It’s an exciting month for Central FL Green Guide writers! This site has been recommended in this month’s Orlando Leisure Magazine. An articled entitled “Act Naturally” focuses on local businesses and resources for those who are interested in eco-friendly living. I noticed that some of our very own Green Guide writers own businesses that were mentioned in the article. If you have a minute, it’s definitely worth a read!
Archive for May, 2009
Posted in Natural Pet Care, tagged holistic pet food, holistic pet supplies, natural pet food products, natural pet products, organic dog treats, pet nutrition, Pookies Bow Wow Bakery on May 31, 2009 | Leave a Comment »
Almost two years ago I made the decision to start feeding our cat healthier food since we had cleaned up our family’s diet. A friend had recommended Innova brand cat food, which after making some calls I found that Pookie’s carried it. At the same time I tried a brand of raw cat food which my cat loved, but I decided to stick with the Innova since it was less messy.
I love that the store is small and pet friendly- owners can bring their cat or dog in while shopping. The staff has always been very friendly, knowledgable and helpful. Besides a wide range of cat and dog food, the store carries pet bedding, toys, and freshly baked dog treats. I will admit that we don’t have a dog but have bought the treats to enjoy for ourselves. They are wheat free and some are vegan….and though they are a little dry, they taste good!
Pookie’s has locations in Winter Park and Ocoee. For more information you can visit Pookies website.
According to a local website, a “Green Street Fair” will take place tomorrow in Deland:
|Learn about innovations that reduce energy consumption and help the environment, green success stories, the latest trends in green development and investment opportunities. Featuring green thinkers from various segments of the community.
There will also be food, face painting, music in the park, “breakout sessions” with keynote speakers, and a secure hazardous-waste collection point for cell phones, batteries and electronics.
|Location: West Indiana Avenue|
Writing a blog about living green and eating organic has introduced me to many new concepts, and helped me learn more about some old ones. Composting food and yard wastes has been a method of disposal since the beginning of time. We didn’t always have garbage disposals and landfills. Nowadays, most of my household wastes end up in a healthy soil amendment that helps me grow rich, nutritious Basil for my favorite Organic Bruschetta recipe.
After setting up organic lawn care with Jolly Green Planet last summer, I learned that owner, Vicki and Becca, are bubbling cauldrons of knowledge on this subject. Curiously, they each accomplish their composting inside by using a worm bin. I imagine this is a real conversation starter their homes.
With help from the Jolly Green Planet staff, I easily began learning how to compost my kitchen and household wastes. For a small fee, you can get a one-hour consultation. They’ll give you many variations on how to do it; it’s up to you to choose your method. For me, it is more of a choice not to send all that stuff to the landfill, rather to use if for a good purpose. Food and plant wastes have nutritional value that should not be wasted. Yes, you can even send your wilted floral arrangement and weeds to the compost pile. This value is recaptured and reincorporated into your plantings, after composting is complete.
You’d be surprised at how much the scrap paper adds up. Try this experiment at your home for one week. Save all waste paper of any kind, even your toilet paper rolls, paperboard boxes, receipts and straw wrappers. And don’t forget the lint from your dryer. Yes! It’s compostable too. You’ll see what I mean after you do this little exercise. All that stuff can go into your compost, instead of the landfill.
There are a number of options for making compost that don’t have to be messy. Vicki and Becca at Jolly Green Planet have been very helpful in teaching me how to make my compost in my yard. But I haven’t missed the message. They can also sell me a compost bin for my home that looks like any other kitchen appliance; one of them looks like my trash compactor, which isn’t seeing much action these days. And if I am really adventurous, I can choose to use a worm bin. Sounds yucky, I know. But, really, there are no smells or mess. These cool composting worms efficiently transform your household leftovers into a rich soil enhancement and deliver you fresh compost to use, share, or store for later.
Compost From the Worm Bin
Ready to Use
Of course, you don’t have to buy an appliance for composting. You can do what I do. I make my compost outside. I simply used some garden fencing to box in a hidden area behind some bushes. Then I started adding leftover foods (no meat, meat fat, or dairy), yard waste and paper. I leave out paper that is heavily coated with varnish (like magazine covers), but include cardboard like cereal boxes and shipping boxes. I keep this pile covered with heavy plastic that I purchased at a local hardware store.
According to Vicki, my pile should always smell like a rain forest, or it means I need more “brown” material, like dead leaves, paper, cardboard and sticks. You get it, the dead, dried up stuff. Even coffee grounds and eggshells are good for your compost. No more broken garbage disposal problems, as you won’t be using it much.
Of course, there are other factors involved in making compost, but we don’t really want to run a race here. I’ve chosen to make my compost at the rate Mother Nature chooses. My friends at Jolly Green Planet will be happy to assist you with your composting. Whatever way you choose to make it, your plants will love you for it.
Grown with Composted Soil Enhancement
What about Central Florida’s dog parks? Which ones are best for young children to visit? First things first. If you plan to bring multiple children and dogs, you’ll need some help. You’ll want to have one adult for every dog and child. This will give you maximum control.
Your next strategy should be to choose a smaller park for your first few visits, and try to go at a less busy time. If you are able, a first timer should consider a week day visit, rather than Saturday or Sunday.
Keep in mind that it isn’t just your child who is learning to act appropriately in a dog park. It is also easier for Fido to integrate himself socially with a smaller pack at first. Dogs need to learn to socialize correctly also, and this means allowing a friendly butt-sniff. Yep! In the dog world, this is considered the ultimate friendly handshake. As one dog owner I know cleverly put it, “This is how they exchange business cards.” No matter how distasteful you might find this practice, it is natural and friendly for dogs to greet this way.
First timers should check out Pawmosa Park at 140 Plumosa Avenue in Casselberry 32707. Check this link for a map. It is open Sunrise to Sunset. If you have questions or comments, call (407) 262-7720. This is a very small, shady park with nice water facilities and a separate area for small dogs. It is a good place to start your exploration of the Orlando area dog parks because, being so small, you’ll be easily able to keep track of your dog and your child. This is critical to your success.
On the contrary, even experienced dog handlers might find Fleet People’s Park in Winter Park too much, with a toddler and multiple dogs to keep track of. This park is huge and difficult to maintain visibility of more than one dog and children, too. Although the lakefront swimming area is one of this park’s greatest assets, it can be a problem, as the result is often a lot of wet, energetic dogs that sometimes run in groups and can be hazardous to a younger child walking alone.
After you’ve become a regular dog park visitor, your seasoning will give you the confidence to venture out to other dog parks—ones with more space, obstacles, dogs, people and new adventures. Here are a few places you can research dog parks in our area, to find ones that are close by or have features you desire.
- Orange County Dog Parks
- Florida Pets
- Orlando and Central Florida Dog Parks
- Off-Leash Parks in the Orlando Area
- Orlando and Central Florida Dog Parks Blog
If variety is the spice of life for us, imagine the excitement of a new dog park to your pup and your children. Yes, I am suggesting that you enjoy visiting a number of parks. You’ll eventually settle on a favorite, and meet a lot of nice people and pups in the process. Best of all, your children will be learning about the social structure of canine packs–Mother Nature at work.
I’d like to wrap us this series on green family fun at the dog park with a note on good citizenship. Dog parks were created for friendly dogs to have a place to run free. Most are government owned and this means tax dollars support your fun. You can do your part to help keep them clean, green and open by taking care to clean up after your pet. Set the example for your child by picking up a few extra piles while you’re at it, and you’ll soon have another green volunteer in your family, helping to keep our dog parks healthy for us all.
Want to learn more about how you can help? Visit Adopt a Dog Park for information on how you can volunteer to care for your favorite dog park. You can be your furry best friend’s hero. See you at the park!
Complete Soccer Academy in Apopka opened their CSA Preschool program this past fall. My son Dax was one of their first students and we have been there to see the school grow and now expand into providing voluntary prekindergarten (VPK). CSA Preschool’s philosophy and environment focuses on a preschooler’s natural development to learn through movement. I am so thankful to have found a place where my son is encouraged to run, play and explore while learning.
A typical day at CSA Preschool starts out with a sports class for 45 minutes. Expert instructors in soccer, yoga or gymnastics take the kids through fun activities geared for their age and skill level. The emphasis here is on fun and encouraging gross motor development. After sports class, they have a large group meeting around the big circle. Here they go over the topic of the day, the calendar, and early concepts like letters, numbers, shapes or colors.
Next they move on to an hour of choice time in the Learning Centers. The Learning Centers include Construction & Design, Dramatic Play, Creativity & Art, Reading & Listening, Math & Manipulatives, Science & Sensory, Writing, and Sports. Each Learning Centers is purposefully set up to develop certain personal and social skills through play. For example, the CSA Preschool website describes the Construction & Design Learning Center as follows,
Children have space to engage in construction activities and let their imaginations soar. Some typical items in this center include:
- Numerous sets of blocks of all shapes and sizes: Lincoln Logs, wooden blocks, Legos, alphanumeric cubes, KNex
- Large and small trucks, cars, airplanes, ships, and other vehicles
- Racecars and tracks
- Wooden train set complete with trains, tracks, tunnels, bridges, map, people, and accessories
- Construction toys, hammers, wrenches, bolts and screws
- Theme related books plus paper and pencils so they can draft design plans and illustrate structures
What children do:
Practice designing, building, organizing and implementing projects.
What children learn:
Cognitive skills such as classification, spatial relationships, balance and cause and effect.
How children grow:
Children gain a great deal of personal satisfaction and pleasure as they work in groups and build relationships with their peers.
The children have the freedom to move between Learning Centers freely and explore their personal areas of interest. This child-led learning philosophy is one of the reasons the program has been such a good fit for our family.
During this time kids may also work in small groups or may be pulled to work individually on needed skills. Small class size ensures that each child gets the individual attention that he or she needs. Classes are capped at ten children for one teacher or 18 children with two teachers. After Learning Centers the children then clean up and have lunch. They end their day with free play.
Through Seminole County, CSA Preschool offers free voluntary prekindergarten (VPK). If your child turns four prior to September 1, 2009 he or she is eligible for VPK for the 2009-2010 school year. The VPK program at CSA Preschool runs Monday through Friday from 9am to 12pm or Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 9am to 2pm. CSA Preschool currently has openings in either session.
CSA Preschool is a thirty-minute drive for us each way so I researched other VPK providers that were closer to home. I was discouraged to find programs that seemed to have less emphasis on personal choice and individual development. I found many programs that scheduled all of the VPK hours in the first semester by requiring attendance five days a week all day, leaving no VPK hours for second semester. I also found one program that would not accommodate our personal meal preference of a vegetarian diet without refined sugar. My research only strengthened my preference for CSA Preschool and highlighted their unique set up.
We understand that young children naturally need to get out of their seats, move and play. A strong, active body is crucial for building a strong, active mind.
Missy Rodriguez is the Preschool Director and she is licensed through DCF. Missy strives to make many of the activities from found items and recycles materials for later use throughout the year. Kevin Bowersox is the Preschool Assistant. Before coming to CSA Preschool, he taught PE at Wekiva Elementary for four years. He also coaches some of the soccer classes.
If you have a preschooler, stop in and discover CSA Preschool in Apopka. They offer flexible and affordable programs for kids ages three to five. These include two, three or five day preschool programs plus VPK. The school year ends June 5 so stop by now to check out your options for next fall. Complete Soccer Academy offers soccer camp all summer for kids five and over so you can stop in to see the facility throughout the summer months.
For more information please visit the CSA Preschool website or call
Kristy has one son and since his birth she’s been researching to find healthier ways to do things and live a life of less impact. In a city that is less than “crunchy” it has been an adventure and she hopes to share some of what she’s learned both here and at her store Wee Willie Winks where she offers cloth diapers and other earth/child friendly parenting solutions. She also hosts Cloth Diaper News.
Posted in Deals Around Town, Fair Trade, Fun Stuff for Kids, Local "Green" Events, tagged artists, dandelion communitea cafe, drum circle, Fair Trade, fair trade for greater orlando, FLorida School of Holistic Living, James Roquemore, Lonely Heroes, Misty Forest, music, Peter Baldwin, Serendipity Sqaure, swap meet, the painted ladies, Token Gamblers, wesak on May 8, 2009 | 1 Comment »
Don’t miss the 4th Annual World Fair Trade Day on May 9th! Here’s info from several fliers so you get all the Saturday goodness in one spot. Dont’ forget to sign the Fair Trade For Greater Orlando petition!
4th Annual World Fair Trade Day at
618 N. Thornton Ave
Orlando, FL 32803
Fair Trade means a fair wage for farmers and artisans who produce the items we consume and enjoy, a better future for our planet and a tastier, higher quality product for you.
This year’s festival will include amazing veg food, Orlando Brewing beer, live music, Orlando’s finest local artisans of all kinds (just in time for Mother’s Day!) including handmade jewelry, crafts, live art, massage, henna, and so much more! Face-painting, pottery, and other children’s activities will be provided by Misty Forest Enrichment Center. Bring the family out to learn something new and have a great time at it!
6:00 AM — Celebrate Wesak with the Florida School of Holistic Living in our community education garden, under the Bodhi tree, on Saturday May 9, 2009.
At 6 am, a washing ceremony will be held under the tree. It will be informal and open to all who desire to come. In many traditions, washing the Buddha symbolizes washing away of our own greed, hatred, and ignorance, and the purification of our mind.
World Fair Trade Day Schedule
World Fair Trade Day opens at Noon with a great line up of special speakers and musicians!
12:00-12:40 - TBA
12:40- 1:00 - Emily Ruff from Florida School of Holistic Living
1:00- 1:40 - The Painted Ladies
1:40- 2:00 - Fair Trade sports balls (Scott Tess)
2:00- 2:40 - James Roquemore
2:40- 3:00 - Natasha
3:00- 3:40 - Peter Baldwin
3:40- 4:00 - Coffee Break
4:00- 4:55 - Lonely Heroes
5:00- 5:55 - Token Gamblers
More Fun — Serendipity Square
This is an eclectic swap meet where LA meets NY in Orlando. You can find new designers with cool items, art, vintage, antiques, and many one of a kind items. Let’s go green with our toy swap bring an unwanted toy and trade it out! Hosted by the ladies of Misty Forest right next to Dandelion! It happens every Second Saturday and the next swap is also on May 9!
At 6 pm, we will gather once more in community meditation under the Bodhi tree. The evening will continue with a Full Moon Drum Circle from 7-10 pm; meditation, flutes, bowls, and soft percussion instruments will continue in the garden throughout the evening.
I got a shout out from the Green Cities Florida Folks. The conference is May 20 and 21 at the conventions center. You can also read the new Florida Sustainability Survey Results. But here’s the scoop on the Tweetup on May 6th!
Want to meet some of the folks headed to Green Cities Florida while enjoying some of the finest organic beer ever made? Yes…yes you do!
We will be hosting a GreenTweetup on May 6th at 7 PM! Mark your calendars and watch our tweets for updates. In the mean time, be sure to follow @GreenCitiesNews, on Twitter, Thursday at 1:00 pm for our next tweetaway. We will have 2 1-day passes (you choose the day) and this prize package from the Orlando Brewing Company
- A private tour for 10 of the Orlando Brewing Company
- Certificate of Participation
- 1 flight of 4 samples per person
- Valued at $200
Orlando Brewing is Florida’s only certified organic brewery. What does it mean to be organic? It means that ingredients used in crafting our ales are grown without insecticides, bioengineering, or irradiation. Our Blonde Ale has been officially certified Organic by the USDA. Our beers are the only ones declared “Fresh From Florida” by the State’s Department of Agriculture. You can taste the difference.
They brew in accordance with the German Purity Law of 1516. This means they use only natural, organic ingredients and never any cheap fillers or adjuncts. The beer is fresh and never pasteurized.
Come visit us! We are located near Downtown Orlando at 1301 Atlanta Avenue (adjacent to the Orlando Amtrak Station).
For more information, visit www.orlandobrewing.com
The Green Cities Florida Conference is coming up soon! While you can download the full PDF (green-cities-florida-introduction) here are the highlights:
This unique event, designed specifically for the state of Florida, brings state and national leading experts on sustainability, emerging technologies, and green government together.
Join others in governments (federal, state, regional, and local), businesses, non-profits, and organizations for two days and leave with tools and resources to help improve policies, operations, and materials in ways that save money, generate jobs, conserve resources, and protect our environment.
Hear about new legislation and numerous executive orders from Governor Crist, which mandate significant CO2 reductions and help drive this momentum.
Preview of Speakers
- Orange County Mayor Richard Crotty
- City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer
- John Adams, Enterprise Florida, Inc.
- Gil Friend, Natural Logic Inc.
- Jerome Ringo, Apollo Alliance
- Mike Italiano, Market Transformation to Sustainability
- Lori Cunniff, Orange County
- Devesh Nirmul, Miami-Dade County
- Commissioner Sharon Staub, Sarasota County
- Dr. Jennifer Languell, Trifecta Construction Solutions
Some other event highlights:
- Detailed analysis of Florida’s share of the stimulus package and best practices for Florida business and government utilization
- Professional and social networking opportunities
- Green Cities™ Showcase of sustainable products and services
- May 20th 5:45pm Opening Celebration for the new Climate Change Education Center at OCCC
- May 20th 9am Ribbon cutting ceremony and official “Flipping the Switch” for the new 1 MW Solar Electric System atop the Orange County Convention Center. (The largest
Hosted by: Orange County and City of Orlando
Sponsored by: Orlando Utilities Commission, Covanta Energy, Dharma Merchant Services, Disney, Sol Inc., the Carbon Concierge and Top Floor Studio.
For more information visit www.GreenCitiesFlorida.com or call 1-800-408-0002