Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Back To School: Sustainable Design

Tonight I completed my first of eight classes on sustainable design principles at The Cleveland Institute of Art, a four year college with graduates working in fields ranging from auto design to product design to fine arts. The class will introduce us to principles of sustainable design (meeting a design objective without harm to the environment and community) ranging from architecture to bioclimatic design. We will also discuss topics of permaculture and community planning. I have no idea of what permaculture or bioclimatic design mean exactly, but hey this is why I'm taking the course! This will be a very hands on class as we are expected to identify a project using a site in the area that could benefit from a sustainable design approach. My class mates are an italian aerospace engineer and another green banker. We will compare and contrast development of our projects using conventional measures against sustainable measures. The project must be presented using drawings and plans (uh oh) and have the goal of convincing a developer to invest in the more holistic option. Next week's assignment is to discuss three possible project ideas. Any thoughts on types of projects? I'm thinking about community gardening, but that has been done quite a bit in my city. Guess I will be really taking a hard look at my community and issues affecting our communities in general over the next week in search of ideas. I will use some of the ideas of the winners of the Re-Burbia (redesign the suburbs) contest for inspiration. The assigned book for the course is "Cradle to Cradle", by McDonough and Braungart. I will keep you posted!

Setting The Stage For A Greener Community

Last week, I attended the Ohio Planning Annual Conference, which had a theme around sustainability.Most in attendance were urban planners, engineers, architects and consultants. I was the only banker. Planners are professionals that develop long and short term plans for the use of land in a region. They factor the vision for the city, demographic trends, social, enviromental and economic goals into development a document called a comprehensive plan. I attended four workshops, 1) Visioning with Sustainability In Mind 2) City of Cleveland Vacant Land Reuse Plan 3) Historic Building Preservation is the New Green and 4) Engaging Citizens in the Comprehensive Planning Process. This is what I learned:

1) The principles of city planning and sustainability share many values

2) It is important to engage the community or stakeholders in setting the vision for the future

3) There are many approaches to implementing sustainability into your city's plan - the Marin County, CA comprehensive plan is the cadillac of these plans

4) Foreclosures and population declines allow cities an opportunity to re-green space, improve water resources and neighborhoods through land banking

5) Some cities offer residents an opportunity to acquire property for $1 after a period of demonstrated improvements on the land

6) Residents have opportunities to apply for grants to recreate and re-develop their neighborhoods on a micro level

7) Preserving an historic building can be a greener approach to new construction, lots of value stored in the building in the form of solid construction and energy already expended in its' construction

8) You have an opportunity to shape the future of your city, region and/or state through participation on community planning boards and open houses

9) Elected officials, zoning officials and private companies need to be educated on the benefits of sustainability, economic and social rewards

10) There are lots of loan programs, tax credits and grant programs available for small businesses in the area of sustainability and historic building preservation, but no simple way to access this information (I can assist you with this-email me at bn2g00@gmail.com)

11) Bio-waste is the new oil, companies and cities are looking for ways to sell their organic waste

So there you have it, as Gandhi stated "Be the change you want to see in the world". Start visualizing and brainstorming some great ways to productively use land and space in your community, call your council person or county executive and make it happen baby!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Black Raw Foodies

I was reading my new uncookbook and discovered there was a black owned raw food restaurant in Harlem (Raw Soul owned by Lillian Butler). This made me curious about other black owned uncookery's across the nation. Tonight I bring to you, courtesy of Pear Magazine, Black Raw Food History. It includes activists like Dick Gregory, Oprah consultants, fine grandma's, spa owners, bodybuilders and a host of other interesting folk. Be sure to read about Karyn Calabrese, proprietor of the Karyn's in Chicago. The article is dated 2007, so I'm sure there are many great new african american owned raw food establishments in play. I will keep searching and posting my findings.

This Week In The Fall Garden

This vibrant red dahlia greets passersby with it's pop of color.

This trumpet vine is a native plant and is sought after by hummingbirds. Try to plant as many natives as you can. They are hardy, drought resistant, low maintenance and the birds love 'em. The plan is to train this over an arbor that I will place in the front garden. I can't wait! I can just imagine hummingbird fiestas in my garden. Fiesta, fiesta!

Vintage Store Values on Collectibles

For those of you that are into black collectibles, vintage and thrift stores are great places to find good deals, those these were kind of pricey at $65, but I'm sure they are priced below value. I thought the expression on the one to the right was unusually genteel for this type of collectible.

Mod is back! These cocktail set would fit right in on the set of "Mad Men".
Shapely Vegan Purse - I really liked the shape of this old school purse. Very retro. Will pair nicely with my leopard print mules. $18 bucks.

Now This Is Living - Food

Mango Lassi - mango, dates, water, vanilla and flaxseed. Umm good.

I thought this Ezekiel Manna Bread was raw because it is made with sprouted live grains, but that was just too good to be true. Anyway, this very green sandwich was made with dill seasoned nut "mayo", arugula, zebra tomatoes and cukes. It was awesome! Tasted like a BLT, baby!

This coleslaw was made with a creamy mayonnaise made out of soaked macadamia nuts, water, olive oil, lemon juice, shallots, sea salt and dill. Throw it all in a blender, push the button and it's on! It can be used as a dressing, sandwich filling, veggie dip or topper. You can use cashews, brazil nuts or pine nuts or skip the nuts and go with an avocado mayo. The recipe can be found in Sarma's Living Raw Food cookbook, featured in the currently reading section of Black and Into Green.


Man, I have been going crazy recently over the entire concept of uncooked food. I have in the last ten days acquired three raw cookbooks and tried numerous new recipes. Why the obsession? I'm not sure, but I think that what I'm experiencing is typical for the raw curious. My body is enjoying the lighter feeling, I crave fresh fruits, veggies and nuts, this is the ultimate eco-friendly diet and I am having a blast tinkering and uncooking in the kitchen, trying out new things. Perhaps I was bored and this is a healthy way to try something new. Better than popping bon bons! I told you about the book, "Living Raw Food", by NY restaurant owner, Sarma Melngailis, but I have discovered two new books, "Ani's Raw Food Kitchen", which I love for its dehydrator-free and simple recipes and my newest purchase, "The Raw 50", by supermodel and actress Carol Alt. The recipes in this book were too good to pass up. I will post them in the currently reading section of the blog for your convenience. I don't think I will ever go completely raw but mostly raw is definitely a possibility, especially once the teen heads off to college in two years. Anyway my enthusiasm has been contagious as three of my associates are very curious and plan to try uncooking for themselves. Try it for yourself, I bet you and your body will like it and mother earth will love it!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Green Marketing Tips

Green Marketing | Business.gov

Shared via AddThis

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Glean In My Eye For Free Food

I don't know what's happening, but without even trying, since reading the book "The Scavenger's Manifesto", I have been spotting free fruit everywhere. The category of scavenger that seeks free harvests in an urban setting is an "urban gleaner". I haven't been looking for free food, but perhaps my subconscious picked up on the vigilance message from the book. Pictured here is the ripe bounty from a pear tree behind a warehouse, an apple tree next to a gas station and a lush grapevine dangling above the trash bin and parking lot of a pizza place! I have parked in all three locations often, but never noticed these fruits until recently. One could speculate that I had never parked in these places in the fall, so that would explain the sudden sightings, but that would be no fun at all.

This Week In The Late Summer Garden

It has been a busy week folks, during which time I managed to catch a bad cold, so I am running on cruise for a while. I did want to share some photos from the garden this week. So here you go. Top to bottom: A fat mum from the garden center to jazz up the curbside garden a bit, a sparkly sedum that's on its job this time of the year, tomatoes doing their best in my partly shady garden, one pepper, one of many self-planting flowers-this morning glory likes the crevice on my stairs!


Last week was my second round of eating doing a once a week raw diet. After hearing so many positive comments about the raw diet experience, I was curious. I liked it! I wasn't hungry and really didn't miss eating cooked food (except when I fried some fish for my son). So I decided to expand to two raw days a week, with this cold, I can use all the extra nutrients provided by a raw diet. As one who loves to cook or in this case prepare food, I picked up a cool book by Sarma Melingailis, "Living Raw Food, Get The Glow". I can't wait to prepare pistachio parsley salad, zucchini "pasta" with heirloom tomato and lemon-basil sauce and coleslaw with avocado mayonnaise. It is featured in the "Currently Reading" section of Black and Into Green. This book is enjoyable for more than it's recipes, I enjoyed reading about the author's journey and NY restaurant, Pure Food and Wine. Another great resource is the website http://www.goneraw.com/, a bonanza of recipes. And finally Chocolateorchid has some great raw smoothie recipes featuring ch-ch-ch-chia seeds! Summer and fall harvests offer flavorful foods to experiment with and I am all about trying out new oils and nut butters, so I'm pretty pleased. I will let you know how it goes.


This Week In The Late Summer Garden

Shapely, colorful foilage of geraniums, mum, garden decor as filler, more mums in the curbside garden and a rare late blooming daylily that greets passersby near the sidewalk.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

World's Largest Firms Must Move Twice as Fast on Climate, Report Finds | GreenBiz.com

World's Largest Firms Must Move Twice as Fast on Climate, Report Finds | GreenBiz.com

Shared via AddThis

An Eco-Contest Fest For All Interests

Are you a greenie that wants to win some easy green? Greenwala is a green social networking site that seems to love contests. From submitting your green business or workplace to your very green pet photos, there is an eco-friendly contest for everyone! Click here to check them out.

Budget Friendly Eco Food Biz Supplier

Doesn't it just annoy you to get a big ole Styrofoam box to hold your takeout? I have gotten to the point of often eating in, just to avoid the stuff or asking for my food to be wrapped in paper or foil. Apparently restaurants want to do better, but costs are an obstacle. A chef at a high end restaurant recently complained to me about the high cost of going green. His biggest complaint seemed to be around the costs of takeout supplies. I gave his wife my card and the web address to a local sustainability network for entrepreneurs, E4S. I hope they are reading this blog, because I just discovered a new business focused entirely on providing eco-friendly and budget friendly food service supplies. Foodbizsupply.com, operated by Green Choice Vendors Distribution LLC provides over 300 biodegradable and compostable products made from renewable resources. The company's goal is to provide earth friendly food products at price points that are digestible to business owners. Green Choice Vendors provides products to any merchant that provides food or drink products.

So next time you are handed one of those bulky 200 year decomposing Styrofoam boxes or jumbo foam cups that some people like to chew on (you know who you are), hand over the web address of FoodBizSupply.com to the owner/manager. Styrofoam has got to go!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Glenn Beck Gets First Scalp: Van Jones Resigns

Glenn Beck Gets First Scalp: Van Jones Resigns The inmates are running the prison. Honestly, you would think that the right wing won the election, based on the results of the last month.

Posted using ShareThis

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Free Stuff

Kiplinger's Magazine has provided a list of 30 freebies. Having just read the book, "The Scavenger's Manifesto", I couldn't pass up checking out the list. Freebies include:

  • Restaurant meals
  • Travel Tours
  • Places to Stay
  • Tech Recycling
  • Financial tools and investment advice
  • Software
  • Video Games
  • Birthday goodies
  • Movies and Music
  • Mobile Apps
  • Charitable Giving

Socially Responsible Investng Part III: Resources

Apparently, I'm on the right track in the pursuit of financial rewards through the use of a socially responsible investment portfolio. The Appleseed Fund, which I mentioned in part one of the SRI series, was recently highly recommended by Kiplingers, the personal finance magazine, in the article "Planting the Seeds for Big Gains". The fund topped the Midsize Company Value Funds category, not the socially responsible funds category, but head to head against it's non-SRI peers. Anyway, in part three of this series, I have provided a list of websites for you to review to learn more about investment basics as well as SRI and green funds.

  1. http://www.socialinvest.org/
  2. http://www.socialfunds.com/
  3. www.Coopamerica.org/socialinvesting
  4. www.care3.com/financial
  5. http://www.domini.com/
  6. http://www.sristocks.com/
  7. www.investingforthesoul.com
  8. http://www.greencentury.com/
  9. http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/
  10. http://www.greenchipstocks.com/
  11. http://www.greenmoneyjournal.com/
  12. http://www.stockjargon.com/
  13. http://www.learninvesting.com/
  14. http://www.kiplinger.com/
  15. http://www.abcstockinvesting.com/
  16. www.blackenterprise.com/wealth-for-life/investing
  17. http://www.sharebuilder.com/ (cheap and easy way to purchase individual stocks)