Feeding the poor the green way
by Michael Thompson, Contributing Writer
Feeding the poor is not usually associated with the green environmental movement. In fact, a frequent lament is that low-income households cannot afford higher-priced organic items.
Photo: (c) Lyn Lomasi
Detroit's Capuchin Soup Kitchen is doing something about this dilemma. The 2-acre Earthworks urban farm is producing 6,000 tons of healthy fruits and vegetables.
"Our food system is broken," says Lisa Richter, an Earthworks spokeswoman. "At the same time, people are craving to reconnect with the land, and to reconnect with their community.
"One of the big misconceptions about Earthworks is that we just grow food. We're trying to inspire food system change, to reach the root causes of hunger and poverty."
Volunteers from the neighborhood help out, including Youth Farm Stand students who receive lessons regarding what urban farmers describe as "sustainable agriculture." Eight neighborhood residents receive training stipends for regular work through the Earthworks/Capuchin Soup Kitchen partnership with the Gleaners Community Food Bank, and through the Southeast Michigan Equitable Agriculture Training program.
"It's an inspiration for us to show what is possible with small-scale agriculture, and through increasing accessibility to safe, healthy food," Richter says.
The Earthworks urban farm demonstates that green activists aren't just college students and young urban professionals. They can be found everywhere.
Capuchin Soup Kitchen was ahead of its time in 1998 when Earthworks was established. At the time, Detroit had about 60 community farm gardens. The number has exploded beyond 800, says Mayor Dave Bing. Bing says farm gardens can provide a three-way boost in food security, community spirit and economic development. Green-collar jobs most commonly are associated with alternative energy, bur urban farms also create employment potential.
"Earthworks has always been a labor of love, founded on the Franciscan vision of universal sister and brotherhood of all creation," states the Earthworks website. " We hope that this humble effort of love and desire to reconnect ourselves with the natural world we inhabit will remain part of the beacon of hope for all peoples and for all times."
Plastic Bags Banned in Italy
by Linda St.Cyr, Contributing Writer
It's official! As of January 1st, 2011 plastic bags have been banned in Italy and those who risk using them will face the consequences. Italy is not the first country to place bans on harmful plastic bags nor do they have the harshest penalties. In America, many supermarkets and grocery stores are starting to weed out plastic bags by giving customers incentives to bring in their own reusable shopping bags. Some stores have gone so far as placing a penalty charge onto your purchases if you use plastic instead of a "greener" option. Others have done away with bags altogether such as Auldi's stores in Pennsylvania who ring up your purchases and put them right into your cart for you to take to your car.
Parts of Australia, India, South Africa and Taiwan have also placed bans on the use of plastic bags. Environment Minister, Stefania Prestigiacomo, said of Italy's plan to ban, "It marks a step forward of fundamental importance in the fight against pollution, making us all more responsible for using and recycling. For the law to give positive results, it is necessary that all the commercial entrepreneurs, large or small, and citizens get involved and experiment with alternatives to plastic bags."
According to Planet Ark, Italians are responsible for one fifth of the bags used in Europe with over 20 billion plastic bags being used in Italy a year- that's 330 plastic bags per person. Legambiente, an Italian environmentalist lobby, believes that if everyone used 10 bio-degradable bags per year 180,000 tons of gasoline would be saved.
Tanzania seems to have the toughest penalties for shopkeepers who sell plastic bags to customers. Violators in the country can expect a six month jail sentence and a fine of 1.5 million shillings ($1,137) if they are caught. So far the penalties for shopkeepers in Italy who refuse to comply with the new ban have not been mentioned. It has been stated that shopkeepers are allowed to use plastic bags they already have in stock until their supply runs out as long as they can provide proof that they have ordered bio-degradable bags for future use.
(article originally published on Jan. 5, 2011)
by Linda St.Cyr, Contributing Writer
Earth Monkeys, an online store that features baby and toddler products, has officially launched. A store featuring products for babies and toddlers isn’t all that unique but Earth Monkey’s is special in that their products are eco-friendly and made from recycled materials.
Founders of Earth Monkey’s, Lindsay McPhail and Gena Hansen, are moms from Oregon who know what it is like to be on the go. Yet they still want to be environmentally conscious and make an impact on moms across the globe. Hansen explains what the mission of Earth Monkey’s is, "Sometimes it's hard to be environmentally conscious. It can be expensive to buy all eco-friendly products for your family, but we think every little bit counts! Our mission is to make it possible for any parent to make eco-friendly decisions for their household without breaking the bank or piling more work on an already hectic schedule!"
A patent is currently pending for the products that Earth Monkey’s sells. These products include the “bib-in-a-bag”, “paci-pak”, and “porta-pad”, all made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. The ingenuinity of the products lies not only in its eco-friendliness aspect but also in the convenience aspect. Each product folds up and fits into a lightwieght bag that can be attached easily to a diaper bag, purse or key chain making it easy to get to and easy to use.
The Earth Monkey Moms have added a blog to their storefront because, “Being a mom is hard...so we want to create a place where we can share and be vulnerable...and we want you to feel comfortable doing the same!” So in addition to looking over the cool eco-friendly products, you can vent, relax and chill out with other moms.
Lyn Lomasi is founder and owner of the Brand Shamans Content Community. Services include ordained soul therapy and healing ministry, business success coaching, business success services, handcrafted healing jewelry, ethereal and anointing oils, altar and spiritual supplies and services, handcrafted healing beauty products, and more!
Lyn is your brand healing, soul healing, marketing & content superhero to the rescue! While rescuing civilians from boring business practices and energy vampires, this awesomely crazy family conquers evil and creates change.
They live among tigers, dragons, mermaids, unicorns, and other fantastic energies, teaching others to claim their own power and do the same.
By supporting us, you support a dedicated parent, healer, and minority small business that donates to several causes. Profits from our all-inclusive store, Intent-sive Nature support these causes and our beautiful family!
HIRE OR SHOP WITH LYN | CONTACT LYN