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Saturday, October 31, 2009


favorite green haunts – happy halloween


Not arrested and still standing after another devilish Mischief Night, (anyone?)…we’re a bit shaken and barely stirring after one too many spirits of a mind blowing sort.  But, it is halloween and we love dressing in disguise so we’ll persevere and rally this eve.  Although, right now, desperately in need of some fresh air, I’m focused on a few of my favorite, fairly local, green haunts –  jump in with yours…

Central Park, especially the terraced garden and sitting area by Belvedere Castle

Hawthorn Valley Farm, Harlemville, NY

Jacob’s Pillow, the Berkshires, MA

Kaaterskill Falls, the Catskills

Montauk – The End

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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Stateline Farm Beginnings – Our First Class

This the second post in Theresa Gould’s series on her organic farming experience.

We attended our first Stateline Farm Beginnings class last Saturday.  It was like a date for us since we rarely go out as a couple. Imagine driving over an hour each way and having a conversation without multiple interruptions! Heaven!  The class is the largest class yet in the five years since the program began. There were exactly 30 of us, if my quick count was right.  It was exciting to be with other aspiring farmers who were there to find out whether or not farming is the next step for them in their journey in life, just like us.

The Farm Beginnings program is a part of CRAFT – Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training – which creates learning 1vegetables.jpgopportunities for future farmers through diverse talents of our regional community of organic, biodynamic and sustainable farms.  There are actually only 7 known CRAFT organizations across North America – Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Ontario, Canada.

Stateline Farm Beginnings is only 12-13 years old.  We also learned that there are only 6 other Farm Beginning programs across the U.S. which doesn’t seem like a lot considering the fact that farming is where our food source begins.  There are two SFB programs in Minnesota, one in North Dakota, one in New York, one in Nebraska and two here in Illinois.

The first class gave us a better idea of exactly what we would be learning through Farm Beginnings. This is the definition that our facilitator gave us:  Stateline Farm Beginnings is a strategic business planning course that has four parts:  (more…)

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Nature’s Cork Great Green Giveaway

UPDATE:  It’s official – congratulations to our winner, Susan C. Many thanks to everyone for entering, and to Nature’s Cork for sponsoring this giveaway. Be sure to check out our latest Great Green Giveaway, ’cause you know, green looks good on everyone.  (original post follows…)

We’re excited to feature Nature’s Cork as our generous sponsor of this Great Green Giveaway. Nature’s Cork high-end collections of Fair Trade and earth friendly products are made with a naturally renewable resource, cork.


I met company owner, Randy Bowman at Eco-Luxe and had the chance to checkout some of their fine home goods, fashion accessories and apparel. Their upscale products, all made from cork, feel wonderfully soft yet highly durable.  One lucky winner will receive a $50 Nature’s Cork Gift Certificate to apply toward any products on their Website, plus free shipping to anywhere in the USA or Canada.

Here’s how to enter:

  • checkout the wide array of collections in their catalog @ (don’t miss the ladies collection of accessories)
  • Then leave a comment on this post, telling us why you’d like to win, and which item you like most.
  • Sign up for their enewsletter and receive an additional entry by leaving us another comment to let us know.
  • Be sure to add the following address to your email address book: m at

One lucky winner will be selected in our Random Drawing, and notified by email. Contest ends Monday, November 9, 2009 at 11:59p (EST). Winner has 24 hours to claim their prize, or offer is null and void. Winner’s name will also be included on this post. Giveaway includes free shipping, anywhere in the USA or Canada.

*One entry per person.
*EXTRA CREDIT If you have your own blog, you can post about the giveaway with a link back to this giveaway post. To make sure we know, you can come back and leave a comment with a link to your blog post. If you Twitter, you can tweet about the giveaway (once per day), and be sure to refer to @altCon, and leave a comment linking to the status. You can also receive additional entries 3 more ways: subscribe to our RSS feed, follow us on Twitter or friend us on FaceBook. (If you’re already a subscriber, just enter a comment to let us know.) Time’s ticking, so start clicking – good luck!

For a little more background about Nature’s Cork, take a peek at our previous post, Pelcor – Cork Goes High Fashion.

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Finisterre – evolutionary eco clothing design


U.K. based Finisterre has moved way beyond its original surf apparel roots, and now focuses on the goal of manufacturing the best outdoor technical apparel, with minimal environmental impact.  The company’s ‘World First’ production initiative evaluates the impact of each product’s entire life cycle and weaves innovative thinking throughout its entire production process.

finister1.jpgJust a few of Finisterre’s cutting-edge approaches:

  • Biomimicry – the imitation of systems present in the natural environment and the application of their design to man-made products.
  • Natural Advantage – solutions built by nature.
  • Reclaim, Reprocess, Reuse – a multi-option recycling program relating to what happens to the garments after their life.
  • Eco-circle – the world’s first closed loop polyester recycling scheme.

The company’s products are designed in Cornwall and manufactured in some of the most ethically advanced factories on the planet.  Finisterre considers it to be one of the greenest product lines in the industry.  The line extends from merino wool boxer shorts and designer tees to high-performance jackets and outerwear.

Pictured above: the Matanuska MKII a light woman’s jacket suitable for antiques shopping or mountain climbing.  The jacket has been impregnated with beeswax for water resistance.

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doggie Halloween costumes – scary stuff


People tend to get carried away on Halloween — must be the combination of all that pagan energy and sugar blurring folks’ judgment and inducing them to strap-on a Sarah Palin wig or David Hasselhoff mask.

As a hound I’d like to speak for all those canines trapped in loving homes with owners hellbent on including little Fluffy in all their Halloween hijinks. Rule of thumb, if your pooch looks miserable in that tutu or sombrero don’t make them wear it. Animal cruelty can sometimes be disguised as love.

pictured above: Shiny Clown (Amazon), Frog Dog (DIY), and Batdog…I mean Batman ($8.39 on sale now).

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