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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Seminole Discussion Group on Recycling & Sustainability

Monday, Jan. 3, 2011
10:00 am to noon
Seminole Community Library Program Room
9200 113th St.N.,Seminole,Fl. 33722

Guest Speaker: Ms. Jai Hambly, Master Gardener of Organic Living,
Clearwater, Fl.

Topics: Topsoil restoration, how to grow nutritious, healthy food in one's backyard or community garden, avoiding abuses of modern food production, and how to obtain organic, healthy plants and soil conditioners available from Organic Living

Contact: Mary Hampton, 631-838-2272

Monday, December 27, 2010

E-waste and E-cycling

By: Ramona Madhosingh-Hector, Urban Sustainability Agent

Technology gifts and gadgets are always high priority items on everyone’s wish list. Did you get that new iPod Touch you wanted or maybe it was the iPad, LED-LCD TV or new computer? Whichever electronic item you received for the holidays, what will you do with the old item that you are not using? Did you think about recycling it?

Oftentimes, we choose to upgrade an electronic item because newer technology means more service and repair opportunities since older models are phased out. It also means better technological quality since new electronic items contain the latest advancements.

Electronic waste or e-waste is on the rise since our technology rapidly becomes obsolete because of research and application advancements. E-waste is not just a local problem; it’s a global problem too!

Recycling e- waste is sometimes referred to as e-cycling and although it is not your only option for disposal, it certainly is a good one. When it comes to electronic items, there are a number of different options and these depend on the condition of the item. If your item is in good, working order then think about using it solely for video games, donating it to a local recreation center or selling it.

Remember, e-waste does contain hazardous materials like lead, mercury and cadmium and this is why your electronic items should be entrusted to professional recyclers. Use the links and resources below to find out more about e-waste and e-cycling options in your community.

Happy e-cycling!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hot Food Trends in 2011

By: Nan Jensen, FCS Agent

According to a recent survey by the National Restaurant Association, locally produced foods, sustainability and child nutrition are among the hottest food trend for 2011.

The survey of over 1500 members of the American Culinary Federation asked them to rate a list of 226 food and beverage items, cuisines, culinary themes and preparation methods as a “hot trend,” “yesterday’s news” or “perennial favorite” on restaurant menus in 2011.

The “eating local theme” appeared in 3 of the top 5 trends. What does eating local mean? While there is no firm definition of local, the term locavore was coined back in 2005 and means to eat foods produced within 100 miles of the table, and from small farms and ranches. An easy way to start the local trend in your home is to choose one product to focus on. The Fresh from Florida logo can help you find local agricultural products grown and raised here in the state.

The top ten hot trends for 2011 are:

  1. Locally sourced meats and seafood
  2. Locally grown produce
  3. Sustainability
  4. Nutritionally balanced children’s dishes.
  5. “Hyper local,” such as restaurants with their own gardens and chefs who do their own butchering.
  6. Children’s nutrition
  7. Sustainable seafood
  8. Gluten-free food and being food allergy conscious
  9. Simplicity/back to basics
  10. Farm/estate-branded ingredients

For a complete of the survey results visit:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sustainable Gift – Giving

By: Ramona Madhosingh-Hector, Urban Sustainability Agent

As the holiday season kicks into high gear, many of us feel pressured to purchase items that we may not need for ourselves because the bargain is too good to pass up. Sometimes, we feel pressured to purchase and exchange gifts with friends or family even though we know they may never use it. Spending money is good for the economy, but is it good for the environment?

When making a purchase in the store, ask yourself some simple questions.

If it’s for yourself -
Do you need the item?
Can you afford the item?

If it’s for someone else -
Does this person need the item?
Is it a practical gift?
Can I afford it?

To avoid purchasing new items that consume natural resources (trees, fuel, water) and produce greenhouse gas emissions, consider the following low cost or no cost gift giving ideas.

1.Re-purpose old clothing into handbags, quilts, snazzy magnets, tote bags or mittens. The possibilities are endless with different colors, textures and fabrics to choose from.

2.Make home-made gifts like bath soaps, salts and candles using a variety of different containers (glass bottles or jars). This allows you to personalize each gift and each will be unique.

3.Reuse everyday items to make holiday decorations – rag wreath or a wine cork wreath. Let your creativity shine through.

4.Have a white elephant gift exchange at your office or church. There’s only one rule with this gift giving idea – nothing new must be bought. These exchanges allow you to trade unwanted, practically new items in your house. These are often gifts that you received that you couldn’t throw away because of the associated guilt or because they have no useful value to you. Remember one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!

5.Purchase vintage items or antiques – no new resources or emissions will be produced with this gift idea!

6.If you must purchase a new item, consider purchasing at a local craft shop or market. This will reduce transportation costs which will reduce emissions.

7.Make a contribution or donation in honor of your loved one to mark the holiday, or to recognize a special achievement or dedication. There are a wide variety of groups to please even the pickiest gift-giver.

8.Provide “home-made” coupon services to friends and family – possibilities include coupon for dinner, massage, lawn service or car wash.

Although gift giving during the holidays can be a very stressful event it is important to remember that the best gift of all is the gift of time and memories. Instead of purchasing new “things,” enjoy what you already have, spend time with your loved ones and take advantage of the great many events that are available in your local area for free.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Slow Down for the Holidays!

By: Margaret Deller, Extension Specialist

During the holiday season many of us find there are not enough hours in the day. One of the ways we try to save time is by getting fast food instead of making dinner from scratch. And while this does add time to our days it is not the best thing for our bodies or the planet. So this holiday try pulling out of the Drive Thru lane and into the Slow Food lane.

Slow Food is a worldwide movement that started in Italy. It strives to preserve traditional and regional cuisine and encourages farming of plants, seeds and livestock characteristic of the local ecosystem. If possible they would like you to personally know the farmer that produces your food. This sounds like a tremendous undertaking and not something you want to add to the holiday season.

Like with any change to a greener behavior, start small. Choose one night of the week, grab your kids, your spouse, your friends, or that other co-worker staying late, stop by the store and get the ingredients for your favorite recipe and make dinner together. Don’t have a favorite recipe? Check the web for a dish you like to order in a restaurant and see if you can prepare it at home.

Then let everybody help prepare the meal. Don’t leave the little ones out! Children as young as 3 can help, give them a stool and let them wash the lettuce for the salad. Give the younger ones a seat close to the action so they feel a part of it and can be taste testers. Clean the dishes as you go so there is no daunting pile at the end of the meal. Then eat together and talk about your day, your favorite food memory, or what you did for the holidays as a kid.

However you choose to start, remember that good food nourishes our bodies and sitting down to a meal with family and friends nourishes our soul.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

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