Category Archives: Community

Scoobie Snack!

Homemade Dog Food

So Nate and I have finally made the plunge and commitment to adopt a dog. I am more than thrilled. We are big advocates of home-cooking for ourselves, so we have also always been intrigued by making our own dog food. I know we can definitely add more lovin’ to our homemade batches than the store bought. Plus, we are hoping that it is an economical option. From the recipes I have researched, it seems like some of our items can come from the bulk section in our local grocer. There are a slew of recipes on the internet and in raw cookbooks. This is just a basic breakdown. It is noted that dogs need 40% protein, 30% carbohydrates and 30% starch. Protein can be eggs, beef, chicken, turkey, fish or pork. Starch can be rice, pastas, potatoes, oatmeal and anything else you may think of, while carbohydrates are vegetables.

After researching some articles, I was led to www.bornfreeusa.org. This website is not for the faint at heart. They delve into the gruesome details of what is put into commercially made pet food. This shows why so many pets develop tumors and cancers, among other illnesses. Just to give you a taste, the pet food industry is an extension of the human food and agriculture industries. The slaughterhouses have found a way to make a profit on their waste, which is considered “unfit for human consumption.” Some of these unfit ingredients include intestines, heads, hooves, udders, and the possibility of diseases and cancerous animal parts. Rancid meat and oils exist in pet foods. Tons of bacteria exists and is never cooked out during the processing of making pet food. Sometimes, the processing of the food, brings out more bacteria than it kills. However, the pet food market has been swimming in $15 billion annually in profit. Close to all pet food brands are dominated by a bigger entity. Nestle owns Purina, and more. Del Monte owns Meowmix, Kibbles n’ Bits ad much more. Masterfoods bought out Mars which owned Pedigree, Sheba and more. Proctor and Gamble purchased Iams Company. Colgate-Palmolive bought Hill’s Science Diet. Private labelers who make food for Wal-Mart and Krogers are just as grotesque. They have been involved in may recalls in pet food that has killed and sickened many animals. Some of these big names are sometimes no different from each other; literally. Some have joined together to buy their ingredients in bulk, one company processes everything, because it cheaper and they slap a couple of different names on the packaging. It does not sound any different from the many issues we as humans face in our society and in our government, however, we sometimes do not look into the other products or aspects these corporations are thriving on.

What began as a simple curiosity into making dog food, turned into a world of eye opening. Sometimes things that we think we know, but once the gritty details are revealed, it tends to have a whole new impact. Therefore, I think Nate and I will stick to making homemade dog food. I do believe there are some good brands at the natural grocery stores that are aware and humane, but I think it will be fun to make our own. If you want more facts just visit www.bornfreeusa.org and they will tell you what labeling on the packaging means for you to better determine what is best for your pet.

If you already have a pet and would like to change their diet, just remember to incorporate it slowly. Start lessening what you already feed them and incorporate some homemade goodness.

Enjoy.

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Filed under Community, Conscious Consumption, Economy, Natural Health, Uncategorized, Urban Sustainability, waste minimization

Effective Microorganisms: Probiotics for the Planet and your Indoor Compost

We all hear about how great probiotics are for contributing to a healthy digestive system for humans and other animals, but could it be possible that these bacteria could have the same effect on the planet?  The company EM America has developed a series of products that utilize probiotics which offer safe, natural, and dramatic results in the areas of household uses, agriculture, health, and the environment! It is truly a cure all for the planet!

Probiotics, which comes from Greek and means “for life”, are living microorganisms that when administered to a host reap positive effects on the health of the host.  The purpose of probiotics to bring balance to the good and bad bacteria in a host.  The probiotic bacteria will reproduce until a homeostasis is met between the two.  Adding probiotic supplements to your diet is reported to have positive effects on gastrointestinal health, lactose intolerance, immune function, blood pressure, prevention of colon cancer, and more.  Now this same principle is being applied to treat the ailments of the planet.

EM America’s probiotic products can be used for everything from bio-remediation of soil that has been severely polluted, to waste water treatment, to treating odors in households and in livestock arenas, as fertilizer for gardening, as natural household cleaners, to prepare with raw foods, and more! As for urban sustainability, EM has created a product called Bokashi that is extremely helpful for those who want to compost in an urban setting but do not have a lot of space to do so, or have hesitated due to fear of odor and pests. Nobody wants their neighbor to say their house smells!

Bokashi is a fermented rice or wheat bran that has been inoculated with the EM probotic formula and is then dried and used in indoor composting containers to help food to break down quickly with less odor.  The probiotics in this miracle mix can even break down foods that many compost fans traditionally steer clear of, such as meat and animal products, due to the smell and pest issue.  This is because the Bokashi actually ferments the food waste so that there is no rancid smells!

In order to use this you need to purchase or make an indoor composting bucket.  EM America sells fancy Bokashi Buckets on their website, but you could easily make one for yourself.  All you need is two 5 gallon buckets, one lid, and a drill.  Check out this video on the EM America site that shows you how to make your own.  Once you have your bucket system, you pile the food in there, sprinkle in some Bokashi, and continue to layer food waste and Bokashi until the bucket is filled.  Let the food ferment for one week in the bucket, then after the waste has pickled you can add it to a worm bin, existing compost pile, or bury it directly in a garden with no worry of pests or smells.  It is as easy as that!  Plus, if you purchase the liquid version of the probiotic formula you can make your own Bokashi and then use the liquid for a plethora of other household applications!

So say goodbye to fear of bugs, flies, and smell in your compost and hello to a happy, healthy, and balanced system for the planet!

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Filed under Agriculture, Community, Conscious Consumption, Natural Health, Permaculture, Urban Sustainability, waste minimization

TimeBanks

Today i attended a meeting about TimeBanks. I had never heard of them and didn’t even know they existed. I had read an article in the local rag which sparked my interest on the subject. They are like the barter section of craigslist, but far more intimate.

TimeBanks are organized throughout the United States. I am participating in the one in Durango. This is how they work. For every hour you spend doing something for someone in the TimeBank community, you earn one TIme Dollar. This is especially excellent if money is tight and you always wanted to take piano lessons. Piano lessons can be pricey, but rightly so. So, there is a woman that offers piano lessons, you can earn a time dollar by doing something for her, or for someone else. Let’s say you are a great gardener. You spend some time helping someone in their garden, you earn the time dollars for the amount of time spent helping and you use them to take piano lessons. Just like the monetary world, instead, with services. My thoughts are that the people who participate and the services they contribute will be completely genuine and open.

This is a great way to meet people and become more of a community. It’s a great way to offer your services and in exchange do something you have always desired to do. i am excited. There are people of all ages participating. No one age group is represented more than any other. People are offering babysitting, knitting, dance lessons, piano lessons, driving you to an errand, gardening skills, computer knowledge and the list pours on.

The group in Durango is just getting started. Their first plan of action is to spread the word and create a large community. Who knows what can happen from here. It is just so nice to know people are coming together to help each other. It’s a good feeling.

Check to see if there is one in your area. Go to the website and click on search TimeBanks. They are listed alphabetically. Enjoy!

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Carrotmob

carrotmob

So, one day while I was perusing the internet, I stumbled across a group called Carrotmob. They are incredible. They are a group of individuals who believe global warming is a real problem. They also believe that corporations and businesses use the most energy and would do anything for money. That being the problem and solution; they would do anything for money.

For their first event they polled 23 liquor stores in a San Francisco neighborhood. They told these liquor stores that they would bring a crowd of people to buy from them, if they would give a portion of their sales that day towards making their business more energy-efficient. The liquor store that bid the highest percentage, at 22%, won the deal. So, Carrotmob brought in an environmental specialist to investigate the store, it’s energy consumption and the appliances being used. As a result, the environmental specialist provided an estimate as to how much money it would take to make the liquor store energy efficient.

The big day arrived, a Saturday afternoon and a crowd lined the entire block leading to the entrance of the liquor store. Two hours later the last people entered the store to buy some goodies. Luckily, the liquor store sold food and household items as well. People from the crowd were interviewed and all seemed genuinely motivated and touched that an organized buying event could have so much impact. Talks of moving to bigger corporations and making other demands started to sprout.

The store, owned by the Lee family, stated that their average weekday earnings equaled $1800-$2000 and their average weekend earnings equaled $3000. Their hopes were to earn $5000 the day of the Carrotmob event. Believe it or not, they earned over $9000. Three hundred sixty-six pounds of food that was bought, was donated to the San Francisco area food bank. With the help of rebates, enough money was raised for the store to completely redo its light system, lamps, ballasters, pay for the labor for the retrofit, buy new gaskets for the refrigerators and pay the hazardous waste disposal fee.

How incredible is that! All it takes is some organization and bringing people together to demand for greener business choices. Take it to the corporate level and let’s see what can happen. Funny enough, we are the consumers and the reason why things are created. That’s a pretty good position to be in. Let’s collect our money and start negotiating!

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Got $425? You can Buy the Earth!

At least in the game EarthOpoly you can!  This new twist on the classic real estate mogul board game takes green education to a whole new level!  I recently received this game as a surprise gift from my Dad, and I have to say I love it!  I always felt bad playing the real Monopoly.  I have to say constantly spreading development throughout imaginary world and gentrifying the neighborhoods from Mediterranean Avenue all the way down to Connecticut made me feel a little bit guilty.  Guess I could never be a developer! Haha!  Well if you are like me then you can play this classic game guilt free!

EarthOpoly by Late for the Sky Games is a game that is truly earth friendly.  The classic properties of Park Place and Board Walk have been traded up for the likes of Mother Earth and Sparkling Blue Sky!  You can even purchase the Awesome Oceans and Majestic Mountains!  To top it off on the back of each property card is interesting facts about that type of ecosystem and a green living tip!  Instead of upgrading to houses and hotels when you buy all the properties in a color group you can buy Carbon Credits!  Once you have enough carbon credits you can then upgrade to CLEAN AIR!  If only it was so easy in the real world!  Instead of electricity and water you can buy wind and solar power!  Railroads have been replaced by some different R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rethink.  Yep, and instead of Jail…you go to the Dump!

The game is also printed with soy based inks, is wrapped in biodegradable plastic wrap, and all games pieces were either made by nature or are completely recyclable!  This game is truly great for all ages.  So learn some new facts, spread the environmental wisdom and have fun while you are at it!

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