“New York City’s Department of Environment Protection (DEP) is giving away 55-gallon rain barrels to homeowners – 1,000 barrels this year. The program began in spring 2008 when the DEP distributed 250 barrels to homeowners in Queens. In 2009, 750 barrels were distributed to homeowners. The program was initiated by the Jamaica Bay Watershed Protection Plan. On July 20, 2005 New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed a City Council bill which required the DEP to create a protection plan for the Jamaica Bay watershed.”
Archive for April, 2011
“In an interview at the Green Festival in San Francisco on April 9, Alexis Baden-Mayer, OCA Campaign Director, explained the strategy behind the Millions Against Monsanto Truth-in-Labeling Campaign.
“Over 90% of Americans want GE-tainted foods labeled. Why? So that we can avoid buying these foods. This is a major reason why millions of us are buying certified organic products, which preclude the use of GE ingredients, as well as toxic chemicals and animal drugs. Since the politicians in Washington apparently prefer to listen to Monsanto rather than their constituents, we need to put our efforts where we currently have the most power, in our local communities, especially at the retail grocery store level, where 50 million of us are regularly buying certified organic and so-called ‘natural’ foods.
“What most green consumers don’t understand yet, is that most of the so-called “natural” processed foods and animal products (which make up 2/3 of the sales of Whole Foods Market) that we are still buying are GMO-contaminated. Either they contain GMO ingredients like soy, corn, canola, cottonseed oil or sugar beet sweetener, or else the animals have been force-fed fed a steady diet of GMO grains and drugs.”
Out on the Farm 'The Fabulous Beekman Boys' may be gay gentlemen farmers, but they're also farmers with a purpose
“It started simply, as these things go.
Manhattanites Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge felt the lure of a weekend place in the country, a place to relax from their hectic careers in the big city. When they bought Beekman Mansion in upstate New York, they planned some simple weekend farming: a few chickens, a few vegetables.
It didn’t stay simple.”
“Last weekend I had a blast exploring my favorite event of the year, The San Francisco Green Festival! Each Green Festival event features more than 125 speakers and 300 Green Marketplace exhibitors, as well as live music, hands-on workshops, family activities, local vegetarian cuisine and organic beer and wine. This year’s speakers included The Fabulous Beekman Boys, Amy Goodman, Dr. Sharif Abdullah and many more.
I decided a simple write up wouldn’t do. I needed to show the action as it was happening. How better to do that then with twitter and my new beloved picture app Instagram? Here’s my instagram feed from the weekend highlighting all the green conscious fun that unraveled.”
Researchers from Harvard, the London School of Economics and Massachusetts Institute of Technology Release Study on the Value of Ethical Labeling
OAKLAND, Calif., Apr. 25 Fair Trade USA, the leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States, reports new findings which confirm that the prominent appearance of the Fair Trade Certified™ label increases sales among coffee-buying consumers.
To investigate the topic of consumer demand for Fair Trade products, researchers Jens Hainmueller of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Michael J. Hiscox of Harvard University, and Sandra Sequeira of the London School of Economics, conducted a six-month research study in partnership with a prominent national grocery retailer. As reported this weekend in the Wall Street Journal, the team examined purchasing behavior among actual consumers at 26 stores and key findings show that:
- The Fair Trade Certified label alone has a large positive impact on sales.
- Sales of the two most popular bulk coffees sold in each of the 26 test stores increased by up to 13 percent when labeled as Fair Trade Certified.
- The study also revealed that a substantial segment of consumers are willing to pay up to eight percent more for a product bearing the Fair Trade Certified label.
The findings are consistent with a Globescan study conducted in 2010, which revealed that 75 percent of consumers said Fair Trade certification makes them feel “very positive or positive” about products; 30 percent said Fair Trade is “likely to increase their purchase interest;” and over half said “independent third-party certification is the best way to verify” a product’s social and environmental claims.
“Overall the findings suggest that there is substantial consumer support for Fair Trade,” said Michael J. Hiscox of Harvard University. “The Fair Trade label by itself had a large positive effect on sales, indicating that a substantial number of coffee buyers place a positive value on Fair Trade certification. In addition, a sizeable segment of coffee buyers were willing to pay a premium for coffee if the premium was directly associated with support for Fair Trade. The tests suggest that there are plenty of consumers ready to vote with their shopping dollars to support Fair Trade when it is offered as an option by retailers.”
The study can be referenced online at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1801942.
Fair Trade USA (previously TransFair USA), a nonprofit organization, is the leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States. Fair Trade USA audits and certifies transactions between U.S. companies and their international suppliers to guarantee that the farmers and workers producing Fair Trade Certified goods were paid fair prices and wages, work in safe conditions, protect the environment, and receive community development funds to empower and uplift their communities. Fair Trade USA educates consumers, brings new manufacturers and retailers into the Fair Trade system, and provides farming communities with tools, training and resources to thrive as international businesspeople. Visitwww.FairTradeUSA.org for more information.
The Research team consists of Michael J. Hiscox, the Clarence Dillon Professor of International Affairs at Harvard University; Sandra Sequeira, Lecturer in Development Economics at the London School of Economics; and Jens Hainmueller, an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“This is the fifth column in a series focusing on the economics of bicycling.
Each of these stories stands alone as an urgent parable about our increasingly fragile reliance on affordable, plentiful energy.
What if there were some source of energy that could replace a substantial part of our current consumption?
I mean the bicycle, of course.”
How the bicycle economy can help us beat the energy crisis via Elly Blue – Grist
Chicago, IL, April 21, 2011 – While most investors may not think of organic farmland when rethinking their retirement portfolio, this strategy has the extra benefit of improving the health of our environment as well as diversifying one’s investment returns. Concerned investors looking for more financial stability and sustainable growth now have more opportunities to participate directly in the emerging businesses of organic farmers.
Illinois-based Working Farms Capital is offering private equity and debt alternatives on certified or transitional organic farms under lease to legacy farmers. Unlike most conventional and annually renewing leases, Working Farms Capital structures long term leases designed to retain existing farm tenants and their intimate knowledge of the land. By obtaining lease terms spanning multiple crop years, farmers are better able to implement their business plans. Increasingly, the business of farming is more diversified. Recently a 225 acre farm was acquired to develop wind energy alternatives. The combination of renewable energy and sustainable agriculture represents a growing trend in land use. Working Farms Capital is at the forefront of this development and is expanding operations in the Midwest.
The typical farm lessee is a family farmer whose primary source of income is from the farm. Usually the farm ranges from 100 to 500 acres in size – considered a mid-size farm in the Midwest. Farmers run their own business utilizing rotations of row and cover crops, small grains, vegetables and pastured livestock. Owners receive a base rent with a variable upside based on overall farm profitability. The organic crops are sold to food processors and wholesalers with such varied end uses as blue and white corn chips, tofu, soymilk, organic flour, oatmeal, cereals, roasted soy nuts, milk etc. Most of the production is for human consumption. New owners are also varied and include individuals diversifying their IRA’s, educational endowment funds, pension funds, environmentally focused enterprises and mission driven private wealth offices or institutions.
According to David Miller, founder of Working Farms Capital, the investment theme is simple, “We’re offering investors a unique growth opportunity supported by an appreciating and renewable real asset. Focusing on soil health and renewable energy will naturally foster higher revenues and enhance the long term value of these farms.”
Working Farms Capital was incorporated Illinois in 2007 to enable new capital for the transition of conventional farmland to organic practices. To receive more details, contact Dave Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org) More information available at www.workingfarmscapital.com
“There’s been a lot of talk about “shared sacrifice” as American lawmakers try to button down the spending that many blame for the nation’s problems.
Personally, I don’t understand why the discussion seems to be entirely about entitlement programs, with no talk about the defense spending. I am perpetually perplexed about our mission in Iraq and Afghanistan, which seems to be as much of a moving target as the terrorists we’re chasing, while the money flies out of the Treasury as if a giant vacuum were sucking off the conveyor belt (Want a visual? Check out CostofWar.com’s ticker.)
I get it that many government programs could stand some tweaking and scrutinizing. But Congress seems to be taking a hedge clippers to the lawn ornamentation, while a tornado bears down on the horizon.
Why would we give the EPA’s budget a buzz cut while we stand on the brink of climate disaster?
When it comes to things like this, I have to conclude, as I sometimes do in my household populated by teenagers, that we’ve landed in “upside-down world”, where our priorities have been flipped – by special interests, the heedless drive for profits, myopia, short-term thinking – and so we pursue our own selfish goals at any cost. At least that’s how it works at my house. And at the House of Representatives.
While we’re in upside-down world, we’re failing to find the path of common sense.
I’d like to suggest a way back. Go to a green festival this week. It’s Earth Day (April 22) and there’s almost certainly something going on near you.
There, I promise, you’ll find a wealth of common sense. It’s intrinsic. It’s practically the definition of sustainability. Some think green living is about more…groan… shared sacrifice. But don’t believe these naysayers. It is about choosing a promising and clean path to a future that conserves energy and resources, ultimately making our lives easier, not more difficult.
OK, I’ll say it. Give Green a Chance.”