Marketing scheme or brilliant waste reduction strategy? The case of ‘ugly’ veggies!

Since composting and waste management has been on my mind lately as we consider the pros and cons of our 4 new poop-filled friends (the chicks!), Here’s a look an an interesting initiative from France, and the ‘inglorious’ fruits and vegetables as a way to combat food waste.

hugging carrots

I think these loving carrots could bring a premium price point…

We throw tons of food away – literally, and this isn’t counting that long forgotten broccoli in the bowels of the fridge.

I find this interesting – is this actually a viable ‘solution’? Or is this another way for supermarkets to sell us something?

Watch the video and comment!

 

This idea is not new – for a really terrific initiative out of the US, please visit Marin Organic which glean (pick up what would be thrown away) organic produce for use in school food programs! This initiative isn’t backed by a major corporation nor seeks profit.. compare this model to Intermarche’s… vastly different… think about it!

10 reasons to vermicompost!

We started our vermi-bin three years ago while we were still in our tiny one bedroom apartment. While our municipality has curb side organic pickup for houses, this was not the case for apartments (and still is the case I believe…). So we decided to do some 6th floor composting! So here’s why you should do it too!

Open up your home to these composting champions!

Open up your home to these composting champions!

1. Super easy — literally ‘set it and forget it’ We keep our in our laundry room in the basement where it is dark 99% of the time (which worms love)

2. No smell – although its a mini-ecosystem, you’ll never know its there. No fruitflies either!

Now you see it...

Now you see it…

3. Takes up very little space – we have ours in a 15 gallon Rubbermaid container, and there are literally thousands of Red Wiggler worms in there

No you don't!

No you don’t!

4. BLACK GOLD! The stuff these worms make is magical! We put it on our veggie garden in the spring, and wait for a mid-July WOW!

5. Personal security 101 — For their bedding, we use our shredded dated bank statements, credit card bills etc. Talk about ending the paper trail!

6. Makes a great conversation piece! When the convo gets dull, a “Hey, wanna see my worms?” will surely liven up even the dullest of hangouts!

Here's a look inside the bin -- we like avocados here!

Here’s a look inside the bin — we like avocados here!

7. Reduce landfill organics – while municipal green bins are great, they still rely on trucks for transport to and from composting sites. These truck rely on oil. And oil produces harmful emissions. Shorten the process, and compost in your kitchen (or laundry room!)

8. Break it down faster! Again, green bin programs are a step in the right direction, but again scale needs to be given some attention. Tonnes and tonnes of food waste is being processed every week by such programs, and even though well- intentioned, these massive piles take a long time to decompose. Think of  one apple vs one thousand apples, and the rate at which each would break down.

Garbage dump outside Buenos Aires

9. Mind yourself! Makes you much more mindful of what YOU are eating (no bone, dairy, or meat in a vermi-bin!)

10. More fruits & veggies! Oh no! No skins or pits for the worms? Better get eating. Let them help you!

 

 

What do seeds really look like?

DSCF4049

We have just returned from the 31st annual Guelph Organics Expo held at the University of Guelph campus, and their theme this year was called ‘Seeds of Cooperation’. Our purpose for going was to in fact buy seeds for our mini-indoor greenhouse, so it was ironic that seeds were the focus of this year’s event. We bought a few varieties of spinach, lettuce, and mini heirloom tomatoes – to keep it simple until we can move some of our plants outside in the Spring. In case you haven’t noticed, we are living in a metropolis area, which means the only ‘land’ we have rests six floors up in a pot.

This gave me inspiration for a series of posts I hope to put together in the coming weeks, including indoor/balcony/city gardening, GMO seed and the risk associated with them for farmers and the public, as well on updates on our attempts at being ‘farmers’ (… just as a side note, although I am passionate about food, and read about it to near excessive ends, my thumb is far from being green…)

But for this post, I wanted to show the different types of seeds we purchased. I was really surprised how different looking  similar varieties were! Using a trusty quarter for scale, I hope you find the differences amazing too (especially the spinach!)

This first set are from Urban Harvest Garden Alternatives who produce open-pollinated, organic seed. 

Peacevine Cherry Tomato (lycopersicon lycopersicum).. selected solely on the name..

Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum)

Italian Large Leaf Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

This next batch is from The Cottage Gardener. This company is also dedicated to preserving and producing organic, heirloom seed.

Long Standing Bloomsdale Spinach (est. 1925)

Galilee Spinach

Strawberry Spinach – centuries old, originated in Europe, actually produces a strawberry-like edible red fruit!

Heriloom Romaine Lettuce Mix

Any finally, we were given a packet of Marconi Bush Beans from Greta’s Organic Gardens and USC Canada and their Seeds of Survival campaign which promotes the importance of saving seed and its connections to global betterment and food security/ food sovereignty. This is my area of interest and I will be posting soon on just exactly what this means, hows its different from ‘food security’ and how we can all take part!

Happy planting!