2011 in Review: The Garden

It’s was a difficult year in the garden. A lead and zinc issue screwed up my winter vegetables garden plans. At least we managed to find some river rocks and put in a path. I found this photo from December 2010. I was certainly a lot more organized that year. For 2012, I’m putting in raised beds to deal with the heavy metal issue and we’ve already planted more native plants. But most importantly one of my New Years resolution...

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The CDFA’s Pesticide Theater

...nsive ($10-11 million so far) and too ineffective to bother with. Frankly, I’m inclined to conclude that the original eradication program was a make-work program for CDFA officials and TruGreen all made possible by a big infusion of cash from our tax dollars and the citrus industry. During their backyard spraying campaign in our neighborhood in the fall of 2010, the CDFA and TruGreen showed up at a neighbor’s house who, at the time...

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Should Reuseable Bags Be Washed?

...7;s not a lot of evidence about the question–just one study on the matter. In fact it’s not clear if the bag in this 2010 incident was to blame or the fact that the bag, stuffed with food, spent some time on the floor of the bathroom where, “viral particles likely floated over from the toilet.” Yuck! No wonder the Barf Blog folks avoid potlucks. So how do you dodge norovirus? Food safety professor Doug Powell, writing for...

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Raw Milk Talk With Mark McAfee of Organic Pastures on the Homegrown Evolution Podcast

Image from the Organic Pastures website In the second episode of the Homegrown Evolution podcast we present a talk by Mark McAfee, founder and CEO of Organic Pastures Dairy, a raw milk dairy in California. The talk was recorded on August 28th, 2010 and was sponsored by Altadena Heritage and the Arroyo Food Co-op. McAfee had slides, but I think the talk is self explanatory without them for the most part. When he mentions his neighbor...

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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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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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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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A Hotel for Insects

To celebrate 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity, British Land and the City of London sponsored a design competition for a “Hotel for Insects.” Arup Associates won with the design above. The rules stipulated that the hotel had to accommodate stag beetles, solitary bees, butterflies, moths, spiders, lacewings and ladybugs. Read the full article here Thanks to Leonardo of the Backwards Beekeepers for the tip. See some other...

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Bean Fest, Episode 2: Falafel and Babaganoush Recipes

...ave one, I’d suspect it could be done in batches in a mortar. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, then you’d have to come up with some way to squish the beans. Perhaps in a bag with a rolling pin? The greens and the rest could be minced and stirred into the bean mash. You’ll need: (This quantity will make wraps for 4) Dried chickpeas (aka garbanzos), 1 cup Chopped greens/herbs: about 3 generous fistfuls. We usually use...

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