugar, with only a few ingredients. VERY tasty! Better than the unknown ingredients found in store-bought goldfish…

[Guest post from James O’Shea, representive of maacenter, Mesothelioma & Asbestos Awareness Center.]

In recent years there has been a great deal of national attention focused on the improvement of industrial environmental standards. Even as we attempt to rebuild our economy, we seem to be focused on not only restoring industry, but also using this as an opportunity to do it in a way that is not environmentally destructive. This provides us the opportunity to improve all aspects of these industries, including the workplace hazards among workers and the health hazards affecting members of the surrounding communities that were all too common.

What many people may fail to realize is that not only does the health of our planet depend on improved environmental standards, but our health may as well. Health complications of industry can essentially be divided into two categories, both direct and indirect.

Direct health conditions which have arisen as a result of the burning of fossil fuels, for instant, are increased asthmas rates in areas with high smog indices. Even mild cases of asthma can deteriorate overall respiratory capacity over time and leave breathing seriously diminished if the quality of the air people breathe is unimproved. Release of chlorofluorocarbons into the atmosphere has shown to lower  our filtered sunlight, increasing ultraviolet light exposure. Ultraviolet light has been conclusively link to skin cancer. Perhaps it is no surprise then that skin cancer incidence in countries like South Africa and Australia, where the atmosphere is most diminished, is much higher than other areas of the earth.

Indirect health consequences include those which can be attributed to antiquated industrial infrastructure, including toxin exposure among workers. Oil refinery workers, for instance, are shown to have a much higher chance of developing mesothelioma, a rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, than those in cleaner industries. While asbestos was banned for most uses in the late 1970s several of these refineries and factories are still using pre-ban equipment which is exposing workers to harmful asbestos fibers.

We see then, that there is a clear advantage to implementation of cleaner, more sustainable energy policies and environmental attitudes, not only for the health or our planet and our posterity, but that of world’s population even today. 

June 3, 2009

Written by James O’Shea, representative of maacenter, the web’s leading organization for relevant and authoritative information regarding asbestos and health complications associated with asbestos exposure. Our organization is staffed entirely by writers and other developers who recognize the importance of building awareness in the fight against cancer.

So, the reason why I haven’t been able to post lately is because I got signed onto a project for DC’s 10th annual Artomatic, titled “The Green Message” by Michel Heitstuman, CEO of On The Fly DC. Artomatic gathers hundreds of local artists to an unfinished commercial building to display their work. Michel Heitstuman had the idea to display what people are doing in their daily lives to live a little more simply, or environmental conscious. To do this, I collaborated with my two friends who are in video productions and went around DC to film ordinary people. Our three simple questions were “What are you doing currently that makes DC a little greener?”, “What do you think you could do to be even a little more greener?” and “What would your green message be to the world?”. We got great responses and even had some people really thinking hard.

Now this “green living” topic is a pretty large topic. Artomatic continues on for 6 weeks, therefore we will have (hopefully) 6 topics…For the first week we concentrated on food. How to eat sustainable, green and healthy. We spent time at the Dupont and Penn Quarter farmer’s markets downtown and spoke with farmers, consumers and organizers. The most important point the farmers stated was for the consumer to get to know their farmer and where their good is coming from: ask questions, taste their product. The only way you will understand what you are eating if you understand where it comes from. Their other important point was to continue to shop at the farmers market. I just learned that 80-90 cents of every dollar farmers get to keep from selling their produce at the market…that is a lot more than the farmer from Costa Rica who only gets 10 cents while the rest goes to the middle man, or huge corporations in the US. 

So come check out what these guys have to say, as well as the average person on DC streets. It is a fun and interesting video with facts and beautiful images at the end. You will also be allowed to write down your green message to the world at the exhibit, which is located on the second floor in the corner. Go to Artomatic.org for more info on time and such. Check us out on Twitter: TheGreenMessage and soon enough we will have TheGreenMessage.com website up and running for you to post your Green Message online! It is a way to rethink the way we are all living and provide messages to others. 

What is your Green Message??

Below is the print out excerpt explaining The Green Message: 

Thegreenmessage

GM-back2

 

The Green Message at Artomatic

The Green Message at Artomatic

[Reporting from Enoch Pratt Library in Baltimore, MD, Saturday, May 16th. Baltimore’s School Food Service Director, Tony Geraci interviews Author Michael Pollen….]

“We need your help on this type of ‘Food’ Michelle Obama is growing….” Discovery Channel’s attempt to get Michael Pollen’s help on figuring out what all this hype is with Michelle Obama planting just plain old fruits and vegetables. Come on people! It is just recognizing the fact that our nation needs more fruits and veggies!! Remember, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants”. Michael Pollen’s motto. He was asked by interviewer Tony Geraci how he came about this, Pollen’s response was, he wanted it to be broken down in simple terms to get our attention. Eat food, but not too much of it, but wait, processed foods shouldn’t be included, sooo, mostly plants! It makes perfect sense, well he said he got some heat on both ends of the spectrum: from the vegetarians and the meat eaters.

“Grass Finish“. Pollen is a meat eater but he says he only consumes “grass finish” meat. I thought this was very interesting. He explained that a lot of times in Whole Foods and other natural stores, “grass fed” may not mean just that. Like for instance, he visited a chicken farm in California where they named the meat “free range” but in reality, 30,000 chickens are stuffed inside a closed pen with only 2 doors on either side of the space. Of course they aren’t going to go outside, all of their food and water is INside, they have never seen OUTside before, so they don’t venture out there. But because they have “access” to outside, they allow to say “free range” chicken. And same goes to beef, it may be called “grass fed” when only a couple months out of their lives they have grass, then they finish with grain and corn to beef them up before they are slaughtered. This is all very interesting because the FDA has loose restrictions on what is allowed under the terms of “Free Range” and “All natural”. So the next time you are in the super market, try to look for “pastured raised” chickens, this means they live outside. And talk to your butcher about where your meat comes from. Most likely at the farmers market, meat sellers will be willing to talk to you about their process. 

Educate our Kids. Tony Geraci is Baltimore Schools Food Service Director. He started this year the Great Kids Farm. With greenhouses and chickens, Tony teaches the kids how food is grown by showing them. His mission is to bring kids back to understanding where our food comes from. It is a chance for kids to take part in growing their own fruits and vegetables. Plant it, watch it grow, then eat it. How fun is that! By this, more fresh fruits and vegetables will be available in the lunch room, while less “chicken” nuggets and processed foods will be served. He was explaining how lots of the products out in schools have “fruit flavors” disguised in a can or bottle. He shouted “No wonder our kids are confused! Aluminum cans and bottles are calling themselves “apples” and nutritional. What happened to a plan old apple?!” Tony believes if we teach our kids how to eat in school then it can set up for future consumers of the next generation. Education is key on the future of our agricultural system. 

ReEstablish our system. Our tax dollars goes towards subsidizing only 5 products: Corn, Rice, Soy, Cotton and Wheat. Notice I didn’t mention a fruit or a nutritional vegetable. So our money is going towards millions of tons of corn which is then turned into cheap food for us and our cattle. This only creates health problems as cattle are not suppose to eat corn, so then our tax dollars are spent on medicating the cows to make them not sick. The average American eats 9 ounces of meat a day…We eat what the cow eats. So beef packed with anti-biotics, corn and God knows what else then makes US sick. In 2006, 3 out of every 5 American’s are over weight. According to the UN, in 2000, the number of people suffering for OVER nutrition – 1 billion, surpassed the number suffering to malnutrition – 800 million. That is a lot of healthcare we need to cover and could be less if we concentrate on bringing back less processed foods into our Western diet. That means tell our government that we want more money towards farmers who are growing fruits and vegetables. Start LOCAL, check out what your city or state legislators are doing to support local farms. Together, lets REestablish our food system….

Check out Washington Posts article on Tony Geraci and his plan to grow kid’s school lunches. 

and of course Michael Pollen’s website for his books and next stop on his tour.

Green Drinks

It is a way to connect to people – on a more personal, green way: Green Drinks! How else do people meet and greet but only after a few drinks in them… That is why hundreds, maybe even thousands of people have taken it upon themselves to establish hundreds of venues for Green Drinks throughout not only the States but the world. The purpose is to establish a conversation about what green things are happening in your area: whether it is a business,a group or just individuals. Come together and share your experiences on how to be more green in your life!

Next week, Wednesday May 20th Green Drinks is at Redwood in Bethesda, MD and at Growlers Brewery in Gaithersburg, MD! For more information check out Greendrinks.org for your local chapter! Cheers!