Cranberry Salsa Recipe

Perfect for a last-minute holiday appetizer, New Year’s Eve party dip or any other occasion!  This berry-licious recipe was first tested at the Sustainahouse Thanksgiving potluck and met rave reviews. Feel free to try different things in it, and let us know how your experiment goes! Happy Holidays!

  • 2 14-oz can whole berry cranberry sauce
  • ½ cup jalapenos, chopped
  • 2 green onion, sliced (optional)
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced/shaved/whatever makes it pretty
  • Lots of fresh cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced

Last-minute gift that will last the whole year: a Coffee Thermos

Each year my mother spends the weeks after Thanksgiving repeatedly asking me what I want for Christmas, and I never know what to ask for! I usually don’t tell her and I end up getting socks, some books that aren’t on my desired reading list, and other things I don’t particularly want. So when my mother asked me this year I set about thinking of practical items I could ask for that I would want to use in my everyday life. One such item was a Starbucks coffee thermos.

Judge if you will, but I can honestly say that I am a huge fan of Starbucks. I love that almost anywhere I go, I can get the same product at roughly the same price and have a familiar experience. I find that consistency rather relaxing, in fact.

I usually go to Starbucks every Monday morning, to kick start my week, as well as Friday afternoon, as a sort of reward to myself for making it through the week. I also go a few more times each month to have coffee with friends that I may not see on a regular basis. If you think about it, that’s around 100 to 150 cups of coffee each year. Or, if you’re being specific, 100 to 150 cups, lids, and straws or cup sleeves each year.

I found it a bit disturbing that I was creating that much waste with my habit of going to Starbucks. Meghan Eldridge, who also writes for Footprint, pointed out to me that all of these items are recyclable, but that didn’t make me feel much better. Hence my asking my mother for a Starbucks thermos.

The one I chose was a 16oz. model so that I can get a tall or grande beverage (depending on how much caffein I’m in the mood for). I will now also have a thermos that I can use for my favorite tea that I make at home. Furthermore, Starbucks gives me a ten cent discount each time I use my thermos, meaning the $20 thermos pays for itself after 200 uses or in my case one and a half to two years. I’ve now had my Sigg water bottle for about five years, so I’m sure I’ll have no trouble using my Starbucks thermos for double or triple the time it will take it to pay for itself.

For those of you who enjoy an occasional cup of Starbucks coffee but don’t generally go enough to justify buying a reusable thermos, there’s no need to fear! Starbucks does lots of cool things to help the environment. One of the major projects Starbucks is working on is making their coffee cups more sustainable. In fact, they have held several “cup summits” over the years to bring innovators together to find ways to make their cups more environmentally friendly. They also recycle most of the packaging behind the counter that the customers never even see. However, one of their initiatives that I found most interesting is that, upon request, Starbucks will give you a free 5lb. bag of used coffee grounds for your compost. Some of the locations even take their used coffee grounds to commercial composting companies nearby.

Obviously Starbucks isn’t perfect. There are still many things they could work on, but then so could all of us. It’s just nice to know a business that I frequent is making an effort to improve it’s sustainability and that I can take part in that.

To find out more about Starbucks’ sustainability efforts visit the following link: http://www.starbucks.com/responsibility/learn-more/goals-and-progress

Did any bikes ever get impounded because of the proper parking campaign?

This lock was cut from a bike
This lock was cut from a bike, but not as part of the campaign to end bad bike parking. Photo by Benjamin Zack.

The Sustainability Office politely threatened to start impounding bikes locked on railing, trees, light posts and other places they aren’t supposed to park. Hundreds of bikes were tagged with informational reminders and the warning: starting October 11, improperly parked bikes will be impounded.

So, were the bikes impounded?  Apparently not.

Janet Moreland of the MU Sustainability Office said that she hasn’t heard of any bikes getting impounded as part of this campaign.

MU Police Department Captain Brian Wermer said, “It is no different than in previous years. We did not put any tags out to follow-up on.”

There seems to be some miscommunication between Campus Facilities and people actually able to enforce the rules. But the empty threats seem to have worked. A simple glance around campus can show you that: The folks on the south side of Strickland started parking on the north side; New parking additions next to the student center eased those tensions; The journalism students investigated the spots on the south side of the library; And everything seems to be generally happier.

Some of this might be due to the weather. Even though cold weather biking in Missouri is easier than you might think, many fair-weather bikers have opted to start walking. Another obvious solution is the addition of 85+ new racks near the Student Center, a few new racks in the Dobbs area and one near the Sustainability Office. Maybe people genuinely think the rules will be enforced.

Sore spots still exist. Parking near Plaza 900 dining hall is abysmally tight; no racks were added near the journalism school (even though it was listed as a priority in an October Tribune article); and managers in buildings such as the Student Center are beginning to notice that the same bikes are parked in the same spots every day — which means they’re taking up space for riders who actually use their bikes.

It’s nice to see this issue get solved. Now, if only this much fuss could go into teaching students how to bike safely…but that’s for another article.

Car-less Part I: Why Mizzou Students Don’t Need Cars at School

Everyone needs a car right? You’re important and you have places to be and your car is necessary to get you there. You need a car to drive home for the holidays or to Walmart to get groceries once a week. With a couple of programs Mizzou has on campus, it’s not actually true that you need your own car to do these things.

In this series I’ll have the answers to all your going Carless questions. Are you making your weekly run to the store or taking a short weekend trip within Missouri? WeCar has your back. Looking for a way home for the Holidays? Try car pooling your way home. Student Ride Board provides you with a way to connect with others traveling in the same direction as you. What’s it really like to live Carless? I’ll talk to someone who has done it for over two years.

Today I’ll start by giving you all the answers you need to use the WeCar program!

You’re in college, you don’t have much money, so your first question is obviously going to be what’s the cost?

WeCar is actually fairly inexpensive, especially considering that AAA says the average person spends well over $9,000 per year on expenses for their car. For Mizzou students a WeCar membership costs $35 per year, plus $8 an hour or $7 per day (add a dollar  if you would rather your car be a hybrid). Keeping the car over night will only set you back $30 ($35 for hybrids). There is also a $0.35 per mile cost added if you drive more than 200 miles.

“But gas is soo expensive!” you might say, “won’t I need to pay to fill the car up too??”

Nope! WeCar pays for the gas with a nice little gas card kept in the glove box. Just use the card to fill up if the car gets bellow 1/4 of a tank.

Who actually uses WeCar? Lots of people and it’s growing!

I spoke with Libby Pugliese, a Mizzou student, who uses the WeCar program regularly.

Libby said she typically uses WeCar to travel for field work observation hours she must complete as a student majoring in education. She also uses WeCar for occasional errands.

I asked Pugliese how easy it is to use WeCar:

“The WeCar program is a very easy program to use. All you do is go on the website, pick the time you need to rent out the car and push reserve. When that time arrives, all you do is swipe your [membership] card over the sensor [located by the windshield] and the doors unlock, so yes it is very easy.”

She did, however, say there was one draw back to WeCar:

“If you are over 15 minutes late to your scheduled pick up time, your card will not work and you will still be charged for the rental plus 5 additional dollars for late cancellation which is an inconvenience and an annoyance. This would be the one thing I would improve about the program.”

Pugliese said she would recommend the program to anyone with short term transportation needs not filled by bicycles or busses. She was also supportive of the idea of there being more programs like WeCar:

“This program should be more common!! It’s so easy to use and it helps cut down pollutants in the air. Also, it relieves traffic because the carpool kind of style that WeCar promotes.”

I also spoke with Pat Fowler, the Coordinator for Mizzou’s FIGs and TRIGs programs. Pat says she was one of the first staff members to get a WeCar membership in the summer of 2010. This was a year after she moved to downtown Columbia and sold her car in an effort to have a smaller carbon footprint and a healthier lifestyle that includes bicycling and walking to work.

“WeCars are not problem free, but the customer support people are kind and thoughtful.” Pat said.

“In the winter months I rent a car once or twice a month to go shopping, to the doctor or any place I can’t get to on Columbia Transit.  I’ve been stuck once or twice in the winter when the batteries were dead.  I once called ahead to the local Enterprise office to let them know that I was planning on reserving a car, and since it was semester break, would he come by and charge the battery?  They did it the first time, after that I’d have to call for a credit to my account,  move my appointment, and come back another time.”

Pat was also quite knowledgeable about the insurance cost of driving a WeCar (because you do need insurance to drive any car):

“If you are still on your parent’s policy, there is a $1000 deductible for collision.  For me, I have a non owner policy with USAA for which I pay $15.00 month.  This provides me with the same liability coverage I carried when I owned an automobile.  My collision deductible is still $1000, but my liability is covered by me, where as the average student would rely on their parent’s policy for liability.”

This is significantly cheaper than owning and insuring your own car. Non-owner insurance policies also ensure that you are covered if you’re driving a friend’s car.

Pat loves WeCars pointing out that they “are easier than having to keep a car clean, or pay for gas, or pay for repairs.” She said one thing she misses about not having a car is listening to the radio, so she likes to crank it up whenever she rents a WeCar. Her favourite WeCar memory was when Missouri experienced Snowmageddon, this March:

“Feb 3rd, the first day we were permitted out on the roads, I rented a WeCar for 5 hours, I had to leave it in the middle of the street to unload it, and then carry my stuff over the snow bank to get to my house.”

So there you have it! WeCar is a great way to save money, save the environment, and have a good time! Stay tuned for the next segment in my Carless series where I’ll tell you about programs that help you get home for the breaks without owning your own car.

For further information about WeCar go to their website. Their FAQ page is particularly helpful about answering any question you might have.

Mizzou Students can click here for a WeCar membership application if you’re sold on the program.

Get a job with urban agriculture!

Great news for job-seeking food lovers! The Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture is currently accepting applications for three AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer positions in 2012.  Two of CCUA’s partners also have a VISTA position available, making the total five.  Below are links to the AmeriCorps VISTA website which has more information.

The CCUA is looking for hard working people with sustainable agriculture, hands-on education and marketing experience.  If you or anyone you know might be interested please encourage them to apply.  Feel free to contact Adam Saunders (Adam@ColumbiaUrbanAg.org or 573-356-9392) with questions.  Applicants need to apply on-line.  The deadline is Monday, December 19th

Want to know what working for CCUA is like? Here’s a first-hand account from some past interns!

Caitlin Swatek

21 years old, Senior Biology major, with a Certificate in Environmental Studies

Experience with CCUA: I was a production intern and volunteer coordinator from the beginning of September through October 2011.
What you learned from CCUA: I learned about the complexity of farming, and as a result gained a greater appreciation for farmers.
Favorite garden tool: Gardening gloves. They really reduce the amount of cuts you get. And having cuts on your hands don’t heal fast, especially when you are constantly using them to garden more.
“Killing chickens is something I never participated in. Not by choice, I was simply busy when CCUA offered workshops. I’d like to learn how to properly do it, but I prefer to make killing chickens a rare occasion.”
Someday: “When I get my own garden, I’m going to plant tomatoes and marigolds together. Is it my favorite example of companion planting and I love the aromas. And nothing beats fresh from the vine tomatoes! Yum!”

Emma Brown

Senior Nutrition and Fitness major

Experience with CCUA: I was a Sales and Marketing Intern with CCUA at the beginning of Fall ’11 semester. I mostly helped run the market stand at the Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market at the Wabash Bus Station on Sundays. I also did some harvesting and I worked at the farm stand selling produce as well.
What you learned from CCUA: I learned that farm work is never-ending! You are either planting, tending, harvesting or selling your produce. Farm work is hard, but very rewarding. Working the land is something that takes skill and knowledge and it is something very valuable to humanity.
Favorite garden tool: The stirrup hoe.
Finish this sentence: “Killing chickens is a process that people who eat chicken should understand.”
In the future: “When I get my own garden, I’m going to plant swiss chard, tomatoes, broccoli and tons of herbs! ”

Kevin Petersen

Senior Science and Agricultural Journalism major

Experience with CCUA: Production intern from July to November 2011
What you learned from CCUA: The main thing I learned is to appreciate the people who grow my food and how much work it takes.
Favorite garden tool: Potato fork
Finish this sentence: “Killing chickens is . . . ” …necessary to eating chickens but not as fun as raising chickens.
When I get my own garden: “I’m going to plant pattypan squash and asparagus.”

Li Tang

Senior Strategic Communication major

Experience with CCUA: Marketing intern, January-December 2011
What you learned from CCUA: How much volunteers can contribute to an organization
Favorite garden tool: Hands
Finish this sentence: “Killing chickens is . . . “


“When I get my own garden, I’m going to plant . . . “

Samuel Ott

Senior Marketing major

Experience with CCUA:  I had an internship with the CCUA during the fall of 2010. I was a Marketing Apprentice that helped find donors and sponsors for the Harvest Hootenanny.
What you learned from CCUA:  I learned about soil composition and the plant/soil relationship. I learned how to process a chicken. I learned more about the internal processing of nonprofits. I also learned how to upkeep a garden properly.
Favorite garden tool:  Wheelbarrow
Finish this sentence: “Killing chickens is . . . awkward.
“When I get my own garden, I’m going to plant . . . potatoes, carrots, corn and spinach

Catacombs Art Market showcases local talent

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Nestled in the midst of the North Village Arts District, Artlandish Gallery may appear to be a quaint space as far as art galleries are concerned. But take one step inside the gallery and the expanse of artwork of all types- ceramics, pottery, paintings, photography and jewelry, just to name a few- make it apparent that this building boasts more than the work of just one artist.

By renting out space to individual artists as it becomes available, and allowing them to operate their own booths, Artlandish is able to conduct business in an unconventional way.

The gallery, owned by artist Lisa Bartlett, charges each artist $50 per month for the use of their space, and a 10% consignment fee; as opposed to as high as 50% at other galleries in the area. In this way, artists are afforded the opportunity to sell their artwork, while retaining a profit to support their livelihood.

“Art is a hard market, and in order to be sustainable you have to think of creative ways to sell your art. This gallery was a big experiment, but allowing artists to rent their own space makes them feel like they have some ownership and a sense of pride in a space to call their own,” Bartlett said.

This past weekend, Artlandish played host to an event called the Catacombs Art Market- Holiday Edition on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For the third year, this festive event featured work from over 40 artists, many of whom call Columbia home. Shoppers were invited to the event to browse, purchase one-of-a-kind holiday gifts, and enjoy one of the unique staples of living in the city of Columbia.

Friday night featured an opening reception, including live music by Anna Duff, as well as wine and snacks. The bulk of the market took place on Saturday and Sunday, with most artists manning their booths in the lower level of the gallery, selling their work and socializing with customers. Hera Lynn performed lived music Sunday afternoon as shoppers perused the gallery.

One artist, Kate Martin, founder of a company called Peace Kitty showcased her design work at the event. Martin’s business motto reads, “Making a difference for our furr-legged friends,” and that is exactly what Peace Kitty aims to do.

For the past three years, Martin has been designing t-shirts, koozies, hats, and various other products, all with a purpose. To further her mission, Martin donates 10% of all profits to local animal shelters, including Second Chance, a no-kill shelter, and the Central Humane Society.

“With my products I promote walking in peace and kindness, and making a difference for our four-legged friends.I like to say that I make feel good shirts with a real good cause,” Martin said.

Another artist featured in the gallery was Jacqueline Pepper of All in the Family Arts and Crafts. Pepper creates pottery, Christmas ornaments and mobiles; while her sister Jodianne Pepper creates ink and watercolor drawings.

In 2000, Jacqueline Pepper underwent treatment for breast cancer. While receiving treatment, Pepper realized her need for a creative outlet and, what she termed, the healing and therapeutic nature of creating artwork. Shortly afterward, she cut back to part-time work as a social worker and pursued her passion as an artist.

“I seek to portray peace and love through art since those are two of the tenets of my faith. I love the idea that I canshare a part of myself with someone else,” Pepper said.

Pepper’s pottery is created using a mixture of stoneware and porcelain, and is made without the use of a wheel. Instead, she crafts her work using various methods such as pinching the clay into pots and layering coils. No matter the method, Pepper creates unique works of art of varying shapes and colors.

 

“Cars are totally pointless:” envisioning better transit for Mizzou

This is an editorial comment by Ian Thomas, the executive director of the PedNet Coalition. It ran in the coalition’s newsletter and is republished here, with permission, because of its relevance to the Mizzou and Columbia community.

Ames, Iowa is a city of 89,000 residents, which includes 30,000 students at Iowa State University – not too different from Columbia (142,000 including 34,000 MU students).  In both of these mid-west College towns, the heart of campus is adjacent to the downtown business district, and students contribute significantly to local economic activity.  Both towns are 6-10 miles from city limit to city limit.

In terms of public transportation services, however, Columbia and Ames are worlds apart.  Whereas Columbia Transit provides a total of 2 million rides per year, CyRide in Ames provides 5.5 million in a smaller city.  Take a quick look at www.CyRide.com– a student-centric transit system.  Here are a few facts:

  • With more than 20 routes and typical wait times of 5-10 minutes, the bus is as quick and convenient as driving in most parts of Ames, eliminating tens of millions of car journeys each year.
  • As a collaborative project of the City of Ames, Iowa State University, and the ISU Government of the Student Body, Cyride provides such an excellent service for the University that:
    – 16% of students say “Cars are totally pointless;”
    – 84% say “Students usually walk or take the bus;”
    – 0% say “The bus service fails to meet student needs.”
  • Twelve of CyRide’s 80 buses are biodiesel-electric hybrids, saving 23,000 gallons of fuel and 460,000 pounds of carbon dioxide annually.

Columbia – already, a modern, progressive college town – has an exciting opportunity to take a few tips from Ames, and transform our transportation system in a way that will reduce emissions, improve our health, and save money.  If you work or study at MU, and you’d like to participate in a community conversation about transit, please contact me at <ian@pednet.org>.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Ian Thomas
Executive Director