The Seasonal Food Guide helps you store, cook and enjoy seasonal produce

October 18, 2018 by  
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When you cook at home, there is nothing better than using fresh, seasonal produce as ingredients in your recipes. But it can be difficult to remember what is in season near you throughout the year. Luckily, there is an app for that, thanks to GRACE Communications Foundation, a non-profit organization aiming to boost awareness and support for sustainable food initiatives. Last year, the foundation launched its Seasonal Food Guide app (available for Android and iOS) just before National Farmers Market Week (in August each year). When you download it, the app will update you on the seasonality of everything from apples to zucchini in your own state. The guide is free, and it uses data from the Natural Resources Defense Council as well as the USDA and state departments of agriculture. When using the app (or the website), you can search for what is in season at any time of the year in every state. It is billed as the “most comprehensive database of seasonal food available in the U.S.” Related: Everything you need to know about online farmers markets “Today, people want to know where their produce is coming from, how long it will be in season and available at their local farmers market or grocery store, and what’s in season at other times of the year or in other neighboring states,” said Urvashi Rangan, GRACE’s chief science adviser. “We built the Seasonal Food Guide app to put those answers right at your fingertips.” This app will help you in your efforts to eat as much local produce as possible, which not only helps you increase your fruit and veggie consumption, but it also helps local growers and the local economy. The money you spend on local produce stays in your community, and it is reinvested with other local businesses. Why should you eat seasonally? If you haven’t had a lot of experience with eating fresh produce, it is definitely worth a try — it is ripe and flavorful and less bruised and handled, because it is transported locally. You can often taste it before you make a purchase, so you know what to expect. During peak harvest times, there is usually an abundance of fresh produce, and that means lower prices. You can also get “seconds,” which are slightly blemished fruits and veggies, for a major discount, and you can eat them right away or preserve them for a later time when they aren’t in season. This is an extremely frugal way to help you eat healthy all year long. Related: 5 mouthwatering plant-based fall recipes When you purchase seasonal food, you get a fresher, tastier and more nutritious product compared to the foods you would buy in the store. The best time to eat produce is shortly after harvest, and the only way to do that is to buy your produce from a local grower. Plus, when purchasing your produce from local farmers , you can talk to them about how they grew the food and the practices they used to raise and harvest their crops. Another benefit of eating seasonally is that it tends to lead you to cook at home more often, which is a great thing to do for your health. Taking control over what you put in your body — from what oil you cook with to how much sugar you add — helps you to consciously make better choices. Cooking is also a great way to bond, and it is a fun activity to do with your family and friends. Eating seasonally will also challenge you to be creative and come up with new ways to use your local produce. Buying local food is a benefit for the environment, because it helps to maintain local farmland and open space in your community. Direct-to-consumer produce is also less likely to have pesticides or herbicides. Eating seasonally can be intimidating. What is at its peak this month? How do you use that strange-looking vegetable you spied at the market? How do you store your abundance of fruits and vegetables so they do not go bad before you use them? This is when the Seasonal Food Guide comes to the rescue. Recipes, storage tips and more If you need some help with what to do with your local produce, the Seasonal Food Guide has a “ Real Food Right Now ” series to give you tips on cooking with food from your local grower. There are ideas for everything from asparagus to okra, and there are also tips for which seasonings and oils will complement your produce. The Seasonal Food Guide also explains the history of each item, giving you a chance to learn more about the food you are enjoying. Each fruit, vegetable, nut and legume is also broken down into its nutritional value and its environmental impact, meaning you can see how your produce is affecting the land. The guide also aims to curb food waste by teaching users how to properly store produce and how long it typically remains edible before it needs composted. The comprehensive app teaches users a wealth of information about the foods they eat, while also making it easy to experiment with new, unknown produce items. Get the Seasonal Food Guide app Check out the Seasonal Food Guide on your phone or computer, and get the best information about what is available in your state this month. You’ll find information and tips for about 140+ veggies, fruits, nuts and legumes. You can also set a reminder for your favorites, so you don’t miss them when they are available. Because the app provides photos of each item, you can also quickly identify that strange fruit or vegetable you passed at the market and learn more about it. This guide makes it incredibly simple to eat local, seasonal foods you love as well as find new favorites to experiment with in the kitchen. To see the web version click here , or download the iOS or Android apps here . + Seasonal Food Guide Images via Seasonal Food Guide , Caroline Attwood and  Maarten van den Heuvel ; screenshots via Inhabitat

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The Seasonal Food Guide helps you store, cook and enjoy seasonal produce

Ecobricks transform plastic trash into reusable building blocks

May 9, 2018 by  
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People are getting creative with plastic waste around the world, and now Ecobricks wants to utilize plastic for building. They encourage people to pack soft plastic garbage into plastic bottles to make blocks that can create buildings, walls, or modular furniture . The group says ecobricks offer a zero-cost solution to plastics pollution that allows people to take action right now. According to the Ecobricks website, “Ecobricks are designed to leverage the longevity and durability of plastic to create an indefinitely reusable, cradle to cradle, building block.” People create these blocks by packing cleaned plastic into drinking bottles, then connecting them with “tire bands, silicone, cob, and cement,” although the group advises against using concrete. “No special skills, machinery, funding, NGOs, or politicians are needed,” the group said in a YouTube video . Related: Cameroon student nonprofit recycles plastic bottles into boats Ecobricks describes itself not as an NGO, but as a people-powered movement . Designer Russell Maier, one of the people behind the movement,  said in an interview  that he discovered ecobricking while living in Sabangan in the Northern Philippines. Currently based in Indonesia, Maier was a lead author of the Vision Ecobricks Guide, originally created for schools in the Northern Philippines. According to the Ecobricks website, the guide is now part of the curriculum in over 8,000 schools in the Philippines, and Maier has “overseen the construction of hundreds of ecobrick playgrounds, gardens, and buildings.” People in the United States, South America, and Africa have gotten involved in ecobricking as well, creating projects that include an eco-restaurant in the Ecuadorean Amazon. You can find more information about ecobricking on the group’s  website . + Ecobricks Images via Ecobricks

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Ecobricks transform plastic trash into reusable building blocks

Your Guide to Winter Container Gardening

January 8, 2018 by  
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Though winter is often viewed as an off-season for gardening, … The post Your Guide to Winter Container Gardening appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Your Guide to Winter Container Gardening

Eco-Friendly Business Cards: A Professional’s Guide

November 10, 2017 by  
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Business cards are ever-present bits of networking collateral — bought, … The post Eco-Friendly Business Cards: A Professional’s Guide appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Eco-Friendly Business Cards: A Professional’s Guide

Beginner’s Guide to Growing Your Own Vegetable Garden

October 23, 2017 by  
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Growing your own organic vegetable garden has had a resurgence … The post Beginner’s Guide to Growing Your Own Vegetable Garden appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Beginner’s Guide to Growing Your Own Vegetable Garden

14 exquisite handmade gifts

December 1, 2016 by  
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If you’re looking for sustainably-sourced gifts that will truly surprise your loved ones, feast your eyes on our collection of exquisitely handmade gift options for this year. Produced by under-the-radar designers, you’ll discover unique items for everyone on your list. From foraged botanical perfume oil to hand-drawn floor plans of your favorite TV characters’ homes, we’ve got you covered with one-of-a-kind gifts that will inspire. UNIQUE HANDMADE GIFTS>

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14 exquisite handmade gifts

North Dakota state of emergency turns peaceful pipeline protest into a hostile military affair

September 14, 2016 by  
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Environmentalists and civil rights activists across the country celebrated September 9, 2016 when the Obama administration overrode a federal judge to halt the controversial $3.7 billion Dakota Access Pipeline . The reprieve came just days after security workers used trained dogs to attack peaceful protesters , leaving several wounded and bloody. A key aspect of the story has escaped much of the media coverage, though: Governor Jack Dalrymple declared a state of emergency nearly two weeks earlier and activated 100 National Guard troops on September 8, one day prior to the decision, effectively turning a peaceful protest into a hostile, military affair. The shutdown is being celebrated as a victory in the saga of the North Dakota pipeline protest , which has pitted native Americans against corporate interests for weeks. The pipeline was planned to carry oil from just north of land owned by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota to Illinois, where it would hook up to an existing pipeline and route crude directly to refineries in the U.S. Gulf Coast. The protest brought members of 200 or so tribes together in an unprecedented show of solidarity, and the movement was peaceful until the security firm working on behalf of the oil company began attacking protesters with trained dogs on September 3. Related: US government temporarily blocked North Dakota Access Pipeline By then, law enforcement were already working under an emergency declaration. Dalrymple issued the declaration on August 19, citing public safety as the motivation to tap into as much as $1 million in additional funding for local law enforcement agencies over the course of several weeks. The protest site did see an increase in uniformed officers, but police were nowhere to be found when the oil company’s private security firm used trained dogs to viciously attack protesters on September 3. In fact, the local police refused to acknowledge that security dogs had injured anyone. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuZcx2zEo4k The concern now has shifted, as the fight’s primary objective is no longer to defend the environment but rather to protect civil rights on the most basic level, including the freedom to peaceably assemble and protest. The freedom of the press has also been drawn into question, as North Dakota authorities issued an arrest warrant for Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman , the independent reporter who interviewed protesters on the front lines more than a week ago and captured dog attacks on video. She now faces charges for criminal trespassing, a Class B misdemeanor, as authorities say she crossed onto private property while covering the event. One protester has also been charged, in a double-whammy attack against the free press and freedom of speech from individual citizens. Learn more about the Dakota Access Pipeline in our guide here . Via ACLU and Reuters Images via Fibonacci Blue/Flickr and  Carl Wycoff/Flickr

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North Dakota state of emergency turns peaceful pipeline protest into a hostile military affair

EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning may change your perceptions of safe, eco-friendly products

April 10, 2016 by  
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If you’re a fan of the purported eco-friendly brands Seventh Generation or Method , the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) newly expanded Guide to Healthy Cleaning may make you think twice about those products. The guide, which rates over 2,500 products on their effects on human health and the environment, gave both brands D’s and F’s on their rating scale. The guide said the products were rated poor due to toxic ingredients that posed moderate to high health concerns. Keep reading for a closer look as to why these household brands scored so low in EWG’s guide. READ MORE>

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EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning may change your perceptions of safe, eco-friendly products

INFOGRAPHIC: Using aromatherapy to support your emotional health

October 16, 2015 by  
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Regardless of whether everything is coming up roses or you find yourself down in the dumps, aromatherapy can help. Aromatherapy – the use of essential oils – utilizes extracts from plant roots, leaves, stems and bark to promote physical health and emotional well-being. This guide from Holland & Barrett shows you how to get the most from essential oils to support your emotional well being. Read the rest of INFOGRAPHIC: Using aromatherapy to support your emotional health

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INFOGRAPHIC: Using aromatherapy to support your emotional health

Trees thriving on contaminated land could help clean up humanity’s mess

October 16, 2015 by  
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Nature is amazing in its ability to defend and repair itself when harmed. A new study shows willow trees are able to turn on and off components of their DNA when planted in contaminated soil, strengthening their defenses against heavy metals and other threats. Researchers believe this mechanism could be used to rehabilitate other corners of the Earth soiled by pollution. Read the rest of Trees thriving on contaminated land could help clean up humanity’s mess

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