The Wildnerness Society Features Youth Author Cornelia Funke

A few years back, I took a trip to the San Gabriel Mountains with members of The Wilderness Society. It was a spectacular educational weekend filled with hiking and endless fresh air. To think that after having lived in Southern California for over 10 years, I had never taken the time to explore this grand national park. But I wonder how many more have yet to discover this rich area of bio-diversity?

I was inspired to repost this video of Corneilia Funke’s recent adventure to the San Gabriels. Enjoy!

my wilderness: How children’s author Cornelia Funke hatches her wildest ideas.

Leave a comment »

Slow Money Farm Fest

I know it’s been a while since I posted last. I’m here again to tell you a little bit about my involvement with The Slow Money Northern California Chapter. First, you may be wondering what is Slow Money? The term Slow Money was coined to represent sustainable investments; investments that aren’t designed to destroy the planet for profit. It’s more important than ever to practice conscious investing and adhere to the triple bottom line – people, planet, profit.

The nonprofit, Slow Money is an organization that brings sustainable investments to sustainable food systems such as farm projects, food and byproduct waste management and local community food initiatives. It doesn’t actually do the investing, but rather sets up gatherings and showcases to bring investors to the entrepreneurs. It’s a great group of people and a growing movement.

Our latest gathering is the Northern California Slow Money Farm Fest with details below. I’m in charge of organizing the potluck dinner contest with prizes and all. If you are local, I suggest getting your tickets now as it will sell out. There are a lot of foodies up here and we all love to get down in they hay on the farm with some good food and cheer.

Hope to see you on the 25th!

Slow Money Farm Fest

February 25, 3pm-9pm, at Tara Firma Farms in Petaluma

Join Slow Money Northern California’s Farm Fest at Tara Firma Farms in Petaluma on February 25!  Learn more about how to support sustainable food systems, meet the Slow Money movers, and have lots of fun networking with entrepreneurs, investors and our local community!

From 3pm-9pm (rain or shine), you’ll:

  • Tour this locally owned and operated farm
  • Meet local entrepreneurs and learn how they enrich sustainable food systems
  • Talk with Slow Money founder Woody Tasch about our movement
  • Participate in a community potluck, enjoy live music
  • And have some down-on-the-farm fun!

Please bring a dish of homemade food to share (for 3-5 people).

Sign up now – space is limited!

Tara Firma Farms is located at 3796 I Street in Petaluma. The farm works in harmony with land and animals, offering delicious food that balances environmental, community and nutritional needs.

SlowMoney_FarmFest_Flyer


Leave a comment »

To Autumn by John Keats

Ah, summer is officially over and the light is beginning to fade in the Northern Hemisphere. Although the diminishing hue casts shadows on some, there truly is something magical about this time of year. Harvest moon, auburn leaves and wonderful Macintosh apples are some of my favorite bits. Here is what poet John Keats connected with.

To Autumn

by John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,–
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft,
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Comments (3) »

Summer Cold Blues – Tips on Staying Healthy and Vibrant During the Summer

Summer Cold Blues – Tips on Staying Healthy and Vibrant During the Summer

By Julie Gengo

Summer is a time for enjoying the outdoors and experiencing new places. Unfortunately, the more places you venture to and people you meet, the greater your chances are of catching a dreaded summer cold. We’ll bet, the last thing on your agenda this summer is lying in bed, miserable while everyone else is having fun.

Here are some tips to keep your immune system up and summer cold blues at bay:

  • Get plenty of rest. The body needs sleep time to repair and rejuvenate the cells. If you are enjoying some late night parties, make sure you take a nap the next day. When the body is well-rested, it is in a better place to fight off summertime bugs.
  • Eat your veggies and fruits! Dark green and cruciferous vegetables provide the body with an abundance of nutrients, minerals, electrolytes and even protein. Summer fruits such as raspberries, blueberries and blackberries are great sources of anti-oxidants. Staying in tune with what you put into your mouth can make a world of difference for a fabulous summer.
  • Absorb some sunshine. The body produces vitamin D from the sun. Soaking in the sun for 10-15 minutes a day without sunscreen will ensure proper vitamin D absorption and give you a nice glow too. Use only mineral-based sunscreens that actually protect you without posing additional damage from harsh chemicals. Check out EWG’s 2010 Sunscreen Guide (http://www.ewg.org/2010sunscreen/) on safe sunscreens and make sure the chemicals in your sunscreen aren’t linked to cancer.
  • Move your body. Try not to just watch other people having fun. Get out and join in. Exercise oxygenates the cells and keeps them vibrant and healthy. Take advantage of extended sunlight and go for an evening swim or walk.
  • Make a batch of homemade green tea which is known to be an immune system booster.  Let it soak in the sun then place it over ice to make it authentic summertime iced tea.
  • Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of purified water is a good way to keep your body flowing the way it should. Remember, when you are thirsty, you are probably already de-hydrated. Drink continuously throughout the day before you are thirsty. If you are drowning in water, try eating plenty of summertime fruits such as watermelon, cantaloupes, peaches, and plums as they are loaded with water and will do the trick.

Comments (8) »

“This Compost” by Walt Whitman

Naturally Green Blog is celebrating National Poetry Month. What a better way than with a Walt Whitman poem. Enjoy!

This Compost

Behold this compost! behold it well!
Perhaps every mite has once form’d part of a sick person-Yet behold!
The grass of spring covers the prairies,
The bean bursts noislessly through the mould in the garden,
The delicate spear of the onion pierces upward,
The apple-buds cluster together on the apple-branches,
The resurrection of the wheat appears with pale visage out of its graves,
The tinge awakes over the willow-tree and the mulberry-tree,
The he-birds carol mornings and evenings, while the she-birds sit on their nests,
The young of poultry break through the hatch’d eggs,
The new-born of animals appear-the calf is dropt from the cow, the colt from the mare,
Out of its little hill faithfully rise the potato’s dark green leaves,
Out of its hill rises the yellow maize-stalk-the lilacs bloom in the door-yards,
The summer growth is innocent and disdainful above all those strata of sour dead.

-Walt Whitman, from the poem “This Compost”

Comments (1) »

What Is Your Business Doing For The Planet? By Julie Gengo


Believe it or not this is Earth Day’s 40th anniversary. Of course everyday is Earth Day around here. Thankfully this is not a Hallmark holiday (if it is, I wonder if their cards are made sustainably?) but rather a day to reflect and energize on preserving this planet. So maybe you are doing your part but what about local and global businesses? To my surprise, many have already taken the initiative by reducing their energy consumption amongst other things that lead to CO2 (and other warming gases) reduction. I subscribe to the Environmental Leader daily newsletter which does a great job at filling me in on who is doing what. Maybe most of these companies aren’t making changes for altruistic reasons but rather changes that will save them a ton of money while saving tons of emissions along the way. I can certainly live with that.

One of my goals is to help companies become more sustainable whether by helping them revamp their building energy usage or working with them to green their supply chain. The first thing to do is to take simple steps like changing light bulbs and turning off computers and equipment. According to sustainability specialists, spending a little bit of money up front can save you millions in just a few years.

In SoCal, we have a fast-food restaurant chain called Rubio’s Mexican Grill and I am happy to report that they are one of the emerging businesses who, without mandate of any kind, are doing a tremendous job at reducing their carbon footprint in all aspects of their business. The food is pretty good as well. Go Rubio’s! Check out their eco site and learn more. From hosting local beach clean-ups to, implementing recycling programs to serving sustainable food, Rubio’s is an excellent example of a company that is giving back to the planet with the best interest of the community in mind.

Here is one area where they are making an impact:

Environmentally-Friendly Packaging & Printing
“With an eye towards a greener tomorrow, we plan to eliminate Styrofoam packaging and implement eco-friendly packaging. In several of our restaurants, we are currently testing eco-friendly take-out packaging, with the goal of a 2011 system-wide introduction. In addition, we are exploring compostable plates and take-out bags. In the mean time, it is our hope that our guests will act responsibly and recycle plastic bags rather than dispose of them in the trash. Some of the changes we have already made to improve packaging and printing include:

* Reusable Rubio’s a-Go-Go® Catering bags
* Conversion to Bottle Box™ salad bowls in May 2010. These bowls are made entirely from recycled plastic bottles and are 100% recyclable.
* Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI)-certified paper cups
* Conversion to bio-plastic (compostable) beer cups
* Compostable bleach-free napkins
* Paper menus made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified paper and 10% recycled materials

Comments (1) »

When I Am Among the Trees by Mary Oliver

April is National Poetry Month and if you are like me, that’s a good thing. No cards to buy, no presents to send, just wonderful words placed together that evoke a variety of feelings and emotions. I love to share poems about nature so that we are reminded of why we are eco-friendly, eco-passionate, eco-extraordinary and so on. Often, I’ve sat among the trees and they too have saved me, inspired me to write, sing and just simply shine. I am especially fond of the willows as they tell me secrets of all things wild and free.

Here is poem by the lovely Mary Oliver from her collection — Thirst

When I Am Among the Trees

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.


I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say.
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

Comments (1) »