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I planted my garden! Well, it is for my Mom, but me too! It took a long 5 hours to over turn the grass near our little shed in the backyard. But once the soil was mixed planting all my plants took no time! 

So here is what I got: 

3 “Anana Orange” heirloom tomatoes, 1 “Sweet 100” tomato, 1 “Sun Gold” tomato”, 1 “La Roma”, 1 “Early Girl” tomato, 1 “Garden Peach” heirloom tomato, 1 “Celebrity” tomato, 1 zucchini, 2 “Yellow Crookneck” squash, 1 “Burpee” eggplant, 1 “Chiban” eggplant, 2 “Burpee Hybrid” cucumber and 1 watermelon!! phewww that is a lot! 

Check it out!

Before

Before

 

After

After

So I will be swimming with produce in just under 2 months! Can’t wait!

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Calling All Produce!

Ahhh the sun is out and it is warming up! That means lots of fresh food!! All you have to do is attend one of the many farmer’s markets in the area to get the freshest of fresh MD produce! Here are the ones in my area of Rockville, MD:

Gaithersburg: on the corner of Fulks Corner Ave. and Rt. 355. I can ride by bike up to this small vendor area right past Old Town Gaithersburg, where about 3-7 farmers have their tents set up every Thursday starting June 5th, 2 pm to 6 pm

Kentlands: 301 Main St. At the main pavilion, farmers come every Saturday starting May 2nd, 10 am to 2 pm

Olney: Rt 108 and Spartan Rd. in front of the old movie theater. Lots of craft vendors, live music and unique ethic foods. Every Sunday 9 am to 1 pm Starting May 10th

Rockville: Rt 28 and Monroe St. in the parking lot. Every Saturday, starting May 16th, 9 am to 1 pm and Wednesday, starting June 3rd, in front of the Regal movie theater, 11 am to 2 pm

Bethesda: Norfolk Ave and Woodmont Ave. Every Tuesday 10 am to 2:30 pm and Saturday 10 am to 2:30 pm Starting May 5th 

For more information check out MD Farmer’s Market Directory

For a great DC market, check out Eastern Market up on Capital Hill. You can’t beat this loaded craft fair/produce market with music, art, crafts, food….it is unbeatable! It is one of the oldest markets still opened, started in 1873. For produce, the indoor market is opened in the temporary East Hall Tuesday-Sunday. Outdoor farmers are lined up both on Saturday and Sunday but the great flea market filled with unique vendors is 10 am to 5 pm every Sunday. It makes a great Sunday for leisure shopping or to pick up essentials.  For more: Eastern Market 

ALSO:

Sundays at Dupont Circle every Sunday 9am to 1pm. 

Wednesdays at Foggy Bottom at I st. between New Hampshire and 24th st. 2:30 to 7pm

Thursdays at Penn Quarter at the North end of 8th st. NW, between D and E st. 3pm to 7pm

Did I not list any markets in your area? Check out Local Harvest to search your zip code for local farmer’s markets, CSAs, Co-ops and restaurants! 

And remember! It is best to start up a conversation with your local farmer, get to know him or her. Start and build a relationship to infuse quality produce coming to you. What goes into these tomatoes or peppers? Do they use any chemicals? How far do they have to travel to get to you? These are essential questions and concerns that ultimately make or break how green and how healthy the produce is you are going to consume. Be Well!

That’s right, he is coming! If you were lucky enough to get a ticket to either the Round House Theatre this Friday, May 15th in Bethesda, MD or Saturday at the Enoch Pratt Library in Baltimore, Pollen will be there! He will be giving a lecture on his most recent book, In Defense of Food; An Eater’s Manifesto: how to get back to the roots of consuming food. He states in his book that now a days, Americans are “consuming edible food-like substances” and how the more “we worry about nutrition, the less healthy we seem to become”. That is our whole idea of what healthy is, is determined by what food corporations state on their packaging labels – “Low-Fat”, “All Natural”, “Low-Carb”: when in reality it is packed with processed substances and chemicals we can’t even pronounce. Simple stated, Pollen’s manifesto is: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” I am extremely excited to see Pollen in action, after I read both his books. They are very inspiring for anyone: the person who wants to loose weight, be healthy or just be green with what they consume. Check his books out and his website: Michael Pollen and the links to the events: 

Politics & Prose

Baltimore Green Works 

Will update about the lecture soon! 

Speaking of voting with your dollar, I learned about this great activist group called Carrotmob. They came up with a way to advocate companies to become a little more green with the incentive that they will get more money in return. How? Well, as they say, companies will do ANYTHING FOR MONEY. Right? So they had the idea to get businesses to compete to see who could put up the highest percentage of their income for one day to reducing their carbon footprint. In return, Carrotmob would gather a mob of people to come purchase products at their store. Check out the video on their website (which if anything is a hilarious, entertaining music video) giving an example of how it worked. Out of 23 liquor stores in a San Francisco neighborhood, the highest bidder said they would give 22% of the income they made that day to making their store more energy efficient. So, Carrotmob got the attention of hundreds of people to come out that day to buy what they needed and if not, at least donate some goods to a local shelter. Its like 3 birds with one stone; 1. reduce carbon footprint, 2. income to their business, and 3. helping out the hungry… WOW! So, the result? On an average good day, the store says they get around $3,000, in a couple hours they managed to have an income of $9,000! They said that this was enough money to complete a whole energy retrofit to their store and reduce their energy bills as well as carbon footprint! It is a win-win-win situation for everyone!

So I am hoping this type of activist will continue and spread throughout the world. Creating more green actions for all. I will be keeping my eye out on them and update hopefully soon! LETS MOB!

Money is power. Period. Our world goes round and round by consumerism. And there is such a way to become more green with your green. Supporting environmental, social and economic responsible companies are all just as important as buying organic or green products. There is a difference when putting your money towards the one brand of shoes that supports sweatshops in China than the one company who only sells 100% fair trade. If there is one thing that you do to be a little be more green, it is choosing the product that is a little more sustainable than the other.

How to do this? Well there is this nifty book I got last year that is called The Better World Shopping Guide. It is a small, easily to carry book that lists loads of name brand products in all categories: from Appliances to Wine. All products are rated on an A through F ranking. A being the most responsible and F being the worst. I can carry this book in my purse and whip it out anytime I have trouble deciding on which product to buy. For instance, when purchasing wine, I can never decide, and a lot of times it goes to how pretty the bottle looks. But this guide helps make my decision faster and easier by choosing the higher ranked company rather than the lowest. It also gives a small description of why the F company is bad and why the A company is good, called corporate villain and corporate hero. For wine: Local vineyards are always an A, but Fretzer is an A company because they have 100% organic wine and they are powered by 100% renewable energy. But Clos du Bois receives an F for having no code of conduct for workers and named “Sweatshop Laggard”. Why wouldn’t you choose Fretzer over Clos du Bios, especially if price only varies slightly. 

Pick up this book – only $10 and next time you are in the grocery store deciding what toilet paper or can of soup to purchase whip this book out and make your dollar go a little more greener.

Green Your Pets

So I was with my Aunt this weekend up in Fredrick, MD. She came back from Wal-mart in the morning with tons of plastic bags (you know this doesn’t fly with me if you read my 5 challenges post previously…) and I asked her where were her cloth reusable bags?? Her response was “I reuse them! I use them to pick up Shadow’s poop…” I said Okay, understandable, but you still throw away all of these plastic bags, thats not good. Now its hard when family becomes involved in these sorts of situations. I hate to be the one that says, “Well actually Aunt Shell, you aren’t really doing any better if you were to just to use the bags once and throw them away.” So I am careful to choose my words wisely and try to shift her (or anyone else for that matter) thinking; how to be even MORE green. I told her later that I had to come up with a solution so she wouldn’t have to be dependent on reusing plastic bags. 

So this is what I have come up with, ways to help minimize your dependence on plastic bags. 

1. Pooper-scooper – so you have to carry this thing around with you when walk the dog, but scooping that poop up and putting it in the trash will save hundreds of plastic bags a year. The only thing is, you should put it in a biodegradable bag, which brings me to..

2. 100% Biodegradable plastic bags  – BIOBAG which is made up of 100% decomposable matter, so no chemicals or toxins going into the land. You could use these while you follow your dog or even use them to as your main trash bag when scooping the poop up. 

3. Compost your pet’s waste – If you want to get really green with your dog’s number 2, check out this article by Marion Owen about how to compost your dog’s waste! Dog Waste Composter 

And don’t forget all of the other opportunities to green your pet:

-Make new toys out of old articles of clothing or balls

-Buy natural, organic food

-Use biodegradable kitty litter like FelinePine.

-Bake your own dog’s treats, check out these recipes from The Poop Pantry.

A healthy pet is a happy one! 

After I came back from Buenos Aires, I was inspired to do more with less. That is, less energy, spend less money, but with a little more patience. And after all, summer is approaching, that means more SUN ENERGY!

After washing and drying your clothes by hand for more than 5 weeks, I became more appreciative of our efficient machine washer and dryer here at home. But there is something about the sun drying my clothes which I like a little bit better. So,

1: Dry clothes by hand, OUTSIDE! 

I took on this task the day I came back from Argentina, washed all my clothes on one setting less (warm instead of hot, or cold instead of warm) and took each load outside to my deck, hung them up on the dryer rack (or use a clothes line) in the sun (but be careful of the sun fading the color, they can dry just as good in the shade when it is warm out) and waited. I swear, 10 minutes later in 70 degree weather, they were all dry! Ready to be folded and put away. There is something real soothing about hanging up your clothes in the hot sun. I LOVE IT! Less money on your electricity bill, a little more patience and you can become a little more greener! 

hanging my clothes

2. Compost! See my post earlier about how easy it is to compost! Without spending more than 10 bucks! Anyone can do it, even in an apartment! 

3. Use less! Of course of course, everyone says use less, but one trick my family and I figured out was to use more microwave save containers: this means less plastic-wrap (which some contain toxins like DEHA that is a known human carcinogen, EEK!) used to heat up your dishes as well as to preserve food in the refrigerator. Check out these inexpensive ceramic containers: Chefini. Another trick I found was using less plastic bags and more reusable containers, like plastic containers or these cool snack pouches! (Seen on Oprah) Reusablebags.com 

www.reusablebags.com

4. Steel Bottle What? Steel?…Yup! Plastic is OUT and Steel is IN. Most plastic bottles (reusable or not) contain a chemical called BPA or Bisphenol A that can affect your brain and physical well being. That doesn’t sound too good…so check out Klean Kanteen and purchase one bottle for $20 that is socially, economically and environmentally responsible. With YOUR purchase of one bottle can save hundreds of plastic bottles you would be purchasing over a year that will be kept out of the landfill! Pretty easy right?

 

 

 

5. Reusable Bags I know, you have heard this plenty of times, but it works! And it is EASY. SO SO easy. Many of the bags I have received were free from expos but the few that I have bought were around $1 – $5. Cheap right? With a few dollars, you can save hundreds of plastic bags a year bringing them with you wherever you may go. I take them to Target, the grocery store, CVS, everywhere. Ok so in the beginning I get lots of looks, especially if it isn’t at a farmers market or Whole Foods. Or comments like “Trying to save the world huh…?” that is usually not too friendly…But, my response is, well actually yes, I am. Believe me, it is started to catch on. It is so simple and so easy people will get the hang of it. Right as your checking out, just say to the cashier, “I have my own bag” and where I live, they usually bag (other places you have to do it yourself which makes it easier) so just hand it over. Remember, a plastic bag is a 500 – 1,000 year life span: read about it more here  wholefoods