Quick day or weekend camping, kayak and just plain fun

camping, canoeing, FL, Growing, Healthy activities, hiking, Kayaking, Local Orlando Businesses, Organic Herbs and Teas, Orlando News and Events

Looking to get away and enjoy the outdoors at a reasonable cost. Then you might want to consider the Canoe Outpost at the Little Manatee River.

Canoe Outpost on the Little Manatee River

Canoe Outpost on the Little Manatee River

Kayaking or canoeing on the Little Manatee

Kayaking or canoeing on the Little Manatee

The Canoe Outpost on the Little Manatee River is located on the Gulf coast of Florida in southern Hillsborough County. We are near the cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Bradenton and Sarasota. So, whether you are visiting our area or live here, they are less than an hour’s drive away and their river trips are a great way to spend a part or all of your day.

Cabin rental on the Little Manatee River

Cabin rental on the Little Manatee River

They offer RV and tent camping for group or individuals, deluxe cabin rentals and a variety of lodging options. Relax and enjoy the river, fishing, hiking or other local activities like horseback riding or mountain biking.

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Music Stage at Canoe Outpost

Music Stage at Canoe Outpost

The place has character, has a stage for live music and run moonlight paddles throughout the year. To learn more visit: http://www.thecanoeoutpost.com/

Want to start off the New Year Healthy?

Cooking, Growing, Healthy activities, Healthy Food, Local Orlando Businesses, Organic Herbs and Teas, Orlando News and Events

Homegrown Local Food Cooperative Orlando, FL

Homegrown Local Food Cooperative Orlando, FL

Order from:

HOMEGROWN LOCAL FOOD COOPERATIVE

Homegrown Local Food Cooperative is your resource for locally grown organic produce, pastured eggs and meats, raw dairy, honey and a variety of artisanal goods for the home and garden.

Homegrown goods are available every week through our Signature Online Farmer’s Market.  Simply log in, shop and pick-up your local goods at our boutique farm store on Orange Avenue where Ivanhoe and Health Villages connect.

Our local Farmer’s list what’s growing each week and you get to pick what farm fresh goodies you want and, they are harvested just for you!

Our local Artisans cook and prepare to order what you have requested.

Quality and transparency are important at Homegrown, and you can shop with ease, knowing that we are looking out for the best tasting, healthiest, most nutritionally packed, unadulterated, local food available.  At Homegrown our goal is to source the best quality food grown as close to home as possible.
Our produce is grown without pesticides, fungicides, or synthetic fertilizers and never from GMO seeds!  Our animal products come from animals who are treated humanely and do not receive routine hormones or antibiotics.  Our artisanal  food products are made without preservatives or artificial ingredients.  Our artisanal home products are made without parabens or sulfates.  Our garden products come from our local organic farmers.

Each product listed at our Online Farmer’s Market is identified by the farm, kitchen or craftsman who is creating the unique offering.  To learn more about our Producers, visit the Producers section.

Online Farmer’s Market Hours:Tuesday at 9am through Friday at 9am

Boutique Farm Store Hours:
Saturday and Sunday from noon until 4:00pm and Monday from 2:00pm until 7:00pm

We accept cash, check, ebt and all major credit cards. 

http://www.homegrowncoop.org/

Orlando Walks Project

Healthy activities, Local Orlando Businesses, Orlando News and Events

There are many good things in Orlando and wanted to share one program with you that encourages all of us to be healthier and walk more—the Orlando Walks Project.

Orlando Walks Project

Orlando Walks Project

As an avid walker it has been great to see more areas around Orlando where walking is made easier by adding new sidewalks through the Orlando Walks project. One street– Cole Road off of Corrine– in particular was finished this week. This finished sidewalk made my day, as before it was completed the street did not have a sidewalk on and had a curve—- so many times cars could not see me in the street no matter what direction I walked. I often had to jump into someone’s yard at the last minute. Now I can safely walk this street to get to the shopping area on Corrine. Thank you, the city of Orlando for making my day!

Orlando Walks Project

Orlando Walks Project

About the Orlando Walks Project:

Keeping Orlando moving continues to be a priority for Mayor Buddy Dyer. Providing multiple alternatives such as transit, bike and pedestrian forms of transportation will offer all those who live, work and play in Orlando options for getting around the City. This offers a variety of affordable alternatives to having a car and connects more of our residents with access to jobs and opportunity.

To support this priority, the City is committed to providing a safe, comfortable and connected pedestrian system. The City’s Orlando Walks Sidewalk Project focuses on establishing an interconnected sidewalk network that helps to improve public safety and to encourage active healthy living. In an effort to maximize funding and more quickly complete sidewalk gaps, the City elected to seek additional outside funding opportunities and received a Federal grant to fund the current phase of sidewalk construction.

For more information on this project visit:

http://www.cityoforlando.net/publicworks/orlando-walks/

 

Could desert crops become the new sustainable dinner?

Growing, Healthy Food

From our recent reporting on The Culinary Frontier, a look at what’s on the menu in the warmer, drier years ahead. Some of it’s pretty tasty.

By CHRISTOPHER D. COOK

Inperennially water-starved Patagonia, Arizona, just 18 miles from the Mexico border, Gary Nabhan, well known as an author and ethnobotanist, farms a worldly array of desert crops that could make any food lover salivate. The harvest, more than 120 varieties strong, includes Sonoran pomegranates, Baja California Mission guavas, Winter Banana apples, amaranth, asparagus, globe artichokes, and even an arid-friendly Texas Mission variety of the infamously thirsty almond. His 5-acre farm, which he manages with his wife Laurie Monti, a medical anthropologist and professor of indigenous studies, grows these foods on precious little water — about 17 inches of rainfall a year, a dollop compared with the US-wide average of 28 inches.

In the fall, even after a spring and summer of almost no rain, the Hopi Corn is ripe and ready for harvest — as long as Polly Goldman can get a little help from her family.

Blending thousand-year-old desert crop varieties with water-saving approaches and farming techniques inherited from Moorish Spain, Africa, and indigenous North America, Nabhan’s modest arid plot offers a glimpse of how we could sustain ourselves in an era of chronic drought and increasing climate chaos.

A drought-friendly dinner “isn’t going to be any less delicious,” says Nabhan. Shifting what we eat could, in his view, mean a scrumptious revolution. During a phone conversation, Nabhan ticked off a tasty menu of other drought-friendly options: sea beans, Mesquite carob (good for diabetes), pistachios, figs, tepary beans, pigeon peas, quinoa, and soups and stews made with prickly pear cacti instead of the more water-intensive bell peppers.

In equally arid northern New Mexico, famed chef and author Deborah Madison surveys a hardscrabble terrain and sees another lush menu of possibilities. The Greens Restaurant founder, always scouting for new sustainable recipes in the garden and the kitchen, points to foods that “we are already familiar with, but haven’t tried growing as much” in recent times: Sonoran wheat. Quinoa. Red orach. Rattlesnake beans. Zucchini in multiple varieties.

One reason Nabhan is such a fan of these obscure food plants is that they’re adaptable. Like any plant, they like water; but when water grows scarce, these plants have natural methods of storing it, or thriving without it. Not so with the miles and miles of lettuce, strawberries, and other crops such as wheat (at least the modern varieties) that dominate the Western diet.

In the Salinas Valley of California–a region known for water guzzling crops like lettuce and strawberries — Jim Leap and Polly Goldman farm a bounty of vegetables that require very little water. This row of garbanzo beans is an example.

In California, the source of a full two-thirds of the nation’s fruits and nuts, one-third of its vegetables, and nearly 20 percent of its dairy products, growers’ response to drought has centered largely on water conservation measures such as drip irrigation.

But Craig McNamara, the President of the state’s Board of Food and Agriculture, argues, “We’re going to have to change what’s for dinner.” Bespectacled and chiseled with a straight-combed silver mane, McNamara, who farms 450 acres of organic walnuts and olives in Winters, California, bears a striking resemblance to his father Robert, the former defense secretary who steered military offensives in the Vietnam War. Today, McNamara worries that California’s drought could topple the state’s agricultural primacy. “For the first time, I’m tremendously worried about where we are…I’ve never felt we are closer to collapse than I do today.”

Despite the “beyond painful” drought crisis, McNamara says the conversation about shifting crops is still at a whisper: “I’m not sure how much this is getting to farmers.”

About 180 miles south of Davis, near the town of Madera in the gut of San Joaquin Valley, organic vegetable farmer Tom Willey sees market signals pointing farmers toward more thirsty crops, not fewer. “I don’t see a headlong rush to more water-saving crops.” Even as the drought deepens and water supplies disappear, Willey says many growers are still moving into almonds, which have been much vilified lately for their heavy water demands (roughly a gallon per nut). In fairness, it should be noted that much of today’s almond acreage used to grow cotton, which is one of the plant world’s biggest water hogs. So while almonds do use a lot of water, California at least traded T-shirts for more protein.

On his 75-acre patch of land, Willey has a little more flexibility than the average farmer. He produces a “seasonal progression” of row crops — annual vegetable varieties such as squash, leafy greens, and peppers that can be shifted depending on weather, water and market demands. “We can act and react much easier than farmers with permanent crops” such as fruit and nut orchards, Willey explains.

Jim Leap and Polly Goldman’s corn–an heirloom variety developed by the Hopi Indians, partly because of how well it tolerates dry years.

The Drought’s Opportunities

On his small homestead farm in San Juan Batista, sustainable agriculture educator Jim Leap produced a prodigious harvest this year of dry-farm beans, corn, winter squash, and tomatoes on just 10 inches of rain (and no irrigation). Leap, who for 21 years managed a research farm at the UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, points out, “I can’t superimpose that on farmers who are trying to make a living.”

Prior to the 1950s, when sprawling irrigation canal projects and increasingly globalized markets took hold, the Golden State produced a very different bounty — grains, sugar beets, potatoes, beans, dry-farmed apples. With the rise of California’s massive agricultural aqueducts came access to cheap irrigation water, which, coupled with lucrative new export markets, spawned an array of thirsty specialty crops. At present, there is no fast track back toward more drought-tolerant harvests.

Absent sweeping policy changes, more and more small farmers are bucking the trends. And, in this case, “the market” is leading the way. Thomas Nelson, who analyzes sustainable food markets for the UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, notices a growing interest among chefs and farmers in harvesting drought-tolerant wild greens such as miner’s lettuce, wild mustard, bristly ox tongue, and black locust flowers. They may sound obscure, but these foods are increasingly popular among professional foragers and chefs at up-market restaurants.

“The market has a really push-pull dynamic,” he says. “One reason almonds have grown so big is because there was a big marketing push behind them. It becomes a self-perpetuating system.” Well, the same could be true for drought-tolerant heirlooms and other dry-farm fruits and vegetables. As Nelson points out, the booming niche market for heirloom tomatoes and salad mixes was just a glimmer 25 years ago.

Going dry and small

Back in the eternally dry Southwest, famed sustainable-foods chef and author Deborah Madison sees progress on the margins. “Some people are definitely starting to look at [shifting to water-saving crops]. Every agriculture conference I go to ties into these issues,” she says — “but I don’t think it’s happening fast enough.”

Much of the solution, says Madison, who founded Greens Restaurant (one of the nation’s premier vegetarian venues), lies in “hyper-local” farming systems that can provide a diverse food supply with greater adaptability to climate chaos. “The solutions depend on lots of hands, and smaller farms,” she says, and smaller economies of scale that enable attention to detail. “A lot of the changes we need, I don’t think big agriculture can do it.”

From his rain-deprived vantage point near the Mexico border, Nabhan makes a compelling case for scaling up desert crop varieties and time-tested farming techniques. What’s especially compelling to Nabhan is that these are not new ideas. The challenge, he says, is to “make certain that we don’t grow these in monocultures as we’ve done with other crops.”

For more about what makes a “good farming system” — it involves a lot more than smart methods of cultivation — see “Food Shift,” Christopher D. Cook’s full story on this subject.

To keep up with our continuing coverage of sustainable agriculture and related issues, subscribe to our newsletter.

Photos by permission of Tohono O’odham Community Action and Polly Goldman.

Looking for unique used furniture in Orlando?

Local Orlando Businesses

Driving on Edgewater Drive in Orlando/ College Park area today, I saw some furniture sitting outside a store I had not seen before.

The store is called Modern Redemption and carries many Mid-Century Modern pieces. Renj Reeichert, the owner said he has been at the location for about a year. Currently, he is only open on weekends. Yet, if you call him he can schedule a time for you to see a piece you might be interested in adding to your home.

He has some serious skills to restore pieces and has done great work on the furniture. Here is one that was really eye catching he just had finished.

Modern Redemption

Modern Redemption

Here is the link to his Facebook page where you can see some of the pieces for sale.

https://www.facebook.com/modernredemption