What Does a Resilient Community Look Like?

Residents of Solebury Township, PA, and many other Pennsylvania communities recently suffered through a multi-day power outage following a severe ice storm. Blown transformers and sub-stations caused power surges in homes, damaging heating systems, computers, televisions and appliances. People turned to wood-burning stoves for heat and visited their fire houses for WiFi and showers. And they waited, for days on end, for someone to let them know when life would return to normal. All this took place as many Southern states experienced unusual back-to-back snow and ice storms and California prepared for water rationing.

If events like these were rare, we could be excused for commenting on the crazy weather and then returning to our lives once power was restored. But we all know that extreme weather has become the norm. The Delaware River Valley has endured three lengthy power outages in as many years. And when we’re not experiencing violent weather here, we’re witnessing it on the news as yet another reporter says “Hundreds of thousands of residents remain without power for days” following snow storms, thunder storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, mud slides and other biblical-size disasters.   Read more

Introducing the Doylestown Food Co-Op

Doylestown Co-Op

We recently checked out the Doylestown Food Co-Op, where we found a whole new way to think about local food…and popcorn (more on that in a minute). The co-op opened its doors earlier this month in a storefront at 29 West State Street, Doylestown, Pa. The official grand opening will take place on February 8. For details, check out http://www.doylestown.coop.org.

So, What Is a Co-Op?

A co-op is a business that’s owned and governed collectively by a group of people who are members. While most co-ops start as food businesses, some have eventually branched out, providing other services of value to the community. Like other co-ops, the Doylestown Food Co-Op offers the opportunity to become a member by purchasing equity shares of the grocery. In exchange, member-owners have a say in decisions about the business, receive discounts on some of their food purchases and enjoy a variety of other benefits. Read on

Localism in the DelVal: Two Communities Consider ‘Import Replacement’

 

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If you’re already a locavore, you won’t be surprised to know that eating local is a trend that’s on the rise, as noted by various surveys, including one from North Dakota’s Center for Rural Affairs.*  This is great news for those of us who believe localism can give rise to a greener, lower-carbon lifestyle AND lay the groundwork for a stronger, job-producing economy. But to realize localism’s full benefits, we’ll need to do more than just buy food from neighborhood farms.

According to localists, we’ll also need to adopt something called “import replacement.” While that term may not be as widely known as “sustainable,” two Delaware River Valley towns, Solebury Township, PA, and Lambertville, NJ, are considering sustainably minded proposals that are great examples of import replacement. Read on!

Frenchtown Green Fair Set for September 28

Want to learn more about making your lifestyle green and sustainable? One opportunity coming up soon is the Frenchtown Green Fair. The event will bring together a variety of speakers and vendors promoting choices that are both healthy and environmentally responsible.

Green/sustainable local vendors will showcase a diverse range of products and services, including:

  • Alternative vehicles.
  • Green building and landscaping services.
  • Organic body-care products.
  • Health foods.
  • Green apparel. Read on!

‘Art in the Garden’ Showcases Local Art this Labor Day Weekend

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If you’re committed to keeping things local here in the Delaware River Valley, you may be getting a lot of your food from local sources. But locavorism doesn’t need to begin and end with food. One of our area’s greatest local commodities is art…some of which will be on display Labor Day Weekend at Art in the Garden, the annual art and craft show held at Paxson Hill Farm in Solebury.

The 14th annual Art in the Garden will bring together 60 local artists and artisans, including printmakers, photographers, painters, ceramic artists, jewelry designers and much more. Artists’ booths will be scattered around the beautiful grounds of the Paxson Hill Farm nursery, which offers professional landscaping services and plantings throughout the year. The farm also is home to a menagerie comprising peacocks, emus, llamas and one or two very large pigs.

The beautiful setting and quality artwork lead many to make a day of this wonderful annual event. But it also offers a great opportunity to put the local multiplier effect to work by purchasing a few early holiday gifts for others …or yourself…from local artists and artisans. Remember, dollars spent at independently owned local businesses circulate throughout the community many more times than dollars spent at national chains (whether brick-and-mortar or online). According to one source, 45 cents of each dollar spent locally is reinvested in the community vs. only 15 cents spent at national chains.* Buying anything made locally — food, art, furnishings, clothing, services — can help the local economy survive and thrive… and keep our downtowns independent and interesting.

Freshbyhand
By way of full disclosure, I’m breaking with my usual blog format here for a little self-promotion. My micro-biz, Freshbyhand, will be among the vendors at this year’s Art in the Garden. I’ll be selling the hand-painted and collaged picture frames and mirrors available at my Etsy shop (www.etsy.com/shop/freshbyhand… or see link in the right-hand column), along with some new pieces, like these.

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All of these one-of-a-kind pieces are made by upcycling wooden frames left over from a previous business and materials and “outtakes” from my art prints. The prints were made using a variety of techniques — an eco-friendly form of etching, mono print, collograph, linocut, chine colle and stenciling. The imagery is inspired by nature, colorful printmaking remnants and the creative possibilities of paint, ink and glue.

Show Details:

  • What: Art in the Garden art and craft show
  • Where: Paxson Hill Farm, 3265 Comfort Road (off Rt. 263), Solebury Township, PA
  • When: Saturday, 8/31 and Sunday, 9/1, 10 to 4:30, rain or shine
  • Free admission
  • More info at: www.paxsonhillfarm.com.

* http://www.localmultiplier.com

Tale of Two Words: Sustainability Vs. Resilience

      A sustainable & resilient rain garden in Washington State

A sustainable & resilient rain garden in Washington State

As words go, “resilience” seems to be the new kid on the block… the new black, today’s “it word”… whatever metaphor you prefer. That’s not to say “sustainability” has disappeared. It’s still being used to describe a host of things, from organic farming to green building to garbage reduction to buying local. And there’s still plenty of “sustainable washing,” like the local supermarket describing how they continually search for ways to make your shopping experience more sustainable.

These days, however, resilience is giving sustainability a run for the money. Maybe it’s something about the (extreme) weather. Read more

Don’t Miss the Annual Herb Society Sale at Holcombe-Jimison, Saturday, May 18

???????????????????????????????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