Book Review: Unquenchable

Unquenchable: America's Water Crisis and What to Do About It
by Robert Glennon
Island Press, $27.95

Unquenchable begins with the story of one of the most obvious and ostentatious wastes of water in America: Las Vegas. A gleaming, neon-bedecked homage to decadence in the middle of the desert, Vegas is a testament to our ability to build what we want, where we want regardless of any mitigating circumstances. There are private lakes, gigantic fountains and water parks—all in the middle of the desert.
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Book Review: Wild Fermentation

Wild Fermentation
by Sandor Elix Katz
Chelsea Green, 2003; $25

I’ve lost count of the number of times this book has been recommended or mentioned to me, and it deserves every one. Katz explores the world of fermentable foods, which includes some of the earliest prepared foods humans ate, not only to give you something great to eat, but also to remind us how exciting and unusual the world of edibles can be.
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Feature: Farmer's Rap

Weaver's Way helps start high school farms
by Andrew Thompson

On a May afternoon at Martin Luther King High School in East Germantown, several students tilled compost onto one of the many mounds being readied for sowing. Along with their stewards from nearby Weaver’s Way Co-op and the Philadelphia Orchard Project, they had just finished harvesting some of the kale and collards planted in April at the farm the school runs with Weaver’s. The one-third-acre farm and its adjacent greenhouse sits just south of the King’s soccer field and overlooks bustling Stenton Avenue.
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Feature: Farming Differently

Mill Creek Farm sets a standard for sustainable farming
by Will Dean

Bat Cave #2. That’s the first thing you can easily make out about the main farm building at West Philly’s nonprofit Mill Creek Farm. It’s painted in yellow on a piece of metal that juts out of a low, glimmering building in the middle of a green plot at 49th and Brown. Though no bats yet live in the cave—actually a small structure meant to mimic the attics the nocturnal animals prefer—the attempt to attract them is just one example of the creativity and ingenuity on display at Mill Creek.
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Cover Story: A Natural Fit

The ultimate vision of an eco-friendly and educational urban oasis
by Natalie Hope McDonald

The sounds along Lancaster Ave. in West Philadelphia’s Overbrook neighborhood don’t usually include chirping. But on one overcast day in May, across the street from the U-Haul rental center and footsteps from a fruit and vegetable bodega, a small red-breasted bird whistled over the rattle and hum of traffic on this, one of the city’s long-forgotten corridors.
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Design: Dyeing for Reuse

Old factories and warehouses get a green retrofit
by Christopher Wink

For five generations and 140 years, the Globe Dye Works dyed and wound yarn, and employed hundreds at its peak. In 2005, unable to continue fighting the globalization and outsourcing that moved other businesses, Globe closed, ending another vestige of Philadelphia’s past as the Workshop of the World.
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Food: In Season

Recipes for a four-course local meal

We’re still full from our food issue (last month, by the way), but we decided to continue expanding our recipe selection, along with our pant sizes. The kind bloggers at agreed to help us out by mixing up a whole meal of delicious, local dishes you can serve at home, or bring to a potluck.
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How-To: Seeing Clearly

How to recycle your TV
by Samantha Wittchen

My television is older than I am. When I was younger, my best friend called it “The TV From Outer Space” because it has that mid ’70s space-age look. My sister, who lives with me, hates the thing. So, when the digital television transition became imminent, she was all but salivating at the prospect of us finally getting a new TV. Much to her dismay, we got a spiffy new converter box instead.
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How-To: Beneficial Inflation

How to fix a bike flat
by Will Dean

So you’re riding along, minding your own business, maybe humming a tune, and suddenly every push of the pedal takes ages, and people are walking past you. Unless you have some kind of heart condition (in which case, please seek medical attention), your tire probably popped a flat. Don’t fret, though: Flats are quick and easy to fix with the right tools.
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Ask Mark

Philadelphia's Director of Sustainability, Mark Alan Hughes, answers our readers

This month's column is my last as Director of Sustainability and my question comes from the editors of Grid

Q: What is the most important or surprising lesson you’ve learned during your time as Director of Sustainability?
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News: Lean and Green by 2015

Mayor Nutter announced his plans for making Philadelphia the “greenest” city in America last month, highlighting five areas of interest and 150 initiatives he hopes to achieve by 2015. He has defined the ambitious plan as a restructuring of Philadelphia towards a “green economy,” which, if it lives up to its alternate meanings, could definitely help a city living through a recession.
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