Skyline Farms…A Green Initiative Worth Supporting

Posted: September 15th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Green Communities, Green Initiatives, Green News Links, Our Green Directory | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Jacqueline Spicer of The Ink Tank® in Toronto is a good friend. Her son Jake and his business partner have recently launched a new ‘green’ project called Skyline Farms. Like any new project, Skyline Farms was started on a shoestring, but it’s a great idea that deserves support.

Skyline Farms is an environmentally and socially innovative urban farm model that is taking off like gangbusters, with lots of media and political attention–including Premier Kathleen Wynne. They are holding a launch event to celebrate the success of the pilot farm and to raise funds to grow Skyline Farms. 

Skyline Farms Release: 

Skyline Farms is proud to partner with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), Toronto Education Workers (TEW) and Launch 180 in supporting Canada’s First Vertical Aeroponic Tower Garden Urban Farm and its growth to nourish schools and communities across the GTA.

On Thursday, October 10, 2013, we are celebrating the success of Skyline Farms’ successful pilot farm and a revolution in food culture that is changing the way youth connect to their food and their community.

The goal of the event is to raise funds to enable the pilot farm to achieve its full capacity: a full greenhouse with 30 Towers that will nourish not only the home school, but also other schools, restaurants and residents in the community. The year-round farms will serve as a state-of-the-art experiential learning facility for high school students aged 13-18, inspiring healthy food choices, introducing new sustainable technologies and preparing them for jobs in this growing sector. The larger goal is to establish Skyline Farms’ unique urban agriculture model at schools across the GTA.

I am writing you to help us grow this socially and sustainably innovative young company and our joint initiative to truly make a difference. Please support us by making either a monetary and/or product donation for our silent auction or to help us manage the event and make this a reality for our schools and communities. All monetary donations will go to the Toronto Foundation for Student Success (TFSS) for the Skyline Farms initiative and will receive a charitable receipt.

The pilot farm launched this spring at Thistletown Collegiate Institute (TCI) under an umbrella program called My Food My Way (MFMY), with a mandate to positively change the food culture in Toronto high schools, homes and communities through healthy food choices within educational institutions. Skyline Farms provides the culinary program at TCI with fresh, hyper-local, high nutrient natural produce and mentors students with hands-on experience on the farm.

Skyline Farms is a Toronto-based urban agriculture company that is “redefining locally grown”. Founded by two young entrepreneurs, graduates of Humber College’s Sustainable Energy and Green Building Program, it is committed to addresses the bigger sustainability picture: environmental, health, community and economic by changing our connections to food and to each other.

Join Skyline Farms, our partners, MFMY ambassadors, sustainability advocates, chefs, farmers, industry professionals, politicians, sponsors, student interns, locavores and supporters at The Great Hall. And please join me in supporting this unique initiative in whatever way you can. Help grow the 10 block diet and grow with us.



 


Composting: How to Do It and Why It Matters

Posted: July 26th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Composting, Green Communities, Green Home, Green Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

This is a guest blog from writer Chloe Trogden. Thanks Chloe

Image by Chris Breikss via Flickr

Every year, we generate about 250 million tons of trash in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. That’s a lot of waste, and it has to go somewhere. A lot of the chemicals and other toxins in our waste can end up in the ground and the water supply, contaminating our food or drinking sources. In addition, all that waste is contributing to the depletion of natural resources.

Recycling is one way that people have started to reduce the amount of waste produced, but it’s not enough. We need to recycle more, and we need to compost more. The EPA estimates that 87 million tons of material are recycled or composted each year. However, if each household and small business made a commitment to composting, that number could improve dramatically.

How to Compost at Home

Composting is very easy to do at home. You need to set up a compost bin in your yard, which you can either build yourself or buy from a home improvement store. The bin should be enclosed except for an open bottom and a removable top. You can build a pallet out of wood or an old trashcan.

You can put a wide variety of materials into your compost bin, but they should consist of a mix of “greens” and “browns.” Greens include kitchen scraps (except for meat), grass clippings, weeds, and other nitrogen-based materials. Browns include dead leaves, cardboard, newspaper, sticks, branches and other carbon-based materials. Simply put these materials into the bin and leave them to compost.

Keep your compost pile active by adding new materials regularly and turning it with a pitchfork or shovel about once a week. Water it about once a week, as well, to help activate the pile. If you keep the pile fed and activated, you should have a rich, nutrient-dense compost to add to your garden or your lawn in about three to four months.

How to Compost for Your Small Business

No matter what type of small business you have, you can also compost your waste. Traditional office environments will have plenty of paper materials to add to the compost bin, which can be supplemented by scraps from employees’ lunches and clippings from office plants. Businesses that serve food stuffs can supplement their steady supply of scraps with old receipts, waste paper from old files, and cardboard boxes from shipments.

By composting, businesses can help to reduce their carbon footprint and conserve resources. Cafes and restaurants can use the compost to grow a small garden to supplement their supply. Other businesses can donate the compost to local community gardens or farms, helping to give back to the community.

The Benefits of Composting for Everyone

Composting helps to recycle materials that might have otherwise ended up in the landfill, taking up precious land, requiring the use of natural resources and manpower to transport and process the waste, and potentially ending up contaminating the water supply. You can help to reduce your carbon footprint as an individual or as a business by composting what you can to turn that waste into something useful and to reduce your consumption of natural resources.

Individuals can also save money by composting. They can use it in place of fertilizer or garden soil, and they can grow bigger and more nutritious vegetables. Small businesses that are in the food industry can do the same.

Composting is a great way to reduce your waste and maybe to even save a little money. It’s easy to do, and it can make a big impact. Consider composting in your home or even your business to start reaping the benefits.

Bio:

Chloe Trogden is a seasoned financial aid writer who covers specific opportunities such as grants for minority students. Her leisure activities include camping, swimming and volunteer work.

 


Teaching Children About Renewable Energy Through Kits

Posted: July 2nd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Green Communities, Green Initiatives, Green Kids | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

This is a guest post by Liz Nelson from WhiteFence.com. She is a freelance writer and blogger from Houston. Questions and comments can be sent to: liznelson17 @ gmail.com.

While building your own solar array to provide enough power to your home to be 100-percent sustainable could cost tens of thousands of dollars, you don’t need a lot of money to teach children how it works and why it’s important. In fact, there are a lot of kits on the market that can serve semi-practical uses while demonstrating to the kids the mechanics of it all. Most of these kits cost less than $150 and can provide a wealth of knowledge for green sustainability.

1. Solar Arrays - The solar panel kit offered by HarborFreight.com produces 45 watts of power while providing the capabilities to power small 12-volt devices. It also supports the use of 5 volt USB devices such as phone charges and other USB electronics normally purchased for computers. This kit can be expanded on by combing more panels together while using a deep cycle battery and an inverter – both are sold separately. This is a fun and quick project for your children to assemble and can be utilized in many ways for practicality such as camping or tied into your home power needs. The kit itself is less than $250.

2. Wind Turbines - For less than $130, you could demonstrate to your children the power of wind turbines from KidWind.com. These wind turbines can be purchased as small single units to elaborate classroom kits, each turbine producing as much as two watts of power. These kits are tailored specifically for children and include easy to follow instructions in order to assemble them. Although they may not have the maximum production value of power as the solar kit listed above, they can easily be used to demonstrate how humans can harness natural sources of energy without consuming fuels to do so.

3. Small Solar Panels - For those who don’t want to spend a great deal of money teaching their children about solar power, LegacyStation.com offers an inexpensive kit to power several different projects. This 6-in-1 kit is under $20 and can demonstrate how to use solar power in order to create vehicles or propulsion systems in aircraft. These are easy to assemble and will provide a great deal of entertainment without the use of a single battery. Of course, there is nothing wrong with modification of any project should you want to demonstrate how solar arrays can power an object while charging a battery in order for the object to continue functionality when solar power is low. This would only require the use of a battery pack and rechargeable batteries that can be picked up from Radio Shack for less than $20.

4. Pressurized Power - While solar and wind are two of the most popular and practical methods for renewable energy sources, NationalGeographic.com has made an air and water power kit to teach children about how pressure can be used to power a variety of machines including vehicles. The kit allows children to build 15 different vehicles all powered by hydro-pneumo technologies. Pressurized air and water can be used as a form of propulsion, and the kit costs less than $50.

Getting your children excited about renewable energies now increases the knowledge they will have later. As technology develops to make these sources more efficient, preparing our future through educating our young will only increase the likelihood of total global sustainability in the decades to come. Your child may very well be the innovator that history remembers for delivering the perfected system – all from the kits they put together at 10 years old.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We are always receptive to having people create guest blogs for us, as the influx of opinions always makes for interesting reading.

 


Our Standards.

Posted: March 31st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Green Communities, Green Services, Our Green Standards | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Depending on how many signups we have on our site, I usually sit down on Sunday morning and go through all the listing applicants, separate out the ones that do qualify for listing from those who don’t, assign categories and then post their listings on the site.

As we have grown (about 550 listings), I have started to notice that there are a lot of businesses registering on the site that really do comply with the standards we have set for ourselves. While our standards are not as stringent as most directories of this kind, they are still designed to give our visitors eco friendly options for the products and services they are looking for.

To that end I thought it would be good to restate the standards we have defined for Our Green Directory. This should make it pretty easy for you to understand whether or not you would be qualified for listing on our site. If you’re not, it could save you the hassle of filling out the listing information. If you are qualified, then by all means feel free to list your business.

For those listing their business, please keep in mind that the description of your business in a line listing is limited to 255 characters including spaces. If you enter a description longer than that, the site will cut it off and that will be frustrating to the people reading your listing.

Our Green Directory Standards

Because Our GreenDirectory is a showcase of Green products and services, we should define as what we mean by “Green”.

For purposes of being promoted on this site, a “Green” enterprise or service is one which has the goal of either supporting environmentalism or supporting the preservation of the environment and adheres to any of the following criteria:

Overall, ”Green” enterprises are those with a clear commitment to improving the environment in any of a number of ways.

In the Product Area this includes recycled products, fair trade products, organic products or products which are providing either a dramatic reduction in gas emissions or the promotion of alternative low carbon energy sources.

In the Services Area, this includes companies with a defined commitment to energy use reduction, by implementing strict conservation measures, by increasing recycling and reuse and by reducing consumption and waste. This also includes those companies and consultants who teach other companies how to become “Green”.

If your company is described by any of the aforementioned criteria, you may feel free to apply for placement on this site.

NOTE: We evaluate applying companies on an individual basis and reserve the right to deny any listings.


Soma Earth — An Architectural Firm With Its Green Roots Firmly Planted

Posted: February 16th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Green Communities, Green Home, Green Initiatives, Green Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

One of the green organizations from whom we receive email promotions is called Soma Earth. We really like these guys because they seem to possess a purity of spirit and purpose that really exemplifies what the green movement is really all about.

This is how they describe themselves:

“We are a pioneering architectural firm specializing in deep sustainable living through designing buildings that are energy efficient, with a low carbon footprint and low embodied energy. We specialize in healthy, EMF-Free, non-toxic natural building environments as well as straw bale, straw clay and earth bag building systems. These guidelines paired with natural building materials creates a sustainable eco-architecture for new buildings, additions or renovation projects.”

Their portfolio, which you can view on their site, is filled with fascinating projects that are as innovate in their design as they are organic in their execution.
You can find out more about them at http://www.somaearth.com/

 

 


Buying Local — It’s Good For A Lot of Reasons.

Posted: January 28th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Green Communities, Green Home, Green Jobs | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

While this isn’t what you would call strictly a green post, it is an issue about which we feel strongly. The Green Movement is a community, within that community are a lot of small businesses that are doing their best to act in an environmentally responsible way. We believe that is is the accumulation of a lot of those little things that are achieved by helping out local business that help us all be greener. Shopping locally means, in a lot of cases you are using your car less. It also means you are providing less support to the highly toxic Asian manufacturing world, where the WalMarts of the world get a great many of their products and foods. And you are supporting a strong retail environment in your own neighbourhood, which impacts directly on your own quality of life, among other things.

I found this little poster on Facebook the other day, and thought it might be nice to share with you, as a reminder of the benefits of shopping locally. Please feel free to share it with your on line friends.


Skipso — Powering The Clean Revoluton

Posted: January 8th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Green Associations, Green Communities, Green Initiatives, Green Products, Green Services, Green Technology | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

I was looking up some information on a client I may be doing a new web site for and found that one of the places they were listed was a site called skipso.com. This site is an excellent receptacle for a lot of things green. This site can help green businesses with access to information, investment assistance and promotion to a global marketplace.

Here’s what they say about themselves:

Skipso is an online platform and business to business marketplace entirely focused on sustainable innovation. 

Skipso leverages the power of the Internet to accelerate the Cleantech Revolution.

In particular, Skipso aims to:

  • Accelerate innovation in clean technologies by creating an environment where ideas, best practices and opportunities can be exchanged
  • Bridge the gap between industry and research institutions / academia by creating an alternative platform for collaboration and knowledge transfer
  • Facilitate interaction and collaboration of talented individuals and experts worldwide, providing them with new professional opportunities and challenging projects to work on
  • Support cleantech companies investing in innovation by giving them access to an expert community to outsource their R&D or sponsor cleantech innovation research
  • Help entrepreneurs and innovators kick-start their projects by gaining easier access to capital & support services

Toronto Green Tweets- Commons Sense Tweets

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Green Communities, Green Initiatives, Green News Links, Green Products, Green Services, Green Technology, Green Tweets | No Comments »

Our Green Directory follows almost 2000 green organizations on Twitter. The vast majority of them are in the US, and so a lot of the information and insight they have to offer is relevant primarily to Americans.  But there are several notable Canadian organizations and twitter sites that tweet out good stuff on a regular basis. Over the next few posts I will highlight some of them and provide you with links to their twitter pages and or web sites. Because you can never really have too much green knowledge.

This first one is called Green Tweets TO and it contains a number of really practical tips for living a more eco-friendly, energy conscious lifestyle. It also does a really good job of promoting other green tweeters through Follow Fridays and Eco Mondays.

There is no web site listed, so I can’t really tell you who sponsors the tweets. But there’s a lot of good info here as well as links to good articles. If you’re a tweeter, you might want to follow these people. If you’re not a tweeter (and I really don’t know anyone who isn’t), you may want to get started. It’s not just a way of keeping in touch with your friends. It’s a great way to keep in touch with the world.

Green Tweets TO link:  http://twitter.com/#!/TO_GreenTweets


It Pays To Be Leeding The Way

Posted: November 15th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Green Communities, Green Home, Green Initiatives, Green Jobs, Green News Links, Green Products, Green Technology | No Comments »

Building Green.com is one of the best web sites I have come across on the subject of Leeds building.

Leeds building has quietly crept into the psyche of builders and developers all over the world. And just recently a study was done demonstrating just how worthwhile the Leeds Building investment can be.

This is the lead paragraph from a very interesting article on Leeds building that Building Green.com buildinggreen.com has one their blog site. If you’re interested in Leed standards or even just mildly curious. this is a good site to bookmark and visit.

“Dutch economist Nils Kok has published the most comprehensive statistical analysis to date on the relative value of green and conventional buildings. The results show that U.S. buildings labeled under the LEED or Energy Star programs charge 3% higher rent, have greater occupancy rates, and sell for 13% more than comparable properties. “Labeled buildings have effective rents [rent multiplied by occupancy rate] that are almost 8% higher than those of otherwise identical nearby non-rated buildings,” the study reports…”

http://bit.ly/cf0i3o


Is Our Future For The Birds?

Posted: October 31st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Green Associations, Green Communities | No Comments »

A Murmuration of Starlings...stars of an amazing video.

I was just cruising through my tweets when I came upon a very interesting and mesmerizing video.

It’s a viral ad for a book called Macrowikinomics–Rebooting Business And The World by Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams, the title of which is kind of self explanatory. A lot of people out there are taking a good hard look at our world and what we need to do to get things back on track.

The video itself is fascinating and one of the YouTube comments sums it up quote nicely. It’s from someone who signed, justorace.

“This video consolidates the one single theme that we, as humans, are faced with the capacity & enormous opportunity to connect and make changes and dynamically over come any political agenda and better yet to make the changes that we need to survive for another millennium!”

The video and the thesis presented by the video’s narrator are well worth paying attention to. For those of us who are making some sort of effort to change the world for the better, and more importantly for those who are looking for a place to start.

Being in advertising, I’ve developed a bit of an immunity to persuasion. But I think I’m going to go out and buy this book.

View the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLLz5Cdrjo8

Find out more about the book at http://www.macrowikinomics.com/

Thanks to Context Creative for hipping me to this info.