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Saturday, April 19 2014 @ 07:34 PM UTC

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We're losing an acre of farmland every minute, according to new data

Health & Environmentfrom Switchboard, from NRDC › Kaid Benfield's Blog by Kaid Benfield

    location unknown (by: US EPA)

41 million acres of rural land has been permanently lost in the last 25 years to highways, shopping malls, poorly planned sprawl and other development, according to a new analysis by the American Farmland Trust.  Of that amount, 23 million acres (an area the size of Indiana) was agricultural land.  The rate of recent farmland loss has been an astounding acre per minute.

There has been a resurgence of interest across the country in fresh, healthy, locally grown food.  But the farms that supply local food, those closest to our urban areas, are the most vulnerable and tend to be lost the fastest.  Moreover, farmland close to the urban/suburban edge is frequently our most productive for supplying food on the tables of American families:

“America’s cities sprang up where the land was the richest.  Today, the farms closest to our urban areas produce an astounding 91% of our fruit and 78% of our vegetables, but they remain the most threatened. In addition, many of these at-risk, urban-edge farms are the ones growing fresh food for farmers markets, CSA’s [community-supported agriculture services] and other direct-to-consumer outlets. And our prime agricultural land the farmland that has the ideal combination of good soils, climate and growing conditions are being converted at a disproportionately higher rate.”

More in the linked article
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Americans need to walk more and peer-to-peer car sharing

Health & Environment[B' Spokes:The bit that got my attention from Streetsblog Capitol Hill]
*******************************************************************************
...
Using pedometers to collect data on 1,136 Americans, researchers found that they averaged 5,117 steps a day. (A mile is roughly 2,000 steps.) Meanwhile Australians averaged 9,695 steps a day, the Swiss clocked in at 9,650, and the Japanese puttered about at 7,168 paces.

The report’s lead author, David R. Bassett of the University of Tennessee, blames America’s poor performance on its auto obsession and lack of public transportation: “People do have to exercise,” he said. “But our overall environment does not lend itself to promoting an active lifestyle.”

Bassett told Reuters, “Five thousand steps is really pretty inactive,” estimating that Americans would need to walk for another 30 to 40 minutes per day to catch up to other countries. Interestingly, findings were similar for suburban, urban and rural dwellers. Maybe some suburbs and rural areas are more walkable than others, and some cities less so.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Bike Portland offers a tutorial on peer-to-peer car sharing, following California’s actions to remove legal hurdles to the activity.
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75% of Americans will be obese by 2020 (MickyD likes this)

Health & Environmentimage
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How Flawed Formulas Lead Down the Road to Sprawl

Health & EnvironmentTo help understand the issue in the linked article I will give the following analogy: Let's us say you own a restaurant where the air quality is a problem due to smokers. Well the solution should be obvious... put in more tables for smokers and hire more staff to service smokers to get them in and out of the restaurant a lot faster and make the non-smokers wait as they don't cause any problems hanging around.

Sounds absurd right? But this is exactly the kind of thinking that drives the bulk of our transportation dollars. See the the link after the fold.
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Losing sight of what matters in America Do we value ‘value’ or just value ‘cheap’?

Health & EnvironmentBy Mary Newsom
...
And in recent days I’ve written about the new greenway along Charlotte’s Little Sugar Creek. Not a few people have told me how they hate to see the “waste” of public money on things like the greenway’s stone bridges (actually, that stone is inexpensive molded concrete), public art and the rockwork clock tower (clock donated by the Rotary Club). It’s as if people here are so unused to places that celebrate the public that they think it’s wastefully lavish for a public park to hold anything nicer than cinder-block buildings and utilitarian metal bridges.

You’re probably wondering how these things – voice mail and airline travel and parks – are related. To my eye, they all illustrate something about America today: Americans have stopped believing that value is something everyone deserves.

We’ve stopped valuing workers. The country apparently no longer believes people who work hard deserve wages that pay them enough to afford the rent or a modest mortgage, or deserve a pension to keep them from penury in retirement. We’ve stopped expecting those things from employers – or at least they’ve stopped providing them. We’ve even stopped valuing public schools, stopped expecting them to have mowed lawns and drinking fountains that work.

What we value, instead, is cheapness. Rock-bottom prices. Low taxes. So we get tomatoes that taste like crunchy sponges, but at least we don’t pay a lot for them. Instead of percale bedsheets made in the USA we buy sheets made in countries most people couldn’t find on a map, with seams that dissolve within weeks. We buy food with no taste, clothes that unravel and appliances we have to junk after five years. Our public schools have knee-high crabgrass. People get hacked off if our public parks look better than pesticide factories. But at least they don’t cost us too much.
....

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Study Shows Most Americans Aren’t Active. What About You?

Health & EnvironmentHere’s a shocking report for you, at least it was for us at Balance Gym. Out of almost 80,000 Americans polled about all the non-work, non-sleep activities they had done in the last 24-hours, 95 percent answered “eating or sleeping,” 80 percent had watched TV, 71 percent spent time preparing food or drink, 25 percent had done some lawn or garden work but only 5 percent reported a vigorous activity such as using cardiovascular equipment or running.
...
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It's a GOURDacious Harvest-Eco Festival!

Health & Environment

When

Saturday, September 25, 2010 from 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM (ET)



Where

Community College of Baltimore County - Catonsville
The Commons across from Art Building Q
800 South Rolling Road
Catonsville, MD 21228



Discover the Secrets of the Gourdiverse

  with Music, Art & Fun @ The Gourd Palace

"GROW ART - GROW COMMUNITY"
an art & effects
festival

 

Sure, you've seen birds hanging out in gourd bird houses. And maybe you've even drunk from a gourd dipper or stored tchotchkes in an artsy gourd container....

But have you ever danced to a gourd guitar/banjo combo or grooved to a gourd flute?
...Nibbled grilled gourd slices under the buttresses of a living gourd palace?
...Turned the kids loose to make gourd art and watch a gourd puppet show?
...Or
discovered the mysteries and history of gourds around the globe?

If not - you've been gourdeprived!

The Gourd Palace at CCBC has produced a bumper crop and its time as a living sculpture/organic art installation is running out - so we're saying goodbye with the wildest multicultural eco-social extravaganza in the gourdiverse.

Come and join the local and global community as we celebrate the turning of the seasons and the gathering of a gourdelicious harvest!

Experience adventures in gourdism...

  • Don Peyton strumming his Gourd Ukelele...
  • The Tinklers thrumming Gourd Rubber Band Guitar & Gourd Banjo...
  • Abu, the flutemaker performing on Gourd Creations...
  • Anadou Kouyate from Mali performs African kora          
  • Holler & Lurch yodel Gourd Poems
  • Ian Hersford on Gourd Didgeridoo
  • Dan Van Allen's gourd birdhouse-making demonstration...
  • Jeanie's Kids performing Singing Drum puppet show...
  • The Gourd Artmaking Project for kids of all ages
  • Florentino's Filipino grilled gourd slices
  • Grow Art Chalk-In
  • ...and much more!  

Find tips and tools for greener living...

Energy

Energy Audit Group Clean Currents Green Building Green Building Institute Rain Barrels of
Baltimore/Annapolis
Loading Dock

Green Space

Patapsco Greenway & Heritage

Treemendous Baltimore

Baltimore Green Space

Health & Food

Charm City Farms

EarthSavers

Food & Water Watch

Holistic Veterinary

Nature Study 

Carrie Murray Outdoor Education Center

Transportation

One Less Car

Green Rider

Sustainability

Simplicity Matters



The Gourdacious Harvest-Eco Festival is a community event, open and free to everyone, produced by Doug Retzler of Art & Effects and sponsored and hosted by CCBC.

Like the Gourd Palace, it's a one-of-a-kind happening....and we're hoping to see you there!

For more information,images and updates, see:

www.flickr.com/photos/growart/sets and

http://www.urbanitebaltimore.com/baltimore/palace-of-natural-wonders/Content?oid=1290186

To add your art, performance, food, or other contribution, contact:

doug@artandeffects.com

410-598-8409

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The Virtual Supermarket Project

Health & Environment

Current Sites and Locations

Location: Enoch Pratt Free Library (Orleans Street Branch) 1303 Orleans Street
Ordering: Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Delivery: Thursdays, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Location: Enoch Pratt Free Library (Washington Village Branch) 856 Washington Boulevard
Ordering: Mondays, 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Delivery: Tuesdays, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Both locations accept cash, credit, checks and food stamps for orders.

image
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Air pollution ups suicide risk: Study

Health & Environment
image While depression and anxiety had long been linked to suicidal thoughts, a new study links asthma and air pollution with this psychological problem.

Previous studies have reported that individuals suffering from at least one chronic health condition such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or mental illness are more vulnerable to committing a suicide.

According to the study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, asthma and air pollution can increase the risk of suicide. In other words, respiratory problems may worsen an individual's mental state.

The more severe the asthma, the greater the likelihood of suicide, the study found.
...
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Not only is our ideas about appropriate exercise wrong, so is appropriate diet

Health & Environmentimage
We shouldn’t be surprised. After all, the USDA’s dietary guidelines have long been backwards. ...
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