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GREEN

AGRIHOODS PLANTING STRONG ROOTS PRINTE D RECYCL ON ED PAPER

SP R I N G / S U M M E R 2 0 1 6

LIVING

Home-Grown

BEEKMAN BOYS 51 TIPS TO GREEN YOUR HOME CELEB CHEFS DISH HEALTHY RECIPES ECO-FRIENDLY CAREERS & COLLEGES


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GREEN SPRING/SUMMER 2016

LIVING

J. ASHLEY PHOTOGRAPHY

Agrihood Amenities New communities, such as Serenbe in Georgia, connect residents to garden plots, farms and ranches

1


59 UP FRONT 8

BOOKS

10

BEAUTY

12

ENERGY

14

QUIZ

16

HEALTH

BLOOM

10

HOME 59 TV’s Salvage Dawgs find the chic in shabby

62

A Michigan family’s gorgeous straw-bale home

64

Three ways to green your yard

EDUCATION 69 Six cool sustainability careers to follow

FEATURES 24 30

ON THE COVER: Brent Ridge and

Josh Kilmer-Purcell help support farmers and artisans. (page 30) PHOTOS BY: Rett Peek; Thinkstock

DON’T LOSE HOPE Practical ways to fight climate change

BEEKMAN BOOST Local producers get an assist from famous farmers

38

WALKING THE WALK

47

ALWAYS IN SEASON

Environmental industry experts lead by example

These chefs lived farm-to-table before it was trendy

Nourishing the community through hands-on learning

BUSINESS 81 Three brand names make

the environment a priority

FOOD 88 Ask the right questions at your farmers market

ENVIRONMENT 90 Trees do more than provide shade

TRAVEL 93 Green events that go beyond Earth Day

BACK PAGE 96 Pollinators like you’ve

never seen them before

All product prices and availability are subject to change.

4

GREEN LIVING | SPRING/SUMMER 2016

ANNA BOWSER PHOTOGRAPHY; ILLUSTRATION BY MIRANDA PELLICANO; JERALD COUNCIL

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FEATURED CONTRIBUTORS

PREMIUM PUBLICATION DIRECTOR Jeanette Barrett-Stokes jbstokes@usatoday.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jerald Council jcouncil@usatoday.com MANAGING EDITOR Michelle Washington mjwashington@usatoday.com

COURTESY OF THE WRITERS

EDITORS Chris Garsson Elizabeth Neus Hannah Prince Sara Schwartz

MARY HELEN BERG

PETER OGBURN

HANNAH WATERS

AMY REININK

Berg is a green-living convert whose recycling bin is always fuller than her trash can. She’s a frequent contributor to USA TODAY publications and has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Your Teen magazine, ScaryMommy.com and many other venues. Inspired by the Rancho Mission Viejo agrihood she visited for this issue (page 19), she hopes to find her green thumb and learn to grow her own food. Find her on Twitter: @MaryHelenBerg

Ogburn is a radio and television producer who loves food and cooking for his family. He’s written for NPR’s Kitchen Window and the American Food Roots website, and will go to great lengths to find out why we eat the things we eat. On weekend mornings, he can be found (with bleary-eyed kids in tow) talking to farmers about locally grown, sustainable produce. After profiling four chefs (page 47), he has a new appreciation for the dedication some take to source local ingredients. Find him on Twitter: @peterogburn

A freelance writer and researcher, Waters’ work on science, technology and the environment has been published by Scientific American, Smithsonian and Audubon magazines and the Motherboard website, among others. After writing the feature story on climate change (page 24), she signed up to power her home with renewable energy — and it felt good. Contact her through her website, hannahjwaters.com, or on Twitter: @hannahjwaters

Reinink is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Men’s Health, Runner’s World, The Washington Post and other national publications. For our cover story (page 30), she visited the Beekman 1802 farm on a single-digittemperature day in early January, and says getting to meet the goats, ducks, chickens and Polka Spot the llama was worth the numb fingers and toes. She left feeling seriously inspired to expand her own organic garden this spring. Contact her through her website, amyreinink.com.

DESIGNERS Ashleigh Carter Miranda Pellicano Gina Toole Saunders Lisa M. Zilka CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Diane Bair, Mary Helen Berg, Hollie Deese, Sam Droege, Chrystle Fiedler, Maisy Fernandez, Rachel Kaufman, Ann C. Logue, Diana Lambdin Meyer, Peter Ogburn, Amy Reinink, Lori Santos, Sarah Sekula, Hannah Waters

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VP, ADVERTISING Patrick Burke (703) 854-5914 pburke@usatoday.com ACCOUNT DIRECTOR Justine Goodwin (703) 854-5444 jgoodwin@usatoday.com

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GREEN LIVING

UP FRONT

IN THE NOW, IN THE KNOW

BOOKS 8 | BEAUTY 10 | ENERGY 12 |

Available in a variety of seeds. Set of three, $7 to $8.97, sproutworld.com

QUIZ 14 | HEALTH 16

THE WRITE STUFF Instead of throwing away that stubby pencil, grow something. Made of sustainable cedar wood, Sprout Pencils are lead-free and contain a non-GMO seed capsule at the top that can be planted in soil once the pencil is too short to write with. WRITE

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U P F R ONT | B OOKS

TIC AND RUS tural REFINED rth’s na ired by the ea p

n Ins focus o ecipes Ilona With a avor: Rustic R ten by it r w S is , d ty rm n bou nd Fa ges an Field, a o fishes, fora lorado. t, s re o F Co wh heim, abin in orcini Oppen er family’s c gp n ti r h t fo a cooks the com dsy include e more woo a. Dishes th edle te d e ine an pine n fettucc waffles and re ks campfi an Boo , Artis $29.95

AT-FREE TALLY ME N etarian E M U N or veg : MO vegan sroads

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loo cro for the ost heir ing Forem ’s love n s grow a ie c m e ld p o s on G d y ia Am myr ’s Huds w York t by the eviden 0 acres in Ne ith photogra 0 w 2 torir p is e u h h on paired es the s ’s u e o h S h . cess Valley gnoli, w rreotype pro ry Spa r e e u ard, J h g r c a e ph ning d verado n il s tu f s o d ty cal an e beau and more in es ture th rreotyp ches a to cap e p e Dague s o rn R e n d a o Rarit est: M m Harv n Treasures. e Heirloo rd a G ric of Histo ury USA loomsb $85, B

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hen we’re adding a pop of color, we typically aren’t thinking about harsh chemicals in our nail polish. But some brands have up to 30 — many of them harmful to our health and the environment. While no nail polish is completely natural, a growing number of brands are “5-free,” meaning they don’t contain formaldehyde, camphor, dibutyl phthalate, toluene or formaldehyde resin. Other polishes leave out even more chemicals. Bonus: All the polishes here are also cruelty-free.


U P F R ONT | ENER GY

Power Plants Ornamental grasses pull carbon from the air and provide clean energy when harvested

Researcher Emily Heaton hopes to use miscanthus, a perennial grass, to help fuel the University of Iowa power plant.

12

O

rnamental grasses are more than just beautiful additions to your landscape; they’re also helping to reduce the carbon pollution that causes climate change. Emily Heaton, an associate professor of agronomy at Iowa State University, says that as miscanthus, switchgrass and other perennials grow, they pull carbon from the air. The low-sulfur plants can also help to reduce or replace carbon emissions when burned for energy. “Coal is a dirty fuel. ... But it’s a cheap, abundant and domestic fuel,” she says. “If you’re using something dirty, one way to clean it up is to dilute it.” Heaton says blending biomass — the organic matter derived from living or recently living organisms such as plants and animals — with coal creates a fuel that still works in current boiler systems and also meets required emission profiles. Using this method as a source of power establishes new opportunities for more biomass energy, she says. She’s working with the nearby University of Iowa

GREEN LIVING | SPRING/SUMMER 2016

“We shouldn’t have to feel guilty for using energy. We just need to get energy from the right place.” — Emily Heaton, agronomist

to use miscanthus in its campus power plant. The university aims to use 40 percent renewable energy by 2020, and one way to do that is by increasing the plant biomass it burns, Heaton says. The plant, which primarily burns coal, already uses oat hulls to reduce carbon emissions. Within a couple of years, it will be burning perennials, too, to help offset the plant’s carbon and sulfur emissions. Sulfur contributes to acid rain that’s damaging to water, forests and animals. “When you burn the very low-sulfur biomass with high-sulfur coal — low CO2 biomass with high CO2 coal — it dilutes it,” she says. “You get the same energy, but you have much cleaner emissions.” Heaton sees a day when biomass can be the primary fuel for power. Biomass could also power our cars. “We shouldn’t have to feel guilty for using energy,” Heaton says. “We just need to get energy from the right place.”

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U P F R ONT | Q UIZ

Green Matter Test your sustainability smarts with this quiz BY SARA SCHWARTZ

T

he next time you need to make small talk, consider a conversation on ways to elevate your green efforts. Our Green Living quiz will give you plenty of engaging facts, such as an unlikely place to get compost, how many tons of plastic end up in the ocean and which home appliance sucks the most energy.

The Questions Test your “greenness”

How m sea tu any inges rtles have ted p lastic ?

e h stat Whic e highest h had t er of numb ic farms organ ? 5 in 201 wa A. Io sin iscon B. W ia liforn C. Ca

1 , In late 2015 d te Adidas crea running shoe d te n ri p D a 3lly ade partia prototype m from what?

2

Whe to e n it com n perf vironm es e the Uormanc ntal e n i t ed S , how d amo t nati ng the w ates ra oes ons? orld nk ’s

A. 1 5th B. 2 6th C. 2 8th

3

tires A. Recycled the ocean om fr ic B. Plast s soda bottle C. Recycled

4

THINKSTOCK; COURTESY OF ADIDAS

A. 18 perce nt B. 52 perce n t C. 87 perce nt


Which applia home most e nce sucks th e nergy ? A. Re frigera tor B. Wa shing mach C. Va ine cuum

8 deners nd gar st can a s r e Farm for compo looking it from ... t now ge s A. Zoo nts rgy pla e n E . B parks C. Dog

The Answers

7

How ma n of plasti y metric tons c waste in the o cean ea end up ch year ?

A. 3.1 m illion to 5.6 milli B. 4.8 m on illion to 12 .7 millio C. 9.5 m n illion to 16.4 million

6

THINKSTOCK

ort In an eff ce u d re to n, pollutio this ity c h ic wh e nned th m food a b year a fo c ti s la use of p containers? k and drin n A. Bosto delphia B. Phila , D.C. hington C. Was

hens ckyard A. Ba g rdenin B. Ga g in p e e k C. Bee

9

How did you do?

1. B A study from the University of Queensland published in 2015 estimates that 52 percent of sea turtles worldwide have swallowed plastic debris. Eating plastic can kill turtles because it blocks the gut or pierces the intestinal wall; it can also release toxic chemicals into animal tissue. 2. C Out of the 14,093 total organic farms in the U.S., California had 2,805, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Mississippi had the fewest with eight, Iowa had 612 and Wisconsin had 1,228. 3. B According to a report from researchers at Yale and Columbia universities, the U.S. came in 26th out of 30 countries ranked, right after Canada. Finland, Iceland and Sweden came in first, second and third, respectively.

5

geles Los An ly t n rece d what e w o ll a anned e? usly b previo ural practic lt agricu

4. B To demonstrate “how the industry can rethink design and help stop ocean plastic pollution,”

the German shoe company and its partner, Parley for the Oceans, in 2015 unveiled a 3-D printed ocean-plastic midsole that included material from illegal deep-sea gill nets. The upper part of the concept shoe was also made with reclaimed plastic ocean waste. 5. C Washington, D.C.’s ban on Styrofoam went into effect Jan. 1. Many counties already ban the use of polystyrene foam for take-out containers, as do cities such as New York, Minneapolis, San Francisco and Seattle. 6. B A study published in 2015 in the journal Science found that between 4.8 million and 12.7 million metric tons of trash finds its way to sea every year. Worse, scientists still don’t know where more than 99 percent of ocean plastic debris ends up once it hits the water. 7. A Typically, those looking for compost made from cow, horse and chicken waste

could always ask farmers, but increasingly, zoos in the U.S. are getting into the compost operations game. The Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle hosts a bi-annual Fecal Fest, which is so popular, there’s a lottery. Others include the Oregon Zoo in Portland, the Kansas City Zoo and Zoo Atlanta. Interested? Ask your local zoo whether it gives away compost, or search “zoo manure” at modernfarmer.com. 8. A The kitchen appliance consumes the most power. But if you have a model made after 2001 that is Energy Star-approved, it will consume at least 40 percent less energy than an older model. 9. C The Los Angeles City Council voted in late 2015 to legalize urban beekeeping, joining the ranks of New York, San Francisco and Paris. Those interested need to register and can only keep bees in the backyards of single-family homes, among other requirements.

15


U P F R ONT | HEA LTH

NATURAL CURE: ELDERBERRY (SAMBUCUS NIGRA) SYRUP

ARNICA

Use it to: Shorten sick time; treat

cold and flu symptoms.

Use it to: Speed healing.

Why it works: High in

Why it works: Arnica’s active

antioxidant vitamin C, elderberry syrup can inhibit viral replication. What the science says:

According to a Norwegian study published in the Journal of International Medical Research in 2004, adults with the flu who were given elderberry syrup reported feeling better four days earlier than those who were given a placebo. Follow directions on the label.

PEPPERMINT

Cupboard Cures Try these natural remedies to keep you and the environment healthy BY CHRYSTLE FIEDLER

H

ave you really gone green? Maybe not, if you still reach for over-thecounter cures to handle colds, aches and bruises. Instead, try these cupboard cures, as suggested by Brigitte Mars, A.H.G. adjunct faculty and professor of herbal medicine at Naropa University in Boulder, Colo., and author of The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicines and Suzy Cohen, a pharmacist with expertise in natural remedies and author of The 24-Hour Pharmacist: Advice, Options, and Amazing Cures from America’s Most Trusted Pharmacist. Most natural cures are safe, but before taking, it’s best to discuss treatments with your doctor first.

compound, helenalin, stops inflammation from injury, accident or surgery by blocking the release of NFkappaB, an immune system regulator. “Arnica is what you want to apply for bumps and bruises,” says Cohen. “It will help them go away faster.” It can be taken in capsule form or applied as an oil or cream. What the science says:

Research published in 2006 in the medical journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine showed that homeopathic arnica helped to reduce swelling after knee surgery for some patients. Arnica should only be used internally as a homeopathic remedy. If used topically, avoid applying to broken skin. Follow label directions.

Use it to: Ease stomach cramps, indigestion, nausea.

calm stomach muscles and the intestinal tract; peppermint may also help relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It can be taken in tea or in capsule form. Follow label instructions. What the science says:

Research published in the journal Digestive and Liver Disease showed that taking peppermint oil capsules twice a day for four weeks caused a significant reduction in IBS symptoms.

16

GREEN LIVING | SPRING/SUMMER 2016

TART CHERRIES Use it to: Treat joint pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis. Why it works: “Tart cherries help to clear

inflammatory compounds such as uric acid from the joints, and also contain antioxidants called anthocyanins that give them their red color and help reduce inflammation,” says Mars. What the science says: Researchers at

Oregon Health & Science University found that women with inflammatory osteoarthritis who drank tart cherry juice twice a day for three weeks saw lower inflammation levels. When taking as a supplement, follow label directions.

ASHLEIGH CORRIN; THINKSTOCK

Why it works: Menthol can


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BUTTERBUR EXTRACT (PETASITES HYBRIDUS)

GET HAPPY, STAY ENERGIZED AND BOOST YOUR MOOD

Use it to: Prevent migraines. Why it works: “Butterbur is a

remarkable plant-based tool in the fight against migraines and allergy-related headaches,” says Cohen. “That’s because it blocks the production of pain-causing leukotrienes.” Check the list of ingredients to make sure that it’s guaranteed free of a toxic substance called pyrrolizidine alkaloid (PA), which can damage your liver. Follow label directions for use.

The use of essential oils in the practice of aromatherapy can have an immediate effect on our mood and well-being because the nerve endings in the nasal cavities are right near the brain, says professor and author Brigitte Mars.

What the science says: A study published in the journal Neurology found that butterbur, a perennial plant, can reduce the frequency of migraines by almost half, and that it also reduces the intensity and length of migraines.

REDUCE STRESS AND ANXIETY

Lavender Bergamot Marjoram Ylang ylang

CALENDULA CREAM

LIFT YOUR MOOD

Use it to: Calm skin irritations, sunburn, itching. Why it works: Made from

VALERIAN ROOT ESSENTIAL OIL

a plant that is part of the marigold family, calendula possesses antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Use it to: Quell or prevent insomnia.

IMPROVE MEMORY

What the science says:

Why it works: “Valerian’s

Rosemary

Calendula contains many antioxidant substances that prevent the breakdown of collagen in the skin. Follow directions on the label.

essential oils act as a smooth muscle and skeletal relaxant,” says Mars. “It creates a sedative effect that will help you to relax and fall asleep more quickly and easily without the hangover you get from prescription sleep aids.” What the science says:

ASHLEIGH CORRIN; THINKSTOCK

Rose geranium Jasmine Patchouli

Valerian helps the brain boost its production of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which is a calming neurotransmitter. Follow directions on the label. If you have serious depression, avoid long-term use.

INCREASE ALERTNESS

Peppermint

CLEAR YOUR MIND

Clary sage

BOOST ENERGY

Citrus scents

17


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GREEN LIVING | SPRING/SUMMER 2016


RANCHO MISSION VIEJO LLC

Rancho Mission Viejo employee Stephanie Walker teaches resident Braden Taylor how to plant seeds at one of the agrihood’s farms.

OODS H R O S EIGHB N URCE O O T S K D C O E FLO TO FO M E PEOPL H T NECT N O C THAT 3


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GREEN LIVING | SPRING/SUMMER 2016

and natural features that would otherwise be bulldozed,” he says. Unlike traditional suburbs, conservation communities don’t pave paradise to add amenities like golf courses. Instead, they promote healthy living, close-knit neighborhoods and environmental responsibility by installing farms, ponds and walking trails that may loop through nature areas to nearby shops and restaurants. Homes are strategically positioned to preserve prairies, pastures, forests and — in the case of Rancho Mission Viejo — a ranch that is part of California’s western heritage. Billy’s family moved two years ago from San Juan Capistrano to their four-bedroom Spanish-style house in the Sendero (from the Spanish for “path”) village of Rancho Mission Viejo after reading about the development’s focus on sustainability and building community. The 23,000-acre master-planned development in South Orange County, Calif., is expected to include 14,000 homes by about

April and Dan Martin and their children, Miles, 2, and Billy, 5, enjoy the agrihood lifestyle that Rancho Mission Viejo offers.

2030. Sendero, with 1,227 homes and apartments, is the first section to be completed and offers environmentally friendly options such as solar panels, tankless water heaters, energyefficient lights and appliances, drip irrigation systems and other sustainable elements, says Diane

RANCHO MISSION VIEJO LLC

w

inging through the heavy southern California sky, a Cooper’s hawk soars above rolling hills and a ranch where cowboys teach a colt to track cattle. Down the road a piece, 5-year-old Billy Martin shares a farmer’s insight from the tiny neighborhood garden plot near his Rancho Mission Viejo home. “You know what things really like this?” he asks as he plucks hot pink blooms off a pineapple sage bush to suck out the nectar. “Hummingbirds and bees.” Tall in his treasured cowboy boots, Billy tosses the spent flower to the earth, where it will compost in the garden dirt that grows his food, steps from his front door, because he lives with his family in an “agrihood.” The catchy nickname has grabbed recent headlines, but it’s actually a type of conservation community — a home development niche that’s been around for 40 years, says Randall Arendt, author of the community planning bible Rural by Design. Over the decades, more than 3,300 conservation developments have helped to preserve 177,000 acres of land in the U.S., Arendt says. “There’s more understanding now that land that was being converted to streets and lawns can better be used to exercise, preserve wildlife and open space


WHAT DO AGRIHOODS PROMOTE ?

SUSTAINABILITY

HEALTHY LIVING

COMPOSTING

RANCHO MISSION VIEJO LLC

ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS

Gaynor, spokeswoman for Rancho Mission Viejo. Rancho Mission Viejo’s Esencia Farm hosts To conserve open land, the homes are clustered together in a culinary workshops snug design that promotes community and also makes it possible to and features an area permanently preserve 17,000 acres of remaining open space. Overall, for farm-to-table dinners and celebrations. 75 percent of Rancho Mission Viejo property will be conserved via small community farms, acres of orchards, trails, ranchland where cattle graze and cowboys ride, and a nature reserve with rolling hills of ancient oaks and sagebrush where the endangered gnatcatcher bird nests. To nurture a sense of community, the development hosts events at the neighborhood farm and organizes hikes, cowboy campfires and nature outings. Shared clubhouses, fire pits, fitness centers, pools and playgrounds further connect residents. “Moving in here, we knew we were buying more than just a house,” says April Martin, Billy’s mom, referring to the agrihood’s sense of community, acres of open space and the three-quarter-acre Sendero Farm. Agrihood living means that Billy and his younger brother, 2 ½-year-old Miles, have become adventurous eaters who chomp tomatoes right off the vine, their mother says. Lunch sometimes consists of whatever they nibble as they wander amid apple, tangerine and avocado trees and rows of beans, peas, lettuces and herbs. The Martins pay $200 annually to participate as much as they like in farm work,

RANCHING

RECYCLING

CONSERVATION

GARDENING/ FARMING

21


while digging in the dirt and sharing their bounty at monthly potlucks. Farming helps to bring people together, says Gloria Broming, a self-titled “urban farm coach” who lives in nearby Laguna Beach and oversees Rancho Mission Viejo’s three farms, including the 21 fruit trees, row crops, planter beds and, very soon, chickens at Sendero. Two employees and three college interns help Broming, the development’s community farmer, manage the gardens. “You really can grow strong roots when you grow food,” she says. “It brings people together when you break bread together and it develops relationships that I think can be done only through food.” Martin believes the farm will help her boys understand that food doesn’t magically appear in a grocery store. And she hopes that living near the ranch, reserve, orchards and mountains will help instill a respect and gratitude for nature. “We definitely try to give the kids a connection to the land, and I think that it’s really important that they see all this open space because we don’t see a lot of that in other places,” Martin says. Homebuyers like Martin who invest in agrihood living are different than other buyers in the region, says Katey Kessler, who was a Southern California Realtor for more than a decade and now lives in 22

GREEN LIVING | SPRING/SUMMER 2016

Sendero with her husband and their two children. “The people that move to Rancho Mission Viejo seem to be a little bit more down-to-earth,” says Kessler.“It’s a little bit different of a breed.” The Kesslers hike the neighborhood trails and their three-bedroom townhome faces toward the farm and beyond to the Cleveland National Forest. With perks like this, she considers homes in the new development to be a bargain. Current home sale prices on Rancho Mission Viejo, from the high $400s to more than $1 million are comparable, or even lower, than median sale prices throughout the county, according to the real estate website Trulia.com. But elsewhere, homeowners pay a premium to live in a place where dinner is farm-to-table fresh and the view is of a dappled forest. In mid-January, listings at Serenbe, an agrihood southwest of Atlanta, ranged from $429,000 for an urban-style loft to $1.4 million for a four-bedroom country cottage, while the median home sale price in nearby Palmetto, Ga., was $106,000, according to Trulia.com. In some agrihood communities, home sales actually help to open the space.

SARAH ROBERSON, PEACHY PHOTOGRAPHY; ALI HARPER PHOTOGRAPHY

and they get to take home all the produce they can carry. Residents who don’t garden can still benefit from fresh produce at a farmers market twice a month. Neighbors get to know each other


RANCHO MISSION VIEJO LLC; THINKSTOCK

From left, parents and children attend a birthday party at Agritopia in Arizona; organic produce is grown and sold at the farmers market at Serenbe in Georgia; cattle roam on ranchland at Rancho Mission Viejo in California.

At Rancho Mission Viejo, Serenbe and Vermont’s South Village, for example, a fraction of each home sale goes into a nonprofit fund to monitor and manage the land. Regardless of housing costs, agrihoods have taken off across the country as people seek a connection to the food they eat, to nature and to each other, says Ed McMahon, senior resident fellow at the nonprofit Urban Land Institute. At least 200 agrihoods exist, McMahon says, some with farms 100 acres or larger that supply food residents can buy at farmers markets or eat in local restaurants. Agrihoods differ not only in size but in how residents participate. At Rancho Mission Viejo’s tiny farm, you can get your hands dirty through gardening, composting or caring for baby chicks. Prairie Crossing Farm in Illinois, located within Prairie Crossing, boasts a 100-acre organic farm and 52 community gardens that residents and the outside community can rent. At Serenbe, the landscaping is edible (think blueberry bushes), and a professional farmer runs the 25-acre organic farm that supplies the town farmers market, the Blue Eyed Daisy bakeshop and two other gourmet restaurants. You might say conservation communities are as varied as the landscapes they protect. Rancho Mission Viejo includes a working cattle ranch while Serenbe has an arts focus; South Village, in South Burlington, Vt., has an acre of solar panels; Prairie Crossing donates thousands of seedlings each year to start gardens in at-risk communities. At another California agrihood, The Cannery, homes come equipped with a solar system and

residents can upgrade to net zero living if they prefer. There is one word of caution regarding agrihoods, McMahon of Rancho Mission notes. Homebuyers who seek a Viejo property will be sustainable lifestyle shouldn’t conserved via small farms, orchards, assume that the mere existence trails and more. of a farm means a community is green. Sustainability is complex. Among other things, homes need to be energy-efficient and built with nontoxic materials; landscaping should be native and drought-tolerant; storm and wastewater should be managed and recycled. Overall, the agrihood trend helps us embrace healthy options and rethink the way we live, he says. “What could be wrong with living lightly on the land? What could be wrong with growing food in your backyard? What could be wrong with getting to know your neighbors?” McMahon asks. “And all of those things help reduce the carbon footprint,” he adds. “It doesn’t mean this is a panacea or these kind of projects do everything, but I do think it’s a new and exciting development in the real-estate arena.” Or in the words of Billy Martin, whose rows of kale, broccoli and lettuce grow nearby “What I like about it is, it’s like, it’s more healthy stuff,” he says. “It’s like more healthy for you. You know?”

AGRITOPIA

HIDDEN SPRINGS

Gilbert, Ariz. agritopia.com

Boise hiddensprings.com

SERENBE

RANCHO MISSION VIEJO

Chattahoochee Hills, Ga. serenbe.com Considering a move to an agrihood? Here’s a sampling of cooperative environments around the country.

THE CANNERY Davis, Calif. livecannerydavis. com

PRAIRIE CROSSING Grayslake, Ill. prairiecrossing. com

SOUTH VILLAGE South Burlington, Vt. southvillage.com

Orange County, Calif. ranchomission viejo.com

BUCKING HORSE Fort Collins, Colo. bellisimoinc. com/projects/ bucking-horse

HARVEST Northlake, Texas harvestlivesmart. com

23


CH A NGE IS IN

THE

AIR Feeling hopeless about climate change? You’re not alone. But in some ways, there is more hope than ever.

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GREEN LIVING | SPRING/SUMMER 2016


SECTION | U P F R O N T

BY HANNAH WATERS ILLUSTRATIONS BY ASHLEIGH CORRIN

I have spent the past few years fearing a world lost to climate change. Thoughts of sea levels rising, flooded cities and millions of refugees keep me up at night. And as drought becomes more widespread,

CREDIT HERE; COURTESY OF THE COMPANIES

I am haunted by what could unfold if agricultural areas around the world fail.

Climate change feels

more real than ever, and I’m not the only one who’s noticed. In 2015, major world players showed signs that they are taking it seriously, too. Large companies like Goldman Sachs, Nike and Johnson & Johnson pledged to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2020, 2025 and 2050, respectively. Last June, Pope Francis sent a letter to Catholic church leaders urging action on climate change and the environment. And in Paris in December, 195 nations, including the U.S., committed to reducing their carbon emissions. Those voices add to the swell of support from the scientific community; some surveys claim that 97 percent of climate scientists believe the Earth is warming because of human activities. In short, climate change has gone mainstream. This is great news, because there is a lot of work to do to prepare for what’s coming — and there are more ways than ever to pitch in. Few people know this as well as Jeremy Jackson, a renowned coral reef scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography whose talks on climate change are compelling enough for the TED stage and data-driven enough for the U.S. Navy. His research

25


CHANGE IS IN THE AIR

shows that climate change threatens coral reefs, but reducing carbon emissions won’t be enough to save them. They must also be protected from local threats such as overfishing and pollution so that they are healthy enough to survive the warming already set in motion. This same philosophy can be applied to human communities. Some consequences of climate change are inevitable — but there is a lot that we can do now to buy time and brace ourselves for what’s coming. “Anything we can do to put a finger in the dike now and stave off disaster is a really good thing because the times, they are achanging very fast,” says Jackson. “While we try to sort out the global, we should be thinking as much as we can about what we can do locally.” Fortunately, there are three places to act locally: in your home, in your community and in your environment. Here’s how you can start today.

The great news is climate change has gone mainstream, and there are more ways than ever to pitch in.

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GREEN LIVING | SPRING/SUMMER 2016

PURCHASE GREEN ENERGY Powering your home

with green energy is easier than ever. In at least 17 states and the District of Columbia, you don’t have to strap a solar panel onto your roof — you can simply choose to purchase your electricity from renewable sources, including wind and solar. It may cost a bit more because fossil-fueled power is cheaper to produce, but that’s the only difference. You’ll get your bill from the same utility company, and the utility is still responsible in case of a power outage. To be clear, this doesn’t mean that only electrons captured by wind turbines or solar panels will flow through your outlets; all power is pooled across the grid and distributed over a wide area regardless of its source. But you’ll know that somewhere in the grid, in your town or around the country, you’ve increased the use of renewable energy. Options vary state by state; visit competitiveenergy.org or your state’s public utility commission website to learn yours. If choosing an energy supplier isn’t an option in your state, there are other ways to buy in to green energy. Some utilities offer renewable energy plans, for one. Installing solar panels is cheaper than ever, and leasing panels instead of owning them brings down the cost. And if you can’t install panels on your roof for whatever reason, look into programs that allow you to buy into solar facilities in your local community.


CHANGE THE POLITICAL CLIMATE Climate change is

a slow-moving crisis, which makes it easy to put off, especially in the political arena. Once we solve our more pressing problems, then we can move on to tackling climate change, right? The simple answer is: no. It’s going to take a lot of time and money to get from here to there, and we need to start now. “We have to continue to improve the technologies we’ve got, develop new ones and bring the cost down,” says Dan Reicher, executive director of Stanford

University’s Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance. “That will cost massive amounts of capital — far more than we’re spending now.” In 2014, $270 billion was invested in clean energy globally, according to the United Nations Environment Programme, including $38 billion from the U.S. “If we’re going to have a realistic chance of staying within the 2-degree Celsius target (set by the Paris agreement), we have to move that to a trillion dollars a year,” says Reicher.

CALCULATE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT Are you helping or hindering the effort to reduce carbon emissions? Here are three sites where you can check your impact: EPA Carbon Footprint Calculator www3.epa.gov/ carbon-footprintcalculator

CoolClimate Network Calculator coolclimate. berkeley.edu/ calculator

Lehigh University Carbon Emissions Calculator ei.lehigh.edu/ learners/cc/ carboncalc.html


CHANGE IS IN THE AIR

In 2014,

$270 billion

BUYING TIME

was invested in clean energy globally, according to the United Nations Environment Programme.

Policy has a central role to play in raising this money. Leaders can fund and create incentives for research into renewable technologies, for instance, and subsidize the cost of implementing them around the country. But this won’t happen until voters make climate change a priority in the voting booth. “Electing federal, state and local representatives who see climate change as a problem and are motivated to address it is certainly a piece of this,” says Reicher. “Energy- and climaterelated policy doesn’t just get made in Washington. It’s in state legislatures. It’s in the governors’ mansions in 50 states. It’s in cities and towns.”

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GREEN LIVING | SPRING/SUMMER 2016

Climate change will

put enormous pressure on plants and animals, and they may have a more difficult time adapting because they face other existential threats such as habitat loss, invasive species and pollution. This is a pressing problem for their sakes — and for ours. Forests and wetlands filter our water. Coral reefs, mangroves and marshes buffer coastal land against storm waves. Grasslands host the insects that pollinate our crops. Climate change will put extra pressure on these systems. “The main thing that species do when the climate changes, at least in the past, is they shift and they move,” says Jessica Hellmann, director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota. “We derive so many key services from natural communities. How do we make sure those natural communities are not breaking down or falling apart and we lose the services?”


SHOW ME THE DATA The data are clear: The climate is changing at the fastest rate in recent history. It’s time to stop debating and take action.

CO 2 Climate change

Atmospheric carbon dioxide is at its highest level in 650,000 years.

puts extra pressure on our grasslands, forests and coral reefs.

Global temperatures are rising faster than they have in 1,300 years.

Ocean acidity is rising at the fastest rate in more than 50 million years.

The global sea level rose by 6.7 inches in the last century, a rate double that of the previous century.

Sources: NASA, National Science Foundation

Reducing carbon emissions will alleviate pressure on these ecosystems by limiting the extent of climate change. But just as healthy lifestyles help people avoid disease, healthy ecosystems are better able to survive persistent threats. That means that any efforts to protect or create healthy land — such as planting trees and native plants, reducing pollution or creating new preserves — will shore up ecosystems for climate change. “This is becoming an accepted idea: that you can increase ecosystem resilience by taking care of the things we know how to take care of now,” says Jackson, the coral reef scientist. “Local protection will not change the threat of climate change, but it buys time as climate change ramps up.” A great place to start is at a wildlife refuge, national park or nature preserve near you. Many have volunteer programs where you can help to restore native habitat or remove invasive species; less-outdoorsy sorts can work with

educational programs or administration. The staff can also lead you to ways of taking care of local land on your own. If you don’t have time to volunteer regularly, consider dedicating your next vacation to restoring wildlife areas. The Sierra Club (sierraclub.org) offers “volunteer vacations,” which blend outdoor activities with service. It’s an excuse to explore America’s natural landscape while dedicating time and money to public land and wildlife. The critters won’t know it, but you’re getting them ready to face the change that’s coming. “We can’t fix (climate change),” says Jackson. “But we can stave off the disastrous consequences, probably for a long time, if we get our act together about the things we really can fix.”

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T

MAKI E N H

of a

G

MODER N MERCA NTILE ‘ B E E K M A N B OY S ’ B U I L D O N E A R LY SUCCESSES TO SHOWC A SE LOC AL FA R M E R S A N D A R T I S A N S

THINKSTOCK

by Amy Reinink


BEEKMAN 1802; PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY ASHLEIGH CORRIN

it’s

BRENT

mid-morning on a frigid day in early January, and the Beekman 1802 Mercantile is springing to life in the sleepy village of Sharon Springs, N.Y. Scan the blue-gray painted shelves and you’ll find every conceivable artisanal, organic, locally sourced product: jam made with heirloom peaches from the Beekman 1802 Farm for $10.50 per jar, peppermintflavored goat-milk hot fudge made with milk from the farm’s goats for $12, maple cream from the sap of a tree on a nearby farm — free of additives or preservatives, of course — for $16. “Be sure to try some of the peppermint fudge,” says a grinning Brent Ridge, motioning toward the vintage sample tray. Ridge and his husband, Josh Kilmer-Purcell

JOSH

— known as “the Beekman Boys” by fans of their reality show, cookbooks and other public appearBrent Ridge ances — have built the Beekman and his husband, 1802 brand on these products and Josh Kilmerthe stories behind them. Purcell, During the 2015 holiday season, swapped city life for the store, located in a historic country living building on Main Street, shipped in 2007. more than 10,000 packages of jams, goat cheese, pancake mixes, goat-milk soap and other products from 200 artisans — half of whom are less than a two-hour drive away from Sharon Springs, according to Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell. The pair are grateful for the success they’ve had. But they’re also aware that selling goatmilk hot fudge for $12 per jar isn’t the path toward big-picture sustainability, so they’ve recently embarked on an initiative with

31


Target to market products from small farms on a national scale. “The majority of Americans cannot afford a $20 jar of salted grapefruit, no matter how handmade and perfect it is,” Kilmer-Purcell says. “We do sell small, micro-produced things, but lately, we’ve been focusing on a different question: How do we get small farms into the national food chain?”

Sharon Springs is a tiny enclave of small businesses and farms about 60 miles west of Albany. On the outskirts of town on that January morning, the 60-acre Beekman 1802 farm and estate and the rolling hills surrounding it were quiet. Beyond the white Georgianfederal mansion with grand pillars and an expansive porch, 52 raised garden beds were fallow and frost-covered. The farm’s famous animals — 120 goats, 22 chickens, five ducks and a llama named Polka Spot — were hunkered down inside pens in a picturesque red barn. The goats bleated and stomped when visitors walked in, and bleated even louder, as if in protest, when those visitors left. It’s a less-active time on the farm — waiting for most of the goats to deliver kids and then ramping up milk production for the 2016 season. The milk is used for Beekman 1802’s signature goat-milk soap, goat cheese and other products (chocolate-covered goat-milk salted caramels, anyone?). In the winter, Kilmer-Purcell and Ridge spend their days managing the Beekman 1802 business from the mercantile.

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GREEN LIVING | SPRING/SUMMER 2016

BEEKMAN 1802

T h e FARMING L i f e

BEEKMAN 1802 MERCANTILE PRODUCTS

ETERNITY

BASIL

HAND-

GROWING

FORGED

KIT

TROWELS


We had to figure out how to scrape together enough money to pay the mortgage. ... Turning it into a working farm was an economic necessity.” Brent Ridge During the growing season, they still spend their days at the shop, but they also put in a few hours tending the vegetable-garden beds (Kilmer-Purcell is in charge of those) and the property’s extensive flower garden (Ridge’s responsibility). Throughout the spring, the goat milk is divvied up between several artisans, who make the cheese, soap and other products off-site. None of this, however, was in their original long-term plan. EXPANDING

on a DREAM

The Beekman mansion was built between 1802 and 1804 for the family of William Beekman.

RASPBERRY

BEEKMAN

CRANBERRY

RHUBARB

SHOPPING

ORANGE

JAM

“EGG

SCONE

BASKET”

MIX

The two met in 2000 in New York City. Ridge was a physician and vice president of Healthy Living for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Kilmer-Purcell was an advertising executive and bestselling author of I Am Not Myself These Days, a memoir about his years as a drag queen named Aqua. They shared an Upper East Side apartment with a rooftop garden where they grew tomatoes, herbs, beans and peppers. They also frequented the Union Square Farmers Market, where they became fascinated by the farmers and their stories. “I’d work with big food

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ROSE HAND CARE DUO CADDY SET

HOOKED POLKA SPOT PILLOW

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GREEN LIVING | SPRING/SUMMER 2016

The Beekman 1802 Mercantile is located at 210 Main Street in Sharon Springs’ orginal mercantile building.

them year-round. They chose mostly heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables and didn’t use any pesticides — a decision that Kilmer-Purcell says came easily. “We didn’t go into it with the idea thinking we’d be 100 percent organic and 100 percent biodynamic,” he says, referring to a holistic, ecological and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food and nutrition. “It was just easier to go outside and pull some weeds than to drive half an hour to Home Depot for chemicals and drive half an hour back.” Shortly after moving in, they received a letter from John Hall (also known as “Farmer John”), a nearby farmer looking for a new home for his herd of 80 goats. “We had a big, empty barn and a small house that was empty,” Kilmer-Purcell says. “We said, ‘Sure! Come on over. Bring your goats.’ ” They partnered with another neighbor, Deb McGillycuddy, to make the first batch of their now-famous goat-milk soap. McGillycuddy introduced them to Karen Tenney, a weaver who

ALEC HEMER

JASMINE HEIRLOOM

companies, and we’d spend years, and the client would spend millions of dollars, trying to figure out what story they wanted to tell about their products,” Kilmer-Purcell says. “With the farmers, it was easy.” They bought the Beekman 1802 estate and farm in 2007 after discovering it during an apple-picking trip. They intended to use the farm as a weekend getaway and considered planting a hobby garden. Then, in 2008, within one month of each other, KilmerPurcell and Ridge both lost their jobs. “We had to figure out how to scrape together enough money to pay the mortgage,” Ridge says. “At that point, turning it into a working farm was an economic necessity.” They started with the 52 garden beds and dozens of fruit trees that would provide for


creates textiles from historic patterns and has a line of linens through Beekman 1802. Tenney introduced them to Michael McCarthy, a local blacksmith who offers beautifully wrought furniture and accessories through the mercantile. And so on. Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell began selling their wares online, and in 2010, opened their first brick-and-mortar version of the Beekman 1802 Mercantile in an old hotel building in Sharon Springs. In 2013, they moved into their current space on Main Street — the town’s original mercantile building.

BEEKMAN 1802

MAKING it BIG

The pair have applied their marketing prowess to an evergrowing array of products. They initiated social media feeds — their Facebook page now has more than 150,000 likes, while Polka Spot the llama boasts more than 15,000; 18,500 follow @beekman1802boys on Instagram. Their website — beekman1802.com — features farm photos, artisan profiles, seasonal recipes and gardening tips as well as their products. Fame has followed. KilmerPurcell and Ridge have been the stars of their own reality show, The Fabulous Beekman Boys, on Planet Green and the Cooking Channel; they competed in and won The Amazing Race on CBS in 2012; and they have been profiled in almost every major media outlet. As the business grew and added more local products, Kilmer-Purcell recalled his dilemma in marketing large food companies — and realized

N O

K I D D I N G

A R O U N D

John Hall — also known as “Farmer John” — is Beekman 1802’s resident farmer, caring for the goats and handling general upkeep of the property. He took some time out of his long day to talk to Amy Reinink about what’s clearly a labor of love. Q: How did you get started working with goats? A: I got my first goat 16 years ago. Then, I got a dairy breed named Tilly. I saw how much milk Tilly could give, and I thought maybe I’d get a few more. I brought about 50 goats here in 2007. As demand for the Beekman 1802 products grew, I grew the herd. We have about 120 goats now. At one point, I was caring for them while also working a full-time job doing accounts receivable in Schenectady (N.Y.), but it got to the point where the milk demand was enough that I could leave that job.

Q: What’s a typical day like for you? A: When I’m in full swing, I’m up at 2 a.m. I have my coffee, and I’m usually in the barn by 3. I’m there until 8 or 9, milking and feeding. Then, I’ll take a break until milking starts again around 4 in the afternoon. I’ll be there until 7 or 8 at night, then I’ll go to bed to get ready to do it again the next day. Q: What steps do you take to ensure the herd is environmentally sustainable? A: I buy them some grain, but otherwise, they eat what’s here.

The only fertilizer I use for the hayfields is what comes out of the goats — I don’t use any sprays. The people that harvest the hay can’t get over how thick the grass is, and it’s because of the manure. Q: Do you have a favorite goat? A: Sunny is my oldest. She’s 10, and she’s always been my best milker. She knows her name — I call to her when I come in the barn, and she’ll bleat back at me. She likes to be scratched on the head and under the chin. They all like attention. They’re like puppies, but with hooves instead of paws.

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have artisans people want to know about. The products basically sell themselves.” The Beekman 1802 website is now full of those artisan profiles, detailing the care and love local producers take with their products and their land.

Certain crops are easier to grow. You can start beans, radishes and lettuces right in the ground from seeds. A mesclun mix guarantees something will come up.

H O W

Everyone wants tomatoes and peppers, but I’d recommend that people buy them from a reputable grower as seedlings — it will save you a lot of hassle.

S H O U L D

G A R D E N

YO U R

G R O W ?

Josh Kilmer-Purcell is in charge of the 52 raised garden beds at the Beekman 1802 Farm, where he grows about 150 heirloom varieties. He shares his tips to start your own organically managed garden.

We use spun row covers to keep away pests. It’s a lightweight fabric for over your crops. Depending on your climate, they can also help lengthen your growing season.

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GREEN LIVING | SPRING/SUMMER 2016

Growing organic means that your yield will be lower, so plant double. We also budget extra for the animals who are tempted by a salad bar at their disposal.

A FOCUS on t h e FARMER As they started working with more local farmers, their definition of sustainability began to shift. “It doesn’t do any good for a small farmer to struggle to make ends meet for 40 years,” Kilmer-Purcell says. “That’s not sustainable, no matter what the farmer is producing.” They also began to clearly see the limits of an all-or-nothing approach to sustainability. The products they sold at the store were unimpeachable, but they wouldn’t feed the world, and wouldn’t persuade middle-class families to start eating organic. They needed a way to make small-scale, locally produced food available on a large scale, and at an affordable price. The Beekman 1802 Farm Pantry line at Target, which entered stores in November 2015, is their attempt to make “farm to shelf” viable in a big way. Each of the 48 products in the line contains ingredients sourced from small, artisanal farms, along with ingredients from more traditional, large-scale sources. And they’re accessible, with many products starting at $3.99. Kilmer-Purcell and Ridge roadtested the concept in 2014 with their “Mortgage Lifter” heirloom tomato sauces, also sold at Target. They intended to provide the Mortgage Lifter tomatoes — an heirloom variety developed in the 1930s and named for a farmer who allegedly paid off his mortgage from their sales — from their own farm. They quickly realized they couldn’t come close to providing the 3,000 pounds of tomatoes they would need, so they tapped

THINKSTOCK

he and Ridge had an opportunity. “People purchase things they can relate to,” Kilmer-Purcell says. “The more stories we can tell about our craftspeople, the more products people want to buy. We have goats people want to know about. We


People purchase things they can relate to. The more stories we can tell ... the more products people want to buy.”

FREDRIKA STJÄRNE

Josh Kilmer-Purcell

Denison Farm in nearby Schaghticoke, N.Y., to grow the first year’s harvest. They pledged to give 25 percent of Mortgage Lifter profits to local farms, and Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell say the program has awarded $50,000 in grants since its inception in February 2014. The Farm Pantry line also gives back a percentage of proceeds and includes a wide array of products, including granola from Schenectady, N.Y.-based Gatherer’s Granola and ranch dressing made with cheese from Three Village Cheese in Newport, N.Y. When the Farm Pantry line began selling at Target, Kilmer-Purcell and Ridge weren’t sure their fans would buy it — literally or metaphorically. But by January, they had achieved every initial sales goal, and were developing new products, Kilmer-Purcell says. The products hit shelves in 900 Target stores and were in more than 1,400 stores by January. “Every time we try something that’s not 100 percent biodynamic, organic and pure, I worry,” Kilmer-Purcell says. “It’s a more complicated story to tell. People have to pay attention to it. But when they understand what we’re trying to do, they like it even more.” Kate Miller of Weathertop Farm in Sharon Springs produced 100 pounds of basil for the Farm Pantry salad dressings and says the line has given local farmers a sense of financial stability. Hall provides goat milk for the ranch chevre dressing and Denison Farm still produces tomatoes for the expanded line of sauces and salsas.

In addition to running a business and farm, Ridge and KilmerPurcell have also written a memoir, cookbooks and recently launched a magazine.

“Even aside from the actual product I sold, the press and PR have led to a lot of ancillary sales,” says Miller, who also sells her products at festivals and farmers markets. “It’s a wonderful way for people like me to get into a marketplace we never would have been able to get into on our own.” Better yet, Miller says, Kilmer-Purcell and Ridge have continued to support small-scale sustainability more than ever. They sponsor an annual harvest festival to highlight local agriculture and artisans, drawing 15,000 people to Sharon Springs each fall. “They walk the walk in their everyday lives, and not always in ways that anyone else knows about,” says Miller, noting that they recently bought half a pig from her farm to stock their freezer. “It is just something they do.”

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WALKING THE

HOW THREE ENVIRONMENTAL INDUSTRY EXPERTS LEAD BY EXAMPLE IN THEIR PERSONAL LIVES BY LORI SANTOS

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GREEN LIVING | SPRING/SUMMER 2016

ILLUSTRATIONS: THINKSTOCK

WALK


When you spend all day working hard to save the environment, how do you live when you’re off the clock? We checked in with some dedicated sorts to find out how they save energy and help the planet at home. We reached out to the Natural Resources Defense Council, (NRDC), an environmental action group with more than 2 million members and nearly 500 lawyers, scientists and other professionals who walk the walk every day. We also spoke with an urban revitalizer in the South Bronx in New York City and a solar financier in California’s Bay Area who directs crowdfunding for homeowners who want to go solar.

MAJORA Urban revitalization strategist

M DAVID LEEDS

Carter focuses on finding ways to provide walkable and safe green spaces and jobs for struggling communities. Her consulting company, Majora Carter Group, works to create green economic strategies for urban and rural communities nationwide. She founded and ran Sustainable South Bronx, a New York City-based nonprofit group dedicated to workforce develop-

ment and the environment, from 2001 to 2008. She popularized the phrase “green the ghetto” in starting one of the nation’s first urban green-collar job training and placement systems, and hosted the award-winning special public radio series The Promised Land, which is available on iTunes and at thepromisedland.org. Carter, 49, says her most fulfilling green work is out in

START SAVING ENERGY. Here are some year-round, fairly effortless steps you can take around your own homes to save energy each season.

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Majora Carter poses with Bogotá, Colombia, Mayor Enrique Peñalosa, an internationally renowned urban mobility planner.

the community. “We define the environment very broadly. It’s a street, it’s a neighborhood, it’s a city,” she says. “I control what I do in my home, but when it is outside, it’s bigger.” At home she recycles, takes short showers, keeps her half of her two-family home in the Hunts Point neighborhood of the South Bronx house — where she lives with her husband and a 19-year-old foster daughter — at 65 degrees (she rents out the top floor) and makes sure to use everything that comes in a bottle. “You can’t completely give up plastic but you can make sure you don’t use it more than you have to,” she says.

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE EVERYONE IMPROVE? “I’m still shocked at how badly people recycle here, especially compared to Europe,” Carter says. “We (Americans) just don’t do it well.”

DERON LOVAAS Lovaas has testified many times before Congress and policymaking institutions on topics that include oil and energy efficiency, transportation infrastructure and bicycle and pedestrian projects. He’s also worked with the National Wildlife Federation and the Sierra Club. Lovaas, 46, works in Washington, D.C., and lives in College Park, Md., just four blocks from a Metro subway station. His only car is a plug-in Toyota Prius hybrid, but he commutes to work by taking his fold-up

bike on the Metro. Not only is he one less car on the highway, he’s getting a 1.5-mile workout each way. He’s taken a similar approach to his home, where he lives with his wife and 8-year-old daughter. “My house is consistently rated as more energy-efficient than the average energyefficient house in our area, because I caulked, replaced insulation, light bulbs, doors and windows, as well as appliances, and make a practice of conserving power,” Lovaas says. The local utility company,

ELECTRONICS. Reset personal electronics to energy-saving modes. Set your laptop to go to sleep when you step away; turn off the instant-on setting on your Xbox One; and adjust TV settings to turn off the quick-start mode. Purchase a smart power strip, which shuts down electronics when they go into standby mode.

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GREEN LIVING | SPRING/SUMMER 2016

COURTESY OF MAJORA CARTER GROUP, LLC; REBECCA GREENFIELD

Director of state/federal policy & practice for NRDC’s Urban Solutions Program


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Deron Lovaas’ house is powered almost entirely by the solar panels on his roof.

BILLY Co-founder & CEO of Mosaic, a crowdfunding source for solar investment the chance to invest with his company in something they care about — cleaner energy. “Though all of the big solar companies use us to finance their customers, I’m excited for millions of people to lead the transition to 100 percent clean energy,” he says. “That’s a serious change, and that’s why I do the work I do.” Parish, who dropped out of Yale in 2003 to start the Energy Action Coalition, which became one of the world’s largest youth advocacy organizations

HOME. Use a caulking gun to fix drafty leaks from ill-fitting doors and windows. Also caulk the small holes where pipes, cable and wiring enter your home from outside.

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GREEN LIVING | SPRING/SUMMER 2016

COURTESY OF DERON LOVAAS; COURTESY OF BILLY PARISH

Pepco, gives him very TAX TIPS high ratings. Lovaas says to Last year, he signed take advantage up with Vivint Solar, a of federal and state tax breaks Utah-based company and incentives that furnished him that help defray with solar panels for your costs when his home. While the purchasing company’s program solar panels, energy-efficient varies by state, Lovaas windows or can buy the solar furnace, or panels after 20 years. clean cars. Be He pays a price per sure and check kilowatt hour that is out the federal residential also fixed for those 20 energy tax years. The company credit equal makes money by sellto 30 percent ing surplus power to of the cost of the grid. alternative energy equip“My house is now ment installed almost entirely powon or in your ered by solar panels home. facing eastward, which means my car runs on the sun much of the time, too,” Lovaas says. And the benefit: a $41.64 electricity bill in August last year, which amounted to a $50 savings over the same time period in 2014.

Mosaic, a Kickstarter-like company, matches creative solar ventures with financial supporters. Since its start in January 2013, Parish says it’s become the leading residential solar loan provider in the country, with 50 employees at its offices in Oakland, Calif. Parish, 34, works with solar installers, providing a software platform and a suite of loan products for customers who don’t have $30,000 — the average cost of the systems, according to Parish. It also gives people


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Billy Parish and his family promote and practice clean-energy efforts.

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Last year, Pierre Delforge, the director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s High Tech fighting climate PREDICTION FOR THE change, recently FUTURE bought a house and plans to get his own “In the next couple Mosaic loan to begin of years, making it as sustaineveryone in able as he can. the country “I have the opporshould be able tunity to kind of live to save money on solar,” out the experience Parish says. and build the product for myself,” he says. He also plans to add solar panels to his roof. Parish’s wife, Wahleah Johns, who worked with him in Arizona shutting down coal plants that fouled the water supply to the Navajo Nation, drives a plug-in Prius; he primarily uses the car service Lyft. “Two minutes later, there is a Prius outside my door,” Parish says. “That’s very, very practical.” His two daughters, 7-year-old Tohaana (which means “guardian of water” in Navajo), and 5-year-old Alowaan, (which means “song”), are into green living as well, he says, taking part in composting and recycling, even though “it can be stinky.”

Sector Energy Efficiency, Energy & Transportation program, reviewed 70,000

SMART UTILITY

METERS in northern California and found that the average home had about 65 ENERGYSUCKING DEVICES that accounted for nearly ONE-QUARTER OF THE ENERGY used in that region. These include computers, televisions, security systems and heated floors and towel racks. To help find those idle thieves, purchase an ELECTRICITY

MONITOR METER. Delforge says one of the most popular and affordable models is the “KILL A WATT ELECTRICITY LOAD METER AND MONITOR,” which costs about $20 online. “These basic power meters and monitors are sufficient for the purposes of identifying top vampire loads in a home,” he says. “For more advanced uses and users, there are more expensive models with higher accuracy and logging capability.” Your top two or three vampire devices often account for MORE

THAN HALF of your total vampire load,

CAR. Save on gas by making sure your tires are properly inflated. This can improve mileage by up to 3 percent, cutting your gasoline bill by as much as $60 a year.

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GREEN LIVING | SPRING/SUMMER 2016

EVON PETER; THINKSTOCK

Delforge adds.


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IN SEASON

In the hands of these four chefs, locally sourced meals have never been more delicious

THINKSTOCK

A

BY PETER OGBURN

s a trend, farm-to-table is over. That’s not to say that it’s lost any heat in the food and restaurant world. It’s just that it’s moved firmly into the mainstream. More and more restaurants are embracing their “house-made” or “sustainable” ingredients — and that’s a good thing. But while many chefs have hopped on the sustainability bandwagon, others have been living and breathing the notion for years.


Matt McCallister

ROBERT STRICKLAND

Executive chef/ owner of Filament and FT33 in Dallas

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GREEN LIVING | SPRING/SUMMER 2016


IN SEASON

THINKSTOCK

T

Acorn Squash Soup with Roasted Kale Chips and Pine Nuts SERVES 2 TO 4

he self-taught Matt McCallister brings an intensity to sustainable cooking that would be hard to match. He’s worked with farmers to grow vegetables in exchange for compost from his restaurants and he’s an advocate of foraging for food, which cuts out the need for any farming at all.

“Sustainability is a belief to me. It’s an extension of seasonal cooking,” McCallister says. “We try our best to cook with what is from our region of the country and what is growing at that moment.” And that means harvesting the best of Texas produce at its peak. McCallister coordinates with local farmers who grow specific crops for use in the restaurant — produce such as collards, radishes, herbs, squash and sweet potatoes are sourced from farms within 150 miles. FT33, which opened in 2012, serves refined Texas-inspired cuisine, pairing local proteins like beef and pork with whatever local produce is in season. FT33 also occasionally serves a goat mortadella, a thick sausage that uses meat from goats raised for the restaurant. Its sister restaurant, Filament, adheres to the same ideology for its food served Southern-comfort-style, like Appalachian fried chicken thighs and hoppin’ John and black truffle. While eating sustainably typically means eating what’s in season, there are ways to extend that,

McCallister says, adding that his restaurants bulk DON’T BE SHY up on vegetables McCallister and preserve them recommends at their peak for finding out use throughout the where your food comes year. Vegetables are from. Get pickled for characquainted cuterie plates and with area hot peppers are fishmongers left to ferment to and butchers so that you create hot sauces. know the When making source of chowchow, a that meat or slightly tangy sustainably Southern vegraised fish. etable relish, the restaurant brought in 550 pounds of green tomatoes at the end of the growing season as a way to commit to seasonality while also giving customers what they want. Taking sustainability to the next level, “FT33 is a restaurant (whose) menu is focused on seasonality and ethically raised product. ... Our main focus is eliminating waste. All our scraps go into stock, our fruit peels go to making vinegar,” McCallister says.

TIP

▶ 2 small-medium acorn squashes ▶ 3 to 4 leaves of kale, thick stems trimmed and chopped into 2-inch pieces ▶ 2 to 3 T. olive oil ▶ 1 cup vegetable stock ▶ ½ cup whole milk or half-and-half ▶ Sprinkle of sea salt or coarse kosher salt ▶ Pinch of nutmeg (optional) ▶ About ½ cup pine nuts ▶ Salt and pepper to taste Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and discard or reserve for another use. Grease a baking tray with a tablespoon or two of the olive oil and place squashes cut side down. Roast for about 30 minutes or until the squash is tender when poked (depending on size/shape of your squash). Let cool completely. Scoop out flesh from the skins and discard skin. Combine the squash with the vegetable stock and process with a hand blender until smooth. Bring to a simmer in a medium pot and season with salt and pepper to taste, adding the optional nutmeg if desired. Once seasoning is correct, add the milk or half-and-half and heat through completely. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Toss the kale pieces with about 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and a sprinkle of coarse salt. Spread across a baking tray in an even layer and bake for 1 to 2 minutes, or until loud crackling is heard. Carefully rotate the kale with tongs or by shaking the pan. Place back in the oven and cook another 1 to 2 minutes, or until some pieces are just browned. Let cool. Top the soup with a handful of the kale chips and a sprinkle of the pine nuts.

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IN SEASON

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SERVES 4

rganic food pioneer Nora Pouillon has been a fierce leader of

▶ ▶ ▶ ▶

the movement since before many of today’s chefs were even born. Growing up in the Austrian Alps and later Vienna, she was accustomed to fresh, local food.

▶ ▶ ▶

But after TIP moving to the U.S. in the late TAKE IT SLOW 1960s, Pouillon “I like to ask was dismayed people what by the American their favorite diet of overfoods are and processed and what do they use the most. preservativeIf it’s milk, they laden food. should only In 1979, she buy organic opened Resmilk. And taurant Nora then they can expand in Washington, to all dairy, D.C., and, two like butter decades later, it and yogurt. became the first And after a certified organic month or so, they can add restaurant in another item, the country, like organic meaning at least chicken. You 95 percent of just slowly its ingredients add items.” are supplied by certified organic farmers and growers. By presenting organic and seasonal ingredients in a refined way that hadn’t been seen by diners before, Pouillon helped to change the public perception that organic food

GREEN LIVING | SPRING/SUMMER 2016

only consisted of bland tofu and granola. Consider a Restaurant Nora menu that includes Amish chicken breast and goat cheese stuffing, grilled grass-fed ribeye steak, and bittersweet molten chocolate cake. “Being sustainable means being seasonal,” Pouillon says, adding that she has worked tirelessly to cultivate relationships with growers and producers to provide seasonal organic produce. But it doesn’t end at the plate. Growing organic is a sustainable way of farming that doesn’t exploit the soil, says Pouillon, who is the author of My Organic Life: How A Pioneering Chef Helped Shape the Way We Eat Today. “By composting, you put nutrients back into the soil from things you already took out of it. … Sustainable means that it doesn’t have an end. It goes ad infinitum. It replenishes itself.” Restaurant Nora also runs on 100 percent wind energy and its water is filtered three different ways to ensure that it’s free of chlorine, bacteria and metals.

▶ ▶ ▶

2 lbs. asparagus 2 T. olive oil or butter 1 small onion, chopped ½ lb. fresh morels, chanterelles or shiitakes, thinly sliced 2 cloves of garlic, minced 1½ cups organic risotto rice ½ cup white wine (optional) 4 cups simmering chicken or vegetable stock Salt and pepper ½ cup grated Parmesan (optional)

Cut off hard part of asparagus bottom and keep for soup. Slice the stems into pennysized pieces and keep the tips whole. Heat the oil or butter in a heavy sauté pan, add the onion, cook for a minute or two until soft. Add the asparagus, mushrooms and garlic and sauté until soft. Add the rice, stirring until the grains are glistening. Then add the wine and 2 cups of stock, stir and cook until the liquid is almost absorbed. Add the rest of the stock and continue cooking and stirring until the rice is creamy but still firm to the bit, about 20 minutes. Add the optional cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Serve garnished with fresh Italian parsley or a thyme sprig.

THINKSTOCK

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Asparagus Risotto with Mushrooms


Nora Pouillon

SCOTT SUCHMAN

Chef/owner of Restaurant Nora in Washington, D.C.

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Anne Quatrano

ANDREW THOMAS LEE

Chef/owner behind Bacchanalia, Floataway Café, Little Bacch, Star Provisions and W.H. Stiles Fish Camp (aka Dub’s) in Atlanta

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GREEN LIVING | SPRING/SUMMER 2016


IN SEASON

Farmstand Ribolitta SERVES 6 TO 8

THINKSTOCK

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nne Quatrano operates five of Atlanta’s busiest restaurants, all of which source their ingredients from the 60-acre Summerland Farm outside of Atlanta where she and husband/business partner/chef Clifford Harrison live.

The fifth-generation family farm grows a heap of produce that includes arugula, cantaloupes, green garlic and turnips. BE FLEXIBLE Quatrano calls it a seed-to-table, rather Shop regularly than a farm-to-table, way of sourcing. at farmers Working with her farm staff, she and markets and Harrison carefully plan which crops be confident and flexible to grow each season, allowing them to enough to give restaurant diners the very best in prepare what seasonal foods. might be Quatrano, author of Summerland: available at Recipes for Celebrating with Southern the market: “Rigid recipeHospitality, urges cooks to broaden their following horizons when it comes to local foods — is not it doesn’t all have to be salads with fresh, sustainable,” local greens. says Some of her favorite ingredients are Quatrano. the often-overlooked root vegetables. “We have two great seasons for our more delicate roots — radish, carrot, little turnips — and we love using them on our plates,” she says. “They take exceptionally well to raw, fermented, pickled and roasted preparations.” She calls her method “operating with integrity” and says there’s no other way to do it. If you want to bring more sustainability into your life, you don’t have to move to a large farm and grow your own food. Bring it to a more manageable level by “thinking about not just your procurement of product but the elimination of waste, the disposal of the small amounts of waste and the respect in which you treat your product.”

TIP

▶ 2 cups (cooked) beans (scarlet runner, sea island red peas or any local bean) ▶ 2 onions, diced ▶ 4 stalks celery, diced ▶ 8 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced thinly ▶ Generous pinch of red pepper flakes ▶ 1 lb. rainbow chard — remove from the stem and thinly slice and roughly tear or cut leaves (kale, young collards or escarole may also be used) ▶ 1½ cup tomatoes, fresh ripe or jarred tomatoes, crushed with their liquid (a can of San Marzano tomatoes will also work here) ▶ 4 cups of vegetable or chicken stock ▶ 1 stem fresh basil leaves, pinched from stalk ▶ 1 stem fresh mint leaves, pinched from stalk ▶ 1 stem fresh marjoram, pinched from stalk ▶ 1 stem fresh flat-leaf parsley, pinched from stalk ▶ 1 stem fresh borage leaves or young pale celery leaves, pinched from stalk (or use whatever herbs you have on hand) ▶ 1 loaf of stale artisan bread, crust removed and torn into chunks ▶ Extra virgin olive oil ▶ Sea salt ▶ Reggiano Parmesan or a local grating cheese In a large (4-quart) heavy-bottom pan, slowly cook onions and celery in olive oil until softened. Add garlic and allow to cook slowly, but not brown. Add crushed red pepper. Add diced greens and stems, stir and cook gently. Add tomatoes and their liquid. Add stock. Season with salt. Allow to simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. Add herbs and beans. Adjust seasonings. Simmer on low for 5 to 10 minutes longer. Toss bread in olive oil and lightly toast. Place toasted bread in serving bowls and ladle in the soup. Drizzle with olive oil and Parmesan.

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IN SEASON

A Carrot that Wanted to be a Chicken Cutlet

an Barber’s two renowned new york restaurants are a testament to his long-term commitment to the sustainable movement. With a heavy focus on seasonal and local ingredients, Blue Hill opened in Greenwich Village in 2000.

In 2004, Blue Hill at Stone Barns was launched in the TIP Hudson River Valley as the restaurant partner for the Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture, a nonprofit DIVERSIFY farm and educational center dedicated to producing “If I were to healthy and sustainable food. give only one Barber, an award-winning chef who was one of Time tip, it wouldn’t magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2009, specialbe to ‘eat local’ izes in bridging the gap between farmer and diner. or ‘eat organic,’ Menus at both restaurants feature locally sourced foods it would be to eat with a lot of based on the current harvest of produce and livestock. diversity. One “Sustainability is synonymous with seeking out way to start is delicious food,” says Barber, who is also the author of to subscribe The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food. “If you are to a CSA pursuing the best possible flavor, you are by definition (community supported also seeking the right kind of farming, and the right kind agriculture) of nutrition. and challenge “So the question becomes, how can we influence that yourself to kind of recipe? How can we support these relationships use every through our actions in the field — or our decisions on ingredient you’re given. the plate?” Pretty soon He believes that eating seasonally just tastes better, you’ll be noting that his favorite ingredient is the milk that comes thinking more from the cows on his family’s Blue Hill Farm in Massacreatively in the chusetts — they’re 100 percent grass-fed, so the taste of kitchen.” their milk changes with the seasons, Barber notes. Even in winter, he finds plenty of flavor in seasonal produce. By the time winter parsnips are harvested at Stone Barns, they’ve been in the ground for 12 months. “When they come out they’re huge and incredibly sweet from the winter frost,” Barber says. “We roast them like steaks and serve them with some braised beef shank and Bordelaise sauce. It’s the iconic steak dinner, inverted.”

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▶ 6 medium carrots, about 8 inches long and 1 inch wide ▶ 2 T. olive oil ▶ 1 T. sugar ▶ 1 T. salt ▶ ⅛ tsp. black pepper Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel the carrots. Lay three sheets of aluminum foil on the counter and place carrots on top of the foil. Drizzle the carrots with the oil and season with the salt, sugar and pepper. Wrap tightly in the foil and place on a baking tray in the oven. Cook for 1 hour and then flip the package of carrots and continue to cook for another 1 hour until the carrots are very soft. When cool enough to handle, unwrap the carrots. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and lay the carrots on the tray, leaving some space between each carrot. Top with another piece of parchment paper and another baking tray. Place a heavy weight, such as several cans of food, on top of the tray to press down the carrots. Press for 10 minutes. If the carrots are cooked properly they will not break but will instead press into little cutlets. For the breading: ▶ ¼ cup finely ground panko breadcrumbs ▶ ¼ cup finely ground breadcrumbs made from dried whole wheat bread ▶ 2 T. rice flour ▶ 1 tsp. finely ground cumin ▶ 1 egg, beaten ▶ 2 cups all-purpose flour ▶ Oil for frying Combine the panko, breadcrumbs, rice flour and cumin in a small bowl. Dip each carrot into the all-purpose flour, shaking off any excess flour. Then dip the carrots in the egg wash. Finally, dredge the carrots in the breadcrumb mixture. Heat about ¼ cup of oil in a sauté pan over a medium flame. When hot, carefully place the carrot cutlets in the oil and fry for 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain. Season well with salt and pepper. Serve with a dollop of applesauce and garnish with a herb salad.

THINKSTOCK

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SERVES 2 TO 4


Dan Barber

SUSIE CUSHNER

Co-owner and executive chef of Blue Hill in New York City and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, N.Y.

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A Stoddert Elementary student harvests lettuce from the school’s garden in Washington, D.C. The school is one of many that work with nonprofit DC Greens to teach kids how to grow their own food. Story, page 76.


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H O ME

The Black Dog Salvage team includes, from left, Ted Ayers, co-owner Robert Kulp, Tay Whiteside, co-owner Mike Whiteside and Grayson Goldsmith.

A 1948 bus front dispenses beer at a Virginia restaurant.

Turning Trash into Treasure How the Black Dog Salvage ‘dawgs’ make it happen BY DIANE BAIR

BLACK DOG SALVAGE

G Bowling alley flooring was repurposed into an Indiana couple’s kitchen island.

uests who admire the wood-topped island in Denise and Marty Guy’s kitchen in Lafayette, Ind., are bowled over when they learn its provenance: That stunning maple countertop was once a lane in a bowling alley and it still bears the foul-line mark as evidence of its former life. “It looks amazing,” says Denise. “Old things speak to me. They’re not mass-produced. They have a story.” Meanwhile, at Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint in Roanoke, Va., customers buzz about the eyecatching beverage dispenser backdrop — the front of a 1948 Ford school bus, set into the wall and outfitted with taps.

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HOME

The Black Dog Salvage marketplace in Roanoke, Va., attracts those looking to see reimagined creations and find their own salvaged goods.

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GREEN LIVING | SPRING/SUMMER 2016

from landfills by Black Dog Salvage, culled from 26 projects per year, according to Christa Stephens, the company’s branding and promotions director. For sure, salvaging is not new. “It’s always been part of our culture to add value to items that would otherwise be discarded,” Kulp says. But it has become a “thing” now, thanks to social media and do-it-yourself TV shows like Salvage Dawgs. Since Black Dog Salvage’s opening in 1999, “upcycling” has become a buzzword, as more people find joy in giving new life to old things. A walk through the property with Whiteside offers inspiration aplenty. “Those 1960s U.S. mailbags? I’m thinking pillows,” he says. Turning a

Fresh paint gives this old Dixie stove a new life.

Three salvaged chairs start a new life as a shabby chic bench.

BLACK DOG SALVAGE; COURTESY OF DIY NETWORK

These projects reveal the crazy genius of the folks at Black Dog Salvage. When it comes to turning trash into treasure, they’re at the top of the heap. Maybe you’ve seen co-owners Mike Whiteside and Robert Kulp on the DIY Network’s popular reality TV show Salvage Dawgs. Or perhaps you’ve visited Black Dog Salvage in Roanoke, a 44,000-square-foot mecca of architectural salvage with a marketplace of cleverly repurposed pieces created by local and regional artisans. The detritus of demolition awaiting transformation at Black Dog ranges from marble mantels to mannequins, chandeliers to church pews. An estimated 180 tons of salvage annually is saved


SALVAGE QUEST You can find your own trash-totreasure item with just a little bit of searching. For inspiration, here are some tips to uncover that hidden gem.

LOOK LOCAL

Check Habitat for Humanity ReStores (habitat.org/ restores), consignment or thrift stores, estate sales and even curbside cast-offs.

COURTESY OF DIY NETWORK; THINKSTOCK

DO YOUR HOMEWORK

Before repurposing items, research safe-handling techniques and be cautious about lead-based paint or asbestos.

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX

corner, he spies a window sash. “Now, that would make a dandy coffee table,” he says. In addition to running the business — which has grown from eight employees to 30 — and filming the TV show (now in its sixth season), the Dawgs build custom pieces from salvage. But they stress that extensive construction skills aren’t necessary to create an upcycled gem. “It requires lots of imagination,” Whiteside says. “I’ve never run across anything I couldn’t figure out how to reuse for another purpose.” Black Dog Salvage has rescued materials from churches, hotels, cotton and grist mills, a 40-foot Eiffel tower replica in Columbus, Ohio, a movie theater and an entire block of Victorian houses in Norfolk, Va. Each is like an archaeological dig, uncovering a piece of America’s past. Cool finds include an 11-foot-wide stained glass panel and Kulp’s most unique salvaged item — a gorgeous fireplace surround made of majolica, a glazed earthenware. Black Dog Salvage has become one of Roanoke’s major attractions. Fans come from far and wide to see the place and to take selfies with Whiteside, Kulp and the actual black dog, Sally. The company ships anything, anywhere, so if someone falls in love with, say, a vintage barn door, geography need not get in the way. “Every piece has a story,” Whiteside says. “All of these pieces were built by our ancestors. Their lives create the story. From the craftsman who built it, to the people who lived with it, their stories carry on in these pieces. We are creating the heirlooms of the future.” The crew also creates and sells upcycled creations, like this vintage tub that was turned into a funky clawfooted couch.

Look for creative possibilities for everyday items. Could those lovely crystal door knobs be mounted on wood or repurposed as hangers for the kids’ backpacks? Wouldn’t that sparkly chunk of stone make a dazzling coffee table top?

SEARCH THE WEB

For more upcycling projects and ideas: blackdog salvage.com diynetwork.com www.hgtv.com blog.woodcraft. com pinterest.com

Black Dog Salvage, 902 13th St. S.W., Roanoke, Va.; 540-343-6200; blackdogsalvage.com. Watch Salvage Dawgs on the DIY Network, Great American Country and Netflix.

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Off-the-Grid Living One family’s dedication to sustainable life starts with an efficient straw-bale home BY KATHLEEN LAVEY

F

Joe Trumpey shows images taken while his home was being built using straw bales, stone and earth from the property.

Heirloom animals such as American mule-footed pigs are raised on the family’s property and provide a food source.

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GREEN LIVING | SPRING/SUMMER 2016

Joe Trumpey says his family has not burned a drop of fossil fuel to heat the house or their domestic water in four years.

DAVE WASINGER/LANSING (MICH.) STATE JOURNAL

The Trumpey family’s straw-bale house in Grass Lake, Mich., is operated by a solar array and heated by burning wood.

or many urban and suburban folks, “off the grid” signifies survivalist practices, and “straw bale” seems like a code for shoddy construction. That’s not the case with the Trumpeys. Joe and Shelly Trumpey, their teen daughters, Autumn and Evelyn, and two foster children live off the power grid at their Sandy Acres Farm homestead in Grass Lake, Mich. Neither grew up on farms, but both had an interest in living a sustainable lifestyle. After marrying in 1988, they lived on a North Carolina farm with chickens, rabbits and a handful of sheep, hoping to raise half of their own food. When Joe was offered a job at the University of Michigan’s Stamps School of Design, they moved to their 40-acre farm in Michigan. Shelly, a teacher, works in a nearby school district. They’ve built their highly efficient 2,200-square-foot, two-story home from the ground up, using material — including stone, earth and dead ash trees — found on the property. A neighboring farm gave the family 1,200 bales of wheat straw, which were compressed into giant bricks used to make the walls of the home and a garage/workshop. Adobe, or earthen plaster, covers the straw, providing incredible insulation. The family goes through about 15 face cords of wood each winter, stoking a boiler that heats the water that goes through 4,000 feet of tubing in their home’s radiant-heat floors. Solar power is gathered from panels in a pasture and stored in 60 golf-cart batteries. If power runs low after a long stretch of gray winter days, the family postpones energy-hogging activities such as laundry or using electrical tools. During winter months, the batteries can be fed and charged by a gas generator. There’s no need to buy meat, eggs or vegetables because they garden and raise heirloom animals, such as American mulefooted pigs, compact highland cattle, four-horned Jacob sheep, chickens and turkeys. Joe says he’s always looking at new possibilities for sustainability, but concedes his family may have reached a peak. “Other than adding a dairy cow, we’re pretty maxed out at this point,” he said.


DAVE WASINGER/LANSING (MICH.) STATE JOURNAL

Compact highland cattle and Jacob sheep graze in a pasture at the Trumpey’s Sandy Acres Farm homestead in Grass Lake, Mich.

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Love Your Landscape Three ways to have a green yard that stays true blue to the environment

K

eeping your yard green while trying to be green can be a challenge. But there are eco-friendly ways to create and manage the yard of your dreams. Whether you want to make just a few changes or are willing to go all out, here are three strategies to consider.

GREEN YOU’RE ECO-MINDED, BUT YOU WANT GRASS, AND LOTS OF IT. NOT A PROBLEM. “If you want to keep a lawn, care for it organically and naturally,” says David Salman, founder and chief horticulturist at online garden supplier High Country Gardens, which specializes in water-wise and sustainable gardening. “The big-box regime of (using) weed and feed, fertilizers, preemergent herbicides, grub killers and fungicides — all of that is

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GREEN LIVING | SPRING/SUMMER 2016

dangerous for the environment. It contaminates Let the clover take over. You the water and you don’t want to be walking won’t have barefoot over a chemically treated lawn.” to mow the Salman recommends adding organic compost, low-growing and drought-resistant which brings both nutrients and beneficial perennial weeds, microorganisms to improve the soil. Be sure to and it attracts add it in the fall and not the summer, he advises, honeybees and butterflies. because compost can raise the temperature of the soil, which in turn can stress grass. “(Stressed grass) needs a lot more water,” he says. And don’t sweat it if clover starts to take over your yard. White clover adds nitrogen to the soil, is low-growing so it doesn’t need to be mowed as often and is easy to maintain, says Chicago-area landscape designer Craig Jenkins-Sutton. Embracing biodiversity (having more than one kind of plant growing in an area) means you don’t need chemicals to kill the “bad” weeds, says Jenkins-Sutton, who likes overseeding with clover. “It has a nice little flower that honeybees and native bees love, and is fairly drought-tolerant,” he says. When you do mow, adjust the cutting height so you can keep the grass 2 to 3 inches high. And don’t rake up the grass clippings — those will break down quickly and return nitrogen to the soil, Jenkins-Sutton advises. Finally, water effectively. “The proper way to water is deeply and infrequently,” says JenkinsSutton. “You want it to soak in three or four inches every time you water. Only water once a week. It encourages the grass to grow deeper root systems so it is more tolerant of drought.”

THINKSTOCK

BY MAISY FERNANDEZ


“It’s been national news that the monarch butterfly and bee population are in decline.” — Mike Lizotte, managing partner at American Meadows

cost-effective and a lot less maintenance.” Yes, you’ll have to periodically tend to the plants, but you’ll no longer be required to spend your weekends keeping vast expanses of grass green, weed-free and neatly manicured. When adding any new plants to your landscape, Salman recommends putting mycorrhizal fungi, which help in nutrient and water absorption, at the bottom of the planting hole, along with organic compost. “The mycorrhizal inoculant spores germinate and the fungi begin to attach themselves to the plant roots,” he says. Combining ground cover, upright growing perennials and ornamental grasses will give any yard a balanced and colorful look, Salman says. In addition to being easier to grow, native plants and grasses can also provide habitat for wildlife. “It’s been national news that the monarch butterfly and bee population are in decline,” says Lizotte. “Over the past few years, this has brought a new wave of people wanting to do their part and create pollinator habitats.” Milkweed and colorful asters attract monarch butterflies, while honeybees are drawn to flowering plants such as marigolds (an annual) and perennial favorites — daisies, lilac and echinacea. Planting ornamental grasses, such as miscanthus, adds variety to your backyard while creating an inviting native space.

GREENER

THINKSTOCK

YOU’RE WILLING TO TRADE IN SOME OF THAT GRASS. HERE’S HOW: Replacing a traditional lawn with ornamental grasses, plants and shrubs is a growing landscaping trend, says Mike Lizotte, managing partner at American Meadows, an online garden supply retailer. “One benefit is the positive environmental impact, because you’re not mowing and fertilizing,” says Lizotte. “It’s also

65


HOME

CONSULT THE EXPERTS Local landscape designers or your county cooperative extension office can offer advice for what plants will grow best on your property. Also check planthardiness.ars.usda.gov to find what plants are best suited for your region.

GREENEST

Growing your own food is part of a trend that shows no signs of slowing down, Lizotte says. “People want to know where their food is coming from.” “Edibles can and should be a part of many landscapes if there is a lot of space,” says Salman, who suggests growing edibles alongside ornamental plants for an attractive overall look. “That can be as simple as planting fruit trees or fruiting shrubs like currants or gooseberries,” he notes. “There are a lot of shrubs that produce fruit.” If your heart is set on growing vegetables, tomatoes and zucchini are good starter plants, Jenkins-Sutton says. Depending on your soil, raised beds or containers can be vital to getting the best results — they’re more

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GREEN LIVING | SPRING/SUMMER 2016

Raised garden efficient in terms of space, water and effort, and beds are a you have full control over the soil. must in urban “If you live in an urban area and want to grow areas because the soil is often vegetables, you can assume you don’t want to over-compacted. use the soil that’s there. Not necessarily because For vegetables of contamination, but because it will probably be such as swiss chard, add airy over-compacted and will not drain right,” says soil to foster root Jenkins-Sutton, who recommends a light, airy soil growth. that will foster root growth. Soil is key, Salman echoes. “If you don’t have good soil, whatever you plant into it will be working harder than it has to.” To know what you’re working with, test the pH and nutrient content of your soil by mailing a sample to your cooperative extension service, which will also make recommendations on any needed soil additives, or a commercial soil laboratory. Raised beds can be integrated into a landscape alongside perennial herbs to soften the look, Salman says.

THINKSTOCK

THE FARM-TO-TABLE MOVEMENT IS CALLING YOUR NAME AND YOU WANT AN EDIBLE LANDSCAPE. THAT FIRST HARVEST IS WITHIN REACH.


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E D U C AT IO N

A Sustainable Career Yes, there are green careers out there — here are some of them

THINKSTOCK

BY RACHEL KAUFMAN

W

ant to make a difference and help save the planet? How about getting paid to do it? For some, it’s only a dream. But for some college graduates, it’s a dream come true. We talked to six who are helping to keep our air and water clean, protect animals and preserve our open spaces — and learned how they got their jobs. Want to follow in their footsteps? Study up and you, too, could become an eco-hero.

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E D U C ATION

JOE BOSSEN

Vermont Bean Crafters makes veggie burgers using regionally grown organic produce.

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GREEN LIVING | SPRING/SUMMER 2016

Bossen, 29, was drawn makes veggie burgers to Green Mountain College from largely locally grown B.S. in in Vermont because it beans. The black bean sustainable enterprises, offered self-designed, burger is flavored with Green environmentally minded garlic and rosemary, and Mountain majors. He worked with an the Sweet Sweet Harvest College, 2008 adviser to create his own Burger makes use of sweet curriculum, which allowed potatoes and kidney beans. him to explore topics that didn’t Last year, Bossen said the company exist together in a “turn-key” major, used about 50,000 pounds of beans he says. He originally thought he — and he hopes that number will wanted to work in the renewable enrise to 1 million by 2022. ergy field. But why add more energy The meat-free burgers, which to the grid when you could just use are lower in fat and calories than a less energy overall? Because meat traditional beef burger and higher in production is more energy-intensive fiber, are also on the menu in some than growing vegetables, he decided public schools, hospitals and at least to create a veggie burger that would one college in Vermont. sate even the pickiest eater. “That’s been the focus lately,” In 2009, Bossen launched Vermont he says, “getting better food to the Bean Crafters in Waitsfield, Vt., a people that the local food movesustainably minded company that ment left behind.”

COURTESY VERMONT BEAN CRAFTERS; TIM DONAGHY

President and founder, Vermont Bean Crafters


ADENIKE ADEYEYE

Research and policy analyst, Earthjustice

CHRIS JORDAN-BLOCH/EARTHJUSTICE; THINKSTOCK

Adeyeye, 30, was The region is Califoralways interested in the nia’s largest and richest B.A. in outdoors, and during agricultural area, and the environmental studies, high school and college source of a large percentYale University she fell in love with age of the country’s M.S. in the social sciences. produce. It is also home environmental Environmental justice — to the state’s largest oil management, the movement to treat field. As a result of these Yale School of Forestry & all people, regardless and other industrial Environmental of race, fairly under activities, it is one of the Studies, laws that affect the most polluted regions in 2011 environments we live in the U.S. Adeyeye points — seemed an obvious way to blend to a 2008 Cal State Fullerton study those two passions. that found that the air quality there Now, she works for San costs the region’s economy $6 billion Francisco-based Earthjustice, a per year because of health impacts. nonprofit environmental law firm “Clean air is essential to a healthy that advocates for clean air policies. region, and we want to clean the She supports Earthjustice lawyers by air to make the valley healthier and writing comment letters, speaking more prosperous,” she says. “All the at public meetings and hearings and people I work with are so dedicated helping to make the public aware and committed to meeting those of air pollution challenges in San big lofty goals. It’s great to work on Joaquin Valley. something mission-driven.”

Part of Adeyeye’s job includes advocating for more renewable energy statewide in proceedings at the California Public Utilities Commission.

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E D U C ATION

SHAN BURSON

Acoustic ecologist, National Park Service

B.A. in human ecology, College of the Atlantic, 1983 M.S. in ecology and behavioral biology, University of Minnesota, 1989

JESSICA MOHLMAN

Research and collections assistant, The Field Museum

Mohlman, 23, still remembers childhood trips from her home in McHenry, Ill., to The Field Museum in Chicago, specifically an exhibit called “Evolving Planet,” about the evolution of life on Earth. “The thing that resonated with me was at the end of the exhibit they talk about the mass extinction we’re in currently, and it had a clock counting how many species have gone. ... Little me was like, ‘I need to save the planet.’ ” After three college internships in various departments in the museum, she returned full-time in 2015 to assist the museum’s curator of mammals with a project mapping and identifying many species of bats in Kenya, a first step toward protecting the vulnerable mammals. “I knew nothing about bats prior to getting this job, so I’m learning a lot,” she says. “That’s the great thing about working in a museum. ... I always leave here every day learning something I didn’t know beforehand.”

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GREEN LIVING | SPRING/SUMMER 2016

Burson, 55, spends his days recording animal and human sounds in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks in Wyoming. “Soundscapes are a resource, just like wildlife, or plants, or air quality,” he says. His work started when the National Park Service wanted to measure the noise impact of the 80,000 snowmobiles that zipped through Yellowstone each winter. “When I first collected data in the winter of 2002-03, you could hear snowmobiles 90 percent of the time,” he says. “But since the park service in 2013 released new rules governing snowmobile use, you hear snowmobiles less than half of the time in the busiest corridor. I’m happy that some of the data I collected went toward that.” With that success under his belt, Burson can turn to other projects: monitoring bats with ultrasonic microphones, discovering some “ear-ringing” quiet places in the parks and creating a soundscape guide for both parks so that visitors who want to have the best chance of hearing a wolf howling or an elk bugling will be guided to the best place. “I think a lot of people don’t come to national parks for the natural sounds, but ... it has an importance to people that they don’t realize,” he says.

COURTESY OF JESSICA MOHLMAN; NEAL HERBERT/NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

B.S. in both biology and natural resources (emphasis in wildlife and fisheries ecology), Northland College, 2015


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E D U C ATION

CHELSAE RADELL

Zookeeper, Rosamond Gifford Zoo

B.S. in conservation biology, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry 2012

Ph.D. in sustainability, Arizona State University, 2011

If you are the second-largest beer company in the United States, you use a lot of water. And reducing that water footprint is one of the things Ugarte, the sustainability manager for MillerCoors, is concerned with. A typical brewery uses between four and 10 gallons of water to produce one gallon of beer, according to the Brewer’s Association. Many companies, Chicago-based MillerCoors included, have lowered their water-to-beer ratio. At the end of 2015, the MillerCoors ratio finished at 3.29 gallons. “When you are brewing billions of gallons of water over time into the product, a very slight reduction equates to several million gallons of water,” Ugarte, 35, says. Ninety percent of a beer’s “water footprint” comes from the agricultural suppliers, so part of his job is facilitating partnerships for barley growers. MillerCoors has helped fund water retrofits at farms and introduced new, water-saving irrigation techniques. Some farms have seen millions of gallons in water savings and have cut their energy use in half.

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GREEN LIVING | SPRING/SUMMER 2016

MILLERCOORS; MARIA SIMMONS/ROSAMOND GIFFORD ZOO

MARCO UGARTE

Sustainability manager, MillerCoors

Radell, 25, a keeper at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, N.Y., spends her days checking on fish and aquatic invertebrates, cleaning tanks, feeding them and keeping Cleo, the zoo’s giant — and incredibly smart — Pacific octopus, entertained. As an aquarium keeper, Radell also educates visitors about the animals. People don’t always understand how smart octopuses are, she says, or why there are toys in the tank. “The best part about my job is ... being able to talk to visitors and change their minds,” she says. Before transferring to the aquatic animals, Radell was hired to work with reptiles and amphibians, where she befriended the zoo’s chuckwalla (shown below), a lizard named Moose. “She got her name because she eats everything,” she says. Today, in addition to her work keeping the aquarium animals happy and healthy, Radell is trying to start a seahorse breeding program. Seahorses are notoriously hard to raise in captivity from eggs, so most are captured from the wild as adults. Being able to breed them in captivity could lead to new ways to protect and conserve the animals. It’s a job born of a decade of passion — Radell began volunteering at the zoo at age 15 and basically never left: “It became clear that this is what I wanted to do.”


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E D U C ATION

Getting Their ‘Greens’ A D.C. nonprofit teaches healthy eating habits to kids and adults BY SARAH SEKULA

W

SARAH HOLWAY

hen it comes to getting kids to eat their veggies, Lea Howe knows the trick: teach them to grow and harvest it themselves. They will become more connected to the radishes and carrots and kale and will be more likely to give it a taste. Better yet, teach them to cook an entire nutritious meal. Or, have them sell

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GREEN LIVING | SPRING/SUMMER 2016


CAITLIN SANDERS; THINKSTOCK

A family shops at a Washington, D.C.-area farmers market in July 2015, right. At left, Walker Jones Education Campus students take part in a garden lesson at the K Street Farm.

their produce at a farmers market. These are just a few examples of how DC Greens, a nonprofit organization based in the nation’s capital, connects school-aged kids with their food. “It’s important for children to visit farms to develop positive relationships with the environment and the food system at an early age,” says Howe, the organization’s farm-to-school director. “We’ve met seventh graders who had never cracked an egg before, fifth graders who didn’t recognize a beet and had the pleasure of watching third graders eat raw sweet corn off the cob for the first time.” With all the fast and convenient food options today, it’s easy to go through life with no understanding of where food comes from. That’s where Lauren Shweder Biel and Sarah Holway come in. Together, they started DC Greens in 2009 with goals: to bring food education to every classroom, to provide easier access to healthy food and to enable doctors to “prescribe” fresh fruits and vegetables. Since then, they’ve been walking the walk. In neighborhoods containing single-family homes, office buildings and even Capitol Hill, they oversee urban farms tended by a slew of volunteers, including children. The kids morph into healthy-eating ambassadors by selling their produce at a dozen different markets held at their own schools. All those funds go back into the school farms

DC GREENS CONNECTS KIDS TO FOOD THROUGH:

LEARNING

HARVESTING

COOKING

SELLING

program. And because of the DC Greens’ Cooking with Kids initiative, which goes into classrooms to give cooking demos to third through eighth graders, the Cooking with Kids interns engage students with seasonal ingredients to prepare healthy, affordable recipes. While they’re at it, they encourage conversation about larger food system concepts, such as the impact food choices can have on the environment. Part of their focus also lies in conservation and sustainability. Take, for example, the K Street Farm, a 1-acre school garden operated by DC Greens at Walker Jones Education Campus, a D.C. public school for prekindergarten through eighth grade. Students are actively involved in tending plants and creating garden-related artwork. Cafeteria waste is composted to produce a rich fertilizer. A large rainwater harvesting system and drip irrigation efficiently use water. Every detail is considered, right down to the insects; the vibrant pollinator gardens are designed to support honeybees and monarch butterflies. DC Greens’ reach extends far beyond the school system. The nonprofit runs six programs that center on food education, food access and food policy. One area of success, according to Lillie Rosen, DC Greens’ food access director, is the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription program, FVRx, which was started in 2010 by Wholesome

77


E D U C ATION

Hattie Milo, a supporter of DC Greens, shops at the Dupont Circle Farmers Market.

“We’ve ... had the pleasure of watching third graders eat raw sweet corn off the cob for the first time.” — Lea Howe, DC Greens farm-toschool director

GROWING GARDEN TEACHERS

HOW DOES IT WORK?

WHO BENEFITS?

For DC Greens, school gardens serve as a hands-on classroom. While getting dirt under their nails, kids are learning about teamwork and problem solving. So how do you expand the school-garden movement? Teach the teachers to become gardeners. DC Greens’ Growing Garden Teachers program, launched in 2011, does just that.

DC Greens works with a cohort of 75 public and charter school educators (typically the school garden coordinator) who attend monthly workshops led by local and national experts in the field. These educators return to his or her school to champion what they learned about food education and healthy food access, says Karissa McCarthy, the director of operations for DC Greens.

The program has reached more than 10,000 students in D.C.

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GREEN LIVING | SPRING/SUMMER 2016

THE TOOLS Prior to the program, garden coordinators worked in isolation, trying to figure out best practices on their own. DC Greens provides key resources (seeds, seedlings, interns, curricula) to keep the program going strong.

LEA HOWE; THINKSTOCK

Wave, a national nonprofit that partners with organizations like DC Greens in 38 states and the District to help enable underserved consumers make healthier food choices. Patients in the program receive “prescriptions” from participating health care providers that entitle them to $1 a day per family member in fresh produce. They can fill those prescriptions at local “farmacies” (farmers markets), where they are given either tokens or checks that function as cash. “The program reaches approximately 300 low-income D.C. residents each year who are struggling with chronic, diet-

related illness, such as diabetes,” says Rosen. More than 90 families received weekly produce prescriptions and nutrition counseling from June through November. “Access to fresh produce is a powerful tool for low-income community members to take control of their diets. About half of the participants had a reduction in their body mass index percentile,” Rosen adds. “FVRx acts as a literal carrot, encouraging patients with chronic illness to return to see their health care provider on a monthly basis.” These programs are having a lasting impact. Just ask Beatrice Evans, 62, who lives in southeast D.C. and uses another DC Greens’ initiative — the Produce Plus Program, which is run with the D.C. Department of Health and provides $10 per week to low-income customers to spend on farmers market produce. “I’m able to eat much healthier now,” Evans says. “I heard about the program in July, and I can feel the difference in my body in just two or three months. I get to eat more salads now, and I got to try kale for the first time. You couldn’t have asked for a better program; it’s heaven-sent.”


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B US I N E S S

Major Players Make Their Mark Big companies take environmental protection seriously BY ANN C. LOGUE

PATTERN ENERGY

F

rom relying on a wind farm to completing an energy-efficient skyscraper, major companies including Walmart, PNC Financial Services and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) took going green to new levels in 2015. Saving energy and protecting the environment are becoming more of a priority for businesses. Those that make changes, rather than wait for regulators or utility companies to act, are taking important steps that could lead to advances in American energy policy, says Ralph Cavanagh, energy program co-director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, who calls it “green voluntarism.” Companies taking the initiative could hasten the widespread use of clean energy sources by utilities. FCA, PNC and Walmart are very different companies meeting very different consumer needs, but as utility customers, each is demonstrating a commitment to energy alternatives and improving the environment without sacrificing growth, Cavanaugh says. “This isn’t some kind of distant prospect. This is happening today.”

In September, Walmart began purchasing wind power generated by Pattern Energy Group’s Logan Gap Wind facility in Texas.

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B U S I NES S

PNC | STANDING TALL

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GREEN LIVING | SPRING/SUMMER 2016

The façade of PNC’s new headquarters insulates and controls interior temperatures. The Beacon in the foyer, right, uses LED lights, which require less energy.

PNC FINANCIAL SERVICES GROUP

By building its new headquarters in downtown Pittsburgh, PNC aimed to provide space for 2,500 employees, exceed the efficiency standards of the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED Platinum certification and add an aesthetic element to the city’s skyline. The 33-story Tower at PNC Plaza, completed in October, has accomplished all of that, says Mike Gilmore, PNC’s director of design and construction services. It joins PNC’s collection of more than 250 new LEED-certified branch offices and regional facilities around the country, the largest of any company in the world. Leadership in energy and environmental design certification, known as LEED, is significant. The USGBC rating system certifies buildings that meet or exceed criteria in a number of green areas, including water and energy usage, material sustainability and indoor air quality. The rankings range from Certified, for those that meet basic standards, to Platinum, for buildings that excel. “The building’s double-skin facade and solar chimney work together to facilitate natural ventilation, which brings fresh, outside air into employees’ workspaces,” says Gilmore. “Also, 92 percent of the tower’s workspace receives direct sunlight, which improves lighting conditions and reduces our need for artificial light.” The need to use less energy is the most important, most costeffective part of clean energy, says Cavanagh. It generates savings for the company and reduces the need for utilities to invest in either fossil fuels or alternatives. “In order to get utilities mobilized, it has been important for big customers to make it clear that they want energy from renewable sources,” he says.


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B U S I NES S

WALMART | POWER SHOPPING

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GREEN LIVING | SPRING/SUMMER 2016

Walmart will buy 58 percent of the expected output of Pattern Energy Group’s 200 megawatt Logan’s Gap Wind facility.

PATTERN ENERGY

Mega-retailer Walmart is ultimately aiming for a 100 percent renewable energy supply. It will get there through a mix of purchased renewable power, solar panels at retail locations and energy-saving programs, says Mark Vanderhelm, Walmart’s vice president of energy. The company has committed to purchasing 58 percent of the power generated by the Pattern Energy Group’s Logan’s Gap Wind facility in Comanche County, Texas, which began production in September. The turbines are located in a deregulated area, which means that utility customers don’t have to limit themselves to one provider. Walmart will power 380 stores, with other buyers committed to the rest of the output. “Deregulated energy markets offer choices, and the Logan’s Gap wind farm is a good example of how we can take advantage of the choices to provide renewable energy,” Vanderhelm says. Cavanagh says that the utility industry is so competitive that it won’t offer clean power unless it is affordable to do so, adding that the industry’s interest has increased as costs drop. Walmart’s commitment in 2013 to purchase the power helped secure the financing needed to get Pattern Energy Group’s facility to operational status in 2015. “We can leverage our size and scale to commit to long-term use of renewables, which in turn support the development of projects like Logan’s Gap that benefit the entire region,” Vanderhelm says. He adds that the use of wind power brings savings down to the store level. The cost factor is crucial. “The old notion was that somehow renewables were impossibly expensive,” Cavanagh says. Costs have come down steadily, he says, in part because of large-volume orders for technology that generate economies of scale throughout the system.


B U S I NES S

FIAT CHRYSLER AUTOMOBILES | REVVING UP Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) announced in December that it had invested $40 million to convert 179 of its trucks from diesel to compressed natural gas (CNG), which is natural gas converted to a liquid form for use in engines. CNG emits 27 percent less carbon dioxide than diesel fuel while still generating enough power to pull semis. The company says its Detroit-based vehicles transport parts between facilities, driving 16 million miles a year and using 2.6 million gallons of diesel fuel in the process. The trucks are serviced at the company’s transport facility in Detroit, which has been upgraded to become the largest private CNG station in North America, according to FCA. The changeover will save money and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 16,000 tons per year, says Mary Gauthier, manager of sustainability reporting for FCA-US. “We’re trying to look at the entire lifecycle of the company,” Gauthier says. The company’s World Class Manufacturing program includes a portfolio of green initiatives and complements ongoing environmental programs such as a zero-waste-to-landfill program at the company’s U.S. headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich., where about 14,000 people are employed.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ newly converted compressed natural gas trucks will reduce CO2 emissions.

ENERGY USE

The Natural Resources Defense Council, a public policy organization that advocates for alternatives to fossil fuels, reported on America’s energy usage in 2015. Among the findings:

10%

The amount that carbon dioxide emissions from energy fell between 2005 and 2014. It’s now below the level generated in 1996.

In 2014, American energy came from:

10%

renewables

28%

natural gas

8%

nuclear

18% coal

35%

Percentages are rounded.

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GREEN LIVING | SPRING/SUMMER 2016

FIAT CHRYSLER AUTOMOBILES

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FOOD

Shop Talk Make the most of your farmers market experience by asking savvy questions BY KIM PAINTER

I

THINKSTOCK

t’s not often we get the chance to talk to the people who grow our food, so if you plan to frequent farmers markets this year, don’t be shy about learning from the experts. “That’s the beauty of the farmers market — you have the opportunity to speak directly with the farmer,” says Jen Cheek, executive director of the Farmers Market Coalition, a nonprofit organization that promotes and supports farmers markets. Here are six questions to get the conversation started:

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U.S. FARMERS MARKETS ON THE RISE

8,513

uWhat is that? Farmers markets often rely on smaller, local farms able to plant a greater variety of seeds than larger, industrial farms dedicated to turning out single crops, Cheek says. “You are going to see a lot of fruits and vegetables you are not going to see at the grocery store.” So when you spy a new color of cauliflower or something you can’t identify at all, like the Romanesco broccoli, above, just ask.

uWhere do you wash your hands? Markets are subject to state and local food safety rules, but some practices — including the provision of hand-washing facilities for vendors — should be followed everywhere, says Benjamin Chapman, a food safety specialist at North Carolina State University. Chapman also asks whether workers have had food safety training and how equipment is kept clean. In addition, he inquires about farming practices, including how water is tested for safety and how farms that raise animals keep their waste out of fruit and vegetable fields. Outbreaks of illnesses have been linked to foods sold at both grocery stores and farmers markets, he says. “I think there’s a perception that the products you would get at a farmers market are safer. But we don’t have that data.”

uWhere did it come from?

THINKSTOCK; ANDY MANIS/USA TODAY

Some “producer-only” markets require every fruit and vegetable sold by a vendor to be grown by that vendor; others require a certain percentage to meet that standard, Cheek says. Still others, she says, focus more on getting fresh produce into neighborhoods that are short on it — and worry less about whether it is locally grown.

3,706 uDo you accept SNAP? More than 5,000 markets accept payment through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Acceptance Program for low-income families, Cheek says. Ask the market manager for details.

uWhat else do you have? If you don’t like what you see, the vendor may have something else on the truck that could be just right for your tomato sauce recipe.

1,755 uDo you use pesticides?

1994

2014

2016*

*As of February. Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Don’t assume that all the produce, meat, eggs and dairy foods at farmers markets are organic. Just as in the grocery store, the only guarantee is organic certification under strict standards set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But it’s worth asking farmers without certification about their practices, Cheek says: “Getting organic certification is an expensive and time-consuming process. Just because they don’t have it, doesn’t mean they aren’t following some of those practices.”

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E N V I R ONMENT

From the Ground Up 8 things you need to know about trees BY DIANA LAMBDIN MEYER

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rees, no matter what size or variety, provide clean air, balance the ecosystem and inspire us to greatness. And that’s just the beginning.

LAND OF GIANTS

Sequoia National Park near Visalia, Calif., is home to the 275-foot-tall General Sherman giant sequoia — the world’s largest tree when measured by volume (it’s 52,500 cubic feet). With a trunk that’s 36.5 feet in diameter and 102 feet in circumference at ground level, it’s estimated to be at least 2,000 years old. Walk among a number of the world’s largest trees at both Sequoia and nearby Kings Canyon national parks, where many of the giant sequoias have noble nomenclatures, such as General Grant or King Arthur.

LOST ACRES

The world lost an average of 44.7 million acres of trees annually from 2000 to 2012, according to data gathered by Google and the University of Maryland. Deforestation was particularly noticeable in Brazil, Indonesia and West Africa.

A LASTING GIFT

Have a tree planted in a national forest in someone’s honor and send them a card through the Arbor Day Foundation’s Give-a-Tree Card program. In 2015, the national nonprofit planted 35,000 trees through the sale of the greeting cards. $5.95 for one card (there are discounts for bulk purchases), shop.arborday.org/give-a-tree.aspx

MEDICAL MIRACLE

As if trees aren’t doing enough for our planet, extracts from the bark of the Pacific yew, a conifer native to the Pacific Northwest, are used to make Taxol, a drug that helps treat breast, lung and ovarian cancer.

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A COMFORTING SIGHT

As young Anne Frank hid from the Nazis in an Amsterdam attic for more than two years during World War II, she could see the top branches of a white horse chestnut tree through a small window. Until she was ultimately found and sent to a concentration camp, watching the tree change with the seasons brought her comfort, and she even wrote about it in her diary. Before the tree finally succumbed to disease and a windstorm in 2010, saplings were grown from its chestnuts and 11 were sent to the U.S. to be planted. Find one near you at annefranktreeusa.com.

BREATHE DEEP

A healthy tree produces about 260 pounds of oxygen annually, which is two-thirds of what a typical person needs over the course of a year. On the flip side, a tree can absorb up to 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year, sequestering 1 ton of the odorless gas by the time it’s 40 years old.

COOL TIPS

Planting trees around your home can reduce your air-conditioning needs by as much as 30 percent and your energy use for heating by up to 50 percent.

A USEFUL DEATH

Trees can still have value after they die — fallen logs and “snags” (upright trees that have died), serve as valuable habitat for birds and small mammals, providing shelter, a source of food and a place to perch.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: (1) PIERRETTE GUERTIN; (2) PHOTO IS PART OF THE COLLECTION OF THE AF HOUSE, AMSTERDAM; (3,4,5) THINKSTOCK; (6) HJ ANDREWS EXPERIMENTAL FOREST; (7,8) THINKSTOCK.

Sources: National Park Service; National Cancer Institute; University of Florida IFAS Extension; Anne Frank Center USA; U.S. Forest Service; North Carolina State University

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* Meets the Humane Farm Animal Care Program standards, which include nutritious diet without antibiotics, or hormones, animals raised with shelter, resting areas, sufficient space and the ability to engage in natural behaviors.

Grocery List Milk, Yogurt, Eggs Chicken for Sunday Bacon Steaks for the BBQ Dog Food

What it takes to save a species, is what it takes to save the world. Help us protect them and all wildlife. janegoodall.org/livinggreen

Where to Buy?

Use our website search feature or download the mobile search app on: CertifiedHumane.org


T RAV E L

Go Green

These events celebrate and support an eco-friendly lifestyle APRIL 30

BY HOLLIE DEESE

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ou’re already separating plastic from paper and shopping at your local farmers market, but if you’re looking for even more inspiration, charge your electric car, jump on mass transportation or walk to one of these festivals and events.

AN EVENING WITH MICHAEL POLLAN Dayton, Ohio For nearly three decades, Pollan has been writing about where our food comes from and what goes into it before it gets onto our plates. The author of several best-

Free; seating is limited udayton.edu

Free To register, go to electricbike-expo.com

ELECTRIC BIKE EXPO Palo Alto, Calif. The multi-stop tour showcasing the

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latest in eco-friendly e-bikes lets you test drive more than 80 different models, from mountain bikes to street commuters. Expos are also planned for Portland, Ore., and Denver.

APRIL 22-24

! DAY

WILLIAM ABRANOWICZ; ALIA MALLEY; BALANCE PHOTOGRAPHY; MELANIE MCLEAN; THINKSTOCK

APRIL 21

sellers, including The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, will give a moderated talk at the University of Dayton and take audience questions.

APRIL

Get into the spirit of EARTH DAY with events that are scheduled throughout the month.

BALTIMORE VEGFEST Baltimore As a celebration of healthy vegetarian living, VegFest — on Erickson Field at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County — serves up plenty of food along with vegan cooking demos, nutritional experts and yoga. Free thehumaneleague. com/vegfest

MAY 6-8 GREEN FESTIVAL Washington, D.C. This mega-sustainability event at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center is ground zero for

innovative information on green living. Expect a wide selection of products, presentations and vegetarian food. Festivals are also scheduled during the year for New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland, Ore. $11.54 to $31.59; children 16 and under are free greenfestivals.org

MAY 15-18 CULTIVATING GENERATIONS AT BLACKBERRY FARM Walland, Tenn. Prepare for some unreal meals at the Blackberry Farm luxury hotel and resort in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.

EARTH DAY NEW YORK Manhattan

Free

earthdayinitiative.org

This popular event at Union Square connects thousands of attendees and passersby to sustainably minded exhibitors, interactive displays, live performances and kids’ activities. A 5K Green Tour ($50) that takes participants on a walking tour of green sites in the city, such as an urban farm and a green skyscraper, is also being planned for the same week.

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T R AV EL

Event starts at $900; room not included blackberryfarm.com

JUNE 18-19 ANNUAL GREEN MUSIC FEST Wicker Park, Chicago In a city filled with street festivals, the annual Green

Music Fest in Chicago’s Wicker Park stands out with plenty of recycling areas for its 30,000plus attendees and a bike-powered stage. The event features live music, products and eco-conscious breweries.

Free

AUG. 20

JULY 2 WEED DATING Decorah, Iowa What could be better than meeting Mr. Right while digging in the dirt? Seed Savers Exchange, a nonprofit that maintains more than 20,000 heirloom varieties, hosts a weed-dating event to spark love among

OREGON HONEY FESTIVAL Ashland, Ore. Sample honey from local pollinators while learning about bees and the crucial role they play in sustaining the environment. Enjoy live music, workshops and speakers, and shop for beeswax products and raw honey. $12.50 presale, $15 at the door, kids 8 and under free oregonhoney festival.com

SEPT. 11 GREENFEST PHILLY Philadelphia Organized by the Clean Air Council, Greenfest at the historic Headrow House is all about living sustainably. The kids can participate in crafts, eco-friendly games and even a choreographed kinetic sculpture. Adults are taken care of, too, with a beer garden, food, exhibits and musical acts. There’s even a complimentary bike valet.

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GREEN LIVING | SPRING/SUMMER 2016

Kutztown, Pa. Bring the whole family to the Rodale Institute, founded by organic pioneer J.I. Rodale, to pick organic apples in certified organic orchards, which are stocked with varieties not commercially available. Enjoy music, covered wagon tours and a rotten apple rocket. And don’t miss the Farming Systems Trial, the longestrunning experiment in the country designed to compare organic and conventional farming practices. Free; parking $5 rodaleinstitute.org

Free greenfestphilly.org

SEPT. 17 8TH ANNUAL ORGANIC APPLE FESTIVAL

EARTH DAY FOOD & WINE

The country’s largest urban cultural park — Balboa Park — is a fitting site for what’s billed as the world’s largest annual free environmental fair. Some 60,000 people gather for the nearly zero-waste event that showcases vegetarian fare — no nitrate-filled hot dogs here — recycled art and info about backyard organic gardening, ecotourism, alternative energy vehicles and more.

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Free seedsavers.org

$5 donation greenmusicfest chicago.com

27TH ANNUAL EARTH FAIR San Diego

the garden beds at Heritage Farm. After the hard work, there’s a happy hour.

Templeton, Calif. $75 to $800 earthdayfoodandwine.com

To find events in your are a, to earth go da org/2016 y. .

Celebrating the Central Coast’s sustainable food and wine culture, Earth Day Food & Wine, held at Castoro Cellars, pairs forward-thinking foodies with farmers, merchants, winemakers and chefs. Event benefits Spanish language education programs and scholarships for relatives of farm workers.

THINKSTOCK; GREENFEST PHILLY

The cuisine of Alice Waters, a pioneer of the organic farmto-table movement, will be paired with wine from Hudson Vineyards and Ranch located in Napa, Calif. The event features presentations by Waters and the vineyard owners and will benefit the Blackberry Farm Foundation, which has pledged to donate at least $100,000 to Waters’ Edible Schoolyard Project.


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In Focus A government biologist reveals the beauty of bees

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here are 4,000 bee species living in North America, pollinating the flowers in our backyards and fields and going mostly unnoticed because they aren’t honeybees. This colorful workforce of wild bees is quietly helping to create and maintain the wonderful diversity of flowers found in florist shops, gardens and wildlands. But compared to honeybees, we know little about them. As a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland, I UP CLOSE have been studying their relationAnyone can view the bee ships to our plants for the past inventory at 15 years. In 2001, my colleagues flickr.com/ and I created the Bee Inventory photos/ and Monitoring Lab to study all usgsbiml, or the bee species in North America, in the book by Sam Droege using photos to explore the micro and Laurence landscapes of flowering plants. Packer, Bees: In 2011, we began using An Up-Close photography techniques creLook at Pollinaated by the U.S. Army Institute tors Around the World. of Public Health, which invented

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specialized macro camera technology so soldiers based overseas could take detailed images of the biting insects that plagued them. For our purposes, we mount the dead bee on a pin and shoot with a macro lens, often blending 100 or more photos to produce one super-sharp portrait. Our lab has processed nearly half a million bee specimens over the years. When I work on each picture, the artistry encourages me to do more. As these wild bees become more vulnerable to the rapidly changing global climate and losses of wilderness, there is an urgency to study the roles they play in keeping the plant world whole. By hosting these amplified photographs on Flickr, we aim to create an online museum that anyone can reference. The original intent was to meet the needs of researchers with little thought that these pictures would resonate with anyone else, but popularity has propelled interest. I now realize that such new presentations could create the same awakening for bees that the Hubble Telescope pictures did for stars.

USGS BEE INVENTORY

BY SAM DROEGE


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