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Five Good Reasons to Eat Non-Local Food (Part 1 of 2)

[social_buttons] I love eating locally produced foods when I have the chance.  I enjoyed having access to fully tree-ripe stone fruit when I lived in Davis, CA. Today I get to enjoy the ultra-local herbs, vegetables and fruit from my garden part of the year, and I make 10-20 gallons of wine from my little […]

August 10th

Earthworms: Do They Help or Hurt in Terms of Climate Change?

[social_buttons] Every once in a while I come across something in the scientific literature that really surprises me.  Because there isn’t much oxygen in a worm gut, it creates the ideal conditions for these particular microbes (“de-nitrifiers”) to turn nitrate (NO3) into nitrogen gas and also generate some nitrous oxide in the process. Nitrous Oxide Ok, some […]

August 5th

The Story of Sustainability

We’ve all heard of The Story of Stuff. But The Story of Sustainability? This past weekend, we had the pleasure of hosting Dennis Paige, founder of Swiftdeer-Paige, at Inn Serendipity to share a program on storytelling with our community of friends and family. Awarded the 2008 Grassroots Conservation Leadership Award from the Audubon-Chicago Region and […]

August 5th

Putting The “Carbon Footprint” of Farming in Perspective

[social_buttons] When thinking about “carbon footprints” it helps to have real numbers to put things in perspective. The EPA estimates that for the US, agriculture represents about 8% of total human-related greenhouse gas emissions. The following is a list with a little of the detail of what makes up the footprint of an acre of […]

July 30th

Followup to “An Inconvenient Truth about Composting”

[social_buttons] My earlier blog about greenhouse gas emissions from composting generated a lot of good discussion so I am writing to respond. Yes, composting is certainly better than some outcomes like food scraps going into a garbage dump which does not do anything to capture the methane Yes, an anaerobic digester would be a very […]

July 28th

Would You Eat Cloned Fruit?

Cloned asian pears in New Zealand (photo Steve Savage) [social_buttons] OK, I’ll admit it.  That question and the picture caption are a little bit manipulative because few people know that all the major fruit crops are technically “cloned” because they have to be to get the varieties we want.  If you take the seed of […]

July 27th

7 Environmental Lessons from Living in Europe

I have lived in Europe on two occasions now — for five months in the Netherlands (two years ago) and for ten months in Poland (currently). I have been green-minded since I was a young child, and knew that Europe did better on many green issues. Nonetheless, to come here and live here has given […]

July 21st

Towering on the Horizon: Wind Farms and Energy Independence

This past July 4th some friends and I headed south from our farm to visit the new EcoGrove I Wind Farm in Lena, Illinois, located in Stephenson County (in the northwestern part of the state). The creation of the EcoGrove I Wind Farm was precipitated by the State of Illinois adopting a Renewable Energy Standard […]

July 15th

LA Community College System Heads for Energy Independence

By Leslie Berliant Originally published on June 17, 2009, at SolveClimate By the middle of next year, the nine campuses that make up the nation’s largest community college system plan to be completely energy self-sufficient. It’s a huge step, and it will begin saving money immediately. The Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) started down […]

June 19th