Thanks to LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation), Indy Food Fund will be giving grants between $500 and $10,000 and loans between $25,000 and $2 million to nonprofits and businesses with innovative projects that improve access to healthier and more nutritious foods. Applications will be taken until December 14, and the final decisions will be made by January 15, 2013.
Some examples of projects are community gardens with market stands, value chain projects, nutrition programs, food hubs, farmers’ markets, farm-to-institutions projects, urban farms, healthy corner store initiatives, and marketing and consumer cooperatives.
The Indy Food Fund works with the Marion County Public Health Department, Butler University’s Center for Urban Ecology, Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County, City of Indianapolis—Office of Sustainability, IUPUI, Growing Places Indy, the Indy Hunger Network, Indy Grown, the Efroymson Family Fund, and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC).
Tim Carter, Director of Butler University’s Center for Urban Ecology said, “We are excited to be part of this collaborative effort to improve our community’s access to food, their overall health, the local environment and the Indianapolis economy. The partnerships developed through the Indy Food Fund will be truly innovative and the projects that it supports will create models for other community projects in the future."
You can fill out the application here.
Raising Urban Chickens workshop (slideshow)
Nap Town Chickens held a workshop last Saturday on raising chickens.
Donovan Miller, the 2011 winner of Hoosier Environmental Council’s award for Land Steward of the Year, passed away on Thursday, Feb. 2.
He was diagnosed last July with inoperable malignant pleural mesothelioma.
Over a decade ago, Miller took early retirement from his career as an administrator, turning his attention to his love of nature — as a gardener, landscaper and lover of the earth.
The Land Steward of the Year award recognized Miller for his various volunteer efforts throughout the city. Hoosier Environmental Council’s Tim Maloney presented the award, citing projects such as the one at the Indiana State Museum, “where he conceived of a multi-year restoration project to return the Turner Gardens to Indiana native prairie.”
Other projects spearheaded by Miller included being chief gardener and caretaker of the greenhouse at Cold Spring School, part of that school's environmental studies magnet program.
Said Maloney, “He has tended a tract of forest for Central Indiana Land Trust; takes student groups on rafting trips with Friends of the White River; done a lot of work to remove invasive species and led student tours at Marian University EcoLab. He has also spearheaded the Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society's Letha's Youth Outdoors Fund, which helps school children experience nature in an educational context."
Donovan and I were neighbors for about a decade. I lived next to him during the period where he was still dressing up in a suit each day, driving to work, dreaming of a time when he could spend his days with his hands in the dirt.
Donovan was the best neighbor a person could have. Our two sons were born when we lived next door, which means they grew from babies to toddlers to rambunctious youngsters.
My sons’ occasional destructiveness extended to Donovan’s yard where on at least one occasion, his garden was damaged. There was also the period — unknown to me until much later — when my sons were ringing his doorbell, then running away.
Donovan tolerated it all with his gentle manner and a wry smile. He’d had two kids himself, so he knew parenting wasn’t simple.
One day in particular he knew how complex it could be.
Our youngest son, William, was about three years old when he decided to visit the corner candy store a good hundred yards away — on his own. We’d taken him there many times, and it didn’t occur to him he couldn’t go by himself, so he slipped out the door, unbeknownst to us, and headed to Friendly Foods.
I doubt he had any money with him — for all he knew Friendly Foods was that friendly. Hey, kid, just pick out your candy and go!
I don’t think William actually made it into the store that day. I do know that Donovan happened to be driving by at that very moment.
He told me later that when he saw William he thought to himself, “Whoa, that child is WAY too young to be out and about on his own.” His next thought, taking a closer look, was, “Whoa, I know that kid. It’s William!”
He proceeded to pick William up and take him to our home.
Imagining the alternatives to that scenario always makes me shudder. No matter what, it would have been a pretty bad day for William, and probably for the rest of us as well. Instead, my son was taken home, safe and sound.
Donovan was my hero that day, and remained so to the end.
When he learned of his diagnosis, he did something extraordinary.
He invited his friends over to his house to meet each other. Over the course of a couple gatherings, we did indeed meet each other — first a dozen of us, then two dozen, then more, gathering around a small fire in his backyard, swapping tales and singing, celebrating the life of Donovan right there in front of him.
We supposedly live in an age when people are sequestered in their individual homes, surrounded by entertainment systems; that their sense of community is merely Facebook-based.
I am here to tell you it’s not true. That I lived next door to a generous and loving man named Donovan Miller.
His life lives on in the ecosystems and communities he helped nourish into being.
A memorial service will be at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5, at First Mennonite Church, 4601 Knollton Road.
Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc. (KIB) announced today it has received a $325,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to continue community greening.
KIB is a private, nonprofit organization bringing people together to “build community and transform public spaces” through programs involving youth employment, urban forestry, volunteer engagement, education, and community beautification. In 2011, KIB worked with over 46,000 volunteers on more than 600 projects.
The grant will make KIB capable of extending its mission within six major program areas: IPL Project GreenSpace, KIB Clubs, NeighborWoods, Youth Tree Team, Great Indy Clean Up and Adopt-a-Block.
Each of the programs offers its own unique focus on guidance and assistance in improving the local environment. Volunteers will participate in planting trees, creating gardens, enhancing greenspaces and eliminating litter among other actions while connecting community members with their neighbors and encouraging investment in their neighborhoods.
KIB Clubs is their youth program, which offers hands-on environmental learning with instilling the understanding of conservation and an appreciation for our natural habitat in mind. Trained teachers within 12 schools will work with kids regularly on projects.
Letters, phone calls and emails not getting your message across to your elected officials? The Indiana Conservation Alliance (INCA) gives you the chance to speak with them about environmental action face to face.
Hoosiers from all over the state will coalesce this Conservation Day, Tuesday, Jan. 24, to have their voices heard.
The eco-conscious masses will gather at the Indiana Statehouse to speak, present and mingle with representatives about the importance of preservation and care of the environment.
Where to go and what to do
Event registration will begin at 9 a.m. in the north atrium of the statehouse located at 200 West Washington St. in the heart of the state’s capital. Enter the Statehouse through the west entrance, and if you have pre-registered, bring with you a printed confirmation of registration.
After signing in, the event’s short presentation and awards ceremony will take place from 11:15 a.m. to 11:30.
Then, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Conservation Day registrants can enjoy refreshments while they speak with their legislatures about why it is important to protect Indiana’s land, air and water.
For the more in-depth story, check out Indiana Living Green.
Indianapolis finally has its first green roof installed on city property, Mayor Greg Ballard announced today.
“The newly installed green roof atop Union Station eliminates several long-term maintenance concerns in a visually appealing and innovative way,” said Mayor Ballard in a press release. “This unique project and the community space created by its construction are part of our efforts to become one of the most sustainable cities in the Midwest.”
The area around Union Station had been quite damaged over the years: from standing water on the deck, water leaking onto Meridian Street, and signs of degradation of the structural bridge steel, it was clear something needed to be done. This green roof project led to a new, re-graded surface on the roof which will help prevent all those problems, with a modular green roof to help reduce storm water runoff, and surface to prevent standing water.
While half of the surface is devoted to green roof material, the other half is a concrete deck with benches, picnic tables and umbrellas, giving it a park-like feel for the public. The roof will be maintained organically, meaning that there will be no herbicides or pesticides. It will also be weeded regularly, and will be watered in drought conditions.
A $50,000 dollar grant from Citizens Energy Group helped cover the green infrastructure elements, while the total project cost is closer to $250,000. Local engineering firm RW Armstrong partnered with the City of Indianapolis, and the firm completed a portion of the engineering work and design to help contribute to this project.
At The Indianapolis Public Library on Wednesday night, IU-Bloomington Geology professor Faiz Rahman presented illuminating stats regarding climate change and the carbon cycle, including carbon’s impact on our own Indiana environment.
At the same time, he unveiled brand new mapping technology that tracks carbon uptake and carbon emissions on a district-to-district basis in Indiana.
Rahman’s presentation was part of a now completed, four-public library tour, including Bedford, Bloomington and Nashville, an impressive effort to show the public what Indiana University’s research is revealing about our climate.
A total of nine audience members attended.
Dr. Rahman told the assembled handful that the research, whose partners include NASA, Department of Energy and Indiana’s DNR, is centered at Morgan Monroe State Forest, where a sensor tower, along with ground level experiments and a small airplane with sensors, are tracking the forest’s ability to sequester carbon.
The goal: understand Indiana carbon cycle, extrapolating those findings out into the entire planet.
Over a twelve-year period, researchers, including Rahman, have determined that the ability of these Indiana forests to sink carbon is in fact improving — i.e. carbon uptake is increasing. On the face of it, Rahman said, this might seem like good news. After all, carbon sequestered in forests and oceans keeps CO2 out of the air, where it contributes to global warming.
However, Rahman made it clear the forest’s improved ability to sink carbon is due to the fact that Indiana temperatures are rising steadily, and autumn is falling later. In fact, autumn, on average, is arriving a full 20 days later than it did 20 years ago.
You could have heard a pin drop in the room, had the floor been made of wood instead of carpet.
A change in climate this obvious and disruptive should cause alarm — if not downright panic — and inspire a concomitant change in fossil fuel consumption.
Rahman wants this research made available to Indiana politicians to factor into their decision-making when it comes to environmental regulations, invitation to new business, considering mass transit, etc.
However, Rahman was adamant in asserting that scientists are not in a position of making policy themselves.
While this attendee admired the scientist’s restraint and neutrality, it was, nevertheless, frustrating beyond words, because if you can actually see seasons changing by as much as one day per year, then we are obviously on the cusp of enormous climate upheaval. This past year’s extreme weather events is just a taste of the fun to come.
Waiting around for politicians to do the right thing for the environment — i.e. champion clean, renewable energy legislation, quickly phase out coal, prosecute polluters to the fullest extent, etc. — seems like fool’s game as Indiana politicians have a long history of placing nature down the list of priorities, somewhere below subsidizing the purchase of spats for Hoosier marching bands.
We cannot wait for them to do the right thing — we must insist that they do the right thing, based on the evidence that is not just clear, but blatantly obvious.
Rahman’s said this research will be presented to politicians at the Statehouse in February (presumably, Conservation Day). People who care about survival — i.e. not just environmentalists — should be in attendance as well, to support the earth by demanding that stewardship of the environment comes first.
Jim Poyser is the newly named editor of Indiana Living Green. He is struggling in his quest to figure out how to communicate about the alarming threats to our environment. Let him know if he failed or succeeded in this post by posting a comment or emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You go to an event about a book where one chapter is called “The Revenge of Water” and you gotta figure you’re in for some apocalyptic messages. But Charles Fishman is anything but a pessimist about our profligate relationship to water. He traveled the world to research his book, released earlier this year, and came away with tales of horror, heroism and innovation, and shared them with the JCC audience, part of the Ann Katz Festival of Books and Arts. There were even a handful of folks from Louisville who traveled here to see Fishman.
Fishman started off with the story of his own epiphany about water. While traveling with his wife, he entered a Miami hotel and discovered a bottle of Fiji bottled water awaiting them. His wife immediately drank half of it, before he realized they would be charged seven dollars for it.
He did a little research and discovered that 53 percent of people who live in Fiji do not have access to clean water.
And so his quest to understand more about bottled water, and its social injustice and disparities was born, eventually leading to his book about how our mis-use of water — especially in the developing world — is growing into a crisis.
These water crises exist all over the planet, and innovations emerge out of necessity and economic need. Fishman told the story of Celebrity Cruise lines and how a smart chef decided to use chilled river rock instead of ice to keep the all-day buffet fresh. It ended up saving each ship the equivalent of four tons of ice, per day, along with saving the energy normally needed to collect the water and turn into ice.
Fishman’s presentation abounded with such examples, emphasizing that there is no “global water crisis,” that essential all water problems are LOCAL problems, and can be solved by local leaders and everyday people working together. He predicts that once we are properly educated about water use, we’ll make the necessary adjustments. A different cost structure will exist for water.
Potable water will cost the most, but all other water — for irrigation, car wash, etc. — will be re-used water, and thus cheaper.
Throughout the event, Fishman charmed the crowd with his humor, his directness, his wisdom. Here's hoping he'll be invited back to Indianapolis sometime in the near future.
From Crossroads to Capitol (Slideshow)
Over 100 Hoosiers descended on Washington D.C. to protest the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
It feels a little bit like a field trip. The bus is full of rowdy students, with a few quiet older folks sitting in the front. People are singing, horsing around, couples are cuddling and someone puts Men in Black in the DVD player.
But the energy here isn’t about a class trip to Cedar Point, it’s about more than 100 Bloomington community members joining together to travel to Washington, D.C. in an attempt to help circle the White House.
The circle is supposed to show President Obama how many U.S. citizens want him to say no to the Keystone XL Pipeline, a pipeline that would carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada through six states to the Gulf of Texas for refinement and shipping.
There are over 100 Hoosiers on the two buses leaving from Bloomington with a third bus leaving from Rochester, IN. While waiting for the buses to arrive we wait at People’s Park, the site of Occupy Bloomington, where we are offered good wishes, food and books for the journey. We are cheered on in the fashion of the “People’s Mic” with dances and songs.
We are the 100 making the trip, but we are leaving behind more than that number who are with us in spirit.
On the bus we talk about the protest. It is a serious action, we’re told. We aren’t there to make trouble. We are there to peacefully engage the President. We have to be careful not to ruin it for everyone else.
After we talk about rules and other protest actions people have been involved with — a few people here were arrested in August as part of this movement — the rowdiness resumes.
This is the kind of enthusiasm the supporters who sent us off in such style wanted. Well, at least most of it is. Some people are joking about buying alcohol in Ohio (it’s Sunday morning by now) but many want to sing protest songs and talk about the tar sands as we leave behind what one woman on the bus claimed is the second most polluted state in the country.
Twelve thousand protestors
Twelve thousand people. The circle around the White House is three, four and five people deep in some parts. If the Occupy movement has been criticized for having hard-to-define goals, this movement is the opposite. One goal. One man to reach. And the message is simple: Keep your promises.
Most of the signs hoisted high at the rally and in the circle are simple quotes. Obama’s own words blown up on placards and waved in his direction. “Change you can believe in,” Obama said, and these people did.
“I want to make sure the planet is as beautiful for my daughters as it was for me.” “Let us be the generation that makes future generations proud of what we did here.” “Let’s be the generation that finally frees America from the tyranny of oil.” “Unchecked, climate change will pose unacceptable risks to our security, our economies, and our planet.”
Sarah Hodgdon, an Indiana University alum is now the conservation director at the Sierra Club, says that the Keystone pipeline is the proverbial line in the sand. “If the tar sands continue to be extracted and burned we won’t be able to turn it around.” And that’s not just a Sierra Club opinion — the information came from a study done by NASA scientist James Hanson.
The fact that the planet would not recover from this action is why Hodgdon says this is as important to Hoosiers as to people who live in Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas — the states the pipeline will run through if approved.
And Hoosiers do care, clearly, The long-term numbers are the ones B-town residents here are talking about. Alex Burgan is not interested in how many jobs will be created because those jobs, she says, will be temporary. And she thinks the money that would be used for the pipeline could be better used in alternative energy. “Oil is going to run out,” she said.
Emily Dingman helped plan the trip, and her interest is in water quality. She says it will take over thee million gallons of water every day to transport the tar sands oil through the pipeline — water that will be so contaminated it cannot be used again. She calls it, “a massive waste of a life sustaining resource.”
David Haberman, religious studies professor at Indiana University, is not interested in the amount of oil that will be extracted, he’s concerned about the amount of forest that will be destroyed — an area he says is the same size as England.
The protest begins with a rally. We hear from James Hanson, the scientist Hodgdon quoted. Speeches are aimed at the protesters and at Obama himself. They talk about bi-partisan cooperation (which makes one person in the crowd so angry he starts yelling and walks away to rejoin the marchers later). The talking goes on long enough that people get antsy — everyone here is ready to get to the main event.
So the walking begins. The people gathered in the park split off in two directions to meet in the middle, singing and chanting the entire time. When everyone meets in front of the White House, there are three separate lines to accommodate everyone. They link hands and continue the chanting (and in the case of the Bloomington contingent, do a little dancing).
This is it. The line stays here for about 15 minutes before heading back to the park, hoping to make their point simply by showing up.
According to the protesters, this is what democracy looks like — and Obama should agree. Let me end with more of his own words. “Change doesn’t come from Washington, change comes to Washington.”
This week's Pre-Apocalypse News & Info Quiz (PANIQuiz) brought to you by Michael and Jim, the ApocaDocs.
Check out their free book: "Humoring the Horror of the Converging Emergencies"
This Week's PANIQuestions (Answers below):
1. What do court documents reveal regarding Shell in the Niger Delta?
a. They were the first to frack in Africa.
b. They refused to share any profits with indigenous peoples.
c. They were fighting for living wages.
d. They paid Nigerian military to suppress protests.
e. They wanted the name changed to Shell Delta.
2. What decision by the US government are oil companies celebrating?
a. The appointment of an oil man as Energy Czar.
b. The cessation of all support for renewable energy sources.
c. To allow the sale of oil drilling leases in the Arctic waters.
d. The suspension of all regulations associated with oil drilling.
e. The pursuit of prosecution against BP.
3. What destructive organism has invaded Miami?
a. Giant African land snails
c. Snow birds
d. Asian carp
e. Bi-pedal dolphins
4. Why are people in the South Pacific bathing in lagoons?
a. Because their baliha'is are hanging low.
b. Perverted government mandate.
c. They've seen it in movies.
d. 'Cause it's sexier.
e. A lack of fresh water.
5. What was Joe Romm, former assistant energy secretary, referring to
when he said "Sadly, it's probably too late to save much of it"?
a. Obama's presidency
b. Coral reefs
d. The Gulf of Mexico
6. In 15 years, how has the birth defect rate in China changed?
a. It's increased 70 percent.
b. It hasn't changed.
c. It's decreased 50 percent.
d. It's increased 30 percent.
e. No one knows, that information is classified!
7. What, according to the World Wildlife Fund, is "veering close to
a. The Great Lakes
b. Donald Trump's hair
c. Planet Earth
d. The Marcellus Shale
e. Nebraskan prairie
8. How much manure can a dairy cow produce in one day?
a. 140 pounds
b. 80 pounds
c. Enough to fill a hot tub
d. Enough to kill a man
e. Its own weight
9. On a recent Sunday what did the city of Milan do about its smog
b. Gave out respirators.
c. Threw a massive "carbon neutrality" parade.
d. Banned cars.
e. Dispatched giant zeppelin vacuum cleaners.
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