Each May, the Delaware Valley Unit of the Herb Society of America holds its annual herb sale at the Holcombe-Jimison Farmstead Museum, on Route 29 in Lambertville, NJ. Whether you’re just starting an herb garden or adding to one you’ve tended for years, this sale is a wonderful opportunity to find a wide variety of hearty, healthy plants at reasonable prices.
Once you pull into the Holcombe-Jimison Farmstead, you’ll find the herbs on display inside one of the museum’s many historic barns. The plants are arranged in alphabetical order on tables, just in front of a collection of antique farm vehicles. If you have questions about a particular plant, the Herb Society volunteers are always happy to share their substantial knowledge. Read more
Fresh’s March 27 post explored how a single activity, such as edible gardening, can help us become more sustainable in a variety of ways. Something else that connects a lot of sustainability dots is “going local.”
For some, localism is about “transitioning” to a post-carbon world, buying and making things locally so we don’t need to expend lots of fossil fuel importing and transporting goods from other places. For others, localism is a way to rebuild resilient, people-centered economies in an impersonal globalized world. Still others see in localism an opportunity to create lifestyles that are centered around place and strong, interconnected communities.
Going local can help us do all of those things and more. Here are a few examples. Read more
A lot of us these days are trying to “align our purchases with our values.” We seek out locally produced food, artisan-made goods and products that are eco-conscious in one way or another. But, despite our good intentions, it’s just not possible to keep all our purchases green and local. Sometimes we need to buy coffee or bananas. Or we find the perfect gift for a friend but discover it came from half-way around the globe.
With so many imported goods produced in ways that are harmful to workers, their communities and the environment, it may seem like buying anything from overseas betrays our core beliefs. Fortunately, we can still be “conscious consumers” when buying imports: The key is looking for the label: “certified fair trade.”
Getting to know fair trade
Fair trade is about improving the lives of farmers, artisans and other workers in developing nations while protecting their local environment and supporting sustainable community development. Fair trade was set in motion some 60 years ago by Edna Ruth Byler, the founder of Ten Thousand Villages.1 Today, there are numerous non-profits and businesses committed to fair trade values. And consumers can find the fair trade label on products ranging from produce, wine and flowers to handcrafts, accessories and clothing. Read more
Note that the article posted a moment ago was published accidentally! Please read this version instead!
Are you a vegan? Do you shop locally? Buy organic food? Belong to a time bank, co-op or informal sharing collective? Avoid plastic? Collect water in rain barrels? Buy electricity from a renewable generator? Use local currency? Commute via bike or public transportation? Live in an eco-friendly home?
There are many ways to live more sustainably today…and many “movements” advocating for one of these ways or another. But in this information-savvy age, with so many opportunities to “follow” those who think just like us, we can easily slip into a “silo” when it comes to our views and actions. Making connections between these silos can open doors to some surprising and innovative ways to live more sustainably.
Just consider some of the doors opened by edible gardening.Read more
If you’re local to Stockton, NJ, you can get a jump start on your Spring cleaning this week by donating gently used items to the Stockton Borough School’s annual Rummage Sale.
Known locally as “the rummage,” this popular event never ceases to attract an amazing array of “trash to treasure” items from locals happy to clean out their homes while helping out a neighborhood school. Drop off is at the Prallsville Mill, Rt. 29, Stockton, as follows:
Sunday, March 10 through Thursday, March 14, between 9:30 and 4 p.m. Please note that donations cannot by accepted any later than Thursday afternoon.
This is a great opportunity to get rid of everything from clothes and toys your kids have outgrown to remnants of your discarded hobbies (sewing supplies, wood shop tools) to, well, just about anything you can fit in the trunk of your car.
Specifically, the Stockton School asks that people follow these guidelines in donating gently used items:
Clothing and accessories.
Books, including hardcover, paperback and “books on tape,” but no textbooks, travel guides, catalogs or magazines.
Music — CDs, records, DVDs, but no videotapes.
Electronics — Playstation/Gameboy/Wii games, small consumer electronics, but no old televisions or computers.
Household items — vases, dishes, knick-knacks, glasses, mugs, pictures and frames, tools, rugs, table & chair sets, cabinets, dressers, but no mattresses or stuffed furniture.
Linens — sheets, comforters, towels, curtains, tablecloths, etc.
Jewelry — earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, watches, etc.
When we last visited Brattleboro, VT, more than a dozen years ago, we thought: “Cool town, good bones, lots of potential.” But beyond a small number of off-beat shops and tiny bistros, there didn’t seem to be much happening, especially compared with “our” river towns, Lambertville, NJ and New Hope, PA. Here in the Delaware River Valley, Chamber of Commerce members, politicians and other interested parties had long since grasped that one of the area’s greatest economic resources was its large supply of artists. It’s that type of insight — understanding the power of a creative, arts-driven LOCAL economy — that has transformed Brattleboro and other Vermont towns into thriving destinations, despite the ongoing downturn.
Localism at Work
Vermonters apparently began recognizing the potential of art to revitalize local economies sometime in the early 1980s. The transformation didn’t happen overnight. But, over time, the efforts of state and local arts councils, renovators, business owners and, of course, artists, began to pay off. Brattleboro and many other Vermont towns and villages now complement outdoor recreational attractions (skiing, hiking, mountain biking) with a vibrant mix of small, independent shops, galleries and sophisticated restaurants showcasing locally produced foods. Read more
With Oscar night upon us, thoughts turn to the movies … and their perfect accompaniment, popcorn. In case you haven’t heard, the microwaveable kind is loaded with health hazards. In addition to the sodium and trans fats in the popcorn itself, the lining of the microwaveable bags contains something called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which has been linked to infertility and cancer. And a common artificial flavoring agent, diacetyl, has apparently caused lung cancer in popcorn factory workers.
If you need further convincing that it’s time to change your popcorn habits, check out:
The good news, of course, is that a much better alternative, old-fashioned (non-microwaveable) popcorn, is easy to find in local food stores. If you’ve forgotten how to pop the stuff on the stove top after years of microwaving, just follow these simple steps. Read more