The Green Bronx Machine

The Green Bronx Machine

Jan 23

Changing the way we eat is more than just being healthy and reducing pollution — it’s an opportunity to build community. We just watched a presentation by Stephen Ritz at the TEDx Manhattan conference “Changing the Way We Eat,” and it’s incredibly hard to remember and describe everything he is doing, but he gave me chills of excitement. He possesses more energy than a...

Window Farms

Window Farms

Jan 21

Starting a farm is really hard, especially in an urban neighborhood. Starting a garden is easier, but still requires land, time, money and some starting knowledge. But starting a Window Farm? That actually seems pretty easy. This is a great idea for someone who is only renting, or someone who owns but doesn’t have much land. It would also be great in an office window. It’s basically...

Bison: The other red meat

Bison: The other red meat

Dec 27

I may be late to the party, but I just found out that American Bison (not to be confused with the Asian water buffalo or the African cape buffalo) come with some special regulations by the USDA. Because they were endangered for a while — they were hunted aggressively and are naturally sensitive to climate changes — they have to be pasture-fed and cannot receive hormones or antibiotics....

Eat Local Week 2011

Eat Local Week 2011

Jul 23

Are you interested in eating local, but not in doing all the work required? Well, this November, Slow Food Orlando will make it easy for you, by hosting a week of local dining November 11-18, 2011. We’ll be reposting news from Slow Food Orlando as we get it, but you can also check it out for yourself at...

From Dirt to Dinner course

From Dirt to Dinner course

Jul 15

Last month we posted about the Orange County Extension Center offering a 6-week course called From Dirt To Dinner. The course was said to cover starting seeds, growing them, pest control, the best time to harvest, preserving methods, food safety, and ultimately how to best cook the foods you grew. I currently have the luxury of having Fridays off, so I was quick to sign up for the course. I was a...

Patio Garden: Summer

Patio Garden: Summer

Jul 14

I feel a little like a first-time parent when I post pictures of our garden (see below for more), showing it off at all times of day, in all stages of growth. But I think it’s important because 1) it keeps a record that we can go back and review, and 2) it shows all our readers (that’s you!) that we are doing (read: trying) to do (some of) the things that we recommend to our readers....

The Story of Stuff

The Story of Stuff

Jun 09

We just discovered this video, thanks to a Facebook friend. It’s a great and simple look at our consumer culture and the ways in which it is unsustainable.

Saving Water, Saving Sunlight

Saving Water, Saving Sunlight

May 30

As most of our friends are already aware, Laura and I quit television months ago. (You can do it, too! It’s just a simple eight-step program.) As a result, we are often the last to hear about major headlines. However, I’ve recently seen a couple things in the Orlando Sentinel that I want to share. First, a company called Blue Chip Energy has acquired the rights to turn a 200-acre...

Blueberry Jamz

Blueberry Jamz

May 23

Have you ever tasted fruit preserves or juice “with no added sugar” that still tasted really sweet? Have you ever passed these products up in the grocery store because they’re so expensive? Well, I just made blueberry jam, and let me tell you: It takes A LOT of fruit to make a sweet concoction without adding any processed sugar. I used about 6 cups of berries, added what felt...

Strawberry Ale

Strawberry Ale

May 23

After a wonderful strawberry season, I have a strawberry red ale that just finished carbonating. My first thoughts after tasting it are that it’s wonderfully fruity and delicious, but still needs some time to “condition” in the fridge. Right now, it still has a pretty yeasty aftertaste, so hopefully the time in the cold will help mellow that out. I was a little worried about how...

Local Producer: Beck Brothers Blueberries

Local Producer: Beck Brothers Blueberries

May 22

Anxious for a taste of this year’s blueberry harvest, Laura and I drove over to Windermere this morning to harvest our own at Beck Brothers Blueberries. Incongruously located in the middle of upper-class suburban sprawl, the farm is clean and friendly enough to make Martha Stewart proud. The owner of the farm (one of the Beck brothers?) told me he’d lived on that same street all his...

Organic Growers’ Meeting: Growing Blueberries

Organic Growers’ Meeting: Growing Blueberries

May 22

The Organic Growers’ Meeting on May 18 was a great success. The room was pretty well packed, the seats filled with attentive growers, all anxious to produce their own little patch of blueberry bliss. Ethos Vegan Kitchen provided some free pizza, and Our Vital Earth announced its new worm container, The Worm Cafe. (It’s basically a Can-O-Worms that is rectangular, with some other...

Making Use of Wasted Food

Making Use of Wasted Food

May 18

I just read an article in Urban Farm magazine about how an organization in San Francisco is working on collecting scraps from local restaurants. They are putting the scraps in biodigesters and generating electricity from the methane generated when the food decomposes. They are currently powering some crazy amount of homes and will soon start selling the power to the local power company. I love...

Worm Bin Updates

Worm Bin Updates

May 07

Now that Laura and I have had our worms in residence for many months, we’ve fallen into a comfortable routine of saving used paper towels and napkins, vegetable scraps and coffee grounds. After harvesting worm castings and worm tea a couple times, we felt our project had been quite a success. But we’ve been reminded recently that our “project” is a living ecosystem. It may...

Find Some Free Fresh Fruit

Find Some Free Fresh Fruit

May 03

In my most recent issue of Budget Travel, however unlikely, I found a nifty iPhone app called Find Fruit, created by the good folks at the website Neighborhood Fruit. Essentially, this app maps out the locations of publicly accessible fruit trees in your area. Free fruit! Unfortunately, there’s no free fruit documented in the greater Orlando area. It’s a little difficult to use the...

Hey, it’s organic!

Hey, it’s organic!

May 01

Three weeks ago, my yellow cherry tomato plant had no fruit on it. Now tomatoes abound. What’s changed? Just a little pee is all. Yup, we’ve been periodically adding our nitrogen rich urine to this plant and it loves it! And our other tomato plant, the one we haven’t been giving any urine, has exactly one pitiful fruit growing. The good part in all this, it’s natural,...

Pickling Demo with Bill Hettig

Pickling Demo with Bill Hettig

Apr 24

You’ve already seen our Perfect PIckler that we got at last week’s Organic Growers’ Meeting. You’ve seen us attempt to use it for the first time. Now you can learn for yourself what pickling is all about — why it’s important, how to do it, and how you can use the Perfect Pickler to make it easier. Check out our video of Bill Hettig’s presentation and...

First Pickles

First Pickles

Apr 23

Laura: Freshly inspired by Bill Hettig’s talk on Wednesday, I just had to use our Perfect Pickler yesterday. I go grocery shopping on Fridays so it was optimal circumstances to pick up the salt, water, and extra veggies we would need. I loosely followed a recipe in the Perfect Pickler Handbook for Edamame Slaw. It has shelled edamame, broccoli slaw and in ours some green beans from the...

Pickler

Pickler

Apr 22

When I first came across the Perfect Pickler, it seemed innocuous enough. It didn’t look like some nefarious scam, trying to rake in as much cash as possible before being scandalously exposed. It didn’t have the feel of a new diet trend or the next super food. It did, however, seem like a unitasker (which Alton Brown will tell you is a waste of space), yet another rarely used product...

Happy Earth Day 2011!

Happy Earth Day 2011!

Apr 22

I learned this morning that Earth Day started in 1970, and back then it was more about protesting pollution, where now I see it as a day to support greener acts. There is a great news report from April 22nd 1970 about Earth Day, give it a looksee. Today in celebration of Earth Day I have some great resources and websites to help us all live a little greener for the planet. Carbon Footprint...

Pickling Introduction @ Organic Growers Meeting

Pickling Introduction @ Organic Growers Meeting

Apr 19

Don’t forget that the Simple Living Institute’s Organic Growers Meeting is this tomorrow night (Wednesday, April 13) at Leu Gardens. It’s free to all, so come out and enjoy a demonstration and introduction to the basics of pickling just about anything. Not to mention the free plant raffle – bring a plant, go home with a different plant (or three, or four, or five).

On the Patio

On the Patio

Apr 17

Our patio is small, and overwhelmingly tinged green and grey by the concrete and stucco, but it is more enjoyable this Spring than ever before. The perimeter of potted plants creates a sort of urban jungle. I can nearly hear the green things drinking water and stretching their appendages toward the sun. The roses make a beeline toward the screen canopy, growing with unexpected speed in the...

UCF Arboretum

UCF Arboretum

Apr 15

I spent my morning at the organic community garden at the UCF Arboretum. The Arboretum sits on the UCF campus and is part of conservation land. The Arboretum was started years ago with the mission of giving “students, faculty, staff, and the greater community of Central Florida a comprehensive environmental and outdoor living laboratory for education, research, recreation, and human...

Leasing Solar Power

Leasing Solar Power

Apr 12

Just heard about this from a friend: Leasing solar power. Sungevity, based in Oakland, Calif., will provide installation and maintenance of a home solar power system for no up front cost — all you pay is a monthly lease amount. I have no idea how large an area they service — I think they’re still a rather small company — so I’m not trying to drum up business for them. I just...

Local Producer Spotlight: Sundew Gardens

Local Producer Spotlight: Sundew Gardens

Apr 08

“I’ll give it to the chickens,” says Tom Carey, owner of Sundew Gardens in Ovideo, Florida, as he demonstrates a head of lettuce gone to seed. “These leaves will taste way to bitter for people to enjoy.” It’s a warm Spring morning that is quickly becoming hot, and Tom is explaining his techniques for soil cultivation, pest control, and planting cycles, while...