Monday, September 12, 2011

Living Local and Green--Book Club Discussion (Tonight) at UEC, Upcoming Event at Boswell, and a Customer's Light Bulb App.

We're in the final days of the 2011 Eat Local Challenge.  Tonight (Monday, 9/12, 7 pm) I'll be at the Urban Ecology Center for our Eat Local Challenge book club discussion.  Our selection is Novella Carpenter's Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer.  Carpenter's memoir chronicles setting up an urban farm in the neighborhood of Oakland known as Ghost Town.

The traditional of urban farming goes back centures.  The Paris neighborhood of the Marais harvested so many crops that excess was shipped to other European countries.  The economic downturn of 1893 led to an urban farm movement in Detroit, which quickly spread to other cities.  And who can forget the Victory Gardens of World War II.

Carpenter and her husband moved from Seattle to this very poor neighborhood, where they quickly put in vegetable beds on the empty lot next door.  Beekeeping followed, then chickens, then rabbits, and finally pigs. Her stories of being a modern urban pioneer are both humorous and inspiring.  And New York Times critic Dwight Garner proclaimed Farm City one of his ten best books of 2009.

Of course at this point, it's best if you already read Farm City, but even if you haven't, perhaps you will be inspired by our talk.  Whether you read the book new, second-hand, from the library, or through your e-reader, you're welcome to come and share your thoughts on Farm City or urban farming stories of your own.


We have another green event coming up at the end of the month, and it's part of the Publish Local movement of a sorts, at least if you consider Madison close enough. Itchycat Press has followed up Sidetracked in Wisconsin, with Mary Bergin's Sidetracked in the Midwest: A Green Guide for Travelers

Bergin looks at all aspects of eco-tourism to showcase destinations that meet LEEDS standards, places that recycle and show respect for nature, and plenty of locavore restaurants.

Bergin will be speaking at Boswell on Wednesday, September 28, 7 pm.


While we're talking green, I wanted to get in a plug for a mobile app that is making it easy for folks to find the right energy-saving lightbulbs, and it was developed by one of our own customers. 

I know Adam Borut well, mostly because he is a voracious reader (like many of us, he gives a big thumbs up to Ernest Cline's Ready Player One).  But you might remember that we (and several other shops around town) were featuring their Eco Hatchery energy-saving kits a couple of years ago.  Their next generation of green technology is their Light Bulb Finder, a mobile app that can cut your energy bills by $120.

The app features a planning program, recommendations, a share option for talking about carbon footprints, a shopping list, and yes, a buy button too. I've been getting updates from Adam, and a number of energy utilities (including Milwaukee and Madison) have been picking up the app for distribution. But if your utility hasn't yet seen the light, you can still get more information; visit the Light Bulb Finder website with this link.

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