sustainablespu

Sustainability is about ecology, economy and equity.- Ralph Bicknese


Solutions to the Food Waste Fight


Food Waste Challenge –Launched 2 years ago

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is my go to source for what is officially happening here, and their website has a wealth of information. I particularly found the Food Waste Challenge launched in 2013 interesting, as well as the USDA’s Commitments and Deliverables through 2014. The Food Waste Challenge is a joint effort between the USDA and the EPA to call people along the food chain to help reduce, recover, and recycle (compost) more food so that it isn’t wasted, but instead used to its fullest potential. The specifics of the goal include 400 participants by 2015, and 1000 by 2020. Participants aren’t individuals, but schools, religious groups, businesses, or local government branches. Membership however is currently at 4,024, including 113 universities. Wow.

As part of this challenge there are also federal marketing orders that allow donations or alternate uses of fresh produce that don’t meet the federal marketing order requirements. These orders include crops of citrus fruits, avocados, kiwis, cherries, olives, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts and dates. Since the launch of this program there have been fewer reports on food waste statistics, so we’ll see how effective it is. For tips and resources on how you can get involved, check out their Frequently Asked Questions page. Continue reading

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S.P.A.C.E., Summer Veggies and the Benefits of Gardening


S.P.A.C.E. stands for Seattle Pacific Agriculture for the Community and Environment, and is a club on campus that stewards over the community garden for SPU. That garden is located on 4th Ave. W. behind the Dravus Lot, and is a great place to get involved over the summer. From my experience very few people I’ve talked to on campus even know that it exists, and that’s why I’m writing about it!DSCN1009

This garden I have visited a few times, but have yet to put much work into. I have contacted the club leaders and will start watering the plants this week. Summer is a great season for plants to soak up the sun here in Seattle, and there are many fruits and veggies that thrive in the warm weather that we’ve been having with the proper care and watering. I’m going to outline a few below, and use this research to help me narrow down which ones to plant in addition to the ones already growing in our garden. Continue reading


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Composting Compulsion – Seattle’s Ordinance to go greener


Two years and six months ago Seattle’s plastic bag ban went into effect, creating a push for paper and reusable bags. At the beginning of this month an ordinance passed to prevent food waste from entering the landfill and encouraging citizens to compost. For me, this is a no brainer, but that is because I grew up in a small town, and became accustomed to recycling and composting (we even had our own pile in our backyard). This however has not been the case for my roommates. There are six of us in our house and not all are native composters, especially since we come from different states with different laws and access for composting. At first, getting our house to compost was challenging, as I believe it is probably the same for people who are adjusting to the ordinance. In the end though, I have celebrated the little victories and appreciated the cooler weather that keeps the bugs away from our food waste bin.

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Planting Flowers this Spring


spring_flowers-tulipsIf you’re looking to add color to your home or garden in the form of flowers, there are several great plant options that will give you those same beautiful petals to stare at year after year. Spring is a good time to plant because the heat hasn’t fully kicked in yet, but it’s getting there, so you may want to work with haste. Below are a number of plants you can check out if flowers are what you desire. Continue reading


Reusing Old Shoes


SHOE planterI recently came upon this awesome article about reusing shoes as planters, pretty much the best idea since literal flower beds. As someone who often takes the dirtier, messier, less sensible path to wherever I’m walking, I’m skilled at speeding up the process of wearing out shoes. When they finally become too broken to use for foot housing, it’s easy to just buy a new pair, move on and forget about them. But the truth is, not wearing shoes anymore doesn’t have to mean goodbye. Turning them into planters sounds like one of the most fun and creative sustainable ideas I’ve ever come across. To give it a shot, there are a few steps (sorry) you can take to prepare. Continue reading


Indoor Gardening with Vegetable Scraps


celSpeaking of spring break gardening projects, did you know that you can start growing celery indoors with the cut ends of a celery plant? Simply take your cut ends and put them in a shallow bowl of water, placing the bowl in a location that will get lots of sunlight. Make sure to change the bowl’s water every two or three days. From there, the inner areas of the cut ends will start to grow, and the outside will show signs of brown and rot-but fear not! This rotting is what feeds the new celery and spurs on its growth! Continue reading