Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Support the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act

Most Americans strongly oppose the use of battery cages, gestation crates and veal crates to cruelly confine animals on factory farms. Unfortunately, your tax dollars are being used to support the use of all three systems. In fact, the federal government spends more than $1 billion a year on animal products for various federal programs like the National School Lunch Program. Currently, there are no federal laws in place regarding the on-farm treatment of animals exploited for these federal food programs, but new legislation introduced this spring aims to change that.

The Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act (HR 4733) would prohibit the government from purchasing any animal products from animals raised in veal crates, gestation crates and battery cages – three systems that deny animals on farms enough room to even stand up, turn around or lie down. If passed, this legislation, though modest, would affect the lives of millions of animals, and send a clear message to agribusiness that the U.S. government will no longer turn a blind eye to the inhumane treatment of animals raised for food.

You can help!

Call your federal representative and ask him or her to support HR 4733, the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act. Let them know that the on-farm treatment of the approximately 10 billion animals raised and slaughtered annually in the U.S. for food production is of paramount importance to you.

Stop the waste!

Anyone who knows me knows that one of things most important to me is reducing waste. One of the areas that I continue to struggle with is food. Now dont get me wrong. I dont throw food away since I have chickens, dogs & a compost bin that would love to have it. BUT it still frustrates me when I spend my hard earned money on food and it doesnt get eaten. Soooo I found this great website called www.supercook.com where you actually plug in the ingredients you have and recipes come up using those ingredients. What a great way to "clean up" the food in your fridge. I love the site and highly recommend you check it out.

Top 10 uses for used coffee grounds

10. Deodorizer. Dry them out on a cookie sheet and then put them in a bowl in your refrigerator or freezer, or rub them on your hands to get rid of food prep smells.

9. Plant food. Plants such as rosebushes, azaleas, rhododendrons, evergreen and camellias that prefer acidic soils will appreciate the leftovers from your morning cup. Also, grounds can add nutrients to your compost bin.
8. Insect repellant. Sprinkle old grounds around places you don’t want ants, or on the ant piles themselves. The little buggers will move on or stay away. Used grounds are also said to repel snails and slugs.
7. Dye. By steeping grounds in hot water, you can make brown dye for fabric, paper and even Easter eggs.
6. Furniture scratch cover-up. Steep grounds and apply a bit of the liquid to furniture scratches with a Q-tip.
5. Cleaning product. As they’re slightly abrasive, grounds can be used as a scouring agent for greasy and grimy stain-resistant objects.
4. Kitty repellent. To keep kitty from using the garden as her personal powder room, sprinkle grounds mixed with orange peels around your plants.
3. Flea dip. Follow up Fido’s shampoo with a coffee ground rub down, working them down to his skin. Not only are the fleas suppose to vamoose, but puppy’s hair will feel soft too.
2. Dust inhibitor. Before you clean out the fireplace, toss wet coffee grounds over the ashes to keep the ash dust under control.
And, finally, the #1 use for used coffee grounds....drum roll here....
Cellulite reducer. Mix 1/4 cup warm, used coffee grounds and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. While standing over an old towel or newspaper, apply the mixture to your "problem areas". Next, wrap the areas with shrink wrap and leave on for several minutes. Unwind the wrap, brush loose grounds off your skin and then shower with warm water. For best results, it is recommended to repeat this procedure twice a week. A little weird to be sure, but as high priced cellulite creams have coffee in them, it just might work.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

There is a new chick in town...

Its that time of year... I have a new baby chick that one of my hens helped hatch. The unfortunate part about when chicks start sitting on eggs is that they stop laying. Fortunately I still have two hens that are laying eggs for me so I am able to get a small supply of eggs still.

I'm proud to share an award the green committee that I am on at work helped achieve....


Vancouver isn't the only city where gold awards make news. The City of Palm Coast has proudly accepted the prestigious Gold Level Designation for a Green Local Government, received for their extraordinary environmental stewardship throughout all departments and across the community. The Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC) acknowledged Palm Coast, the Mayor and City Council for not only their internal daily green operations, but also for passing local legislation that offers incentives to the public to protect the environment.

"City Council led by example and adopted the Green Development Incentive Ordinance in November, 2009 to encourage voluntary green building through innovative programs," says Denise Bevan, Senior Environmental Planner for the City of Palm Coast. "The program enhances sustainable practices within the City and recognizes participants with incentive-based initiatives, a Council vision that won points for us with the FGBC."

Additional criteria that helped the City earn the Gold designation include:

* Adopting the Land Development Code that regulates and encourages over fifty low impact development elements across the City of Palm Coast
* Increasing City recycling, with over 60% of residents putting out recyclables by the end of 2009
* Educating the community at the Arbor Day Event, Dynamic Decade Birthday event, Intracoastal Waterway Cleanup and several school field trips and assemblies for community students
* Protecting and promoting natural resources by preserving environmentally sensitive lands and building new trails and bike paths
* Acquiring green staff certifications and national awards
* Promoting water conservation by utilizing reuse water for irrigation and by educating the community in newsletters and on the website
* Continuing green standard operating procedures at all City facilities
* Implementing a battery recycling program for the entire community

Palm Coast is one of nine Florida governments to achieve an FGBC gold status and the only green local government in Northeast Florida. A member from the Florida Green Building Coalition will present the Gold award to Mayor Netts and the City Council at an upcoming Council meeting.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Don't let your coffee grounds go to waste...

Every day across America millions of pots of coffee and tea are brewed, and the millions of pounds of wet grounds, filters and bags thrown in the trash. This is wasteful and foolish.

Coffee by-products can easily be used in the garden.
* Sprinkle used grounds around plants before rain or watering, for a slow-release nitrogen.
* Add to compost piles to increase nitrogen balance. Coffee filters and tea bags break down rapidly during composting.
* Dilute with water for a gentle, fast-acting liquid fertilizer. Use about a half-pound can of wet grounds in a five-gallon bucket of water; let sit outdoors to achieve ambient temperature.
* Mix into soil for houseplants or new vegetable beds.
* Encircle the base of the plant with a coffee and eggshell barrier to repel pests.
* If you are into vermi-posting, feed a little bit to your worms

It is easy to collect coffee grounds from your office. Just put an empty coffee can next to the coffee maker. Empty once a week or as needed. Once people get wind of what you're doing, don't be surprised if others want the grounds, too! I've been doing this for well over a year now at work. People even started adding banana peels to the can and even apple cores and other food scraps. When I take it home to dump it all into my compost bin, I fill the can with water and then dump it in. This adds some moisture to my compost and helps rinse out the can too. The coffee can stays sealed so you don't smell a thing or see a thing for that matter. I even dump the left over coffee into the can.

Monday, March 22, 2010

My first "meat out"

So this year is the first year of not eating meat for me. I have been staying away from meat for the most part for the last few months. My issue is not necessarily with "eating meat" but actually with the conditions that animals are kept in for the purpose of becoming our dinner. My other issue is with the amount of meat people now eat thanks to what started as the "fast food craze". People dont realize the impact that eating meat at every meal every day, has on the environment, and our bodies. All these food recalls this year should have really clued us in. How does spinach suddenly end up with bacteria on it that is found on fecal matter? If you dont know, watch the movie "Food Inc." It really puts things into perspective. So needless to say, I am happy to report that I have officially survived my first "meat out". The organization(s) that created meatout not only ask that people not eat once a year, but give up meat just one day a week. If everyone did this, the effect would be remarkable! So I challenge you to give up meat, just one day a week. Its amazing how quickly you come with meat alternatives given the opportunity to explore. Happy eating!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Participate in Meatout

What is Meatout?

On (or around) March 20 — the first day of spring — thousands of caring people in all 50 U.S. states and two dozen other countries get active to host educational Meatout events. Activities include colorful festivals, lectures, public dinners, feed-ins, cooking demos, food samplings, leafleting, information tables and more.

The occasion is Meatout, the world's largest and oldest annual grassroots diet education campaign. Meatout 2010 is the 25th Anniversary! Every spring, thousands of caring Meatout supporters educate their communities and ask their friends, families, and neighbors to pledge to "kick the meat habit (at least for a day) and explore a wholesome, compassionate diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains."