World Soil Day 2022. Soils: Where Food Begins

Today is World Soil Day! Since 2014, the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has hosted this international day celebrating soil. This year’s theme is “Soils: Where Food Begins,” highlighting the connection between healthy ecosystems and human well-being. Today, World Soil Day brings awareness to the growing challenges in soil management and encouraging societies to improve soil health.

Click through to learn more about how important healthy soil is for our food system, our own health, and our survival. For a quick infographic on the importance of balanced nutrients in soil, see here.

How can we support soil fertility to ensure healthy food for ourselves and future generations?

Here at LRSWMD we’re proud to turn your food scraps into nutrient dense, soil-building compost.

Food scraps represent a valuable resource that can be used to restore vitamins and minerals to the soil and to support future harvests. When they’re thrown away, those nutrients are lost.

Compost helps rebuilds soil, including by restoring micronutrients, preventing soil erosion, and suppressing disease. The micronutrients provided by the organic matter in compost are critical for the health of the billions of organisms in the soil who help produce strong and nutritious plants.

Thank you for composting! Not only does keeping your food scraps out of the landfill prevent climate-changing methane emissions, but if you compost at home or bring them to a composter, it keeps resources available to grow nutritious food to keep ourselves and future generations healthy.

Giving Tuesday – Acknowledging our Shared Humanity

As you’ve probably seen on your social media pages and in your inbox, today is Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday reimagines a world built upon shared humanity and generosity.

If you are able to donate financially to your favorite causes today, that’s great! Non-profits and charities are critical to our society’s infrastructure and need all the support that they can get.

But if your budget is maxed out, there are still ways to make an impact in your community and to support the environment. Giving Tuesday has some great ideas here for other ways to help. And check out VTShare’s list of great local organizations serving our communities here in Lamoille County.

If you can’t do something today, make a commitment to do so in the coming weeks – we need a world built upon shared humanity and generosity every day, not just today.

One way we can acknowledge our shared humanity and express generosity toward our fellow creatures and the earth is by being mindful of some of our daily choices.

Sometimes it can feel like, as individuals, we can’t make much of a difference in the world, especially in the face of climate change, environmental disasters, and other systemic issues. After all, we’re all just “one person.” But everything we do – even the small things in our daily lives like carrying reusable water bottles and not regularly buying plastic water bottles, choosing which toilet paper to buy**, and diverting our food scraps from the landfill – does have an impact, especially when added up over time and when we take into consideration our influence on our friends and families.

Of course, nothing is 100% good, nothing is black and white, no one is perfect, and nothing needs to be 100% all the time.

But every small step takes us forward.

This Giving Tuesday, we encourage you to be mindful of the impact of your consumption choices and how you can give back to your community, the world, and future generations by shopping consciously, reducing, reusing, and – as a last resort – recycling. Click through for some ways to give back to the earth in your daily life.

Want to take it a step further to quantify your individual swaps while contributing to good causes every time you make the choice not to use a single-use item like a bag or water bottle? Check out what Fill it Forward is up to.

**Check out NRDC’s latest The Issue with Tissue scorecard to see how your toilet paper, paper towels and tissues measure up in terms of environmental impact. Got a failing grade? Try out one of their superstar brands. In addition to helping save virgin forests, when you buy paper products made from recycled paper, you’re also supporting the recycling industry.

Or cut out paper towels altogether by switching to reusable Swedish dishcloths made of cellulose – they’re more absorbent, washable in the washing machine or dishwasher, and will ultimately save you money.

~Neither websites nor products sold on them are in any way endorsed or supported by the LRSWMD and are provided for informational purposes only

Prevent Food Waste this Thanksgiving

Holiday Food Waste Reduction Tips:

Before the meal

  • Calculate how much food to buy based on the number of expected guests with the Guest-imator
  • Create and stick to shopping lists
  • “Shop” your refrigerator and pantry first
  • Try not to overprepare food if you know you aren’t going to enjoy the leftovers

During the meal

  • Serve food on smaller plates
    • Research shows that just by using smaller plates, we serve ourselves smaller portions. Since our eyes can tend to be bigger than our stomachs, this is a great trick for reducing food waste. People can always go back for seconds if they want more!

After the meal

  • Encourage guests to take leftovers home
    • To prevent plastic waste, encourage your guests ahead of time to bring their own reusable containers with them
  • Store leftovers in the freezer to enjoy later
  • Consider safely sharing extra food with family and donating unopened, non-perishable food items to a local charity (Always contact food rescue organizations in advance of a drop off)
  • Get creative by sprucing up leftovers with the recipe ideas below or search online for others!







National Take a Hike Day

Today is National Take a Hike Day. Here is Vermont we have endless options for leisurely or strenuous hikes, and no shortage of beautiful scenery (even during stick season!). Hiking — or even just walking — has tons of benefits for our mental and physical health.

And while you don’t always need a ton of gear or special clothing to go on a hike, there’s no denying that outdoor gear and specialized clothing (hello water-proof boots and convertible pants!) can play a large role in helping us enjoy earth’s beauty and bounty — from day-long hikes to overnight camping trips.

But what is all this gear made from and where does it go when we are done with it? Many items — like tents and tarps — are almost (but not entirely!) impossible to recycle. Although almost 100% of clothing and other textiles (towels, sheets, etc.) are technically recyclable, only about 14% are. An estimated 92 million tons of textile waste goes into landfills worldwide each year (and 11 million tons in the US alone that’s the weight of about 5.5 million cars!).

This is a waste not only of the valuable recyclable material these items contain, but also of all the energy and resources that went into making them. To give just one example of many, the fashion industry is the one of world’s largest sources of freshwater pollution, and it is the world’s second largest consumer of water (after fruit and vegetable farming).

See below for links to buy used outdoor gear online or check out local thrift shops. A lot of the companies listed below take trade-ins, so if you don’t want to use your gear/clothes until the end of their life, you can trade them in for credit and buy (used if possible!).

And remember, if you do buy new, wear the items for as long as possible! The average garment in the US is worn fewer than 7 times.

And don’t forget, you can always bring your used clothes, shoes, and other textiles to us at Johnson, Stowe, or Worcester sites through our partnership with Helpsy, who will sort, donate, and recycle them as appropriate.

Want to learn more about the environmental impacts of textiles?

Read it:
Saturday Evening Post: Ready-to-Waste: America’s Clothing Crisis
Waste 360: Shining a Light on Retail’s Say-Do Gap
Why Fashion Needs to Be More Sustainable
10 Stunning Fast Fashion Waste Statistics
Textiles: Material-Specific Data

Watch it:
Confronting Shoppers with a Shocking Truth
The Fast Fashion Problem
The High Cost of Our Cheap Fashion
6 Companies Turning Clothing Waste Into Businesses
The Future of Fashion – Made from Mushrooms

National Pickle Day

It’s National Pickle Day! Pickling is an important tool for preventing food waste.

Whether you have too many cucumbers in your garden and want to make a quick pickle or you want to can to ensure that you have bright, crisp veggies come winter, however you do it — pickling helps improve the lifespan of fresh produce and keeps food out of the landfill.

That’s a pretty big dill!

Click the links below for more pickle facts and pickling tips.

Quick Vegetable Pickling Guide to Reduce Food Waste
5 Surprising Food Wastes You Can Pickle
Find Flavour in Everywhere: Pickling for Reducing Food Waste

MORE FUN PICKLE FACTS
Science of Cooking: Fascinating Pickle Facts
Pickle Trivia: 15 Fascinating Facts about Pickles in Honor of National Pickle Day
History in a Jar: Story of Pickles
National Pickle Day: 5 Facts that make pickles a big dill
The Sweet and Sour of National Pickle Week

Ever wondered about the differences between pickling methods?

FERMENTED PICKLES

Fermented pickles or brined pickles undergo a curing process for several weeks in which fermentative bacteria produce acids necessary for the preservation process. These bacteria also generate flavor compounds that are associated with fermented pickles.

Initial fermentation may be followed by the addition of acid to produce such products as half dills or sweet gherkins.

Fermented pickles require sufficient acidity to prevent the growth of Clostridium botulinum (the bacteria that causes botulism) and possible toxin production.

The following safety tips are critical when preparing fermented pickle products:

  • Don’t alter the salt, produce, or water proportions in your recipe.
  • Salt is a critical ingredient for fermented products. It helps to prevent undesirable bacteria from growing so desirable bacteria can produce lactic acid needed for preservation.
  • Use only methods with tested proportions of ingredients that are recommended by the USDA, Minnesota or other state Extension resources, home canning equipment manufacturers, or other reputable sources.
  • Ensure a uniform and adequate level of acid throughout the product using accurate measuring and thorough mixing of ingredients.
  • Follow recommended temperatures, time, and weight usage during fermentation.
  • Keeping the correct temperature during fermentation is critical to producing the needed acid and flavor compounds.

Source: https://extension.umn.edu/preserving-and-preparing/how-make-fermented-pickles

QUICK (“VINEGAR”) PICKLES

The correct combination of acid, spices and sugar with cucumbers creates an acidic food product known as pickles. Many other vegetables, from asparagus to zucchini, can be pickled also. 

Pickling is a relatively easy process, but in order to produce a safe and crisp product follow a recipe specifically designed for the vegetable you’re pickling. Use recipes from a reputable source, such as a state university or extension, the USDA, or recipes provided by home canning equipment manufacturers.

Sources: https://extension.umn.edu/preserving-and-preparing/pickling-basics and https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can6b_pickle.html#gsc.tab=0