Slow Food

Get Down On The Farm: San Diego Farm Tour Day is September 17

Children who grow fruits and veggies eat a healthier diet and are willing to try new things.
If I asked you to name San Diego’s major industries, you would probably come up with tourism, the military, maybe biotech or craft beer. The one I bet you’d miss is agriculture and farming. Agriculture is the fourth largest industry in San Diego County. It’s a two billion dollar industry. San Diego County has more individual farms than any other county in the United States. Remember this if you get on the TV show “Jeopardy!” Most of our local farms are small boutique farms growing ornamental trees and shrubs, indoor plants and flowers. This is two-thirds of the farming income. Avocados take up more land but generate less profit.… Read More

Dig In and Support Urban Gardening in San Diego

While I’m on the road at the annual Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition in Florida, I learned about a proposal making its way through the approval process at the City of San Diego. Yes, stop the presses: a government idea I’m excited about! The San Diego City Council’s Smart Growth and Land Use Committee took an important step Wednesday at its meeting to establish Urban Agricultural Incentive Zones in the City of San Diego. These zones were given a green light by California state legislation passed in 2014. Now it’s up to individual cities and counties to decide whether they want to allow them in their areas.… Read More

Good Earth Plants Presents Pumpkin Power Halloween Trivia

The tradition of carving pumpkins came from Irish immigrants to the U.S.
Halloween is on Saturday. For most Americans, you can’t have Halloween without pumpkins. Displaying a pumpkin or carving one into a traditional Jack-O-Lantern is a popular Halloween tradition. We are out of our gourd about pumpkins at Good Earth Plant Company. In honor of this festive fruit (yes, it’s a fruit and not a vegetable), we present our Pumpkin Power Trivia. Orange you glad? The tradition of carving pumpkins started in Ireland. The Irish originally used turnips and sometimes potatoes. They carved ugly faces into them to ward off evil spirits. When Irish immigrants came to America, they switched to pumpkins, which were larger and easier to carve.… Read More

Let An Urban Farm Grow In Your Part of the Planet

The Uncommon Ground rooftop urban farm in Chicago. Photo: Courtesy UncommonGround.com
It was great to see so many of you at the U.S. Green Building Conference on “The Value of Sustainability” held on September 22 at SDG&E’s Energy Innovation Center, where we have one of our favorite outdoor succulent walls. It looked fantastic if I do say so myself! If you missed it, the conference featured local and national experts including yours truly talking about sustainable strategies on the triple bottom line: People, Planet and Profit. They aren’t mutually exclusive. It was well attended and well organized. Due to the press of business at Good Earth Plant Company I wasn’t able to stay all day, but many people did.… Read More

Ripping Out Your Lawn? Consider Foodscaping

Something as simple as a community garden can greatly increase your general happiness daily. Photo: Courtesy Karen Contreras, Urban Plantations
Homeowners in drought-stricken California have gotten serious about making changes in their water consumption. They are ripping out their water-guzzling lawns in record numbers. What they don’t always do is give a lot of thought about what will replace that lawn. So we end up seeing a lot of mulch and rocks as a quick fix. Consider a tastier alternative: Foodscaping. The simplest definition of foodscaping is landscaping with edible plants. It embraces the concept of growing food in place of lawns on private or sometime community property. It’s something in between farming, where you are growing food in a way that maximizes output, and landscaping that is meant to be decorative.… Read More

Honoring Our Founding Environmentalists On July 4

If you ever visit the Washington D.C. area for the July 4 holiday, you can celebrate Independence Day at Mt. Vernon. Courtesy MountVernon.org
Happy Independence Day from General Washington from Mount Vernon on Vimeo. I recently made a trip to Washington D.C. There is so much to do and see around our nation’s capital. No matter how many times I visit, there is always a new place for me to check out. But there is one place I haven’t been to for a very long time. I joined my family to make a side trip to Mt. Vernon, the 400-acre plantation home of the first President of the United States, George Washington. The estate is right on the banks of the Potomac River in Fairfax County, Virginia, near Alexandria, and was built in 1757.… Read More

Urban Agriculture: Why Eating and Buying Local Matters to the Planet

With so many farmer's markets and other local food resources in San DIego County, it's easier than ever to buy local food products.
We get asked a lot to create edible walls and green roofs that are roof top farms. I recently ran across this thought-provoking article, thought-provoking for me at least as a person who thinks a lot about our relationships to plants, nature and the Earth. This research in this article shows 90 percent of all the people in the United States could eat foods grown within 100 miles of home. The study was conducted by two engineering professors at the Sierra Nevada Research Institute run by the University of California at Merced. Read it here. Many people have talked about the need to support local food supplies for many reasons.… Read More

Get Your Food Closer to Home and Save the Planet

A drawing of the planned vertical farm in Jackson, Wyoming. Courtesy Vertical Harvest
Regular readers here know how much I love urban farming. Good Earth Plant Company employee Dawn Weatherford (thank you, Dawn!) tipped me off to one of the most exciting urban farming project I’ve ever seen and I wanted to share it with you. The startup company Vertical Harvest plans to turn an old industrial building in Jackson, Wyoming into a huge vertical farm. It will use a hydroponic system to grow vegetables like microgreens and tomatoes. The photos and description of what the company intends to do are eye-popping. The city of Jackson is partnering with Vertical Harvest to make this happen.… Read More

Ten Tips for an Eco-Friendly Thanksgiving Dinner

This turkey looks ready for a green Thanksgiving! How about you?
Use reusable plates, glasses and napkins. Yes, get out the good china, and skip the paper or (yikes) Styrofoam plates. Even when you account for original production of ceramics and using water to clean the plates you come out ahead here. Use local and organic foods as much as possible. See what your local farmer’s market has to offer the week before Thanksgiving and get creative. Organic food is chemical-free, and promote biodiversity and better soil quality. Compost your scraps. The average American family wastes 600 pound of uneaten food every year. The least you can do is start a compost bin and make your scraps useful and your plants happy.… Read More

Dining Out Differently With Sustainability In Mind

Seasons 52 edible wall
When I was a kid, going out to dinner was a big deal. It usually meant getting cleaned up, which for me was a big deal because I truly believe dirt was part of my skin. After the outer layer was scrubbed, it would be clean shirt and shoes and my “table manners” for a couple of hours spent counting down the seconds until the bill came to my dad. Even if it was a family pizza parlor night, dining out was a special event. Menus were bigger than me and in the fancy places, French names like coq au vin or escargot seemed daunting.… Read More