What’s Biodynamic?

Biodynamic products are made without artificial pesticides, hormones, or fertilizers. US executive director of the Demeter Association, which certifies Biodynamic products like wine, coffee, flowers, meat, and cheeses, says that some farmers also enrich their soil with oak bark, dandelions, and horsetail hairs to promote healthier plants and animal feed.

Cell Phone Facts

  • Every year, upgrades or damage make 100 million cell phones obsolete.
  • In 2007, the recycling rate for cell phones was just 10 percent.
  • The average life span of a cell phone is 18 months.
  • Each year in April, the EPA’s Plug-In To eCycling program sponsors a “National Cell Phone Recycling Week” to encourage proper phone disposal.
  • The world’s largest cell phone recycler, ReCellular, collects 25,000 cell phones daily from more than 40,000 collection sites.

Go Green with Lush this Spring

Godiva Shampoo Bar – at LUSH, over 60% of products are “naked” (or free from packaging), including our solid shampoo bars. One bar lasts for up to 70 washes and is equivalent to three 8oz bottles of liquid shampoo. Consider this…if the entire population of the UK used LUSH’s solid shampoo bars, then the waste of producing and recycling 22 million bottles would be prevented and 6 million metric tons of preserved shampoo would be saved from entering the environment.

Charity Pot – retailing for $20.95, every penny (excluding taxes) from the sale of each pot goes directly into a fund to be donated to handpicked grass root charities and non-violent direct action groups close to LUSH’s heart. The main areas we seek to support are animal protection, environmental conservation, and humanitarian causes. To date, we have donated over a million dollars to worthy causes.

Vanilla in the Mist soap – a first in the beauty industry, LUSH is proud to announce that all of our soaps are made with a palm oil-free base. Global demand for palm oil, a main ingredient in processed foods as well as soap and cosmetics, is causing the clearing of ancient rainforests, forcing indigenous people off their land and pushing orangutans to the brink of extinction to make room for more palm oil plantations. With demand for palm oil increasing and the problem worsening, LUSH decided that the only responsible thing to do was to reformulate its products to no longer contain palm oil. LUSH worked for the past three years to develop a soap base that does not contain palm oil, and now all LUSH soaps are made with this palm-free base. The switch to a palm-free soap base has meant that LUSH has reduced the amount of palm oil they use by 133,000 pounds each year. Small amounts of palm oil still exist in some LUSH products but our inventors have committed to finding creative ways to remove the oil from our products altogether.

Find out more at www.lushusa.com.

Editor’s Note » March/April '10

Spring is in the air, birds are chirping, and it won’t be too long until the sun shines down and brings to life the tulips, daffodils, and the beginning of another great growing season.

My favorite season is the spring when there is green everywhere and the sun seems to make everyone a bit happier and excited that warmer days are just around the corner.

We hope you find this issue full of great advice and tips for a better, balanced life.

April 22nd is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, so check out our Earth Day guide for some great articles on keeping mother nature green, safe, and happy, and ourselves in balance with her.

Erin LaFaive has a great article on starting seeds early and Meg Marshall has an awesome article on the Eco Teams in our neighborhoods.

You can also rev up your sustainability with Kenton Whitman’s Green Week article. Great, easy stuff everyone can get into.

Happy Reading!

Growing a Community

by Andrew Werthmann

For years scientists and experts have warned about climate change, our dependence on foreign oil, and the damaging effects of conventional food production. “Going Green” is a term used by many to encompass a divergence from these tendencies, but it’s practicality is far from clear.

A newly formed Eau Claire group is helping to make the Green concept a reality. The Eau Claire Community Garden Association is bringing together citizens, private corporations, and public entities to not only provide a space for residents to garden in the city limits, but additionally, to teach, encourage, and provide support for those interested in growing their own food locally. The garden offers up to 40 rental plots, but also features a “Demonstration” plot which will serve to connect those with “food insecurity” to high quality local produce. This project, termed the Phoenix Garden Project, will offer classes taught by UW-Extension experts, provide free food to those who volunteer, encourage people to plant gardens in their own yards, and offer a percentage of the food grown to the Community Table and campus kitchens.

Central to the garden’s mission, is providing food to those of all economic means. A government report recently found that 49 million people in the US have difficulty accessing and/or purchasing healthy food. Catherine Emmanuelle, an Eau Claire resident living close to the garden stated, “As a parent and someone who is continuously looking to stretch my food budget while making healthy choices for my family, I believe a community garden for the Eau Claire area is exciting and we look forward to the possibilities of what we can grow together.”

“More and more now, people are realizing the importance of local food, whether it’s for health reasons, environmental responsibility, or just getting to know your neighbor a little better,” says Andrew Werthmann, coordinator for the Eau Claire Community Garden Association and current City Councilman, “there is something very powerful that takes place when you can plant a seed in the soil and know you are helping to create a more sustainable world.”

The first garden season will begin next spring, and applications are already available to the public. The City of Eau Claire’s Department of Recreation, Parks, and Forestry is providing logistical support for the project, which is located just north of Phoenix Park in the Forest Street Green Space. Veolia Environmental Services has donated compost, derived from food scraps it collects from the UWEC Cafeteria as well as Luther Midelfort Hospital’s cafeteria. A local chapter of Food Not Lawns is also actively involved—encouraging people to start similar gardens in their own lawns.

“This could not happen without massive collaboration,” said Erica Zerr, East Hill resident and local organizer for Food Not Lawns, “because our mission is to teach, build community, create food security, and encourage sustainable gardening, the project requires many hands.”

Joe Mauer, a local landscape architect, helped the group design and lay-out the gardens. All of the garden plots are aligned with old property lines, a testament to the houses that once occupied the area. “It’s important to realize that everything we do is connected to our heritage, to our past.” Joe said. “At one point, this area was farmed, then it was developed into housing, despite the fact that it is dangerously close to a river. As we revitalize downtown responsibly, we need to keep in mind the area’s limitations, but also its immense possibilities.”

With ties to the past, but an emphasis on creating stronger community and a more sustainable future, the Garden Association believes this effort will be a big success. “The Eau Claire City Council has even discussed the possibility of expanding community gardens into various neighborhoods around the city,” said Dennis Eikenberry, a founding member of the Garden Association and Committee member to the City of Eau Claire’s Waterways and Parks Commission. “The outpouring of support from so many people feels very good. I am certain this garden is the right thing for our community right now.”

To request an application for garden plot rental, please call 715-839-5039 or email andwerth@gmail.com. To donate or volunteer in the Demonstration Garden, please call 715-495-2451.