Friday, August 27, 2010

Hooray for CSA's!

Did you know that bunch of carrots you recently grabbed from the grocery store bin probably traveled thousands of miles to reach your hands? Produce starts to loose nutrients the minute it is picked. No wonder those roots look a bit weary! Want a great way to get fresh-picked, vitamin-packed produce that doesn't need a travel passport? Join a CSA!

CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, is a special agreement between families and farmers. Families pledge to cover the cost of seeds, equipment, and other supplies needed to run a farm. Farmers can then focus on growing peas and carrots instead of worrying about nickels and dimes. In return, families receive weekly baskets bursting with fresh produce for an entire growing season.

My family has been part of The Green Earth Institute, a CSA in Naperville, for the past 8 years. We've become spoiled by super-crisp, height of the season produce that was usually picked hours- not days- ago and only had to travel a few mile to reach our mouths. I feel great about being part of a CSA. It boosts the health of my family, small farms, and the earth!

To find a CSA near you, visit:

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Roll Out the Barrel Part 2: Good Reads on the Water Cycle

Want to learn more about that precious water you're saving when you use reclaimed water from a rain barrel? Check out these books:

Did A Dinosaur Drink This Water? By Robert E. Wells. With simple text and lively comic-book illustrations, Wells explores the important work of water on our planet. Young readers learn about the three state of water, the water cycle and why all living things need water to survive. Readers discover that the water we drink today isn’t new. It’s the same water that dinosaurs once lapped up at watering holes billions of years ago. Wells ends by encouraging readers to protect our precious resource so that there will always be water to drink- even if a dinosaur drank it first!

Water Dance by Thomas Locker. From rain to river to sea to clouds and around again, water dances through its cycle in Thomas Locker’s free verse picture book. Blending poetry, Locker’s stunning landscape paintings, and science, Water Dance reveals the beauty and power of the most common substance on earth. The final pages include miniature reproductions of each painting in the book accompanied by a paragraph of factual information explaining a particular phase of the water cycle.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Roll Out the Barrel…
My husband and children gave me the best surprise for mother’s day this year. No, not breakfast in bed with a little blue box from Tiffany’s balanced on the tray. Instead, I received a giant terra-cotta barrel waiting to be filled with something even more precious: rain. I’m excited about my new rain barrel for two reasons. For one, it’s a great way to conserve water. One rain barrel can save about 1,300 gallons of water during peak summer months. That’s enough to satisfy my thirsty vegetable garden without ever turning on the hose! For another, rain barrels help reduce flooding problems and pollution from water run-off. Whenever it storms, the end of our backyard turns into a muddy lagoon. My rain barrel will help divert the run-off so that area doesn’t get as swamped. Rain barrels have become a staple item at most hardware and garden supply stores, so they are easy to come by. Some villages even sell barrels at a discount as part of storm water management programs. Plus, rain barrels are easy to install. My husband had ours fully functional in less than an hour. A gift that saves water, money, and the habitat of nearby creeks and rivers- what a great surprise!

For More information on rain barrels visit:

Coming Soon: A review of some great picture books on the water cycle and water conservation.