Brush It Off: Homemade toothpaste, without the toxins

Story by Leah Troiano

WHEN YOUR CHILD'S DENTIST asks to talk with you privately, it’s never good news. As my little darling finished her check up, the dentist informed me that she admitted to not brushing enough. Although I wasn’t happy about her confession, I wasn’t surprised to hear she was dodging the brush. She’s not a fan of toothpaste—mostly because of the flavor.

The conversation with the dentist got me thinking about making my own toothpaste. But I didn’t start trying recipes until I found out what’s in the store-bought stuff. A few of the ingredients that caught my attention included:

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Eastwick Update: Development plans on hold

Story by Liz Pacheco THE GRID OCTOBER 2012 COVER story reported on a development controversy in southwestern Philadelphia’s Eastwick community. Korman Residential has proposed building 722 apartments on 35 acres adjacent to single family homes and the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge. For the City, the land holds great economic value, offering an expanded tax base and jobs. But residents aren't in favor of paving over the green space, especially since it’s located so close to the Refuge.
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Urban Naturalist: Green City, Yellow Salamanders

Story by Bernard BrownWEST PHILADELPHIA will never be the Everglades. It will never be the Pine Barrens, or even the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge. As much as the naturalist in me would like to see more greenery and less asphalt, more snakes and fewer cars, I accept that I live in a densely populated city neighborhood.

Nonetheless, I support making wherever we live as hospitable to wildlife as possible. I won’t ever see mountain lions stalk elk on Spruce Street, but maybe I can spot songbirds that have avoided fatal window collisions, and find more than just pollution-tolerant worms and exotic carp in our streams and rivers.

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Vegging In: What I learned from my roommate’s quest to eat sustainably

Story by Colleen Davis Illustration by Adrienne Langer AFTER DECADES OF BEING A PRETTY RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN, I felt I’d traveled about as far as I could on the path to eating and living sustainably. Others around me were more zealous, but they were yoga teachers and gardeners whose extreme eating habits grew from their career choices. I never felt compelled to join them in becoming a vegan or buying a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share. It looked like too much work.

Then I met Nick, a young California lawyer, who rented a room in my house when he moved to Philly. Along with a small number of boxes, he brought a surfboard, a bicycle and a staunch commitment to eating in a way that helped the environment. A few months after arriving, Nick bought a guitar and an organic CSA share.

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Hunkering Down: Four strong cheeses for weathering winter months

Story and Photo by Tenaya DarlingtonCOLD NIGHTS ARE IDEAL FOR CHEESE TASTINGS, and this time of year, strong flavors warm the cockles. Whenever I put together a cheese board, I aim for a range of textures and flavors. The mix below—all cheeses are made locally—reflect the bold colors and tastes of the winter holidays, from a new washed-rind cheese infused with orange zest to an award-winning blue that breathes hints of licorice. Add some tasty local beers, a handful of nuts, some Tait Farm apple pepper jelly, local honey, and you’ve got a lovely night by the fire.
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Kale: How to grow, buy and prepare this hardy leafy green

Story and Photos by Grace Dickinson KALE IS FINALLY GETTING the spotlight it deserves. No longer just a garnish, the leafy green is now an A-list celebrity in the vegetable world, and everyone wants a leaf of it. 

For the food bloggers, kale is the addition that sends their mac and cheese to the top of the search engine charts. For President Obama, it’s the garden-sourced salad gracing his Thanksgiving table. For the health conscious it’s a crispy baked alternative to the potato chip. And for local chefs, like Citron and Rose’s Yehuda Sichel (see p. 11), it’s more than a side dish, starring in salads and stews, or as a replacement for parsley in tabbouleh.

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Above the Fold: Sophisticated technology and inspired employees power a laundry revolution

Story by Molly O'Neill l Photos by Albert Yee ON A BRISK FRIDAY AFTERNOON, Gabriel Mandujano parks his bicycle and enters a large, clean laundromat at 48th and Pine. Three women in neon green Wash Cycle Laundry t-shirts greet him enthusiastically, though their hands never stop sorting socks and folding sheets. He checks in with each employee, taking a moment to help fold while he talks, then walks into a back room, where a computer system is tracking bags of clothing and linens from pickup to delivery. He stops briefly to answer a phone call then hops back on his bike to continue his rounds to two other facilities. After that, it’s back to the office at 17th and Arch to handle paperwork, bookkeeping and the other facets of a blossoming small business.
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