Tag Archives: gardening

Pure Ingredients, Package Free – The Idea Behind in.gredients

It has been quite some time since we have made a new post so for this blog post I would like to get back into things with a short and simple post highlighting a company that I think is worth following as they try to revolutionize the grocery shopping game.

For in.gredients, the concept is pretty simple. They aim to create the country’s first package free and zero waste grocery store. However, carrying out that concept may prove to be a challenge (think of all the packaging you see at your grocery store/supermarket).

Bring clean containers from home, fill them, weigh them, and then pay.

The store is not open yet but progress is taking place and they plan on opening their microgrocery store in Austin, TX later this year. Let’s hope for the success of in.gredients so it can be a model for other stores of its kind.

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Filed under Beer, Buy Local, Conservation, Free Trade, Gardening, Responsible Materials, Uncategorized

The Big “Green” Apple

My recent trip to the Big Apple led to some very unexpected discoveries along the way. Having never visited New York I had no idea what to expect and frankly, I was not expecting good things in the realm of sustainability. I immediately think of mass consumption, millions of cars, old inefficient buildings, and a mindset of profit over the good of the surroundings.
Just to let you know, I was not seeking out the so-called “green” places in the city nor did I do any research prior to my visit. I also know and have learned that New York and the Northeast is leading the way when it comes to sustainability. I was just a plain old tourist checking out the city. Here are some things I found that impressed me along the way.
First off, the public transportation system is in a class of its own. According to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority “MTA subways, buses, and railroads provide 2.6 billion trips each year to New Yorkers.” You can get wherever you want in the city without ever needing a car.
Another thing I noticed was the importance of public green space and the unique way some people have created a beautiful landscape out of a so-called concrete jungle. Everyone knows about Central Park but we discovered a relatively new creation called the High Line.

High Line water feature

It’s a stunningly designed piece of art/urban park. Basically, it is an old elevated rain line that has been inoperable since 1980. In 2009, Friends of the High Line in a partnership with the City of New York opened the elevated public park. They have preserved the sense of the old rail line by keeping much of the old track and designing the landscape around it. “It features an integrated landscape, designed by landscape architects James Corner Field Operations, with architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, combining meandering concrete pathways with naturalistic plantings. Fixed and movable seating, lighting, and
special features are also included in the park.”

High Line

I also ran across a few businesses that seem to be leading their peers by making their surrounding environment a priority. We stopped in the  Brooklyn Brewery for some tastings and a tour. They recently expanded their brewing operations and were operating a very impressive business in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood. We tried a few different beers and even though I am turned off by odd flavors in beer I was very happy with the Pumpkin Ale. During our tasting I noticed that they advertised these cool compostable cups. This lead me to do some more research and I also found out that “the company’s brewery and headquarters in Brooklyn are 100% powered by Newwind Energy.”

Cool Cups at the Brewery

Brooklyn Brewery New Expansion

Finally, we went to a very cool burger joint called Shake Shack. I had a burger and shake and they were excellent but what really stood out was a wall explaining their history and dedication to “going green.” They purchase wind power credits to offset 100% of their electricity and they also practice on-site composting and they recycle used cooking oil. In the construction of the building they used a plethora of sustainable building materials: walls made of fiberboard, wheat board tabletops and trash cans, ceiling tiles made from renewable wood, LED low voltage light fixtures, and they “introduced a green wall(recyclable modular unit and pre-grown living system) that will remain in bloom year round.”
Overall, I was very impressed with the dedication to sustainability shown by the people of New York – keep up the good work!

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Filed under Buy Local, Carbon Footprint, Conservation, Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency, Environment, Gardening, Green Technology, Innovation, NAHB, Outdoor Adventure, Parks, Recycled Materials, Renewable Energy, Responsible Materials, Solar, Sustainable Businiess, Uncategorized, USGBC, Water conservation

A Green Thumb

After being recruited to write a quick blog about our experiences last Friday volunteering for the Green Learning Adventure (GLA) I decided to use this opportunity to join Dan in coming up with new ways to lead a more sustainable, environmentally conscious life.

First, a little recap of the GLA. I met up with Bennet after he and Dan educated Sea World employees, we then headed out to a community recreation center that was holding a small Earth Day celebration for elementary and middle school children. There were a handful of environmental education booths for the kids to visit – each kid was required to visit every booth and learn what each had to offer. For some incentive they could enter a raffle at the end to win some cool prizes, including surf lessons. After we spoke to each and gave them a spin on Pedal Power (the human-powered energy bike that demonstrates how much electricity it takes to run lighting and other household items), we would give them a sticker moving them one step closer to the raffle. Each booth would then do the same making for a great day of education.

It was a blast showing the kids the energy differences in the older incandescent light bulbs and the newer more energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL’s use about 75% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and lasts up to 10 times longer – energystar.gov). I was also amazed at some of the knowledge these children already had – some were even educating ME on what they knew about “vampire loads” and energy efficient light bulbs that their families were already using. We later learned that the community rec center runs programs about energy efficiency and renewable energy.

All in all it was a great experience and I look forward to helping the GLA in the future, it is important to educate the next generation about living sustainably.

As for our next initiative in this project we wanted to move onto a slightly different topic – horticulture. Our recent blog posts have opened us up to new energy and water saving tips and our next step will involve using good ole’ Mother Nature in order to make our everyday lives healthier and happier. We have already started a very nice backyard garden including different varieties of tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, peas, strawberries, and a small citrus tree. Our two green thumbs behind the operation, Dan and Colin, have made some great strides towards harvesting farm fresh, organic produce in the backyard.

In the next few days I want to bring some greenery inside in order to freshen up the house. Using house plants as decoration will not only look nice but they will also help improve the air quality. According to Eartheasy.com NASA recently released a study that ranks the top plants for reducing indoor air pollutants. I will be sure to look at some of these for ideas on selecting plants. By doing this, we will make our rooms brighter and more inviting and make us feel more connected to nature.

Stay tuned for the results and a little bit more on connecting our built environment with the natural landscape that surrounds us.

-T. Ufferman

Alley Garden - Adding something fresh to the back alley.

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Filed under 30 ways in 30 days, Buy Local, Carbon Footprint, Conservation, Environment, Gardening, Philanthropy, Uncategorized

Easter treats for Earth Day

I missed putting up a new post yesterday, but spent a lot of time looking for ideas. I will admit that finding a new idea for everyday is pretty difficult, but I am still having fun working on some of the previously posted ideas. So far, the biggest ‘change’ is that I really do spend time thinking about my daily actions and how I can improve them. Feel free to help out with some suggestions or let me know some small things that you do too.

Today, my roommate Todd Ufferman got a package in the mail from his parents in the mail. Mrs. Debbie Ufferman sent him some easter treats that were right in tune with our theme. She added in his Easter basket a few pretty cool environmentally friendly gifts. With Easter coming up on the same weekend as Earth Day, there are a lot of events that are incorporating both of the occasions, these type of items are a great way to change up the traditional basket.

Todd is fascinated by these eggs

She sent Funky Mamacita, a fair trade organic coffee from Higher Grounds, a Theo organic fair trade chocolate bar, and some environmentally friendly stamps. She also added some eggs that your crack open, water them, and grow plants out of them. I thought this gift basket was a great idea. Thanks Mrs. Ufferman and Happy Earth Day!

The goodies

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Filed under 30 ways in 30 days, Buy Local, Free Trade, Gardening, Recycled Materials