Posts tagged ‘Madison’

Small Business Saturday

small_business_saturday

It’s that time of year again. Holiday season is upon us! But while you’re looking for the perfect gift for your loved ones, are you considering where your money is going?

According to UC-San Diego, buying from locally owned stores not only reduces carbon emissions but can benefit the local economy as well. When you spend $100 at a chain store, only $43 goes back into the local community. However, if you spend the same amount at a local store, $68 stays in the community. This means more money is going to people in your neighborhood rather than chains across the country. Other studies have shown that the money spent at local stores is more likely to be spent at other local businesses, which helps to strengthen the economic base of the community. Local businesses are also more likely to hire local residents and support other local businesses as well.

Buying local is also more sustainable and can lower your carbon footprint. Many local stores have products that were made or grown locally, meaning that less fuel was used to bring that product to the store. Many chain stores ship their inventory from large warehouses across the country, which can use large amounts of fuel and release many harmful emissions. Products found in chain stores are typically made in bulk and the creation process can produce a lot of excess material and waste. In addition, typically local stores are more centrally located in a community than chain stores since they usually require less space. This makes it easier to walk or ride your bike to the store, further cutting down your carbon footprint.

Supporting local businesses also keeps the community unique. Where we shop, eat, and spend our free time helps to make our community our home. Frequenting a local business allows you to meet and establish a relationship with the owner and employees. This can lead to better service and assurance of quality products since we are more likely to help those we have relationships with. Local businesses also help create a distinct character in the community and can attract tourists that will help strengthen the local economy as well.

Local businesses are important for keeping our community unique and economically strong. Support your community this holiday season by buying local. Instead of participating in Black Friday shopping this year, participate in Small Business Saturday! For a list of local Madison businesses, go here.

Image: www.smallbusinesscomputing.com

Advertisements

November 17, 2014 at 12:54 pm Leave a comment

Summer Adventures

ALNC logo

Since its creation in 1994, the Aldo Leopold Nature Center (ALNC) has helped connect many people, young and old, to nature in south-central Wisconsin.  The center continues to successfully foster the development of a deeper understanding of the land for citizens of Madison and the surrounding areas in the way that naturalist, Aldo Leopold, did decades ago.  Through programming including pre-school, summer camps, after school programs, public programs, special events, and more, ALNC has also fostered “admiration and respect for nature, and encourages sustainability and stewardship of the land”.

The ALNC has two facilities that they maintain year-round for environmental education opportunities.  According to the ALNC website the Monona Campus provides interpretive trails spanning 94 acres that lead visitors through a wide variety of ecosystems and habitats.  The Black Earth Campus provides 38 acres of “rugged, unglaciated terrain” for hiking.  Additionally, on both of these campuses, there are many buildings for programming and special events that visitors can take full advantage of.

So this summer when you or your family is looking for an outdoor adventure to be able to enjoy Wisconsin’s environment sun up to sun down, look no further than the Aldo Leopold Nature Center.  With your participation and with so much to offer on both campuses, ALNC is clearly leading the way to engage, educate and empower the next generation of stewards of the land for a healthy, happy and sustainable future.

Image: http://aldoleopoldnaturecenter.org/

June 23, 2014 at 2:30 pm Leave a comment

Think Local First

Image

When shopping for household needs, food, clothing, etc. consider buying from a local, Wisconsin, Dane County, or City of Madison vendor, first.

Primarily, buying local keeps more of your money in the community.  When you buy something from a local store or artisan, they are then more likely to reinvest their money in the community which can lead to further growth of other local business.  This can eventually, hopefully, perpetuate the cycle of primarily buying and selling locally within your community.

Furthermore, buying local can reduce the environmental impact of your purchases as far as transportation and manufacturing costs.  There is arguably a slightly higher chance that the goods you purchase locally were made or constructed with local, unique materials.  Thus, local goods travel less miles than goods purchased online from out-of-state or overseas.

Lastly, by making the choice to keep your hard-earned money within the community, you encourage others to do the same.  Lead by example and spread the word about all of the awesome local vendors you’ve heard of or had experience with.

Watch this video by Dane Buy Local for an illustration of how buying local can keep our community vital, and next time you go shopping, think local first.

May 7, 2014 at 12:38 pm Leave a comment

How Local is Your Fridge?

“What percentage of the food in your fridge is locally grown?” asked Kay Jensen of JenEhr Family Farm.

The question was a simple one but one that all the attendees at the EnAct CSA event had to think about deeply. I personally had no idea. I liked to think of myself as a local food supporter, but did I really had a handle on exactly how I was supporting them? Numbers between 30 and 50% popped up as answers.

The next questions was “What percentage of locally grown food do you want in your fridge?”

Now that was one to think about.

The benefits of getting involved in CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture are numerous, but above all you are showing support for local farmers. It is a way to reconnect with your food, to interact with those producing it, and to learn about the variety of produce out there that isn’t the usual grocery store line-up.  It is a chance to renew the relationship between farmer and consumer.  One touching story shared last night told about a CSA member’s young son, who states regularly that their CSA farmer “grew this food for him”. The interaction is an excellent way to teach children hands on about food and nutrition. I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that many health insurance companies offer rebates for subscribers due to the many health benefits of eating farm fresh vegetables.

Kay Jensen shares a CSA box with attendees

Of course with anything new, becoming a CSA subscriber takes some time and energy to adjust. Eating locally takes extra time and planning ahead, says MACSAC, or Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition, volunteer Angie Fuhrken.  When she first signed on, she was a bit nervous after receiving a box full of vegetables she barely recognized. There are of course the usual favorites, but a lot of times the CSA box contains new items. After researching places to get recipes based on ingredient and with the help of MACSAC’s cookbook, she quickly adapted and now has a bigger variety of dishes to share with her family. With a little extra energy, you can adjust and figure out a system that works for you.  She also shares her CSA with a neighbor, helping to reduce waste. One week the box is picked up by her, and the next week, the neighbor.  Both Kay and Angie made other suggestions such as choosing a farm with a convenient pick-up location for you, making a plan ahead of time if you are sharing with someone, and to be patient in the transition period while learning how to use all of your new vegetables.

A typical 'winter' CSA box. The winter spinach has a sugary sweetness to it.

So what percentage  of local food do you want in your fridge? Is it there now? Do you have a plan to get it there? When considering all of your options, make sure to include CSA.

For more information on CSA, visit http://www.macsac.org.

Thank you to all who came out to the event last night and to Kay and Angie for giving us their time.

Angie Fuhrken of MACSAC and Kay Jensen of JenEhr Family Farm

~EnAct Intern Kayla Baake

February 10, 2011 at 1:33 pm Leave a comment

myfairlakes.com Offers Reduced Price Plants

Spring came yesterday, according to me, and from now on I ban all talk about “snow”, “winter” and “salt”. No more of that, please.

Instead, our office is preparing for spring. Turns out that myfairlakes.com is thinking about spring as well, and they’re offering Plant Dane!,  a cost-share program for rain garden projects. By applying, you can get plants at a reduced price ($1.80 ea). Learn more and send in your application here.

What’s cool is that the program is open to schools, non-profits, municipalities and individuals. Which means, teachers, if you need a course idea for your summer session, you can have your students design, dig and plant a rain garden all while getting outdoors and learning about Madison water issues.

How to build a rain garden brochure (PDF, 1 MB)
Answers to questions you may have about how to take care of our lakes.

Question: if all 200,000 Madisonians thought about warm weather at the same time, do you think we can induce an early summer?

March 2, 2010 at 10:28 am Leave a comment

Environmental Health Report Card gives mixed grades

This university town is probably full of “A” students. But we’ve learned that we still have a ways to go to get a better GPA on our environmental health in Dane County.

Every two years the Madison and Dane County Environmental Health Report Card is issued, telling us where we’ve improved and where we have regressed in terms of our air and water quality, recycling, alternative energy, and vehicle travel.

The bad news first: water quality and water conservation have both declined. That means more phosphorus in our lovely lakes and more beach closures, and lower groundwater levels. FYI: Groundwater provides 70% of Wisconsin residents with water.

The bad news second: And, while there was a small increase in recycled material, there was also an increase in the amount of waste produced and sent to the landfill.

The great news: Don’t despair! There is a LOT we can do to make this better.

The also great news: EnAct offers loads of tips that people can use to reduce their water use and their waste production. Our “EnAct: Steps to Greener Living” book offers chapters on saving water and wasting less that you can download here to take action in your own home. Or start an EnAct team with your neighbors or friends and talk about why this stuff matters right here in our backyard!

Want to do something right now? Here are a few ideas:

Water

  • Only run full loads in your washing machine and dishwasher, and use them in off-peak times (middle of the day or after 7 p.m.)
  • Don’t flush medicines or over-the-counter drugs down your drain OR throw them in your garbage. Check with your doctor’s office or pharmacy about medical waste drop-off days.
  • Try using non-toxic alternatives to household chemical cleaners. Commit to trying one new natural product this month. And a second one next month. And so on…
  • Install a faucet aerator in your kitchen; they cost about $1 and can save 3 gallons of water per day per faucet.
  • Keep your leaves out of the gutters and out of the lakes. Use them as mulch on your flowerbeds.

Waste

  • If you are not curbside recycling everything you can, start now! Here’s a list of what is recyclable in Madison.
  • Remove your name from junkmail lists at DirectMail.com
  • Donate or sell items rather than throwing them away. Try Goodwill, St. Vincent DePaul Thrift Stores, Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, or Freecycle.
  • Buy at least one post-consumer recycled-content product that you use on a regular basis, like office paper, or that’s a one-time purchase, like fleece clothing made from recycled soda bottles and other plastics.
  • Buy and manage the food in your house to reduce spoilage and waste and to save money. Try not to buy more food than you are certain you family can eat before it goes bad.
  • Try composting. It’s a lot easier than it sounds.
  • When eating out, bring a reusable container for your leftovers rather. Trust me, no one minds if you do this (even my husband realized it was silly to be embarrassed when I whip my trusty Tupperware out of my purse)!

So we got a few Bs and Cs. That’s okay. We can still make the next report card something we’d be proud to show to our grandchildren.

Be green. Have fun.

Maria

December 1, 2009 at 10:08 am 1 comment

New Blog

EnAct now has a sparkling new blog, hosted by WordPress.com. Now, we’re getting serious!

Greetings, blog readers and EnAct enthusiasts! My name is Isabella Lau, and I began my EnAct internship with the Madison Environmental Group this fall.

Six years ago during a tour of the UW campus, I remember an English advisor telling me that Madison is a highly educated town due to the fact that many people choose to stay after they graduate. I’ve become one of the many in that statistic; Madison has completely captivated me in its community spirit, all four of its beautiful seasons, and of course, its environmental consciousness.

The fact is, Madison is an extremely livable city and I’m happy to have found it. We hope this blog will engage you in thinking and talking about the sustainability issues in our city (and beyond). The new format was chosen for its user-friendliness, its clean design and its ability to post pictures, files and videos.

The best thing is that you can join the conversation! We welcome your comments.

Read away,
Isabella

November 3, 2009 at 4:29 pm Leave a comment


Visit Our Website!

Archives

Eco-Events

December 2017
M T W T F S S
« Aug    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031