2011 Mandzik-Senger Christmas Farm Spectacular

A German Christmas Eve

  • Bratwurst Sausage
  • Blaukraut (sauerkraut with red cabbage)
  • Bundt cake (“bundt” is derived from the German Bundkuchen)

The City Diner Breakfast

  • Coffee
  • Eggs with Potatoes
  • Flapjacks
  • Breakfast sausage or bacon
  • Butter (regular for me, soy butter for everybody else)
  • Maple Syrup with Cinnamon
  • Sliced Apples

Chesapeake Christmas Dinner

  • Fish with Brussels sprouts
  • Cauliflower Soup
  • Salad (greens, apples/pears, nuts, feta)
  • Bundt Cake

Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy

In 1985 a small group of concerned citizens set off on a mission to protect the last remaining wetlands in Huntington Beach, some 147 acres out of what used to be over 3,000.

Today, their dream is coming true as the Huntington Beach Wetland Conservancy owns and has restored a majority of the land, some 100 acres from the Santa Ana River to the AES Power Plant.

The remaining pieces are a 44-acre parcel located between Newland and Beach Blvd, and a tiny triangle, some 7/10 an acre, sandwiched between the Huntington Waterfront Hilton and a new residential neighborhood. These, too, will soon be owned by the Conservancy.

Here is how that Newland Marsh looks now:

Dry, full of trash and non-native invasive plants

And, the restored marshes:

That's a Grey Heron in the center drinking some water (click pic to view large size).

The difference is clearly the water.

Why Wetlands?

A wetland is “the link between land and water and are some of the most productive ecosystems in the world. Some common names for different types of wetlands are swamp, marsh and bog.

Continue reading Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy

Chipotle: the model fast food chain

There are only a few places that I recommend eating at and Chipotle is one of them. The food is quality and the ownership cares equally about health and profits. Which sets them apart from all other fast food chains.

pronounced: chi-poht-lay

Our country has reached a strange time when a “green” company is booming during a recession. Yet, it is happening all across the country. Since 2006, Chipotle has tripled is revenue and doubled the number of stores.

Which makes it all the more unique that they don’t advertise on TV. They have no Ronald McDonald or Jared the weight loss wunder-kid (Subway).

Just what are they doing to convince you to buy their burritos?

They are raising prices and improving quality…and people are loving them for it!

Maybe Americans really do want good food, or perhaps they are beginning to recognize the quality difference. Either way this is worth looking into…

The story starts back in 1999, when founder Steve Ells visited a farm. What he saw was a CAFO and it disturbed him deeply. Ever since he has been on a mission to fix the problem.

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“I did not want Chipotle’s success to be tied to this kind of exploitation.”

Steve Ells, Founder & CEO

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Fast forward to today and Chipotle has one of the most effective sustainable and ethically sourced supply chains. They even buy meat from Polyface farms which was featured in the book Omnivore’s Dilemma.

They have an amazingly strong commitment to meat free of hormones, antibiotics, and cages. Produce that is organic, local, and fresh produce. Well, most of the time…

While the farmers markets in this country are exploding, the transition to big business is hitting roadblocks. Small farmers are great for us locavores, but to meet the needs of a typical Chipotle requires much more. A cooperative network of farms, trucks, coordinated deliveries, and processing facilities.

This means that Chipotle restaurants can’t go completely organic and sustainable. They have to wait for the infrastructure to be built, or build it themselves.

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Ells said in his statement to Congress:

“This move transformed the way we run our business…it set us on a journey to examine each of the ingredients we use to make our food, and how we could get them from more sustainable sources.”

Ells concedes that Chipotle’s business model is not easily replicated by other restaurant companies as the supply of ingredients from more sustainable sources is limited, and the costs tend to be higher for buyers of these better ingredients.

“Chipotle is a unique success story in that we have found a way to serve more expensive, sustainably raised ingredients, but in a way that remains affordable to the average customer.”

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I can’t say enough about what they are doing. We are all living in a better world because of their work.

If you want to learn more about Chipotle’s commitments visit their Food With Integrity program.

In the meantime, watch this 2-minute animation they made.

The song is a Willie Nelson cover of Coldplay’s “The Scientist,” and it’s pretty powerful:

This is not their first foray into the movie business. In 2009, the company sponsored free screenings of the movie Food Inc. in 32 cities.

For this short they are purchasing time to show it as a preview at 5,700 movie theaters around the country.

Thank you Chipotle!

The Sustainable Executive Order – 13514

The Department of Energy (DOE/FEMP) is holding a monthly online seminar focusing on sustainability. The sessions provide support for legions of federal workers that are leading the nation into our new green economy.

The first session (of six) focuses on Executive Order 13514, commonly called the sustainable order. The following training sessions are as follows:

  • Mar 4 – Energy 101
  • Apr 1 – Water Efficiency Planning and Implementation
  • May 6 – Federal Greenhouse Gas Accounting and Reporting
  • Jun 3 – Advanced Metering Requirements and Best Practices
  • Jul 1 – Operations, Maintenance, and Commissioning

Each session is available for free through online video streaming.

I attended the first one (virtually) and here are my notes. Also, I am keeping out the presenters emails but if you have questions and would like their contacts, please let me know.

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“As the largest consumer of energy in the US economy the Federal government can and should lead by example when it comes to creating innovative ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency, conserve water, reduce waste, and use environmentally-responsible products and technologies.”

The thinking behind the Order is to:

  • have the federal government “lead by example”
  • “take pride in agency accomplishments” (highlight work already being done)
  • encourage agencies to think “integrated planning”
  • push/pull/force agencies to reach across “stovepipes”

The Federal Government:

  • Occupies nearly 500,000 buildings
  • Operates more than 500,000 vehicles
  • Employs more than 1.8 million civilians
  • Purchases more than $500 billion per year in goods and services

Benefits to the Nation:

  • Energy savings – Avoided Costs – Jobs – Innovations – Improvements to Local Infrastructure

Policy:

  • Establish an integrated agency strategy for sustainability, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions within the federal government in order to lead by example and achieve a clean energy economy.
    • “really talking about practical application”
    • “requires strategic perspective bringing together the right components”
    • “planning is crucial”

Goals:

  • GHG reduction targets, energy efficiency, water use efficiency and mgmt, pollution prevention, waste elimination
  • Regional and local integrated planning
  • High performance sustainable Federal buildings
  • Sustainable acquisition
  • Electronics stewardship
  • Environmental mgmt systems

Scopes in Greenhouse Gasses, asking for an absolute percentage reduction target for FY 2020, relative to FY 2008. Due:

  • Scope 1-2 – jan 4, 2010
  • Scope 3 – jun 2, 2010

By FY 2015 achieve a %50 or higher solid waste diversion and construction/demolition diversion

This represents “nothing less than a transformational shift in how federal governments operate”

Additional Work

  • DOE to develop greenhouse gas accounting and reporting recommendations by April/Oct
  • DOT to site sustainable locations for federal facilities
  • GSA to develop local transportation logistics
  • DOE to write federal fleet mgmt guidance
  • GSA to pass along vendor and contractor emissions guidnace
  • EPA to write stormwater guidance for federal facilities

Full copy of the briefing: Executive Order 13514 Training