Going to the Farmer’s Market & Finding Local Food around Boston

We in the Green Initiatives Staff team have been reading books about ethical, sustainable, healthy food, watching Food Inc and discussing all these great choices we can make regarding food.

map of over 6,000 farmers markets in the US

Next step: where to find it.  We’re all going to our local Copley Square farmers market on Friday May 20th.  Join us if you can, and if not check out these resources.

Finding Local food around Boston: (more…)

Meatless Monday Part II- Staff Potluck!

We were so inspired by Rob’s latest blog entry that we decided to have a staff potluck next Monday, April 4.  If you’re a UUA staff person I hope you’ll be able to join us.  If you are not, or are away from Boston, please try this at home or at your own place of work!  Bonus points if you try for local and organic, but meatless is our goal this week.  If you’re planning to attend and bring something, please note it in a comment!  If you want more information or recipe suggestions, check out Meatless Monday.

In looking for a cool photo to go with this post I found a great short synopsis of Meatless Monday and why it’s great!

Meatless Monday

It’s Monday, it’s lunchtime, I’m hungry, and I’m thinking about what to make for dinner tonight when suddenly I get an e-mail from my friend Cindie. Cindie always comes through at just the right time and she’s a real inspiration to me in so many ways: Cindie’s an animal rights activist and a vegan, and she also has boundless energy and enthusiasm for all things green. To top it all off, she also happens to be an amazingly talented fabric artist. Her quilts are magnificent.

Today’s e-mail from Cindie was a promising and seemingly easy-to-prepare recipe from Meatless Monday called Sweet Potato Barley Soup. Meatless Monday’s premise is very simple: We improve our health and the health of the planet by not eating meat on Mondays.

I’m going to commit to Meatless Mondays. Do give it a try. If today’s recipe tastes as good as it sounds, my friend Cindie’s going to get a special acknowledgement of thanks when I say grace before I eat tonight. And, I’ll sleep just a little better knowing that I made the right food choices for me, our environment, and for the animals.

Animal, Vegetable, not a Miracle but very hard work

I read Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle from perhaps an unusual perspective. Kingsolver tells the story of her family’s move from suburbia to rural Appalachia, and particularly their transformation from eating what they purchased at grocery stores to raising – and killing – their own food. My journey has been more the reverse of this; I grew up in rural Appalachia and left there at 18 with no desire to return. (more…)

What’s for lunch?

The GIST team recently sponsored a showing of the movie Food, Inc. and this week held a lunchtime discussion of the movie, and of the book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which we had invited people to read during the fall and winter.

There is some common material between the book and the movie; Food, Inc. draws heavily from both The Ominvore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan and Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser. (more…)

Green Meetings Industry Council’s Innovative Annual Conference

Last month I attended the Green Meetings Industry Council annual conference at the DoubleTree hotel in Portland, Oregon.

event mobi guide for GA 2011
event mobi guide for GA 2011

The format was truly ground-breaking, using a gaming format that placed attendees in teams upon their arrival. Each team was given an iPad.  Points were earned by team members visiting with exhibitors, attending workshops and using social media (tweeting and blogging).

There were no printed programs.  There was a mobile application for iPads and smartphones.  We are using a mobile application for General Assembly in Charlotte but are not yet ready to eliminate our printed program.  It was a bit disconcerting to have everyone looking at their phones during workshops as it felt like they weren’t paying attention to the speaker – different than glancing at your printed program to see what event you want to attend next.  It was exciting to be at a meeting leading the way in mobile applications!

Digging for Victory

When I started my vegetable garden in the spring of 2010, I swore I’d be the only “urban farmer” who could do so without having to

Historic Poster: Dig for Victory!

blog about it. Seems like these days every sprig of parsley grown within sight of concrete has to be documented.  Well, here I am to wax poetic about my own sprigs.

I have a 4 ft by 40 ft raised bed on the south side of my house, and wanted to pay homage to my Sicilian great grandmother who was an actual farmer. What she would think of my efforts… I have to imagine her kind heavenly laughter. Early on, a neighbor asked if she could plant some herbs in a corner somewhere and our “community garden” was born. Rebecca’s sister raises horses, so our first activity was to rent a truck and fill it with manure. And hay (more…)

Recycling Center Tour in Charlestown

On Friday, November 19th four UUA staff members toured Casella’s zero-sort recycling facility in Charlestown, MA.  Here’s a recap of our trip for everyone who couldn’t attend:

Zero-sort is one word for single-stream recycling, as opposed to double stream where paper/cardboard is separated from glass/plastic.  It is easier for the average person to not have to sort recycling, but to be able to put it all into one container.  Data shows that in areas where single-stream recycling is available volume tends to go up drastically.

where recycling enters the plant

It’s amazing the various methods they use to separate the different kinds of recyclable material.  The material is pushed onto a moving belt which has certain sized roller/slots that shake to capture a certain size of material.  There are also optical sorts which have computers sending light rays down to the material and back up to the computer-when they detect what it is, 160 air jets can shoot it across a divider gap into one stream or it will fall down the gap to another belt. (more…)


In November I attended the Northern New England District (NNED) Environmental Sustainability and Justice Conference, co-hosted by the UU Ministry for Earth (UUMFE).

NNED Awakening the Dreamer Changing the Dream Symposium presenters

The first day of the conference the Awakening the Dreamer Changing the Dream Symposium was offered. My favorite part of the day was when we were handed commitment cards and invited to sign them. The simplicity and the vastness of the statement struck me.  Though, you don’t have a commitment card, I invite you to read the commitment and then decide whether or not you can write down the statement and sign your name to it.  The statement reads:

I am committed to bringing forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling and socially just human presence on this planet as the guiding principle of our times.

Give Thanks for Local Foods

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I’ve been counting down the minutes until we sit together—family and friends—to the amazing meal my parents and my sister will have created for us with such care. It occurred to me that many of the groceries going into this meal will have come from far-flung places on this Earth, and not from local farms and producers. I’ve lived most of my life in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, where on the first Thanksgiving that historic meal consisted of only locally grown and harvested ingredients. (more…)