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BCV’s “new ruralism” approach to design

NR1.jpgBaldauf Catton von Eckartsberg Architects, or BCV Architects for short, is a design firm that has taken a “new ruralism” approach to sustainability.  The expression “new ruralism” – conceived by Sibella Kraus at the Institute of Urban and Regional Development in Berkeley – is about improving city design by bringing country living back into the city.

By keeping restaurants and markets local to residences and public transit, communities remain closely integrated and become much more self-sustainable. People are inclined to walk more and drive less, yielding less traffic congestion and pollution.  Not to mention, food that is fresher and just simply tastes better.

BCV understands the importance of integrating the metropolis and the farm.  Their reverence for sustainable agriculture is rooted in a deep commitment to the environment (more…)

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Beehaus – an urban beekeeping solution


By now all of you know of my interest in farming, and writing for The Alternate Consumer has been a fun way to expand my knowledge of farm and garden products available to us. The farming possibilities available in urban and suburban settings continue to amaze me — from the fact that people in Chicago (and New York) are allowed to keep chickens — to the urban beekeeper, these urban wannabee farmers are letting nothing stop them from growing their own food. These are the people that inspire my husband and me to do what we can from our suburban locale to fulfill our dream of being farmers.


Natural England, a conservation group in England, has been in the business of conserving bees since Great Britain’s bee population, along with the rest of the worldwide bee population, took a hard hit a couple of years ago. They are currently (more…)

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The Prince and the Pop Star rally for the rainforest

On the 30th Anniversary of “Message in a Bottle,” Sting lends his voice to the Prince of Wales’ SOS to help save the rainforests from total destruction.  Here’s a great way to show that we’re aware, and that we care.


Vital Copenhagen climate change negotiations are coming up in December.  Bonnie Prince Charles, a steady proponent of saving the rainforests, is ramping-up efforts to create a groundswell of support by launching the SOS campaign.  Just sign up at or text SOS and your full name to 60777*

Rainforests are the lungs of our planet — they’re critical to our survival — regulating rainfall, preserving biodiversity and providing plants critical to our well-being, and capturing vast amounts of carbon dioxide.  Prince Charles will be distributing a book which will include both a representation of all those who have signed up during the SOS campaign, as well as rainforest photographs by renowned photographer, Daniel Beltrà.

(source:  press release) UPDATE: link was removed.

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upcycled suit coat handbag


Put away those summer whites – it’s time to start prepping your wardrobe for fall and winter.  This nifty little handbag is handmade from an upcycled wool tweed suit coat, and reasonably priced.

$34 @ onourway’s etsy shop

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Traveling back in time on Mackinac Island


In northern Michigan, the leaves have begun their transition from mossy greens to rusty shades of copper. You could enjoy the golden hues with a drive through the state’s Upper Peninsula—or you could go retro and hop a ferry to Mackinac Island, where the only “road trip” you’ll enjoy is on a bicycle or behind a horse.


You see, cars were banned on the island in the late 1800s, and today, more than 80 percent of the island is actually a state park. Among limestone caverns, bluffs, and the awe of Arch Rock, consists a small town untouched by time. (more…)

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