Wednesday, January 21, 2009

This video is a great reminder about why to buy and eat organic, even in the face of tightening budgets.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Raw Milk: Taste, Health, and Rice Pudding

Heidi Jugovic of Localvores Colorado was kind enough to share this experience about her foray into the raw milk scene:

Thought I would share my Larga Vista Ranch experience. I contacted Larga Vista about getting on their waiting list for raw milk, and I was pleased to hear that they expected to have some more shares open up in February. They said I needed to come down to the farm for a tour in order to get put on the list and there was a time available this Saturday. So this weekend I visited the cows (fuzzy! huge eyes!) and lucked out a bit. There were a few unclaimed shares for this week and the next, so I bought my share and got milk this week and will again the next. After that I may have to wait until February when they get some additional cows into the milking rotation. I decided to pay an additional $8 a month to be able to pick up my milk in Colorado Springs, since Boone is over an hour from me.

So this weekend I had my first ever raw milk experience. The milk comes in two big Ball canning jars (a total of a gallon). They milk a cow into a sterilized container, pour it through a filter, and then pour it again into the jars. They use the ring-and-lid cap that I'm used to seeing used in canning, so when they use a freezer to quick chill it, the lid actually seals to the jar. That means that until you pop the lid, the milk will keep for a month in the refrigerator. Once you open the lid, you have about a week before it starts to sour. There is no processing of any kind, and you get the whole milk, cream and all.

I skimmed the cream off one of my jars and made the most amazing grits and a rice pudding for my friends' Sunday dinner. I also made yogurt with my Christmas-present yogurt maker. I'm going to try making butter with the cream off the other jar. The milk tastes amazing!

I also bought a bunch of their grass-finished beef and a dozen eggs. Larga Vista was a great experience. If you get a chance to visit the Ranch or buy their products, I recommend it. Doug and Kim Wiley explained their farming methods, and I don't think anyone in Colorado is doing this better than they are.

My recipe for the yummy rice pudding comes from a cooking class at Charleston Cooks! in South Carolina. It is very tasty:

2 cups cream
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup Carolina Gold Rice (or other starchy rice)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 orange, zested and juiced.

1. Place cream, milk, and rice in a large sauce pan (you want the liquid level fairly shallow to heat evenly).
2. Stir well to combine.
3. Bring mixture to a gentle simmer, and cover and let cook until rice is tender and creamy and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes.
4. Remove pan from heat, adn stir in vanill extract, sugar, orange zest, and orange juice.
5. Place rice pudding in the refrigerator and chill well before serving.

I actually like to serve it warm.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Our Future Environmental Leaders

Check out these inspiring teens from Youth for Sustainable Green Future. Video courtesy of Richgail Enriquez.

"Hundreds of teens from the Bay Area ditched their video games at home and headed to the biggest green festival in the nation. The festival was held in San Francisco and there the kids learned AND taught one another about climate change green jobs, they even featured a bike that can generate electricity from human energy. Richgail Enriquez reports."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

National Service Day on Monday, Jan 19th

In case you haven't heard, President-elect Obama and co are organizing a National Service Day on MLK Day, Monday, January 19th.  I thought I’d pass this information to you, since we need to put our time and money where our mouths are to help Obama succeed.  There are activities all around the country; click here to find an event in your area. For those of you who weren’t originally supporters, a big part of his message is that we ALL need to pitch in to help turn things around.  And in case you need any inspiration, here’s a couple of my favorite Obama quotes: 
"I’m asking you to believe.   Not just in my ability to bring about change…I’m asking you to believe in yours."
"Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Voluntary Simplicity Hits the Bigtime!

OK, so most of my friends think I'm a little whacked out to be so into promoting voluntary simplicity. But my little niche issue (which 10% of the population adheres to, btw) has hit the big time! Oprah's mainstream magazine, O!, had an article on voluntary simplicity in the January 2009 issue. Allison Glock writes about two simple living families in "Back to Basics." Even though the profiled families were in Florida and I am in Colorado, my friend Mara asked me if I knew them--bless her heart. I am happy to report that the simplicity movement is too big for me to know all of the movers and shakers!

Now, I just discovered that, according to Vegetarian Times, there are 12.4 million self-described vegetarians in America. I calculate that to be approximately 4% of the population. Leave it to me to find an EVEN smaller niche issue!!! Apparently Oprah herself has gone vegan for 21 days, which is more than I can boast. I'm impressed, O! Keep up the good work.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Government expects Consumers to save the day

Here's good advice from Michelle Singletary, a columnist for The Washington Post: "Make 2009 the year you stop defining yourself as a consumer." Here's a tidbit of her article, but I encourage you to click here to read the full text.
"We Americans are so used to being referred to as 'consumers' that we comfortably fall into that role and do so conspicuously," Krohn, a retired Navy submariner living in Arkansas, wrote me.

This recession has proved that things have to change, and still the message from many of our leaders continues to be that consumerism - consumers - will save the day. To be a consumer is equivalent to being a good American.

I remember well after 9/11 when people were ready to sacrifice on behalf of our national interests, and President Bush told us the best thing we could do for our country was to keep shopping. Such a waste of opportunity. Finally, in this economic crisis, people are rethinking unchecked capitalism. We have to rebuild our society so that we are not based on "growth at all costs" (including overwork, massive debt, and environmental degradation), but on sustainable production. We can produce local food, local energy, and local economies that encourage interdependence and sustainability. What have you produced lately?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

EQUAL EXCHANGE Launches Small Farmer Campaign

Equal Exchange’s new campaign, Small farmers. Big Change: Creating a Green and More Just Food System represents a path to bringing justice to the food system and health to the planet. This co-operative business is now creating additional ways consumers and producers can join together to reduce our environmental footprints, conserve natural resources, and demand agriculture and trade policies that actually benefit small-scale farmers and consumers, instead of large corporations.

Why should consumers care about small farmers? While 25 – 30% of the carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming are estimated to come from the industrial agriculture sector, the sustainable farming practices of small-scale producers actually help cool the planet, protect the environment, and restore local eco-systems. Organic farming, reforestation, soil and watershed protection, and the use of stoves that convert organic waste into methane gas are just some of the ways in which small-scale farmers are keeping our food, our bodies, and our eco-systems healthy.

However, small-scale farmers face tremendous challenges. Many of our agriculture and trade policies are designed to favor large agricultural corporations. The subsidies, credits, and tax incentives the government awards to agribusiness dramatically undermine the ability of small farmers to compete in the marketplace. Additionally, global warming causes changes in weather patterns which affect crops and crop cycles. Unusual storms have become more frequent and severe, causing a loss of lives, homes, crops and livelihoods.

Equal Exchange’s new campaign involves education, environmental and food security partnerships, and political action. Our new blog offers articles and opinions on agricultural, trade, and environmental issues that affect small farmers and consumers. Through the blog, we will also keep consumers informed of key legislative areas and other opportunities for political action in which we can influence trade and agricultural policies that benefit producers, consumers, local communities and our planet.

Equal Exchange is also inviting consumers to directly support the environmental protection and food security projects that small-scale farming co-operatives are implementing in their communities. Toward this end, we have created the Small Farmers Green Planet Fund. How can you help?
• Purchase Equal Exchange’s Organic Love Buzz coffee. For every 12 oz. package sold, Equal Exchange will donate 20 cents to our Small Farmers Green Planet Fund. 100% of these funds will go to support the green projects of our farmer partners.
• Food co-operative members and consumers can purchase Equal Exchange’s Organic Co-op Blend. For every pound purchased, Equal Exchange will donate 25 cents to the Small Farmers Green Planet Fund.
• Make a tax-deductible donation to Grassroots International and send it to Equal Exchange, 50 United Drive, West Bridgewater, MA 02379. Write “Small Farmers Green Planet Fund” on the check.
• Visit to read about these projects and our campaign, as well as to offer your thoughts and opinions. Sign up to receive Action Alerts on key legislative and other political actions.
• Support domestic small-scale farmers by purchasing produce from local farmers, and fairly traded coffee, tea, and chocolate from small-scale farmer co-operatives abroad.

Visit the Equal Exchange website to read about some of the exciting projects the Small Farmers Green Planet Fund will support this year.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Get Radical. Get Some Rest.

What do you think about this article? Are we working too hard or not hard enough?

Get Radical. Get Some Rest.

Just One Video Contest

Check out this contest for videos on how to live sustainably. $5,000 prize!