Big (Green) Deal: TILT Event Educates Children on Compost

Originally written for the Watertown Daily Times by Amanda Taylor, who covered TILT’s (Com)Post-Halloween event at Zenda Farm Preserve over the weekend.

Christopher A. Nevala, 7, smashes leftover Halloween pumpkins with a mallet during the (Com)Post Halloween event at Zenda Farms in Clayton on Saturday afternoon. Photo by Amanda Morrison for the Watertown Daily Times.

TILT Event Educates Children on Compost

CLAYTON — Creating a manageable compost heap is not as difficult as many may believe.

“It’s quite simple and should not be intimidating to anyone,” Corinne M. Mockler said.

Ms. Mockler is the coordinator of education and outreach for the Thousand Islands Land Trust. The group organized a (Com)post Halloween on Saturday to educate children and their families on maintaining a compost heap.

“A lot of families have gardens, but we’re not sure how much kids are involved in the gardening or if they are aware of the fact that anything can be composted,” Ms. Mockler said.

People were invited to bring their leftover pumpkins and jack-o’-lanterns to Zenda Farms at 38973 Zenda Road and smash them up in a wooden box with a shovel. The pumpkin pieces were combined with old leaves to create compost that will be used in the spring on TILT’s Community Garden.

“Who can resist? You get rid of grass, old jack-o’-lanterns and kids get to go around and smash stuff,” she said.

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Big (Green) Deal: Farmhopping


Originally published at GOOD:

Farmhopping Brings the Power of Crowdfunding to the Countryside

Farming is a creative practice with a final product more spectacular than anything manmade: fresh produce, delicious meat, fragrant flowers, and a well cared for landscape. So in the social media age, when people are willing to donate money in support of a stranger’s creativity through platforms like Kickstarter, it makes sense to try to extend that generosity to the world of agriculture, allowing people to give to small farms whose missions they support.

Enter Farmhopping, a website launching next month that intends to create a new framework for financing small-scale farming by connecting farms with backers who pay a small sum to invest in a farm for rewards, like shipments of cheese, and a say in how the farm is managed. In its use of technology in support of foodie-ism, Farmhopping sounds positively Californian, but the surprising part of the project has less to do with its concept and more to do with its home-base of Bulgaria, a country not exactly known for its startup scene.

Farmhopping is the brainchild of recent business school graduate Rossi Mitova, a 25-year-old extreme skier and self-proclaimed “city girl” who only recently fell for the charms of the countryside. “A friend of mine bought some animals on a farm in Bulgaria and started taking care of them,” she tells me. “We started visiting the farm and getting freshmade yogurt and milking the animals and stuff.”

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Big (Green) Deal: Charcoal Filter Cleans Air Sustainably

‘Chikuno Cube + House’ Charcoal Filter Cleans the Air Without Chemicals or Electricity

by Helen Morgan, 06/07/12 on Inhabitat

Japanese designer Satoshi Umeno has created a beautiful wooden air purifier that looks like a miniature house. Dubbed the Chikuno Cube + House, the design consists of an all-natural wood base and a honeycomb cube of bamboo charcoal that cleans the air and freshens your home without the use of chemicals or electricity.

The Japanese have traditionally used charcoal – a product we usually associate with dirty outdoor grills – as a natural filter that absorbs impurities in air and water. It’s the same principal behind Brita pitchers and Bobble Bottles, although Satoshi Umeno‘ air cleaner uses a big block of aerated activated carbon. The block is created through a controlled burning process – pieces of charcoal are slowly heated in an oxygen-starved kiln until they become carbon.

I love these! The design is gorgeous and the idea (predating Britas apparently!) practical. Bringing it back to basics, people.
Photo from Inhabitat

Big (Green) Deal: Brooklyn Botanic Garden Opens Green Visitors Center

From the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Brooklyn Botanic Garden To Open New Visitor Center in May 2012

 BROOKLYN — The Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) announces that on May 16, 2012, it will open its new Visitor Center

Designed by the innovative New York-based firm Weiss/Manfredi, the project was recognized by the New York City Public Design Commission with a 2008 Award for Excellence in Design.

The Visitor Center is a synthesis of architecture and landscape design, replacing a modest gate on Washington Avenue with an enticing entry into the 52-acre garden. It houses interpretive exhibits and a room for orienting tour groups; a dramatic, leaf-shaped event space; an expanded store offering garden-related products and plants and other visitor amenities.

Conceived as an extension of the garden’s landscape, the glass building is embedded in an existing hillside at the garden’s northeast corner. Composed of two linked forms that seem to appear, disappear, and change shape as the visitor moves through and around them, the building offers a new sequence of views into and through the garden.

In addition, the Visitor Center incorporates numerous environmentally sustainable features — most notably a 10,000-square-foot living roof — that are aimed toward earning LEED Gold certification.

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Big (Green) Announcement: My New Job with the Thousand Islands Land Trust!

I’m quite pleased to announce my exciting new job as the Coordinator of Education and Outreach for the Thousand Islands Land Trust! Since the position itself is a new(ish) one at TILT, the responsibilities will be varied and ever-changing, but the overall gist is that I’ll be involved in the existing programs/treks that TILT already runs and in charge of developing new (mostly kid-oriented) ones, to start this summer. I’ll also be running a couple exciting outreach initiatives that I’m not sure if I can talk about yet, but planning has already begun.

I began interviewing with TILT last fall, and was informed that they picked lil’ ol’ me right after the new year, but had to wait for the board to officially approve the budget for my position before I shouted it from the rooftops (aka, blogged about it). Talk about an exercise in patience! I’ve volunteered with TILT in the past, and as I mentioned, have already begun planning, so I feel fully prepared to jump right in come my start date of March 14th.

Since the Coordinator position isn’t full-time until May, my current job at the flower shop has been gracious enough to allow me to work part-time for them until I’m needed full-time at TILT. While I will miss my coworkers there, this opportunity with TILT is so spot-on with what I’ve been trying* to do since moving up here 2 years ago, that words cannot describe how excited, and thankful, I am to get started!

And if you live in the Thousand Islands area and are looking to get involved with a local conservation group, TILT is also hiring a Summer Land Steward (and, as always, interns) and Save the River, while also looking for interns, is apparently interviewing for a new Executive Director to start mid-summer.

“Trying” sounds a bit like I’ve continuously failed, when in reality, I organized multiple programs and projects when at the Farm and have further honed my skills at planning with my volunteer work on the education committee at the North Country Arts Council (opening night of the Lucky 7 Lecture Series had 35 walk-ins – not too shabby!). I guess it would be more appropriate to say “what I’ve been trying to be PAID for doing since moving up here!”

Big (Green) Deal: UN Names 2012 International Year of Cooperatives

While I’ve had mixed experiences and feelings about coops/cooperative environments, in the end, I still get excited about the utopian idea of it. Here’s an interesting article from my new favorite website, Shareable (written by the cofounder of another of my faves, Love and Trash), on how 2012 has been named the “International Year of Cooperatives” by the UN:

Meet the New Boss: You

What do coffee growers in Ethiopia, hardware store owners in America, and Basque entrepreneurs have in common? For one thing, many of them belong to cooperatives. By pooling their money and resources, and voting democratically on how those resources will be used, they can compete in business and reinvest the benefits in their communities.

The United Nations has named 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives, and indeed, co-ops seem poised to become a dominant business model around the world. Today, nearly one billion people worldwide are cooperative member-owners. That’s one in five adults over 15 — and it could soon be you.

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Big (Green) Deal: Disappearing Ink!

As green(ish) as I try to be, I still keep a day planner in my purse, stay organized by writing lists and print out my crochet patterns so I can spread out on the couch while I work. Butchy bought me a Kindle Fire (which solved the the inner debate I was having – I couldn’t refuse a gift, now could I?), and that has allowed me to be more mobile with patterns and anything else I find online that I might otherwise want to print. I’ll also finally be joining the world of smart phones this month, so I’ll be experimenting with using the planner and stickies on that. But there’s really just something about the physical act of writing things down that helps me remember, which is why I was so pleased to come upon these two techie solutions to the ink and paper problem:

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