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Eco-articles from

Two interesting articles I saw on today:

First - "Solar Power Makes Tiny Village Beam" - This is story about a village in India that previously without electricity - until just two years ago. Then, a man named Ram, who doesn't have a high school degree, attended a nearby program called "Barefoot College" - an institution started to help rural Indians help themselves to learn to solve their own problems. Ram was selected by the elders of his village to attend the College, and he learned about solar engineering. Now, most of the homes have solar panels on their roofs.

Second - "Growing Front-Yard Food Can Rile Neighbors" - This article talks about the growing group of people trying to grow at least part of their own food in their own yards. Apparently, some neighbors in some communities find this offensive - apparently fresh food growing is an eyesore? But people are working hard to grow at least some of their own food, and even working with city boards to grow crops that look good and taste good! The article sites several sources if you are interested in trying this yourself. My older brother is a good role model for me in this - this August, he has vowed to eat only locally grown food for the month. I'm impressed. I tease him about how this will cramp my style - we won't be able to eat out together this coming month - but truthfully, I'm impressed. I'm not sure I'd last a day eating only locally grown foods. But he's been working hard in preparation - growing some food in his own little garden, hitting all the local farmers' markets, and researching options for local flour, soy, etc. I enjoy seeing these kinds of news stories making CNN's front page. Very hopeful!


DogBlogger said…
Serendipitous post, to me, anyway...
We ordered this book today.
Anonymous said…

I understand where you are coming from and I applaude anyone who attempts to grow their own food. However, I am a homeowner and I can tell you that if I looked out one day and my neighbor was tilling up his front yard to plant a vegetable garden, I would probably be pretty ticked off.

Rightfully or wrongfully, for most people their home is their single biggest investment. Such a move by a neighbor is going to negatively impact your property values and your homes resale value. If it were your personal money, would you not feel the same way if suddenly the resale value of your home was considerably less because your neighbor had a tomato patch and a cornfield in the front yard?
TN Rambler said…
With my front yard being heavily shaded, something like this wouldn't work, plus I see Keith's point. However, I dare anyone to tell me that I can't plant whatever I want in my back yard.
Clix said…
William Kamkwamba's story is similar to that of the first article. Read more here:
Anonymous said…
Keith, I sympathize with the point of view you express, but have to think that there are things whose value exceeds "property value." The fact that growing food could have people worried about property values in the first place just seems to be one more sign that there's a real problem. Why is it that neighbors are comfortable with cute shrubs and perfectly even, pesticide-ridden lawns but not with, say, carrots and tomatoes? I think we have an extreme disconnect with our food in this country (and elsewhere) that has already been a contributing factor to some pretty serious problems, many of which seem bound to get worse. The sustantive need to have a more sane approach toward feeding ourselves seems to outweigh the superficial preferences that would lead to lower property values. Let's solve it by valuing things that actually have value... then the neighbor growing corn down the road with make your community even trendier and your house will sell for twice what you paid.

Beth... it's been fun doing this so far, and different than what I expected. I've only had two injuries... bowling water down the stomach as I canned tomatoes, and a burn to one finger when it failed to occur to me that the bread pan I was lifting out of the baker was really, really hot. The first day was rough because I didn't really no what to eat. Without a mastery of fresh spices and such, I ended up doing a lot of bland tofu and some plain corn on the cob. But that quickly improved. Yesterday I had an amazing batch of hashbrowns for breakfast (again today, with potatoes I pulled up a half hour earlier) seasoned with garlic scapes and red basil, then some awesome cabbage and carrots stir fried for lunch, and some stewed and spiced black beans for dinner, with thick wheat bread covered in honey for dessert. I made a big batch of soy milk yesterday and today will add some blueberries and strawberries and maple syrup to make some awesome smoothies.

It's amazing how much great food is readily available, so close by. It's becoming more or less all I talk about these days (that and Sam, of course) and I imagine that'll get on people's nerves eventually, but I really am blown away by it. Black beans, soy beans, tomatoes, potatoes, every kind of berry, every kind of green vegetable, herbs and spices, apples, apple cider, corn, tofu, grapes, peppers, flour, honey, syrup... everything is a short drive away.

And by the way, for my birthday I'd like a copy of the book "dogblogger" linked to. The library here doesn't have it, and, as you know, all my money will now be going to day care and baby clothes...
Anonymous said…
Well, given my "it's so easy" comment above, it's a little embarassing to say. I've toned down the "100% locavore" thing as of tonight. The cop-out... well, you know, having a new baby in the house, working so much, having a lot of other things going on, etc, it's tough... So I'll do essentially a 90% locavore thing. You know, tofu from local soy beans, local spices, local veggies, but, maybe, now and then, non-local soy sauce to go with it. Or local, handmade veggie burgers occasionally with some non-local ketchup and/or bread.

Possibly, a friggin' pizza.

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