Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

2010 Recap

January 2, 2011

I’d like to take a moment to look back and see how I’ve enjoyed and protected nature in the past year.

• I took up a new hobby in 2010—birdwatching. I was fortunate enough to tag along with a group of expert birders, logging about 40 hours with them. Not only did I see many birds I had never seen, I also visited many local parks I had never visited. Thanks Monday Morning Birding Bunch!

• I enjoyed the company of my husband and my dog during two relaxing camping trips at the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area—near Ely and on the Gunflint Trail. Canoeing, hiking, swimming, birdwatching and stargazing were excellent.

• I attempted to make healthy and sustainable food choices by shopping at a local food co-op and supporting a local farm through a CSA membership.

• I watched my 2nd-year native plants garden grow and observed how the butterflies, bees, caterpillars and birds are attracted to native plants.

• In my own small way of trying to get others interested in nature, I gave Toastmasters speeches about the Minnesota Master Naturalist program and about my EcoStrides blog.

• H and I purchased snowshoes for our Minnesota nieces and nephews for Christmas and then we all went on a short snowshoeing and sledding adventure.

• I logged 47 hours of volunteering as a Minnesota Master Naturalist. My projects included:

  1. Pulling invasive garlic mustard at Crosby Farm Park for Friends of the Mississippi River
  2. Weeding at Como Lake’s shoreline for St. Paul Parks
  3. Removing invasive burdock from Como Park Woods for St. Paul Parks
  4. Collecting seed of native prairie plants at Woodbury Conservation Corridor and Lost Valley Scientific and Natural Area for Great River Greening
  5. Supervising teens in stacking buckthorn at Lost Valley Scientific and Natural Area for Great River Greening
  6. Spreading mulch under new shrubs under the Xcel Energy High Bridge for Great River Greening
  7. Cutting and piling brush at Lost Valley Scientific and Natural Area for the Minnesota DNR
  8. Cleaning seeds previously collected for Great River Greening
  9. Talking to visitors about native plants during a neighborhood garden tour
  10. Addressing envelopes for the Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota
  11. Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count

Here’s to 2011 and more outdoor escapades!

Pelicans Visit the Fish Market

February 21, 2010

Dock at Ancón, near Lima, Peru

I’m a “Member-Owner”

December 15, 2009

I just joined Mississippi Market, a natural foods co-op. The one-time stock investment of $90 seemed steep, but I will recoup it in less than 18 months with member discounts. I’m already a member of a CSA (Foxtail Farm), which delivers fresh vegetables from June to October, but I wanted a good source for organic produce the rest of the year, as well as a source for sustainably-raised meat.

The co-op’s current newsletter expresses the values that help create good food:

  • We need to care about how our food is grown.
  • We need to be willing to pay the true cost of food.
  • We need to understand and respect the connection between our food and the health of our families and our planet.

Now that’s camping food!

November 3, 2009

Memaloose State Park on the Columbia River, Oregon, June 13, 2009

Clipping Coupons for Bluer Skies

December 16, 2008

The Blue Sky Guide is a book of coupons for living green. The guide is temporarily discounted at your local co-op for $15 (usually $20). I purchased it the past two years and broke even with the coupons I used. I’m more motivated for 2009 and expect to save lots of money. If you enjoy co-op hopping, you’ll be happy to hear that most of the co-ops have coupons for $5 off your grocery bill. There are also free bus passes, manufacturer’s coupons, discounts from restaurants, bike shops, museums, garden centers, and more. And everything has a green flair!

Looking Forward to Spring

December 3, 2008
Hoping that the sage and rosemary make it through the winter indoors

Hoping that the sage and rosemary make it through the winter indoors

I am already looking forward to spring. I know, I know—winter is not even here yet. But next year I plan to convert areas of grass (weeds, really) to gardens with flowers, herbs, and berries. I’ll be spending time this winter strategizing with the book Landscaping with Native Plants of Minnesota. Gardening is a lot of work, so I’ll be taking it one step at a time, starting with the sunniest patch in the yard.

Food for Thought

November 11, 2008
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan

Farmer in Chief is a thought-provoking article by Michael Pollan in New York Times Magazine. Pollan exposes the consequences of this nation’s food policy and gives practical suggestions to the president-elect on how to turn our food system around. The interconnectedness is clear! Our current food system negatively affects health care, climate change, energy independence, and national security.

Michael Pollan has written several books about our food system, none of which have I read; all of which I would like to read: In Defense of Food, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, The Botany of Desire, and Second Nature.

Back to Basics—Baking Bread

November 4, 2008
The Zo and its first loaf

First loaf with The Zo

It’s hard to find a loaf of bread at the grocery store that doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup. So I’m going back to basics—baking bread.

A year ago I bought a top-of-the-line Zojirushi Home Bakery Supreme, affectionately known as The Zo. At $200 this was quite an investment, but by my very rough calculations, the break-even point has been crossed. I have made bread without fail twice per week for the past year.

My first loaf was white bread, which turned out great, but it really was only a step up from WonderBread. So now I bake with whole wheat, rye, oatmeal, and flaxseed. It’s healthy, tastes great, and the aroma helps get me up in the morning.

By the way, what’s so bad about high fructose corn syrup? Check out this essay on Grist.