Green lifestyle

US Seed Libraries Mobilize to Protect Their Right to Share

Read the full story at Shareable.

In June, officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture alerted the Joseph T. Simpson Public Library in Mechanicsburg that their seed library was in violation of the Pennsylvania Seed Act of 2004. According to officials, the library would have to follow the prohibitively expensive procedures of large-scale commercial seed companies or only offer commercial seed. The first option is impractical and the second option would gut the exchange of its primary purpose to serve home gardeners who want to save and exchange their own seed.

The Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) reported in a recent article on Shareable.net that the Pennsylvania law may only apply to commercial seed operations. Despite what may be an incorrect interpretation of the law, other states are now considering adopting Pennsylvania’s seed library protocol. This could kill a fast growing U.S. seed library movement.

The upside to the crackdown is that in the weeks since, seed librarians from across the country have come together. As David King, founder of the Seed Library of Los Angeles (SLOLA) puts it, “The phone lines and emails lines were burning up as the seed library community turned from shock and disbelief to mobilizing to protect their efforts.”

The goal now is to direct that energy toward protecting seed libraries, which are a cornerstone in efforts to foster the genetic diversity of food and strengthen food security.

An Adorable, Tiny First Aid Kit So Anyone Can Help Rescue The Bees

Read the full story in Fast Company.

Honeybees are dying around the world, and so one designer in Italy decided to create a small first aid kit in an attempt to help.

The Bee Saver gadget, a keychain holding a small bioplastic container of artificial nectar, is designed to be carried along on a walk. If someone sees a bee in need, they can set the container of nectar next to it. To attract the bee, the container is shaped like a flower, smells sweet, and is shaded a pleasing blue. If all goes well, the bee will take a sip and fly safely back to its hive.

National Library of Medicine (NLM) Resource Update: Household Products Database (HPD) now contains over 14,000 products

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) Household Products Database (HPD) now contains over 14,000 products. The latest update includes a new product category “commercial/institutional”. Product manufacturers of the more than 300 products in this category use various descriptions,  including professional grade, professional use, hospital grade and more.

Users can locate products using the new “commercial/institutional” link under “Browse by Category” on the HPD homepage or by entering the category/description terms (e.g. commercial, institutional, professional, hospital) as a Quick Search.

The Household Products Database links over 14,000 consumer brands to health effects from Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) provided by manufacturers and allows scientists and consumers to research products based on chemical ingredients. The database is designed to help answer the following typical questions:

  • What are the chemical ingredients and their percentage in specific brands?
  • Which products contain specific chemical ingredients?
  • Who manufactures a specific brand? How do I contact this manufacturer?
  • What are the acute and chronic effects of chemical ingredients in a specific brand?
  • What other information is available about chemicals in the toxicology-related databases of the National Library of Medicine?

Information in the Household Products Database is from a variety of publicly available sources including brand-specific labels and Material Safety Data Sheets when available from manufacturers and manufacturers’ web sites.

These folks feed their family with a garden in their swimming pool — and you can, too

Read the full post at Grist.

When Dennis and Danielle McClung bought a foreclosed home in Mesa, Ariz., in 2009, their new yard featured a broken, empty swimming pool. Instead of spending a small fortune to repair and fill it, Dennis had a far more prescient idea: He built a plastic cap over it and started growing things inside.

Thus, with help from family and friends and a ton of internet research, Garden Pool was born. What was once a yawning cement hole was transformed into an incredibly prolific closed-loop ecosystem, growing everything from broccoli and sweet potatoes to sorghum and wheat, with chickens, tilapia, algae, and duckweed all interacting symbiotically to provide enough food to feed a family of five.

Broken Pots Turned Into Brilliant DIY Fairy Gardens

Read the full post and view the images at Bored Panda.

A new trend in gardening has gardeners creating all sorts of creative garden arrangements and fairy gardens out of broken pots, proving that even a broken pot can be useful and beautiful.