Thursday, July 26, 2007

Food and Farm Bill Updates for news updates

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Farm Bill Update news on farm bill
This is a blog called "The Ruminant"
Read the post, "The Grass Should Be Greener," he's angry.

Sustainable Agriculture Coalition's Farm Bill Action Center

Sorry these aren't links, you'll have to copy & paste them into your browser.

Food and Farm Bill
For more resources on the Farm Bill, please copy the above and paste it in.

American Farmland Trust is encouraged by the direction the House Agriculture Committee took this week, to read their comments go to the website listed above (you'll have to copy and paste it into your browser).

Whereas Ken Cook of the Environmental Working Group is quoted in the NYTIMES on 7/20/07 as more critical.

The Environmental Working Group made a splash in the press with their database on who is receiving the subsidies for farming. Copy and paste this address and discover a wealth of information at this site:

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Farm to Pantry/Share the Bounty - We need volunteer drivers

Make a difference this summer:

If you can pick up fresh vegetables from a farm that has extra and transport the food to a pantry, we need you.
Please contact Jan at or
Thank you!

Let us know what times you are available and in what geographic areas you can help, and how to contact you, best times, numbers, e-mail.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Environmental Tips From ll Over

Environmental Tips from All Over

Unplug “dormant” electrical gadgets—all those lights that are on use up a lot of energy.
Wherever you have a lot of appliances plugged in, get a surge protector that can handle all the plugs—then turn the surge protector off when you’re not using those items.
Some believe that turning off the computer and restarting it uses more energy than putting it to sleep. Others think it doesn’t hurt to turn your computer on and off to save energy.
If you’re on a municipal water system, install low flow water heads in the shower, low flow faucets in sinks, and low flow toilets.
Use Energy Saver appliances.
Don’t have a hot tub.

Car stuff:
Use the Sierra Club guidelines when buying gasoline. Their study determined that BP and Sunoco are “better,” that Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, Valero Energy Corporation, and Citgo are “bad,” and that ExxonMobil and Conoco Phillips are “the worst.”
Plan trips and errands to be most fuel efficient, keep tires properly inflated, and change oil and air filters regularly.
Fill your gas tank early in the morning or late at night since gas evaporates more in the heat of the day (who knew??).
Drive an electric or hybrid car. Or, as one friend says, “Get a Prius. With snow tires.”
Walk, don’t drive. Or bike. Or carpool.
When the urge to own an SUV or any other oversized vehicle assaults you, suppress it.

Wait to do full loads of laundry and dishes.
See if you can wear clothes more than once, and if you can do more of your laundry with cold water. (When one family’s hot water heater broke last May, they learned that much of their laundry doesn’t need hot water.)
As we all probably know, hand dishwashing is much less efficient than by machine.
If you don’t have that many dishes to wash, see if your dishwasher has a top-rack-only option (mine doesn’t). Also see if you can turn off the heated drying cycle.
If you have pots and pans that need to soak, put them in the sink and use old water from the tea kettle to fill them.
And water plans with old water from the tea kettle, too.
Use stainless steel water containers instead of plastic.
Use white vinegar to clean glass, bathrooms, refrigerator, floors.
Use hydrogen peroxide instead of fabric softener, and as an anti-bacterial agent.
Use brown or natural coffee filters, toilet paper, paper towels.
Use only “environmentally correct” home cleaning products.
Stop having clothes dry cleaned. (Check out Dry Cleaner’s Secret)
Don’t flush the toilet every time you use it.
Never use plastic or throwaway paper plates or silverware.
Stop using paper napkins. Cloth ones are better.
Yes, yes, now there are recyclable eating utensils that can replace plastic or paper ones. Eschew them for the real thing.
Forego the clothes dryer and dry your clothes on a rack or a line.
Limit showers to 5 minutes.

Remember that compost reduces the waste stream a lot. Recycle or compost everything you can.
The Japanese (and maybe the Chinese) import our recycled cardboard and make “new” recycled liner board. (Paper is a growth stock; invest now!).
Get the “wall warts” out, and reduce quantity.
Compost yard waste that doesn’t attract critters.

Buy local. This saves fuel for shipping goods across the country, and contributes to your local economy.
Every item here in the U.S. (well, almost every item) comes heavily packaged, and rarely is the packaging made from recycled material. Try to take the packaging off whilst in the store and hand it back to the manager with the admonition that they should dispose of it. If enough of us do this, perhaps management will alert manufacturers to consumer dissatisfaction with excess packaging.
ALWAYS carry your own bags to the grocery store. The “plastic or paper” issue is pointless; neither does the environment any good. So when the bagger asks “Plastic or paper?” just reply smugly, “I bring my own bags.” Added benefit: some stores give the eco-conscious bag-bringer a few cents off the total bill.

Food and cooking
Buy local.
Check out and consider “joining the challenge” of eating within 100 miles of where you live.
Host a “localvore” pot luck dinner where all the food is grown locally. (Hint: this is easiest in summer and early fall.)
Boycott corn and corn products unless they’re organic.
Boycott food from China.
Grow your own food or join a CSA.
During the “season,” shop at your local farmers market.
Eat meat once a week or less. Meat is the most “expensive” user of energy, far more so than are vegetables.
Do not buy bottled water. Just fill a thermos with your own tap water. And buy a soda siphon to make sparkling water.
Try not to buy heavily packaged or plastic wrapped food.
While you bake a cake, roast some beets on the bottom shelf.

Lawns and gardening
Convert parts of your lawn to groundcover or meadow.
Check out Edible Estates for reasons to make your lawn into an edible garden, and suggestions for doing so.
Do not use pesticides. Instead, try older methods such as using lady bugs to clear up aphids.
Plant trees. And try not to cut the ones you’ve got. And if you do cut them, try to use them in your efficient wood burning stove.
Don’t burn brush, tree tops, or yard waste. Instead, make elegant living quarters for wildlife out of them.
Mow your lawn as infrequently as possible.
Install rain barrels for garden watering.

Major environmental home investments
Consider windmills for the house, rooftop solar, and geothermal units, which provide long-term payback.
If building a new house or putting on an addition, consider radiant heat.
Ditto a compost toilet.
Install triple insulated windows.
Replace large water heater with smaller one using solar power.
Build a root cellar.
Erect a greenhouse, and if it’s of any size, use radiant heat.

Web sites, books, and articles
To save paper, read your newspapers and magazines online or at a library.
Go to Live Earth website ( for their list of environmental tips (all of which have links to more information).
National Geographic’s Green Guide (
To change your lawn to an edible garden, definitely check out this website:
Alternative energy blog at
Measure your carbon footprint at
Website for a great magazine, “E,”
Good information at
Check out
It sounds frivolous, but you might like
This one’s self-explanatory:

Helpful site with lotsa links:
We all know about
And about
Real Progress has a nifty site
If you’re up for a challenge, look into
The International Herald Tribune has some good information at iht.indexes/special/green/index.php
So long as you subscribe to the New York Times or buy Times Select, take the opportunity to check out the archives of the Times’ energy collection.
Home Energy Saver offers
I like the title of this site—
Who could resist
Friends of the Earth provides
And then there’s
The World Wildlife Foundation produces For a Living Planet at
Go to and search for “Shopping for Carbon Credits,” by Katherine Ellison (published July 2, 2007)
A highly praised and well reviewed book we all must read is Low Carbon Diet: A 30 Day Program to Lose 5000 Pounds, by David Gershon
A fun site that will send you a daily “hot tip” is .

Local organizations to support
Join Berkshire Grown to insure their continued support of local farms and agriculture. Eating locally is one of the most important and most personal acts of eco-consciousness (
Buy native plants wherever you live. Here in the Berkshires, buy them from Project Native (
Become a member of local environmental groups. In the Berkshires, that list starts with Green Berkshires ( And now includes Berkshires for the Earth.
Become a member of your local land conservation group. If you’re in the Berkshires and your town doesn’t have one, join Berkshire Natural Resources Council (bnrc.og).

If this were an ideal world:
Don’t drive as much.
Use public transportation for neighborhood, short haul and long haul travel.
Go to sleep when the sun goes down, wake up when the sun comes up.

Compiled by Widow in the Woods, July 9, 2007