Monday, May 31, 2010
Now that the Elite Women's Economic Development Summit is behind me (see photos), I am working on a new green economic development project - marketing and promoting an urban farmers market that is being launched by my son's aunt in Cincinnati, Ohio. His auntie Lisa is truly a renaissance women - a holder of a Masters in Public Administration, a commercial property owner, she roasts and grounds her own coffee beans, gardens, bakes a mean pie and can put in electrical wiring for an entire building. Her latest venture, is to start a farmers market in an urban area of the Queen City. She started constructing the exterior features of the area and is seeking farmers and vendors currently. My son and I are going to assist her with the marketing and promotion of the market. Michael will create a Facebook page and I will assist with the other aspects of marketing. I found some great local food networks and initiatives that she can link into and I will find her a market mentor in Cleveland. We will also seek support of the community stakeholders, which shouldn't be a hard sell because the only grocery store in the area is a convenient store according to a neighborhood website. Check out this article by Yolanda Adams on the need for an urban farmers market in the city. Based on my research, an idea time to start was March, but we are going to run with it and see where it takes us. There are some great resources available online for anyone interested in starting a farmers market. What kinds of features, amenities and activities do you think would make a farmers market a success in an urban neighborhood?
A Gulf Coast shrimper stated that this time of the year his body gets the urge to go out into the gulf and catch shrimp. I can completely relate, as each spring I feel an incredible urge to get out into the garden and plant it up! I can't help myself, really. Gardening at any cost is how I feel sometimes. God put it in me and I'm going with it, since only adds value. Anyway, here is what we have in the May garden in Cleveland this time of the year. 1 and 2) Petunias had an amazing sweet and spicy fragrance to the garden and a punch of color 3) Dianthus or Pinks are fragrant and drought tolerant, so I added them to my newest curbside garden 4-7) Bearded irises are tough, fragrant, drought tolerant and have interesting foilage, these are in a curbside bed 8) A gorgeous butterfly ornament that I picked up at a wonderful N. High Street garden center in Columbus, I have a smaller yellow and pink one too 9-10) Peonies, tough and flamboyant beauties 11) Succulents, Hens and Chicks, Sedum, daylillies and a Leo the Lion remnant from a broken pot 12) Allium, an ornamental onion that animals won't eat and that retain their form after the purple flowers dry out 13) My newest bearded iris beatuy, smells awesome, placed in the new curbside bed 14) Another peony (it's hard to kill these tough beauties-not that I'm trying) 15) Another hanging basket - the name escapes me now, but it is also fragrant and butterflies love it, those are two allium next to it 16) A fig tree for the curbside garden
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Okay, as promised here are some great ideas for you to engage in the Gulf oil crisis. My thanks to Amy of "Tacoma Green Mama" for sharing this resource, she always has great information. The most expedient action you can take is to write your representative or President Obama, using the links provided in this blog. Hurry, because it seems as though this oil well is going to gush forever. I just continue to be amazed that with all of these MIT, Caltech, Oxford and Morehouse grads out here, that this problem has not been resolved. Man is playing with God's fire, but doesn't know how to extinguish it. Lessons here?
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Okay, I have been watching this entire gulf oil disaster with fear, astonishment and dismay. My one commentary on it all is that, this situation reinforces my belief that we really can't place all of our trust in the government or corporations to look out for our best interests. We need to stop assuming that "Oh it exists, so it must be safe" or "Oh, it's on the market, so it must be safe" and start asking more questions about everything. How is this made? Where was this made? What was this made of? What is impacted in the creation of this product, service? How is this regulated? Is this regulated? What is the worst case scenario and contingency plan? What do I need to do to protect myself and my community? How prepared am I for an emergency situation? (see Haiti and New Orleans).
I will be researching ways for us to get involved in advocating for safer practices in operations that involve our precious natural resources and post them on this site. We need to realize that God designed the oceans, lakes, trees, birds, frogs, insects, wetlands, etc, to all serve a purpose that keeps the earth operating harmoniously and our lives in balance, so we should pay more attention to how business interests impact that delicate balance. We can't just be clueless and let greed (which we rarely benefit from) destroy our environment, we need to pay attention and let our representatives and business interests know that we care.
We financial types like to evaluate quarterly results, so I thought I would evaluate my performance to date on my 2010 Green Goals. So here you go:
1) Take the bus to work one day a week: Not quite. Maybe warmer weather will make this a reality
2) 20% of clothing thrift or consignment, 20% organic or fair trade: Yes and it has been fun and rewarding experience. See photos. The jacket is 70's vintage. How cool is that? $15 baby! Who said green isn't affordable?
3) Obtain LEED accreditation: Not yet, probably in the fourth quarter.
4) Green renovation of the bathroom: Competing priorities for funds, but a low VOC paint job is very doable as well as the low flow shower fixture
5) Take advantage of tax credits for Energy Star appliance purchase: Third quarter.
6) Apply permaculture principles in the garden: Yes, mixing edibles in with the decorative plantings. Tomatoes, brocoli, blackberries, arugula, sunflowers and purchasing a cold tolerant fig tree.
7) Host green events: Yes. Included a green business panel into the programming for the Women's Trade Summit I co-chaired and will do a garden party in June.
8) Promote Power of Place Based Education principals. Yes. Shared this info with my Green Schools Action Circle.
9) Act as a Green Coach to an African American business: Working on it! Your referrals are welcome.
10) Make five green business presentations: Getting there. Counting the panel discussion as one, upcoming workshop at an AME women's retreat in June, and a health event in August
So there you have my accounting and progress report on my efforts to live healthier for myself and the planet and to spread the word. How are you doing with your 2010 Green Goals? What are your challenges? What have you been blessed with?
I have been meaning for the longest time to provide you with a recap of the Women's Health Conference that I blogged live from last month, but with the Women's Economic Development Summit and family stuff, haven't found the time. But guess what? You can view or listen to the conference with a few clicks.If you don't have time to listen or view any other parts of the conference, you have got to listen to, Lisa P. Jackson of the EPA, Beverly Wright Phd,Will Allen of Growing Power (he will inspire you and blow you AWAY) and the authors of "Slow Death By Rubber Duck" speak. Teresa Heinz also gives a powerful testimonial of her breast cancer story and our Surgeon General also has an interesting background. All of the speakers were great, so try to listen to them all if possible. Let the journey begin......here
My quick recap:
- Know what you are putting onto and into your bodies - read labels and question ingredients
- Women control these important purchasing decisions
- Use unscented products (cosmetics, cleaners, sprays, etc) or if scented only with essential oils
- EPA needs your help to update its authority over chemicals - only regulates five
- Why are some toothpaste manufacturers using the controversial anti-bacterial Triclosan in the toothpaste?
- A health diet of clean fruits and vegetables can dilute the effects of chemicals
- Indoor air pollution from chemicals found everywhere in our homes are more dangerous than outdoor pollution
- If you use canned foods, you are probably exposing yourself to the synthetic estrogen, BPA
- EDEN foods do not use BPA in their canned products
- One person can create powerful changes
- We need to raise our concerns with our political representatives
- Buy local, use organic whenever possible
GreenChef Jana The Month Of May’s In Season Ingredients Before I discovered CSA's and farmers markets, I had no clue about which fruits and veggies were in season. Based on my grocery store experiences, I could pretty much find any product whenever I wanted. Not that I had a diverse palate, I usually ate brocoli, salad stuff, apples, bananas and cherries. Since shopping at the farmer's market I can really appreciate the delicious taste of in season produce. Many vegetables were not in my repetoire of foods, so I had to turn to my cookbooks to figure out how to prepare them and I discovered that many of the recipes consisted of veggies that were all in season at the same time. Wow! How cool was that. I really felt like I was on the prairie with Laura Ingalls (Didn't you just love that series?I did, except for the story about the minstrels coming to town) and we were cooking up (in our cast iron skillet) whatever we harvested that day. Taking this revelation to the next level, I bet that God had a plan for certain foods being in season at the same time. I am certain that further research would reveal that those ingredients combine for optimal nutrition required of our bodies during that specific time of the year. The greener I get, the richer my life becomes.