The Organic Minefield: How organic are your organic eggs, soy and dairy?

I wish the label “organic” meant all that I mean when I use the term, but unfortunately organic is not a a guarantee of sustainable agricultural practice, much less humane treatment of livestock. The Cornucopia Institute promotes sustainable organic agriculture and family farms, and helps consumers parse the difference between greenwashed and genuine organic farms and suppliers. They release quick reference charts...

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How To Freeze Fruits and Vegetables

...es, green beans, peas, diced onions, whole-kernel corn etc are more convenient to cook with if you can just pour them out of a freezer bag without having to break them out of a solid mass. To do this you’ll individually quick freeze IQF them. To IQF: Wash, blanch (veggies) and cool . Spread in one layer on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer for four to six hours. Pack in sealed containers or in freezer bags. Label with date to avoid freezer...

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Noodler’s Ink Reusable Fountain Pen

...id about our newest solution to the frustration of disposable pens: Noodler’s Ink and fountain pens. From the Noodler’s website: Why Noodler’s? “Noodler’s Ink” has the lowest cost per volume in stores that carry it and it’s 100% made in the USA from cap to glass to ink. The ink with the catfish on the label symbolizes a southern sport that attempts to equalize the struggle between man and animal in the quest for a sense of fair pl...

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Incandescent, Compact Fluorescent or LED?

...an make a room lit with them seem dimmer. In some situations incandescents can be a better choice. LEDs are good for task lighting due to the directional quality of LED light. They are not so good for lighting an entire room. Many compact florescents (CFL) will have short lifespans if you put them in sealed, enclosed or recessed lighting fixtures. You also have to check the label and perhaps even call the manufacturer to figure out if a CFL will...

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Tracking the Mood of the Gardener

Swiss chard from the winter of 2010 A Root Simple reader I ran into this weekend took issue with my assertion that fall is the best time to start a vegetable garden in Southern California. Thinking about it some more I think she may have a point. Some of you may have noticed that we have a new feature on the blog–if you click on an individual blog post you’ll see a list of related posts at the bottom. Looking at so...

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California’s New Greywater Code: Common Sense Legalized!

...tered. This Tuesday the California Building Standards Commission legalized our formally outlaw greywater system. For several years now, we’ve sent our washing machine waste water out to fruit trees in the front yard. The new regulations are a rare common sense moment for our otherwise troubled state government. Let’s hope our current hard times spur more innovation like this. Originally slated to go into effect in 2010, the plumbing...

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Humanure Happens

Simparch’s dry toilet located in Wendover Utah From the 1806 edition of the Old Farmer’s Almanac, “Four loads of earth mixed with one load of privy soil, will be equal to five loads of barnyard dung. Let it lie for several months and occasionally turn it over with a shovel, and it will be of use as manure.” The editors of the Old Farmer’s Almanac 2010, where I found that quote, deemed it necessary to tack on a dis...

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Los Angeles School Board Cancels Tyson Contract

Thanks to the hard work of local food activists, including my neighbor Jennie Cook, the Los Angeles Board of Education voted this past week to withdraw its five year contract with Tyson Foods Inc. It’s a multi-million dollar loss for Tyson which provides chicken, or.what they refer to on their own website as “protein products” to the Los Angeles Unified School District. Tyson was to have been a part of a contract divided betwe...

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Saturday Linkages: Fueling Up

...fehacker.com/5954275/im-mar k-frauenfelder-editor+in+chief-of-make-magazine-and-this-is-how-i-work  … Free Heat for Your Home: Homemade Briquettes and Logs http:// naturalbuildingblog.com/free-heat-for- your-home-homemade-briquettes-and-logs/  … Thoughtstylings Mark Bittman: A Simple Fix for Farming http:// nyti.ms/VjNlZb Fueling up: http:// we2our2.blogspot.com/2012/10/fuelin g-up.html  … Health The Island Where People Forget to Die http://...

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Saturday Linkages: Cat Houses, Office Gyms, Cooking in Compost and More . . .

...dvt.com/2012earthiest-roast … The Fixer’s Manifesto http://manifesto.sugru.com  Short film about Safecast, the hackerspace-created, crowdsource radioactivity monitoring project http://boingboing.net/2012/11/21/short-film-about-safecast-the.html … Vintage Cat House Designed by the Office of Frank Lloyd Wright – http://www.moderncat.net/2012/11/09/vintage-cat-house-designed-by-the-office-of-frank-lloyd-wright/ … Just in time for the hol...

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