THE NEST ISSUE
Seed Starting at Home
At Home in Nature Ecopsychology & Raising Healthy Kids
Save on Bulk Coupon Inside!
Printed with soy ink on recycled paper in Albany, NY
apparent that cooperation is a force that can be used towards progress. Pockets of people, however small, who are collaborating for the greater good of humanity and the planet, are one tool that we have to work with. In this grocery store, which has found a home in three different buildings over the past 40 years, many shoppers, shareholders, member owners, and employees, have found a place where they feel at home. Although small, we are committed to working towards the betterment of our local economy, our neighborhood, our city, our region, our environment, and our community.
This issue is about a concept that at once means the same and different things to every person: home. A word that, hopefully, evokes a sense of comfort. Whether that comfort is found in a person, a structure, a neighborhood, or a community, we should all have a place where we can go to feel comfortable and safe. As I think about the broader idea of home, now, in February of 2017, I think about this country that we live in and this planet that we live on. The United States is home to 325.7 million people. The world has 7.4 billion human bodies living in it, and counting. Each with their own individualized idea of home, each with a desire to have someplace to feel safe and comfortable. As a changing political landscape shakes up who will continue to feel safe and comfortable, and for how long, in this divided country and on this gradually warming earth, it is
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illustration by Amelianne McDonnell
In this issue, you’ll find articles on improving your home through the centuries-old practice of feng shui or through the technology of harnessing solar power. You can learn from a local flower farmer how to start strong seedlings and read about an Albany educational center that explores ways to make urban living more sustainable, now that more than half of the world’s population calls a city “home.” Thanks for reading, take care of one another out there, and never underestimate the power of cooperation.
We chose a theme of 'Nest' for this early spring issue of the Coop Scoop about six months ago, when Tara joined me as an associate editor and we laid out a whole year's worth of themes.
Honest Weight Food Co-op is a member- ecologically sustainable ways of living. owned and -operated consumer Honest weight is open to the public, cooperative that is committed seven days a week. The Coop to providing the community Scoop is produced bimonthly with affordable, high by our Education Department quality natural foods and and offered free of charge products for healthy living. as part of our mission. Our mission is to promote to view online, Please visit more equitable, participatory, and www.honestweight.coop/coopscoop.
Tara Herrick Brown, M.S. is a holistic health practitioner in Delmar and has offered Resonance Repatterning® sessions at the Co-op. To learn more about Tara and her practice, INUR Wellness, LLC, please visit www.inur.com.
CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS & ILLUSTRATORS Mathew Bradley’s hand drawn illustrations are likely familiar to you if you spend time at Honest Weight Food Co-op. Aside from working as our Graphic Designer, Matt is a freelancer whose work you can see at mathewdoesstuff.com. Andrew Franciosa is a computer nerd turned photographer who regularly contributes photos to the Coop Scoop. After discovering Honest Weight in 2008, he became interested in making better food at home. With countless hours of practice, Andrew says he is finally and regularly preparing flavorful vegan meals. Amelianne McDonnell is a graduate of FIT with a BFA in Illustration. Her work is inspired by what she loves most: living things and outdoor adventures. When she’s not petting cats and dogs she can be found fly fishing streams and creeks in the Adirondacks. To see more examples of her work or to inquire about projects or commissions (she loves pet portraiture), please reach her by email at email@example.com.
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COPY EDITOR Ben Goldberg is retired from a 40+ year career in behavioral health care in the non-profit sector. He is currently an active volunteer and a freelance writer and editor.
ADVERTISING MANAGER Kim Morton, member of Honest Weight Food Co-op since 2005, is the Founder of First Division Marketing where she focuses on driving brand recognition to a variety of high-tech companies. She has two young boys, Iggy and Xavier. She has been handling Coop Scoop advertising since 2009.
DISTRIBUTION ASSISTANT Donna Eastman has been a Co-op member for many yearsshe remembers the Quail Street days! She stocked shelves in Grocery before becoming a Coop Scoop distributor, which she really enjoys. Donna is a music therapist and animal lover. She has five cats and does agility and therapy work with her dog.
LAYOUT DESIGNER Anne Hobday is a long-time member of Honest Weight, and Associate Professor of Graphic Design at The College of Saint Rose. She’s happy to be lending a helping hand to the talented marketing team at the Co-op this month.
Interested in Contributing to the Coop Scoop? Contact Georgia at email@example.com
ISSN 2473-6155 (print) ISSN 2473-6163 (online) The Coop Scoop is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing medical or health advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider. We are not responsible for errors or omissions. Honest Weight is not responsible for, and does not necessarily agree with, our guest writer’s articles.
NEST 2 LETTER FROM THE EDITOR by Georgia Julius
6 PRODUCER PROFILES by Pat Sahr
8 IS SOLAR POWER RIGHT FOR YOU? by William Reinhardt
10 RADICAL SUSTAINABILITY
by Stacy Pettigrew & Scott Kellogg
12 FENG SHUI FOR THE HOME by Karla Guererri
14 AT HOME IN NATURE
by Tara Herrick Brown & Julia Cadieux
17 SIMPLE STEPS TO START YOUR OWN SEEDS
by Colie Collen
18 SAVING FOR A NEST EGG by Pam Dudoff
20 SHARED KITCHEN: A NOT-QUITE-EMPTY-NEST TALE by Rebecca Angel Maxwell
21 RECIPE CORNER
by Melanie Pores
24 CO-OP KIDS!
by Rebecca Angel Maxwell
Honest. Honest Weight boasts one of the largest Bulk Departments in the Northeast. So what’s in all those bins and jars, anyway?
When you shop our amazing seleccon of bulk items, you can buy as much as you want or as liile as you need. With everything from popular favorites like freshly-ground peanut buuer and coﬀee to items you’ve been meaning to try, like avocado oil or brown rice pasta, you won’t believe what you can get with 20 bucks. That’s because our bulk foods use less packaging, processing and labor. That saves us money and we sa pass those savings directly on to you.
FARM to TABLE
Dining, CSAs, Markets
TWO ROCK RANCH
FOUND IN OUR MEAT DEPARTMENT
by Pat Sahr
In 2010, Nia Hansen and Emily Vincent launched Sonoma County Sheep Company in the rolling hills of West Petaluma, California, near the town of Two Rock. Because of continuous drought conditions on the West Coast, as well as the high cost of land and feed, Hansen and Vincent decided to move to the East Coast, and eventually they established their ranch in the foothills of the Helderberg Mountains. At that time, they changed the name of their operation to Two Rock Ranch, in honor of the place where they had their start.
Visit us online!
Located in Berne, New York, Two Rock Ranch is a sustainable biodynamic farm that raises White Dorper Sheep, a breed known for its mild flavor and excellent quality. The animals are nourished in the growing season by pasture grass, herb forage, and essential minerals. In the winter months, they are fed farm-grown hay and organic, locally-grown hay. The sheep’s natural diet of grass, legumes, and herbs results in meat that is high in vitamins E, C, and beta-carotene and low in fat and cholesterol. Additionally, grass-fed lamb contains two health-promoting omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, an omega-6 fatty acid. In addition to producing organically-raised lambs, Two Rock Ranch operates a CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, program, which provides shareholders with organic heirloom vegetables, pasture-raised eggs, local grassfed meats and farm sundries like soap, jam, and honey. The farm supports grassland conservation and will be planting a pollinator pasture in 2017. Two Rock Ranch is a Pride of New York farm listed with Minority Farmer USDA, and it partners with Albany County Soil and Water Conservation, USDA, FSA, and NRCS. For most of the year, meat from this producer is available at Honest Weight.
Pat Sahr has been a member of the Co-op since 2005. She contributes to the Coop Scoop as the writer of the Producer Profiles. Pat says, “It’s a pleasure being part of the Honest Weight family, and I’ve especially enjoyed communicating with the various producers whose products are sold at the Co-op!” 6
We truly value the small businesses and dedicated individuals who work hard to create the exceptional goods and products we carry here at Honest Weight Food Co-op. We think these inspirational stories demonstrate the importance of supporting local, and why weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re so committed to it!
Is Solar Power Right for You? Thinking about going solar? Solarize Albany wants to help.
For over two years, Honest Weight Food Co-op has been a gracious host to the volunteer team of Solarize Albany. The team meets on Thursdays from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. in the Co-op community room, planning outreach events, publicizing the benefits of solar energy, and stimulating the solar market through bulk purchasing in order to lower local market prices. When I was asked to prepare one or two articles about residential solar power options in the Capital District for the Coop Scoop my answer was an emphatic, Yes! For this “Home-themed” issue, I want to address several questions that confront homeowners and renters when they think about going solar. While solar panels have been around for decades, residential installation costs have only recently become truly economical. Prices have fallen dramatically in the last five years (from $8.00 per watt down to $3.00 per watt, before tax benefits), yet most consumers are not aware of this. Additionally, a new alternative, Community Solar, only became available in New York in 2016. It is especially attractive for renters and homeowners whose homes are not suitable for solar because of shading, roof type, or any other constraint. With this option you can go solar but the solar panels are installed elsewhere in the community, not on your roof or property. You and the other customers (or owners) of the Community Solar project are credited on your electric bill for the output from the system.
by William Reinhardt
Because of these recent developments in the local solar markets—lower costs and Community Solar—we at Solarize Albany like the phrase, “Solar for All!” Whether you want to do your part to fight climate change and create local green jobs or you just want to save money on your energy costs, solar power may be for you.
With all these options, what makes the most economic sense? Generally speaking, in ranking from most to least costeffective, the best economic choice is to buy rooftop solar, if you can take advantage of the state and federal tax credits. At a little higher cost, some homeowners install ground mounted systems, if their roof is not acceptable. As a second option in this area, Solarize Albany partners with another volunteer group, Helderberg Community Energy, to offer a Community Solar ownership alternative. While not quite as cost-effective as having your own residential solar installation, it is an ownership option for homeowners and renters who cannot put solar on their roof or in their yard. A third option for homeowners is to have a leased system installed on your property. These “no money down” deals have the advantage of costing you nothing up front, and you usually start saving right away. However, the tax breaks go to the third party owner of the system, so, although you do get some savings, you typically do not save as much over the life of the panels. A fourth option is to sign a lease with a Community Solar project developer. Solarize Albany and Helderberg Community Energy are working with several potential partners to offer a range of lease options, with both a short- and long-term lease option, as well as alternative pricing options to best meet consumer needs.
Which option is best for me? This is actually a different question, once you consider individual and site-specific circumstances. For example, if you are a renter, you may prefer a short-term lease with a Community Solar project, because you know you may be moving soon, or because you want the flexibility and ease of a short-term agreement for only a year or two, even though it is not going to be your most economical option.
I want solar on my roof, but I know I will be selling my house some day. Does it make a difference if I own the system on my roof or if it is a leased system? Yes. Research published about a year ago by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) found that homeowners in six different states who had purchased solar power systems were paid a premium when they sold their home of between $2.68 and $4.31 per watt. Last year in our Solarize Albany program, systems were being installed for $3.00 per watt, so ownership means you save on your electric bill now and you might also get all your initial solar investment back when you sell your house. LBNL also concluded that solar homes sold just as fast as non-solar homes when the seller owned the system. With leased systems, the results are mixed. Leases vary in complexity and terms, and some evidence suggests a segment of potential buyers will not buy a house with a leased system. Other buyers want the solar and are happy to buy a solarized house, but there is less data on what premium exists for those purchases.
In sum, solar power may be just right for you for many reasons. It certainly is the right thing for our planet. For further information, contact Solarize Albany at www. Solarizealbany.org or Helderberg Community Energy at www.helderbergcommunityenergy.com. Solar for all! William Reinhardt Co-op Member and Director of Solarize Albany. Solarize the Capital District is a volunteer-run and notfor-profit team of your neighbors assisting in the transition to sustainable energy through education, outreach and the bulkpurchasing benefits of vetted technologies and vendors. They meet each Thursday from 6-8pm at Honest Weight.
Hands-On, Hearts Open
Care During Your Entire Childbearing Year Betsy Mercogliano, CPM, LM (518)449-5759
Jess Hayek ,CE, Doula (518)727-8219
Tisha Graham, CPM, CLC, Doula Rose Mitchell-Tenerowicz, Doula Laura Simpson, RN, NMT, Doula
Professional homebirth midwifery, Doulas, education and more! Locations in Albany & Saratoga
An unassuming half-acre in Albany’s South End is home to The Radix Ecological Sustainability Center, an urban environmental educational center and demonstration of environmental technologies and sustainable micro industries applicable in today’s cities. by Stacy Pettigrew & Scott Kellogg
One of the biggest limiting factors to urban food production is poor soil.
Despite once having been a fertile river valley, Albany’s soils have too often become severely degraded, compacted, contaminated, or completely paved over. Fortunately, the solution to unhealthy soil is within reach—the mountains of organic (once living) waste produced in the city each day. Food scraps, dried leaves, woodchips, grass clippings and so on can be diverted from the landfill and composted, creating a valuable soil amendment that can help to remedy any number of soil maladies. Finished compost can be used to create soil where none exists, restore nutrients and microbial processes to sterilized soils, improve soil’s moisture retention and pH, and potentially assist in reducing gardeners’ risk of exposure to soilbound lead. Additionally, keeping organics out of the landfills saves space in crowded landfills, and, more important, it reduces the production of methane, a potent greenhouse gas produced by anaerobic landfill microbes. With Albany’s Rapp Road landfill set to close in a matter of years and the threat of climate change growing, sustainable waste alternatives such as composting are desperately needed.
South End that maintains a oneacre farm/sustainable technologies demonstration site. Features at Radix include a solar heated bioshelter greenhouse, a greenhouse managed as an indoor ecosystem; an aquaponic fish farm, in which fish and plants are grown together in an integrated aquatic system; goat and chicken microlivestock, which are inherently small species. There are also numerous gardens, rain water harvesting, photovoltaic panels, and more. Radix runs a number of sustainability education programs for area schools, a weekly farm-share that operates as an ecological and entrepreneurial education and employment program for local youth. Radix also works with AVillage…, Inc., a grass-roots non-profit organization in the South End, to increase access to healthy
food in the South End’s food desert, including supporting the South End Farmers Market. In addition to these endeavors, Radix encourages food waste diversion through our Community Composting Initiative (CCI). Believing that composting needs to happen on every level from the home scale to the municipal, we offer support and information for those wanting to compost in their backyards or indoors with worms (vermicompost). For those who are unable to, or prefer not to compost at home, Radix provides a weekly curbside compost collection service that picks up food scraps at subscribers’ homes for processing at the Radix farm. The CCI provides a hands-on example of sustainable waste management for all of our educational programs. The various stages of compost are available to
One organization that has taken steps to promote composting in Albany is the Radix Ecological Sustainability Center. Radix is a non-profit environmental education organization based in Albany’s 10
touch and examine, and longer-term youth participants and interns are able to engage in the process from beginning (adding food scraps to compost piles) to the end (sifting compost for indoor garden beds). The Radix Center employs a number of composting techniques to turn food wastes into soil. The first is microlivestock: our chickens, goats, and ducks rapidly devour food scraps, converting their nutrients into milk (goats), eggs (chickens and ducks), and manure (all). Microlivestock can eat significant amounts of food scraps, yet there are limits to the total amount they can process. Wastes that cannot be managed by the animals are then mixed into compost piles along with woodchips. When nitrogenrich food wastes are mixed with carbon-based woodchips, aerobic microbial composting action begins and the piles heat up. The internal temperature of a compost pile can reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit, all the product of microbial metabolism, the process by which microscopic organisms get the energy and nutrients they require for life. Over time as the piles cool, they shrink by almost 50 percent in volume and are given a final polish by earthworms. What’s left behind is beautiful broken-down organic matter that is dark in color, moist and crumbly, and smells sweetly of earth. The finished product is then added as a fertilizer to our numerous raised bed gardens, replacing the nutrients extracted by each season’s vegetables. As an added bonus, we attempt to capture some of the heat of the composting process through biothermal heating. During the winter we run water-filled piping through the compost pile and into our greenhouse, transferring heat from the pile to the inside. We are pleased to announce that we began collecting food scraps from Honest Weight’s produce and deli departments early last summer, on MARCH/APRIL 2017
a volunteer basis. This relationship helps the co-op to save money on waste disposal fees. We believe it is important to keep composting local, just like food production. When food wastes are transported over long distances, the fuel emissions can negate the greenhouse gas benefits of composting in the first place. Furthermore, in local “micro-brew” composting, greater attention and care
SUSTAINABILITY GLOSSARY Aquaponics
A method of growing fish and plants together in a closed loop system where fish wastes become nutrient inputs for plants which in turn act as natural filters.
Bioshelter greenhouse are put on the materials going into the compost pile, screening out the plastic trash that otherwise ends up in large industrial scale composting operations and ultimately into soils. Composting food wastes is an essential component of creating healthy, equitable, and resilient urban ecosystems. Keeping food out of landfills and creating soil fights climate change, can help address urban food security issues, create employment for city residents, educate youth, and regenerate soil ecosystem health. To support Radix Center, or to learn more about the programs, check out www.radixcenter.org.
A solar greenhouse that is managed as an indoor ecosystem. Bioshelters are designed to be heated primarily with passive solar and biothermal heat sources and thereby rely minimally on fossil fuels.
The process by which microbes, or microorganisms, obtain the energy and nutrients they need to live, and which results in the decomposition of compost ingredients.
Animals that are significantly smaller than common breeds and that are adaptive, that are easy to breed, and that can thrive on marginal food supplies such as food scraps and waste vegetation.
Scott Kellogg is the Educational Director at Radix. Along with Stacy, he wrote “Toolbox for Sustainable City Living: A Do-itOurselves Guide.” Stacy Pettigrew is the Executive Director of the Radix Center. She holds an MS in Epidemiology and is currently earning her PhD in Environmental Health Sciences. Stacy loves to garden and build things. Her most important job is raising her daughters. 11
Feng Shui for the Home
Feng shui is the art placing objects in the physical world—spatial placement or arrangement—in order to facilitate the healthy flow of vital energy, called chi. by Karla Guererri
“Wind and Water” is the literal translation of feng shui, the ancient Chinese study of environmental science. Over time and across cultures, feng shui has become decidedly more complex and diffused into different cultures with a variety of applications. We are probably most familiar with feng shui as the art placing objects in the physical world—spatial placement or arrangement—in order to facilitate the healthy flow of vital energy, called chi, in the environment. It is said that proper feng shui can attract wealth, harmony, love, fame, and other sorts of fulfillment. While the philosophy and principles of feng shui can fill volumes and take a lifetime to learn thoroughly, diagrams and color palettes aid the process.
consider the flow of energy through your living space, imagining how it would look if it was visible, like a stream of water. The bagua is essential to mapping out the feng shui of your home. It is a diagram divided into nine sections, each section representing a force in your life. Each of the nine sections is also associated with particular colors and elements which must be balanced for good chi. The bagua is used as an overlay to assess, diagnose, and maximize the proper chi in your house. This is a complex and potentially cumbersome process that 12
few of us may ever complete. Another diagram called the support cycle shows all of the elemental relationships and offers solutions for either boosting chi or slowing it down. Even so, there are some basic rules and principles that stand out (and a few fundamental ground rules) that can easily be understood and applied to home design. First, consider the flow of energy through your living space, imagining how it would look if it was visible, like a stream of water, for example. Ideally, chi should move freely through the house but not too quickly. It is best for the energy to meander and circulate, but not to shoot out or escape, leaving the feeling of a deficit or a vacuum. Pay attention to stairways and long hallways with doors at the end. These spots are referred to as “hidden arrows” or “poison arrows” because they shoot chi in the direction that the corner is pointing. If you find this situation in your home, try hanging an attractive mirror near the door to redirect energy back into the house. Corners and furniture with sharp angles are also hidden arrows that can shoot energy. Round tabletops and pieces with curves are best. In cramped or crowded places, position a crystal to get the chi moving. In the feng shui tradition water represents wealth. Be vigilant, therefore, about repairing any leaky pipes or faucets
and keep toilet lids down to prevent chi from traveling down the drain (i.e., money down the drain). Lynda Armstrong Caccamo, owner and designer at City House Interiors cityhouseinteriors.com, advises clients to apply feng shui on a room-by-room basis. For example, entryways and stairways should be COOP SCOOP
A bagua map is used by aligning the entry of your home with the bottom of the map. Your entryway will align with either Skills and Knowledge, Career, or Travel and Helpful People. Illustration by Mathew Bradley
uncluttered for the chi to flow without restriction. The living room, ideally rectangular and sunny, should be visible from the entrance hall, and the sofa back must not block the doorway. Caccamo advises that in the dining room, one should avoid aligning the table directly with the kitchen, bathroom, or entrance door, and MARCH/APRIL 2017
in the bedroom, the bed should not point to the door. This is called the “coffin position” and is considered bad luck. The bed should not be reflected in the mirror, either, as this will double the energy and may disturb sleep. Caccamo says, “I like to hang mirrors so that they reflect the windows and bring nature into the room. My clients have been happy with the new look of their bedroom, and they are true believers after a few nights of more restful sleep.”
lavender if you just want to sleep. A full list is available at Olmstead’s website: fengshuiforreallife.com. Aromas can be diffused into the air by candles, incense, room sprays, essential oils, or aromatherapy machines.
Once the flow of chi is enabled and moderated, it is time to consider the elements and colors. The basic elements in feng shui are fire, wood, earth, metal, and water. The elements relate to each other according to how one affects another (wood feeds fire and fire is extinguished by water, for example). Elements are present in our household materials and objects. Wood is present in many building materials and furniture, but it can also be represented in a photo or drawing of a tree. Fire is present in the form of candles or a fireplace. An earth element would be, for example, a pottery urn, crystals, or stones. Metal is found in furniture and picture frames. Water may be represented in art or glass objects, or there may be an actual water feature in the house or on the patio.
Karla Guererri lives in Troy and has been a Co-op member for several years. She is a semi-retired educator with a public school background. Karla has written articles for iSanté and Santé Magazine, along with a short story under a pen name in a little known journal, Adventures for the Average Woman.
Feng shui practitioner Carol Olmstead maintains an instructional website about feng shui. She advises that aromas have a place in balancing chi. She recommends cinnamon scent in the living room for intellectual conversation and basil for cheer. Mint, in the dining room, will cleanse the palate and stimulate appetite. Use rose, gardenia, or musk to stimulate romance in the bedroom or use
Whether you think of it as an art, custom, tradition, or just quaint esoterica, feng shui may help to make your environment more comfortable and pleasant.
HONEST WEIGHT HAS FREE FENG SHUI CONSULTATIONS EVERY FRIDAY FROM 3-6PM IN THE CO-OP CAFé! SIGN UP AT THE SERVICE DESK FOR YOUR SESSION. AROMAS HAVE A PLACE IN BALANCING CHI cinnamon scent in the living room for intellectual conversation basil for cheer mint in the dining room
will cleanse the palate and stimulate appetite rose, gardenia, or musk to stimulate romance lavender if you just want to sleep
At Home in Nature
by Tara Herrick Brown & Julia Cadieux Photos by Andrew Franciosa
The more time children spend outdoors, experiencing all nature offers to them, the more likely they will grow to love, preserve, and respect it. Ecopsychology is the relationship between human beings and the natural world viewed through the lenses of ecological and psychological principles. Richard Louv (2006) wrote an inspiring book, “Last Child in the Woods” about how being in nature benefits children. Raising kids from a whole-child perspective is important for healthy development of their physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual selves. To that end, nature is an essential resource. “Playtime—especially unstructured, imaginative, exploratory play— is increasingly recognized as an essential component of wholesome child development” (Louv, 2006). Pediatric Occupational Therapist, Angela Hanscom says, “Children need to move in all kinds of ways to develop a strong vestibular system.” (This is why we so often see them fidget in their desks!) The vestibular system, the sensory system associated with the sense of
balance and spatial orientation, is an essential foundation for learning. Rolling and tumbling, climbing trees, going upside down on the monkey bars, spinning round-andaround, are all necessary for a child’s optimal development. When grownups or the environment restrict these types of activities, they can have unintended consequences such as poor motor skills and poor body-spatial awareness. In addition, getting kids outside to run around and blow off steam has very positive effects on behavior and mood regulation. The importance of exercise for good health has been documented over the years, and a wealth of research supports the notion that children need physical exercise for countless health and developmental benefits. According to a 2010 Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report, eight studies explored the relationship between academic performance and physical exercise
(activity during recess during the school day in elementary schools). All eight studies found one or more positive associations between recess and indicators of cognitive skills, attitudes, and academic behavior; none of the studies found negative associations.
When going outside to play, very little is needed. The natural environment itself provides everything children need for learning and entertainment. Many studies link exercise and structured classroom achievements, but unstructured outdoor play provides additional important
benefits. Relevant to physical health, spending time outside raises levels of Vitamin D, helping to protect children from future bone problems, heart disease, diabetes, and other health issues (AAP, 2009). And according to research conducted by
attention deficit symptoms (Kuo & Taylor, 2004; Wells, 2000). The natural world playground but psychological, and should not be
can be a child’s the emotional, spiritual benefits ignored. When
kiddo-friendly SITES Children and Nature Network childrenandnature.org
Tamakoce wilderness programs tamakocewildernessprograms.com
Heldeberg Workshop heldebergworkshop.org
Radix Center radixcenter.org
Local kid-friendly hikes Thacher Park, Voorheesville Washington Park, Albany Jones et al. (2007) it is believed that nearsightedness is linked to excessive time spent indoors. The eyes evolved to take in broad landscapes and therefore benefit from going outdoors where they can scan and focus on wide open spaces. Moreover, there is good evidence that when kids play in the dirt, that is, have direct contact with soil, the immune, cardiovascular and neurological systems, and even the skin, all benefit from exposure to beneficial microbes in the soil (National Wildlife Federation, 2012). Research conducted by Kuo & Taylor (2004) show that children’s stress levels fall within minutes of seeing green spaces and speaks to the importance of how outdoor play contributes to children’s emotional development (Ginsgberg, 2007). In fact, it has been shown that children who are exposed to nature receive mental/emotional benefits, as it may be “widely effective” in reducing MARCH/APRIL 2017
children are hurried from one scheduled activity to another, creativity and freedom are lost. This excessive demand on our children can cost more than we think. Anxiety and depression have been linked to a loss of free time and a hurried lifestyle (Ginsburg, 2007). When your child develops a relationship with the natural world, they can feel a sense of home, and it can become their go-to for peace. Giving kids the opportunity to simply be quiet among the trees and listen to their surroundings ignites curiosity and has a calming effect. For most of us, this comes as no surprise. We know that fresh air and exercise are good for us and our kids, but the added benefits of playing in greenspace addresses children’s multidimensional complexities, which are sometimes overlooked. When going outside to play, very little is needed. The natural environment
Five Rivers, Delmar Peebles Island, Troy itself provides everything children need for learning and entertainment. Squishing mud through your fingers, watching a line of ants carrying crumbs away from your picnic or birds at a feeder, lying in the grass and feeling it tickle your skin while looking at cloud formations—these experiences are all given to us by Mother Nature— no batteries, instructions, or rules required. In a child’s younger years, get out of their way and encourage them to explore. Let them touch frogs. Let them taste dirt. Let them climb trees. Allow your child to fall in love with nature. For toddlers, there’s no better way to get them excited about outdoor play than to simply let them go at it whole-hog. Toddlers learn by doing. Playing in sandboxes, making mud 15
pies, catching and releasing crayfish, splashing in puddles, building snow sculptures, and rolling down hills are all activities that appeal to toddlers because they engage all the senses and allow for freedom of movement. Such activities are optimal to the development of a young child’s mind and body.
For children in early adolescence, it is important to keep up with outdoor play. Activities such as climbing trees, swinging and spinning on playground equipment, balancing
across logs, and chasing a ball down the field build a strong and healthy vestibular system. As kids get older, it may be necessary to introduce tools,
When going outside to play, very little is needed. The natural environment itself provides everything children need for learning and entertainment. games, and toys to their outdoor adventures. Keeping it simple is best. Providing a shovel to dig or affixing a basket on their bicycles are easy ways to extend their outdoor games. Older kids can be kept engaged with the outdoors in many ways. If children have grown up playing outdoors and enjoying nature, there is a great chance they are going to care about the environment and want to protect it. Introducing children to environmental stewardship is one way to do this. Joining a local chapter of an environmental non-profit, such as Sierra Club, as one way to get involved. Older children can also be challenged more physically with experiences in rugged wilderness. Hiking and rock climbing appeal to thrill-seeking adolescents. If you are inexperienced with such activities, do not take them by yourself; join a club or use a guide to safely execute a family adventure. For the calmer
nature lovers, gardening can be a great outdoor activity. With the popularity of community gardens and container gardening, space does not have to be a limiting factor in growing your own plants. Experiment with a few pots, soil, and seeds. It does not have to be more complicated than that. Nature has so much to offer our kids. As they grow, be a nature mentor for your child and play with them outdoors. Find your favorite hike and explore a special fort among the trees or enjoy the natural greenspaces in your city or town. Take them camping. Grow a garden. Watch birds. Have a picnic in a city park. Allowing children to simply experience the pleasures and sensations provided by the natural environment is the best way to create a connection to nature that will last a lifetime. Earth Day (April 22) is the perfect day to take a hike and talk to your kids about nature and their place within it. As the weather warms and the trees invite blossoms, wiggle your toes in the grass and find home with your child. Tara Herrick Brown, M.S. owns INUR Wellness in Delmar. She has a master’s degree in health psychology and passions for natural health and ecopsychology. For more information, visit www.inur.com. Julia Cadieux, M.Ed. and certified parent coach lives in Delmar with her family. She is owner of The Supported Parent & believes that play, creativity, and a connection to nature are necessities of life. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
References American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). “Many Children have suboptimal Vitamin D Levels,” Pediatrics. October 26, 2009.
http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/oct2609studies.htm | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “The association between school based physical activity, including physical education, and academic performance.” Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2010. | Ginsburg, MD, MSEd, Kenneth R., Committee on Communications, and Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health. “The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds.” 119.1 (2007). American Academy of Pediatrics, Jan. 2007. | Jones, L. A. et al. “Parental History of Myopia, Sports and Outdoor Activities, and Future Myopia.” Investigative Ophthalmoloy & Visual Science, 48(8), 3524–3532. Aug. 2007. | Kuo, PhD, Frances E., and Andrea Faber Taylor, PhD. “A Potential Natural Treatment for Attention- Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Evidence from a National Study.” American Journal of Public Health 94.9. Sept. 2004. | Louv, Richard. 2006. Last child in the woods: saving our children from nature-deficit disorder. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. | National Wildlife Federation report, “The Dirt on Dirt: How Getting Dirty Outdoors Benefits Kids”, 2012. | Wells, N.M. (2000). At Home with Nature: Effects of “greenness” on children’s cognitive functioning. Environment and Behavior (32), 6, pp 775-795. http://eab.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/32/6/775
Simple Steps to Start Your Own Seeds
by Colie Collen
Even if it doesn’t feel quite like it yet, spring is coming fast! Though we may be wearing
coats and hats for another month, stoking wood stoves, and watching for snow, our regional plant life is already beginning to wake up. Seeds will be germinating in the moist, loosened soil, and roots will start to push toward new territory. Soon we will see buds on branches, swelling with March rains, and before you know it— salad greens. That is, if you get them started on time. Seed starting is easy, but it is important to know the basic rules before spending money on seeds and soil. Follow the steps below for a bumper crop of seedlings. 1. Make a Spreadsheet. Oh, you weren’t expecting that one? Well, it is very important. If you are not computer savvy, just grab a piece of lined paper and a clipboard. You’re going to keep track of: a.) the type of seed you plant; b.) how many cells or containers you plant with that seed; c.) the date on which you plant; and d.) whatever else you want to make note of. That “whatever else” can include your goal planting date, how quickly the seeds sprout, notes on what percentage of them germinate, the date you transplant them into larger containers and plant them outside, etc. This spreadsheet will inform all your plantings in years to come, and it will make you feel like a “real scientist.” I recommend making the spreadsheet right away when you buy, collect, or order your seeds, so you can have an idea of which varieties to plant first. You will find a list of regional planting dates on page 18. 2. Gather Materials. You will need containers for planting, which can be bought online or at a hardware store and reused many times. I recommend buying seedling trays, made for that purpose. Repurposed milk cartons or other food containers are sometimes used, but if the containers are not thoroughly cleaned, bacteria and fungus can damage delicate seedlings. Therefore, seedling trays, which also help keep things organized, are recommended. You will also need seed-starting soil (sometimes called soil-less mix), which the Co-op sells in big, beautiful bags, and I recommend gathering up a sharpie and a roll of masking tape for labeling purposes.
3. Create a Space. Locate the sunniest possible window in your home, where light comes in for eight hours a day, but it is still warm (60-70 degrees)—you can grow seedlings there. If you do not have a warm, sunny space in your home, you are going to need some grow lights to do it right. (Caveat: Some leafy herbs, greens, and other plants do okay with limited light, but most plants prefer more.) I use regular fluorescent ceiling lamps, and put one cool bulb and one warm bulb in each. The whole shebang costs less than $30.00 for each lamp. One good way to maximize your seedling space is to use industrial/utility shelving, like the kind sold for garage storage, and hang your light fixtures underneath the shelves. I hang two fluorescent lamps from each shelf of a four-tiered plastic unit, and get all my seed-starting done in a fairly small space. 4. Think about Water. When you first plant your seeds, you should gently water them with a fine-spraying watering can. Be careful not to douse them too heavily or the seeds will shoot back up to the top of the soil and dry out quickly. Keep the soil as wet as a wrung-out sponge, using the same watering method, until germination. Young and tender seedlings need to be watered fairly often, but standing water on leaves and soil encourages the growth of fungi and bacteria, and those are killers. With that in mind, many expert small-scale propagators water from underneath. I use boot trays—those shallow plastic trays you put your snowy shoes on—fill them with water, and set my seedling trays right into them. That way (via capillary action, a great phrase from high school biology) the water is drawn up into the root structure under the seedling, which is safer for the plant.
5. Keep Keeping that Spreadsheet. Once your seedlings have sprouted and you are actively tending them, record-keeping can start to seem unimportant. But trust me, the notes you take will come in handy next year, and, remember, a well-tended plant is always healthier than a neglected plant, so keep keeping on.
6. Create Even More Space. As your seedlings get bigger, they will start fighting for room. That is when it is important to be as ruthless as you can when thinning them. Choose the strongest, (often shortest) bestlooking of the lot to keep, and trim the others away with tiny scissors. Take those lettuce, beet, broccoli, and cabbage thinnings and throw them right into a salad; they’re delicious! And when those single, spacedout seedlings get even bigger, you may want to start transplanting them into larger containers. Things that stay indoors for a long time (like tomato, eggplant, and pepper seedlings) will especially benefit from a little extra space. For that purpose, plastic cups, yogurt tubs, and other recycled containers will do just fine, but make sure to clean them very thoroughly first. 7. Finally, Get Them Outside. Our regional last frost date is somewhere around the first week of May, and at that point it is safe to put everything outside. Get it out there! It is amazing to see how happy a plant becomes when it is finally in garden soil and full sun. Now pat yourself on the back, stash that spreadsheet where you can find it next winter, and get out into the sun yourself.
Saving for a Nest Egg
by Pam Dudoff
Where the term comes from, what it means, and how to get one. It is believed that the term nest egg, which has come to mean a sum of money saved for the future, originally derived from poultry farmers’ tactic of placing eggs— both real and fake—in hens’ nests to induce them to lay more eggs, creating more income for these farmers. Often referred to as an emergency or rainy day fund, it may seem impossible to save for one, especially if you are paying off debt. There are, however, methods to working towards debt-free living and acquiring some proverbial eggs in your bank account.
Why do I need a nest egg? You have unexpected bills or a sudden loss of income, an Emergency Fund allows you to handle your bills without having to put expenses on a credit card or take out a loan. You borrow from yourself so you do not have to pay interest, which can easily be as high as 18–25 cents for every dollar that you borrow. High interest rates can make it very hard to pay off your debt. Common emergencies and costly unexpected negative events include such things as large medical bills from a serious illness; extended loss of income as the result of an accident or injury; a large car repair bill; household expenses such as a new furnace or roof or major appliance; loss of a job or extended unemployment.
How much of a nest egg do I need? The advice from experts can vary from three months to one year of income, depending on your situation. Here are some things to think about in order to decide what makes sense for you:
Colie Collen, member of the Co-op for nine years and counting, was formerly Honest Weight’s Education Coordinator. Now, she grows flowers and makes bouquets for her business, Flower Scout, which you can find online at www.flower-scout.com. 18
• Do you basically live paycheck-to-paycheck and have some savings? • Do you own a car and how old is it? If you had to be without a car for a while could you get to work on public transportation or with a coworker? • Do you own a home, how old is it, what kind of shape are the house and the necessary major appliances in? • Do you have a spouse, partner, or children that are depending on you to bring in income? • How secure is your job? • How long might it take you to find another job if you lost your current one? COOP SCOOP
Determine how much of a nest egg you need and then begin saving as much as you can per month (or per pay period) until you reach the amount of money you need for your nest egg. It can be helpful to find out how much major car repair bills are likely to be and how much a new furnace, roof or major appliance will cost. To estimate how long it would take you to find a new job plan on one month for every $10,000 of annual salary. So, if you earn $30,000 that would be three months, and if you earn $80,000 then plan on eight months. Also, consider what the job market is like and how easy or difficult it might be to find a new job depending on the type of work that you do.
How do I find the money to save for a nest egg? In one word: budget. There are many ways to do a budget but you must find a method that works for you. It can be as simple as pencil and paper combined with putting cash and/or receipts in envelopes or jars for each budget category. More tech-savvy budgeters should consider Mint or GoodBudget (available online or by downloading smartphone applications). Start budgeting in three easy steps: Step 1 Look at what you are currently spending your money on each month.
rate card to a lower interest rate card, but before doing so, get details about possible fees and how long the low rate will last. tep 4 When you finish paying off the highest rate debt, S use that payment amount to pay down the next highest rate debt. Keep doing this until you pay off all your debt. You may start out slowly but after a while you will pick up speed. Just keep your eye on the goal: lower your debt so you can build a nest egg. The key to making progress is to have a realistic budget that works for you, and stick to it! This is the foundation and first step of any money management plan. Then you can start paying down debt. Once your debt is paid off, saving will be easy.
YOU CAN DO THIS!
Pam Dudoff, MA, CFDS has a Master’s Degree in Applied Psychology and she worked 15+ years as a Corporate OD/HR Consultant, Conflict Mediator, Trainer and Executive Coach. Pam currently has her Series 7 license (Financial Investments) and she is a Certified Financial Divorce Specialist. Pam specializes in providing coaching and education to increase people’s ability to manage their finances and achieve their financial goals.
Step 2 Categorize your spending into three categories: • Needs (food/shelter/warmth) • Nice-to -haves (dining out) • Wants (trip to Bermuda).
JOIN PAM FOR A FREE COACHING AT ONE-HOUR SESSION OF FINANCIAL E SERVICE Step 3 Decide on changes you are ready and willing to HONEST WEIGHT! REGISTER AT TH make and the dollar amount you will set aside each month ERY TUESDAY in savings. This is your nest egg. DESK FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT, EV TURDAYS FROM 2-3PM. SA OR M 6P 5OM FR All my money is going to pay down debt so I cannot build a nest egg. A common reason for this typical predicament is high interest rates on credit cards; especially department store cards. If you are only making the minimum payment on your credit card bills then you are most likely just paying interest, and you will never pay off the balance. How do you get out of this situation? Step 1 Find out what the interest rate is on each credit card or loan that you have. tep 2 Use your budget to find money to pay more than S the minimum on the highest interest rate debt so the amount you owe starts to decrease. Meanwhile, continue paying at least the minimum payments on all your other debt. Step 3 Consider transferring balances on a high interest MARCH/APRIL 2017
Shared Kitchen: A Not-QuiteEmpty-Nest Tale by Rebecca Angel Maxwell
Once upon a time there was a young couple who learned
to cook and bake together in their tiny apartment kitchen. Soon they had babies, moved to a house, and took turns in their new, tiny kitchen. The babies grew to young children who wanted to help cook and bake. The daughter would pull up a chair to reach and make up recipes all by herself (with her mother close by to chat with). The son liked to cook and bake with his father, following instructions. As the children grew older, there was much scheduling and driving and working, but there was also always delicious food lovingly cooked from home.
Their tiny kitchen forces everyone into the dance of a family: constant bumping of elbows, but followed with words of love. Sound like magic? Let’s stop the fairy-tale and get real. The kitchen is a microcosm of our lives. Yes, my husband and I fed our family home-cooked meals most of our days, but this was out of financial necessity. Having our children learn to cook was a practical decision so they could help out and become competent adults. And now they are adults. We have a not-quite-empty-nest this year, but still a tiny kitchen. I wish we could wave a magic wand to make it easy to deal with each other in a small living space, but the “magic” is mostly communication and planning. Here is what has worked for us. Our daughter is away at college, but she comes home for the long summer and winter breaks. She has always been fiercely independent but also has an eating disorder with social anxiety, so mealtimes are more of an issue for us than other families might experience. This past winter break was very successful because we all discussed ahead of time how to reconcile her need to act like the adult she is, and to be treated as such, but still be a part of the household. We let her know our expectations, she told us her worries, and we all came up with a plan: she cooked and promptly 20
cleaned up after herself for most meals. She wrote down on the grocery list the basic items she had used the last of, and would join the family for social mealtimes on a limited, but regular basis. She still enjoys making up recipes (hummus is her current favorite base) and sharing her creations with the rest of us. My daughter and I have an obsession with tea, and sitting and chatting together over a cuppa, as two adults, is a highlight of this mom’s life. We were a homeschooling family and part of a group that met once a week. It was a co-op so the parents were the teachers. We were lucky enough to meet in a space that had a large kitchen and a couple of parents who taught cooking classes over the years. In my son’s senior year, he was involved in a cooking class that had the kids prepare a meal in class that would be completed at home to feed their families. I didn’t realize what a blessing it was to have one dinner each week taken care of until the class was over. So began a new chapter in my son’s adult life: once-a-week dinner. He follows recipes exactly and has embraced the slow-cooker. Recently, I helped my son cook (on his night) to show him how to make my Italian family’s traditional dinner of sauce, meatballs, pasta, and greens. There is not a written recipe so he had to move out of his comfort zone and into my “sprinkle just enough…” kind of instructions. We had fun, and it came out to be delicious. And so our two heroes: the young couple, who had no idea what they were getting into by becoming parents, continue to learn and grow. Although they both have wished for more magical counter space, their tiny kitchen forces everyone into the dance of a family: constant bumping of elbows, but followed with words of love. Who knows–maybe the couple will cook and bake together again once they have a truly empty nest. That would be a very happily-ever-after. Rebecca Angel Maxwell has been a member of Honest Weight for fourteen years, bringing her family along for the ride. In addition to being part of the Nutrition and Education Committee, she teaches classes on gluten-free cooking, tea, and utilizing the bulk department. When she’s not at the Co-op, Rebecca is a music teacher, writer for GeekMom.com, and publisher of TeaPunk Tales. COOP SCOOP
MELANIE’S FAVORITE KITCHARI-STYLE DETOX SOUP
by Melanie Pores
In Ayurvedic Medicine, a 5,000 year-old science from India, the transition between seasons is considered a good time to cleanse your system. With spring just around the corner, this soup can serve as a tasty and nourishing part of your detox regimen. Makes 4 servings | Prep time: 30 min | Cook time: 45 min + | Total time: 1 hour 15 min +
1 cup yellow mung dhal (split mung beans), soaked and drained 1 cup hulled barley, soaked and drained 2 tsp olive oil 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced 2 tsp ground cumin ¼ tsp ground cardamom ¼ tsp black pepper, freshly ground 1 clove g arlic, minced (I like to use a clove of roasted garlic.) 1 cup onions, chopped ½ cup celery, chopped ½ cup carrots, diced 1 tbsp date paste: soak 2 tbsp pitted or rolled dates for 1hour, retain water 2 tsp lime juice 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, ground ½ cup greens coarsely chopped (I like collard greens.) 4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock Himalayan Pink Salt, to taste
1 Soak the mung beans and barley in two cups of cold water for two hours, then rinse and set aside. 2 In a stockpot, add the olive oil and spices, sauté until fragrant. Then add the chopped veggies (except the greens) and add the date paste, lime juice, and pumpkin seeds. Sauté the vegetable and spice mixture for 5-10 minutes. 3 Add the greens and low-sodium vegetable stock to the mixture. Sauté for a few minutes more. 4 Add the split mung beans and hulled barley. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered for a minimum of 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water if needed.
SLOW COOKER OPTION This soup can be made in a slow cooker (crock pot) if you are short on time. Complete steps one through three then add this mixture, along with the split mung bean dhal and hulled barley which have been presoaked and drained for three hours, to a crock pot and cook on low for six to eight hours. You may want to add additional water to the slow cooker.
Melanie Pores is presently retired after having served a 30+ year career as a bilingual teacher, teacher-trainer, resource specialist, school board member, adjunct professor and educational researcher and policy analyst. She has been an Honest Weight Food Co-op member since 1978.
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HOW TO: MAKE A FAIRY HOUSE Start with an old bird house, or purchase a blank one from a craft store. If you choose, color the birdhouse with non-toxic colors or paints and let dry. Gather stones, bark, leaves, pinecones, acorns, and other earth-gems. Mix the cornstarch paste recipe below and apply the paste with a popsicle stick or butter knife to the birdhouse. Then, affix the collected nature items to adorn your fairy house. Place the fairy house at the base of a tree or tuck it under a bush. Put it somewhere that your child can play safely, without much supervision. We want to encourage unstructured free play and creativity! Read more about play in nature on page 14!
Ingredients: 1 part cornstarch 3 parts water 1 drop essential oils (optional) 2 drops food coloring (optional) 1 empty butter tub with lid
2. Over medium heat, continue stirring the mixture until you feel it start to thicken. Turn down heat to medium-low. The mixture thickens quickly. Remove from heat as soon as it looks smooth and translucent, like Vaseline.
1. In a medium saucepan, with a wooden spoon or fork, stir together one part cornstarch to three parts water. Add one drop of essential oil or a couple drops of food coloring, if you wish. Stir continuously.
3. Pour the mixture into an old butter tub. Refrigerate leftover paste for future use. Source: CraftKnife, 2011
Word Search by Rebecca Angel Maxwell
NEIGHBORHOOD SAFE BURROW HEART HOME APARTMENT FAMILY HOUSE SNUGGLE SETTLE LOVE NEST
n f a m i l y e m h n v o w p
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v a e u e m u s y b i s p p t
w h o m e t h a e x e a r a s