Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Offset Carbon With A Garden

Here is a new idea. Instead of buying carbon offsets to order to shrink your environmental footprint, why not create a garden in your yard, roof, window sill, fire escape, dorm room, truck bed, driveway? Food is something we humans have a hard time going without, and in a previous blog I discussed how far our food flies to arrive on our plate. This food transportation creates tons of pollution and greenhouse gases, more than you really think about. For example, ponder the last gallon of gas you pumped into your car, how far did that gas travel to get to the station, how much energy did it take to refine that gallon... and so on.

Reduce your footprint by producing some of your own food just feet from where it will be consumed. Or buy local, or you can trade some of your extra zucchinis with a neighbor who has a peach tree in their yard, hit two greenhouse gases with one stone. Join a CSA!! Create a community garden, imagine meeting members of your community while getting dirty picking radishes. Reinstate the block party and provide dinner from gardens on the block.

Fill your plate with a salad from your garden, think back to the energy that is behind those leafy greens. There maybe some compost in there saved from the trash. Possibly humanure depending on your hippie level. Grass clipping mulch or raked leaves scavenged off of curves on yard waste pick up days, the seeds probably traveled the furthest depending on where you purchased them . Or if you are sporting a container garden, you could have made self watering containers out of trash, and bought yourself some potting soil. Maybe you became inspired to create your own organic fertilizer on a small scale and invested in a worm composting system that is small enough to keep on your kitchen table. Most of the energy that went into your plate of salad came from the sun, allowing your plants to photosynthesize and grow.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Like Suntan Lotion

This place sinks in to your skin and takes at least two weeks to be effective, just like sunscreen, you get sun protection in 20 min. that last a few hours. Here it isn't about protection, it is about lowering your protections, opening up and looking through new lenses, and I think it lasts at least a few years.

You can feel Rancho El Nogal sink in when you are letting yourself enjoy our simple composting toilet system, requiring you to carry your already composting poop in a bucket mixed with organic material to a pile to let it mature. You've a new prescription so as to see the beauty in transforming a bodily waste into a valuable fertilizer without a single flush. In the morning when you've changed your attitude so that you are thanking the rooster for crowing at sunrise so as not to miss the sight, or coffee. Seeing and feeling the results of your everyday work, from eating the eggs you gathered from the chickens you fed the table scraps you were too full to eat last night. To opening the door whose hinge you just fixed. Opening up to what is "around the bend", by walking forward to have a look.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Eat In Place

Food travels. Typically, the delectable delights on your plate have traveled between 1,500 to 2,000 miles to reach your mouth, according to a study conducted by the World Watch Institute. If you crunch the numbers in a conservative fashion, three meals a day, 1,500 miles per meal that is 4,500 miles a day, and 31,500 miles a week. Whoa, a weeks worth of food for an average American eater travels as far as a typical American does in a year, where are the food frequent flier miles?

Thankfully for folks here at Rancho El Nogal, some of our food travels less than 50 m. to reach our hungry mouths, from the vine to my fork tine in 2 min. flat. This year our gardens are bigger than ever and are producing some delicious, nutritious, organic produce. All our chickens are free range, our hens are happily laying light brown eggs, and our nine little chicks will be laying in November. One momma pig will birth in September and the rest of our drove are growing and looking forward to acorns this fall. We gather berries, tunas, wild onions, teas and wild flowers for the kitchen table, during evening walks to view the sunset.