Tag Archives: process

The Ocean of Life – Callum Roberts


The Ocean of Life

The Fate of Man and the Sea

Callum Roberts

Genre: Earth Sciences

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: May 24, 2012

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group


A Silent Spring for oceans, written by "the Rachel Carson of the fish world" ( The New York Times ) Who can forget the sense of wonder with which they discovered the creatures of the deep? In this vibrant hymn to the sea, Callum Roberts—one of the world’s foremost conservation biologists—leads readers on a fascinating tour of mankind’s relationship to the sea, from the earliest traces of water on earth to the oceans as we know them today. In the process, Roberts looks at how the taming of the oceans has shaped human civilization and affected marine life. We have always been fish eaters, from the dawn of civilization, but in the last twenty years we have transformed the oceans beyond recognition. Putting our exploitation of the seas into historical context, Roberts offers a devastating account of the impact of modern fishing techniques, pollution, and climate change, and reveals what it would take to steer the right course while there is still time. Like Four Fish and The Omnivore’s Dilemma , The Ocean of Life takes a long view to tell a story in which each one of us has a role to play.

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The Ocean of Life – Callum Roberts

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Forget planting trees. This company is funding 4 far-out carbon removal projects.

Last August, a San Francisco–based tech startup called Stripe made a bold climate promise. The company, which makes software that enables online payments and is valued at $36 billion, was already investing in energy-efficiency projects to reduce its carbon footprint. It was also paying for carbon offsets for the emissions that it couldn’t avoid, from things like business flights and the natural gas burned to heat its offices. But Stripe wanted to go even further to take action on climate change. The company announced it would spend an additional $1 million annually on emerging carbon removal technologies, bringing its carbon balance sheet into the black.

The announcement kicked off a vetting process in which Stripe solicited proposals and consulted with scientists to evaluate them. On Monday, it delivered on its promise, revealing its first four winners, which will be receiving about $250,000 each.

Though the amounts are small, the gesture is huge. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that in order to prevent catastrophic climate change, we’ll need to start actively pulling carbon out of the carbon cycle and permanently sequestering it. But a lot of the tools available to do so are still nascent and expensive, and will require the kind of leap-of-faith buy-in that Stripe is offering to help them scale up.

The carbon removal technologies Stripe chose are early stage, and currently remove carbon at a cost of between $75 and $775 per ton — a far cry from common carbon offset projects like forest conservation and methane capture from landfills, which typically cost less than $10 per ton. Stripe’s $1 million will only sequester about 6,500 tons of CO2, assuming the earliest-stage projects it chose actually work.

Swiss-based ClimeWorks has the most established technology of the bunch, and is also the most expensive. ClimeWorks uses renewable energy to power machines that capture CO2 directly from the air and inject it deep underground, where it reacts with rock formations and hardens. The company says its pilot project will bury 50 tons of CO2 in 2020, and it’s in the process of developing a larger plant that will capture several thousand tons of CO2 per year.

Charm Industrial’s bio-oil, produced from biomass, will be injected underground Charm Industrial

Stripe also chose CarbonCure, a Canadian company that takes CO2 sourced from industrial emitters and incorporates it into concrete.

A third company, Charm Industrial, will use the money to test the viability of injecting bio-oil underground — sort of like reverse oil drilling. Bio-oil is a carbon-rich fluid produced by burning biomass like corn husks and rice straw that typically rot in the field; burying it underground removes it from the carbon cycle.

The fourth winner is Project Vesta, a startup founded by a guy who also markets supplements that allegedly enhance brain function. Project Vesta is working on a pilot study to prove the safety and efficacy of spreading a mineral called olivine on sandy beaches, where waves will break the olivine down, speeding up its ability to pull CO2 from the air.

If you’re thinking that some of these projects sound a little out there, you’re not alone. Some climate hawks and scientists have raised their eyebrows at the announcement. “I question whether the companies that they are supporting can scale,” commented Jigar Shah, president of the clean energy investment firm Generate Capital, on Twitter. Volcanologist Erik Klemetti voiced concern that Project Vesta could have unintended ecosystem consequences.

But Jane Zelikova, chief scientist at Carbon180, a nonprofit focused on carbon removal, applauded Stripe for being a leader in the space.

“They’re not the only company thinking about negative emissions or carbon removal,” Zelikova said. “But they’re certainly the first ones essentially saying, ‘We’ll pay any price per ton, we want to move this whole field forward.’ I think that’s really awesome.”

Zelikova’s expertise is in soil carbon sequestration, and she was one of the scientists hired by Stripe as consultants to review submissions. Ultimately the company did not go with any soil-based carbon removal projects, but Zelikova praised Stripe for seeking expert opinion and outside analysis and for making the entire process transparent. Stripe has shared its evaluation criteria online and encouraged other companies to use it, in addition to making all of the proposals it received available on GitHub.

“That is very impressive and I think very rare, the level of transparency and cooperation,” said Zelikova. “I hope they serve as a template for how other people can do something similar.”


Forget planting trees. This company is funding 4 far-out carbon removal projects.

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The Dream Universe – David Lindley


The Dream Universe

How Fundamental Physics Lost Its Way

David Lindley

Genre: History

Price: $13.99

Publish Date: March 17, 2020

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Seller: Penguin Random House LLC

A vivid and captivating narrative about how modern science broke free of ancient philosophy, and how theoretical physics is returning to its unscientific roots In the early seventeenth century Galileo broke free from the hold of ancient Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy. He drastically changed the framework through which we view the natural world when he asserted that we should base our theory of reality on what we can observe rather than pure thought. In the process, he invented what we would come to call science. This set the stage for all the breakthroughs that followed–from Kepler to Newton to Einstein. But in the early twentieth century when quantum physics, with its deeply complex mathematics, entered into the picture, something began to change. Many physicists began looking to the equations first and physical reality second. As we investigate realms further and further from what we can see and what we can test, we must look to elegant, aesthetically pleasing equations to develop our conception of what reality is. As a result, much of theoretical physics today is something more akin to the philosophy of Plato than the science to which the physicists are heirs. In The Dream Universe , Lindley asks what is science when it becomes completely untethered from measurable phenomena?

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The Dream Universe – David Lindley

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Domesticated: Evolution in a Man-Made World – Richard C. Francis


Domesticated: Evolution in a Man-Made World

Richard C. Francis

Genre: Life Sciences

Price: $2.99

Publish Date: May 25, 2015

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

Seller: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Without domestication, civilization as we know it would not exist. Since that fateful day when the first wolf decided to stay close to human hunters, humans and their various animal companions have thrived far beyond nearly all wild species on earth. Tameness is the key trait in the domestication of cats, dogs, horses, cows, and other mammals, from rats to reindeer. Surprisingly, with selection for tameness comes a suite of seemingly unrelated alterations, including floppy ears, skeletal and coloration changes, and sex differences. It’s a package deal known as the domestication syndrome, elements of which are also found in humans. Our highly social nature—one of the keys to our evolutionary success—is due to our own tameness. In Domesticated, Richard C. Francis weaves history and anthropology with cutting-edge ideas in genomics and evo devo to tell the story of how we domesticated the world, and ourselves in the process.

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Domesticated: Evolution in a Man-Made World – Richard C. Francis

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Apollo Confidential – Lukas Viglietti


Apollo Confidential

Memories of Men On the Moon

Lukas Viglietti

Genre: History

Price: $11.99

Publish Date: July 30, 2019

Publisher: Morgan James Publishing

Seller: OpenRoad Integrated Media, LLC

The inside stories of the Apollo program and the live of astronauts, as told to the author by the men themselves—with a forward by astronaut Charlie Duke.   Between 1969 and 1972, twelve people walked on the surface of the Moon. Twelve others flew over its majestic surface. They were the sons of ordinary individuals. But they believed anything was possible―and they proved it to the entire world.   Fascinated by these men—heroes such as Alan Shepard, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and many others—airline pilot Lukas Viglietti personally recorded their testimonies, becoming a close friend and confidant to many of them in the process. Now he shares his exclusive and unprecedented insight into their adventures and the Apollo program overall in Apollo Confidential .


Apollo Confidential – Lukas Viglietti

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We’ve got another ozone problem, and it’s not what you think

Most of us know ozone as that benevolent stratospheric layer that absorbs the sun’s harmful UV light and keeps us safe. In the 1980s, scientists found a “hole” in the ozone layer — really just a large section that was getting precariously thin — caused by the use of potent chemicals called CFCs. The world took action and rapidly banned CFCs, effectively solving the problem.

But the beneficial ozone up in the stratosphere has an evil cousin, and it’s right here on the ground. A new study funded by the Environmental Protection Agency found that ground-level ozone — the main ingredient in smog — is on the rise, an issue that could have pretty severe public health consequences. Even a relatively small spike in ozone pollution where you live (just three parts per billion) has a similar effect on your lungs as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for 29 years, according to the authors of the study.

This small increase in ozone ramps up your risk of emphysema, a form of chronic lung disease that can lead to hospitalization and death. Researchers from universities around the country kept tabs on more than 7,000 adults in six U.S. cities over a period of 18 years for the study, which was published in the journal JAMA.

Unlike the ozone layer, which is a naturally occurring part of the stratosphere, ground-level ozone is formed when pollutants from things like cars, chemical plants, and refineries react with sunlight. And beyond the obvious pollution sources, guess what’s making ground-level ozone even worse?

“What we will be seeing with climate change is an increase in the sunlight part of the equation,” said Joel Kaufman, one of the authors of the study. “Ozone increases with more sunshine, heat waves, and so forth.”

That’s not to say we can’t do something about smog. In fact, we already have. Since the Clean Air Act was implemented in 1970, pollution at the ground level has been reduced. Unfortunately, the Trump administration is in the process of rolling back environmental policies aimed at improving air quality. So it doesn’t look like we’ll be solving the ground-level ozone problem, or the climate crisis, anytime soon.

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We’ve got another ozone problem, and it’s not what you think

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Loop wants us to rethink consumption. It seems like a logistical disaster that might actually work.

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This story was originally published by Slate and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Americans generate a lot of waste — so much that we’re running into problems with how to get rid of it. We’re poised to run out of space in landfills within two decades, according to one estimate. Historically, we’ve sent tons of our used plastic to China (693 metric tons in 2016, mostly from single-use food containers), but as of last year, it is no longer accepting that waste.

A new possible solution to this problem comes from a surprising source: Major brands like Unilever and Procter and Gamble are collaborating to reduce waste in an innovative shopping platform called Loop, announced last week. When you order, say, Häagen-Dazs ice cream from the service, the company will ship it to you in a sturdy container for which you’ll pay a small deposit. You’ll get that money back when you return the container via UPS. The company cleans the container, and refills it with product to sell again.

It kind of sounds like corporations are giving themselves a giant pat on the back for reinventing recycling — now with the annoyance of consumers having to do additional shipping! Luckily, it’s a bit better than that: Loop seems like a genuinely good idea that can tangibly help solve a clear problem, even if the process will inevitably face at least a few snafus as it gets up and running.

Loop calls itself “the milkman reimagined,” which is a pretty catchy description. While you might immediately fret about an under-recognized carbon footprint of all this shipping, it turns out it thought of that. Reusing the containers will save more material and energy than fashioning new ones each time — even with all the additional shipping. In fact, the full process is predicted to be as much as 75 percent better for the environment, according to estimates Loop shared with Fast Company.

There’s an additional possible benefit, too: Mindfully shepherding containers in and out of your house seems like a good way to be more aware of consumption more generally. Loop might even inspire you to reconsider some of your specific purchases: There’s a slightly higher mental barrier to impulse-purchasing lotion at CVS if you’re committing to this system of using the entire thing and investing in its carrier. That’s exactly the kind of additional consideration we should be giving all of this stuff.

There are some kinks to be worked out. For example, the timing of the subscription service seems a little wonky: Another shipment of a product could be set to be triggered when you return a container, as Fast Company explains. This helpfully eliminates the hazard of a bunch of, say, toothpaste piling up at your house faster than you can use it. But it also leaves a gap of however long it takes new toothpaste to ship during which you’ll be toothpaste-less. And speaking of toothpaste, it won’t come in tubes in the Loop model, Fast Company notes — they’re too difficult to refill. Instead, Unilever designed a chewable toothpaste. The possibility that this toothpaste is good seems … low. Loop is at least aware that there will be pitfalls: A press release says it will launch in just two cities to start, New York and Paris, so the platform can conduct “in-market learning experiments.”

For the consumer’s part, the logistics of shuttling these containers back and forth aren’t effortless, but it’s not as difficult as, say, taking beer bottles to the supermarket for reuse. You can send back several containers at once in a reusable Loop box, which is picked up from your door by UPS. Loop says it won’t require customers to clean the containers before sending them back, which might make it an even lower lift than recycling. The annoyance factor seems in line with other successful services that involve a lot of shipping, like Rent the Runway or Trunk Club (but without the liability of sending multi-thousand dollar gowns via post).

One other benefit? The sample container designs look much nicer than your average containers. Packaging displayed on Loop’s website includes a pair of Pantene Pro-V bottles made from lightweight aluminum. The marketing claims are less blaring, the brand lettering is smaller. Instead there’s “I reuse, I love the oceans” in faux-cursive on the side along with illustrations of friendly sea life. Honestly, seems like a nice thing to have in your bathroom! I’m into personal care products that don’t make it seem like you need to buy a zillion things to look good.

It’s also clear that this green halo presents a real upside for companies that participate. If consumers get into Loop, they’ll loosely lock themselves into a suite of specific products, something brands are eager to do. (This is the point of Amazon Dash buttons.) Companies participating will no doubt enjoy this benefit, along with the positive branding boost that comes from being involved in an innovative recycling platform. Plus, they’ve made no commitment to stop filling up landfills with traditional non-Loop packaging in addition to participating in Loop.

Still, I’m inclined to root for Loop, even if it will be hard to execute. It’s this very element — how hard it will be — that confirms how lofty its goals are. This isn’t a feel-good baby step like banning plastic straws, nor is it a feel-good commercial about using more wind power. It’s an attempt to change how we think about the products we currently consume mindlessly. In that light, its first victory might be making us think about them at all.


Loop wants us to rethink consumption. It seems like a logistical disaster that might actually work.

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Delicious Zero Waste Snacks to Pack for Your Next Flight

Everyone knows the struggle that is airplane food. It’s expensive, tastes strange and usually comes wrapped beyond belief in plastic and tinfoil. Not good if you’re aiming for zero waste!

Fortunately, with a little bit of advanced planning you can avoid all the disappointment (both gastric and environmental), and save a lot of money in the process. Here are some of our favorite make-ahead airplane snacks that also happen to be totally zero waste. Enjoy!

Crispy roasted chickpeas

How to make them:

Drain and rinse a can of chickpeas, recycle the can
Toss in a generous amount of olive oil and sea salt
Lay out in a?single layer on a baking sheet
Roast for 30 minutes at 450 degrees until crispy

How to store them for your flight:

Store in an airtight container
Bring a hankie for oily fingers!

Cinnamon baked apple chips

How to make them:

Thinly slice two apples of your choice
Line a baking sheet with parchment
Place apples in a single layer and sprinkle with cinnamon
Bake for an hour at 200 degrees, flip and bake another hour
Remove from the oven, recycle the parchment paper

How to store them for your flight:

Store loosely in a TSA-approved quart silicon baggie
Place on top of other items to avoid crushing them

Garlic hummus with veggies

How to make them:

Mix 1 can chickpeas, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup tahini,?2T olive oil
Recycle the can
Blend in food processor until smooth, scraping the sides
Cream further with 2-3T of water
Season to taste with minced garlic, cumin and paprika
Slice veggies of choice and dip to your heart’s content!

How to store?it for your flight:

Store?hummus in a TSA-approved quart silicone baggie
Keep veggies in an airtight reusable container

Caprese sticks

How to make them:

Arrange cherry tomatoes, basil leaves and vegan cheese on wood skewers
Sprinkle with sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil

How to store them?for your flight:

Store in an airtight container
Bring a reusable hankie for messy fingers

Sesame pepper?popcorn

How to make them:

Pop 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels on the stove
Toss in 2T melted unsalted butter (or olive oil, if vegan)
Dust with?2T toasted sesame seeds, 1t sea salt and 1/2t pepper

How to store it for your flight:

Store in a rigid airtight container
Keep in a cool, dry place

Related Stories:

9 Secrets of Healthy Eaters
7 Essential Items for Zero Waste Travel
10 Ways to Start Living Zero Waste

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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Delicious Zero Waste Snacks to Pack for Your Next Flight

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U.N. climate report shows civilization is at stake if we don’t act now

Absent heroic efforts, the world has locked in dangerous climate change. That’s according to a much-anticipated report released on Monday in South Korea by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a U.N.-sponsored collection of the world’s top scientists.

That stark, blunt assessment comes after years of deliberation at the request of the world’s most vulnerable nations to assemble pathways that could limit global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees C, now believed to be the upper limit that would preserve the stability of the world’s interconnected ecological and societal systems.

Some key conclusions: The world has already warmed by about 1 degree C and without a global coordinated effort, the world will reach 1.5 degrees in as little as 12 years. “Several hundred million” lives are at stake, according to the IPCC, and the actions that are required to ensure a just transition to a fossil-fuel free world have significant overlap with the actions that would be needed to reduce global poverty.

Existential risks greatly escalate if the world lets the 1.5 degree Celsius goal slip to 2 degrees, much less the 3.4 degrees we’re currently on pace for — the difference between The Hunger Games and Mad Max, as one climate reporter put it. Still, the benefit to society of completing this transition (roughly equal to the size of the entire global economy, about $60 trillion) greatly outweighs the costs of the massive scale of action the report describes.

In short, nothing like what is happening — and what needs to happen — has ever occurred in history.

“If action is not taken, it will take the planet into an unprecedented climate future if we compare to what has happen in all of human evolutionary history. Climate change is shaping the future of our civilization,” German climate scientist Hans-Otto Pörtner, one of the report’s lead authors, said in a response to a question from Grist. “This report is a milestone in conveying that message to human society.”

As daunting as all this seems, the alternative — ignoring this report, continuing about our lives as if it didn’t happen — is madness. This isn’t just a science report. This is a few hundred of the world’s best scientists screaming (in terrifyingly politely worded specificity) for the world to step up. By every available measure, this is something we simply must do.

Some of the initial coverage frames the IPCC’s stark conclusions in the too-familiar phrase of a time limit for action. “The world has just over a decade to get climate change under control” reads the Washington Post’s headline. That’s absolutely the wrong way to frame this. We only have a decade left to finish our initial coordinated retooling of society to tackle this challenge. The scientists were quite clear about this. By 2030, we’ll need to have already cut global emissions in half (45 percent below 2010 levels, according to the report), which (again, according to the IPCC) would require “rapid and far-reaching transitions” in “all aspects of society.”

Imagining a world that sets aside climate denial and gets to work is perhaps too much for some to consider, but there simply is no choice left. We have already waited too long.

And the IPCC gives cause for courage here: There is no time left to wait for the perfect solution or the perfect moment to enact a grand, top-down strategy. “All options need to be exercised,” said Scottish climate scientist Jim Skea, one of the report’s lead authors, at the report’s press conference. “We can make choices about how much of each option we use … but the idea you can leave anything out is impossible.” Carbon taxes alone aren’t enough, for example. They’d need to be combined with a suite of regulations and behavioral changes in every industry in every country.

In the words of the report itself, although “there is no documented historic precedent” for the scale of changes that would be necessary, the world has briefly achieved such rapid change at regional levels during previous times of great crisis — like, during World War II or in the midst of the energy crisis of the 1970s. In this new era of climate consequences, quite simply, every idea matters; every individual action has meaning.

In short, we need to remake society — now. Absent this, the new report says “transformational adaptation” would be necessary — with communities and whole countries reinventing themselves in order to survive.

Diana Liverman, a climate scientist at the University of Arizona and another author of the report, told Grist that the process brought her to tears. “I am overwhelmed by challenge we face. I had a good cry on plane home from exhaustion and thinking about implications of report.” Liverman also authored the “hothouse Earth” paper that drew similar conclusions earlier this year — namely that a dead world is not our destiny.

This report is a rallying cry to save the basic functioning of human civilization, shouted into the din of a news cycle dominated by a media that pretends not to understand, in a world led by anti-democratic politicians that pretend to be doing enough, aimed at a populace that pretends not to care.

If nothing else, my hope is that this report will help to take the lid off of climate (read: civilization) advocates calling for radical changes to the status quo. They now have the full weight of the world’s top scientists behind them.

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U.N. climate report shows civilization is at stake if we don’t act now

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Shopping Local: A Berry Beneficial Choice

You wake up on a lazy Saturday morning. The sun is shining, the grass is green and fresh produce is in season. It’s time to make your way over to your nearest farmers’ market to stock up on locally made and grown goods.

Farmers? markets are lively events during the warmer months. Shopping at farmers? markets is not only fun, it can also have a positive impact on the environment, your health and your community.

Environmental impact

Much of the food from a supermarket travels long distances before reaching the shelves (Photo by Gratisography, CC0)

Shopping for local produce can be a more environmentally friendly choice than heading to the supermarket.

The further food has to travel, the longer and more energy intensive the process becomes. From picking and sorting, to shipping and storing, these steps all require large amounts of energy in the form of electricity and oil. Products sold at farmers? markets are generally created or grown within a 160-kilometre radius of the places they?re sold, which can greatly help reduce the product?s total carbon footprint.

The use of fertilizers such as phosphorus are also commonplace on larger industrial farms. They are added to the soil to try and increase the quality and growing time of plants. Run-off from these products can accumulate in bodies of water, causing toxic algae blooms, a process called eutrophication. This unsustainable practice depletes the soil of its nutrients, rendering it unusable. Most small-scale farmers use these fertilizers more sparingly or don?t use them at all, which helps preserve the soil?s integrity for the next growing season.

Local products often tend to come with much less packaging. Products sold locally aren?t typically wrapped. This gives consumers a chance to bring their own reusable bags and reduce the amount of plastic and other garbage that ends up in landfills and waterways.

Healthy choices

Another bonus that comes from shopping locally is that the products purchased are generally better for your health. Products found on the shelves of grocery stores are usually picked days or weeks before, and they have sat ripening in fridges or on shelves before they hit the store. More traditional practices allow produce to ripen in the field, and they are picked right before being sold. When picked at its prime, produce tastes fresh and is packed with maximum nutrients.

Fresh strawberries at a farmers’ market (Photo by Alexandria Baldridge, Pexels)

Buying local also means buying what?s in season. In the summer months, you?ll see strawberries and raspberries starting to appear, while products like squash and pumpkins only appear in the fall. This is the way we traditionally ate before technology made it possible to store our food in fridges and ship food from warmer climates in the dead of winter.

The best part about farmers? markets is that if you have any questions about how products have been produced or made, you can just ask the farmer! It?s a rarity these days to be able to meet the people who grow our food and to have the answers to our questions right in front of us.

Community involvement

Finally, shopping for locally sourced products helps you become an active member in your community. Much of the food we eat is produced on large-scale single-crop farms. According to Statistics Canada, between 1931 and 2006, the total land being farmed increased, but the number of farms in operation decreased almost 70 per cent from over 700,000 farms to 229,373, as smaller farms were taken over or bought out by larger industrial farms. By purchasing local products, you are supporting farm families and keeping your money within your local economy.

Unique events such as farmers’ markets create vibrant communities where people come to meet up and connect with their friends, family and neighbors.

Have fun, eat fresh!

These are just some of the many benefits of shopping locally. Next time you?re looking for a relaxed weekend activity or a colorful vegetable to brighten your summer salad, be sure to look for a farmers? market near you. Feel good, have fun and make a difference!

This post was written by Jackie Bastianon and originally appeared on the Nature Conservancy of Canada?s blog, Land Lines.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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Shopping Local: A Berry Beneficial Choice

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