A Lot on My Plate

Hello, World! This is my first post! I’ll use it to give you an idea of who I am and what I’m doing here and why I’m blogging about it. My name is Alex, I live in Silver Spring, MD, and I love to cook. I also love dogs, books, and puns. I work in Bethesda, MD, as a Technical Editor, which sounds much more exciting and skill-based than it truly is.

Oh yeah, and I recently joined a CSA! CSA, for those of you who don’t know, stands for Community-Supported Agriculture, and is a way for farmers to sell “shares” of their crop directly to consumers. My CSA is actually a group of local farmers, working through an organization called 4P Foods. Every Friday, I’ll come home to a fresh bag of produce, straight from the farmers! I also happen to be a big and long-time fan of Clean Fairfax, and when I told her my Veggie Tale, fearless leader Jen Cole suggested I blog about it for the Clean Fairfax site. A lot of my produce will be coming from Virginia (and the surrounding area), and I’ve always thought about sharing my (mis)adventures in cooking with the great wide internet, so it sounded like a deal made in heaven. I decided to call this blog “A Lot on My Plate” because I’m constantly overwhelmed and am looking forward to having a lot of fresh, local ingredients on my plates!

Joining a CSA in the winter is a little bit unconventional, I know, but here’s a visual of what I could get:   Winter_Week_3-cdbf9d8c2e

Looks pretty tasty, right? Well, today I’m expecting my first delivery! Here’s what I’ll get in this week’s bag:

  • Fall Carrots – Van Dessel Farm, Accomack, VA
  • Gold Potatoes – Van Dessel Farm, Accomack, VA
  • Local Kombucha – Spicy Ginger & Lavender Mint – No. 1 Sons, Arlington, VA
  • Portabella Mushroom Caps – McDowells Mushrooms, Avondale, PA
  • Red Medium Beets – Van Dessel Farm, Accomack, VA
  • Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – Fresh2o, Stevensburg, VA
  • Ruby Red Grapefruit – Paramont Citrus Farm, Clermont, FL
  • Stone Ground Cornmeal – Woodson’s Mill, Lowesville, VA
  • Watercress Bunch – Mock’s Farm – Berkeley Springs, WV
  • Yellow Delicious Apples – Crown Orchards, Albermarle, VA

I don’t know about you, but I’m awfully excited about it. Every week, 4P emails me a newsletter with what will be in that week’s bag, along with storage tips, recipes, and even a couple of fun facts. To start, I’ll probably post once or twice a week (or every other week, depending on how quickly I devour my haul) with a new recipe I’ve tried. I’ll try to include helpful pictures and descriptions, as well as maybe some anecdotes, fun facts, or puns along the way.


Clean Fairfax Reusable Bag Giveaway!

Clean Fairfax Reusable Bag Giveaway!

The first 50 people who sign up to become a National Wildlife Federation (NWF)EcoLeader  will receive a free reusable Clean Fairfax shopping bag. The bags can be used when you are grocery shopping, storing materials, or traveling. It is also be shaped into a small ball, so you can store it and take it when you are on the go. You can use it for your personal needs, or present it as a gift for your eco-friendly family, coworkers, and friends for the holidays.

Why should you join EcoLeaders? Learn more about it here.

Here are the rules:

  1. Sign up to become a NWF EcoLeader here

  2. Where the section says “who referred you,” click on “other” and type in Clean Fairfax

  3. Completly fill out your profile, including declaring your EcoMission, and profile picture

  4. Send your profile link and mailing address to hala@cleanfairfax.org

*Only one bag will be given out to the accounts made for each individual (many accounts of the same person would not be accepted).

Environmental News Roundup – October 21, 2015

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Mom’s Organic Market Herndon Grand Reopening

Join us for the Grand Re-Opening of Mom’s Organic Market in Herndon, featuring local tastings, henna art and more.

Clean Fairfax is pleased to be in attendance at the grand re-opening of Mom’s Organic Market in Herndon, VA. There will be a Naked Lunch – an all organic eatery featuring soups, bowls and raw juices! Come by and do some grocery shopping, try the local tastings, henna art, and much more. 5% of Grand Re-Opening sales will be donated to Clean Fairfax.

If you would like to volunteer, please send an email to cfc@cleanfairfax.org. We could use a few extra pair of hands, and we have fun things planned throughout the day.

Friday October 23 3 p.m.-6 p.m.

Saturday Oct 24 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Sunday October 25 12 p.m.-3 p.m.

Molly's Sketchbook: Back to School Lunch Bag

As Schools Buy More Local Food, Kids Throw Less Food In The Trash

As hungry children stand in line each day for lunch, many school districts across the country are making an effort to serve food that was grown locally. When there was an increase of local food being served, the children ate more healthy meals and threw less food in the trash. Washington, D.C. school districts has been promoting this effort. Other schools across the U.S. are also following this route as well.

Obligatory Selfie Avec Camera

Northern Virginia Conservation Trust (NVCT) Photography Competition

Do you love taking pictures, the environment, and wildlife? NVCT is holding a Second Annual Nearby Nature Photography Competition. Up to five photos can be submitted. The deadline is on midnight November 2, 2015. The winners will be announced in mid-November, and prizes will be from local businesses and organizations. Additionally, the winning photos will be included in the next edition of the Stewardship Connection, NVCT’s website, Facebook page, and other NVCT publications. More information can be found here.

Solar-Powered Glowing Bicycle Path In Netherlands Inspired By Van Gogh’s Starry Night

Daan Roosegaarde, a Dutch artist and designer has created a stunning glowing bike bath. At night, it is illuminated by glowing pebbles and LEDs, which resembles Van Gogh’s famous Starry Night painting.

The path was created using glow-in-the-dark technology and solar-powered LEDs. The glowing path assists bicyclists stay on track when they ride on night. Similar beautiful environmental glowing paths are also in some parts of the U.K. This might be a new trend that catches on other parts of the world.

Environmental News Roundup – October 14, 2015

Environmental News Roundup – October 14, 2015

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Big Apple-based Big Farms growing greenhouse in Culpeper

BrightFarms, a greenhouse aquaponics developer, has opened its doors to the public in Culpepper County, Virginia. This project has increased the production of local produce and 24 new jobs. Most of our produce comes from California, Florida, Arizona, Mexico, and Canada. This causes the price and travel time of the produce to increase, and the quality to decline. In addition to the aquaponics system, there are interior beehives that assist with the pollination. Since this new project is local to Virginia, D.C., and Maryland, it cuts the time and cost of transportation, while growing produce that is free of pesticides and GMOs.

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Johnie Forte, Jr. Memorial Environmental Education Grant

The Johnie Forte, Jr. Memorial Environmental Education Grant is open to all Fairfax County Public and Private Schools, clubs, and programs that reside in schools. Fairfax County Schools and environmental clubs can earn a grant of $250-$500 to carry out their environmental projects involving sustainability initiatives, litter prevention and control, recycling, reuse, composting etc.  

All requests must include an itemized budget. Additionally, they need to be completed by the end of the school year, unless more time is specifically requested. Projects which are awarded grants are invited, but not required to present their program results at SpringFest 2015.

*This grant is sponsored by Clean Fairfax and Fairfax County Recycling Program.

Lexus Made A Cardboard Car That Actually Drives

Recently, Lexus reviled a car that is made out of cardboard, and runs on an electric engine. Over the steel and aluminum frame, the car included 1,700 recyclable sheets of cardboard. The team consisted of five people. Together, they came up with the digital design, modeling, laser cutting, and assembly. The car was on display at the Grand Designs Live event in England.  

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Two tales of one village

Last October, Yirca, Turkey went through a devastation of many olive trees from a coal company. Late last year, officials declared in court that the destruction of olive groves illegal. In the same village, GreenPeace has installed solar panels electricity systems in the village’s school, mosque, and cemetery. Moving away from the dependency of fossil fuel, now the village can use renewable energy powered from the sun. The installation of the solar panels included the village’s school, mosque, and cemetery. With the help of local people, volunteers from eight different countries, and GreenPeace, the residents from Yirca can enjoy renewable solar energy, and remove dependency from coal.    


Digital Responsibility is Offering an Environmental Scholarship

Digital Responsibility is Offering an Environmental Scholarship

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Our friends at Digital Responsibility are offering a $1,000 E-waste scholarship to high school, college, and graduate students, who are interested in the environment.

“The purpose of this scholarship is to help you understand the impact of e-waste and what can be done to reduce e-waste” (Digital Responsibility).

For more information, check out their website and be thinking of the best 140 character application you can! Hurry up, the deadline is on April 30, 2105!


Document Shredding

Document Shredding

Shredder, Crushed, Paper, Flakes, Paper Strip, Shredded

Document Shredding Event on March 21

Fairfax County will host a document shredding event on Saturday, March 21, from 8 a.m. to noon, at the Mason District Government Center (6507 Columbia Pike, Annandale 22003).
We will not accept paper documents from businesses at these events. Please remove all paper from binders and remove binder clips, plastic page covers and binding. Information stored on film or computer disks and credit cards will not be accepted – paper documents only.
All documents will be securely shredded on-site by a private contractor and the shredded material will be taken to a local recycling facility for processing. For additional information related to shredding events, go to www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/recycling/shredding.htm.
Each of these events are free services for Fairfax County residents. No business waste will be accepted at these events. Please visit the Fairfax County Solid Waste Management Program website – www.fairfaxcounty.gov/recycling – for additional information about trash and recycling topics in Fairfax County. You can also contact our office by calling 703-324-5230, TTY 711.

Conservation Assistance Program

Conservation Assistance Program

Funding Assistance for Conservation Work on Homeowner and Community Association Property

Have you ever thought about improving your community’s common lands by installing a rain garden to capture runoff, incorporating native meadow or tree and shrub species into your landscaping, or even installing porous pavers on a portion of your parking lot? Do you want to improve the energy efficiency of your community’s clubhouse or other shared building? These practices and more are now eligible for cost-share funding through the newly-launched Conservation Assistance Program (CAP).

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Visit the CAP webpage on the Conservation District’s website to learn more about eligible practices, funding levels, and who can apply. Applications are due by March 11th, so don’t delay!

For other updates, please consider subscribing to NVSWCD’s monthly watershed calendar. Email conservationdistrict@fairfaxcounty.gov to subscribe.

Article Roundup: 10 Nutty Facts about Squirrels

Squirrels have been around for ages. . . and they are EVERYWHERE. Yet, not many people know much about these furry little creatures. A blog released by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), includes 10 nutty facts about squirrels.

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  1. Squirrels can find food buried beneath a foot of snow.
  2. A squirrel’s front teeth never stop growing.
  3. Squirrels may lost 25% of their buried food to thieves.
  4. They zigzag to escape predators.
  5. Squirrels may pretend to bury a nut to throw off potential thieves.
  6. A newborn squirrel is about an inch long.
  7. Humans introduced squirrels to most of our major city parks.
  8. Squirrels are acrobatic, intelligent and adaptable.
  9. They get bulky to stay warm during the winter.
  10. Squirrels don’t dig up all of their buried nuts, which results in more trees!

To find out more information about squirrels and ways to celebrate them, click here.