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Archive for the ‘nature’ Category

Fruits of Our Labor

Spring is nearly here and I’m encouraging you to think about where you’ll buy fresh fruits and vegetables this year.  With help from the Santa Fe Farmers Market, here are ten reasons to consider your local farmers market or food co-op:

♦ 1 – Local food tastes better.
Most likely it was picked in the last couple of days, which makes it crisp and flavorful. Produce that travels long distances (California, Florida, Chile or Holland) is days older.  Sugars turn to starches, plant cells shrink, and produce loses its vitality and flavor.

♦ 2 – Local food is more nutritious.
Once harvested, produce quickly loses nutrients.  Produce that’s flash-frozen just after harvest is often more nutritious than “fresh” produce that’s on the supermarket shelf for a week.  Since local produce is sold right after it’s picked, it retains more nutrients.

3 – Local food preserves genetic diversity.
Large commercial farms grow a relatively small number of hybrid fruits and vegetables that are able to withstand the rigors of harvesting, packing, shipping and storage. This leaves little genetic diversity in the food supply.  By contrast, family farms grow a huge number of varieties to extend their growing season, provide eye-catching colors and great flavor. Many varieties are “heirlooms” passed down through the generations because of their excellent flavor.  Older varieties contain the genetic structure of hundreds or thousands of years of human selection and may provide the diversity needed to thrive in a changing climate.

4 – Local food promotes energy conservation.
The average distance our food travels is 1500 miles, mostly by air and truck, increasing our dependence on petroleum. By buying locally, you conserve the energy that’s used for transport.

5 – Local food supports local farmers.
The American family farmer is a vanishing breed – there are less than 1,000,000 people who claim farming as a primary occupation.  Why?  Maybe because it’s hard to make a living:  family farmers get less than 10 cents of every retail food dollar. By buying locally, the middleman disappears and the farmer gets full retail price, helping farmers continue to farm.

♦ 6 – Local food builds community.
By getting to know the farmers who grow your food, you build understanding, trust and a connection to your neighbors & your environment. The weather, the seasons and the science of growing food offer great lessons in nature and agriculture.  Visiting local farms with children and grandchildren brings that education and appreciation to the next generation.

7 – Local food preserves open space.
As you enjoy visits to the country to see lush fields of crops, meadows of wildflowers, picturesque barns and rolling pastures, remember that our treasured agricultural landscape survives only when farms are financially viable. By spending your money on locally grown food, you’re increasing the value of the land to the farmer and making development less likely.

8 – Local food keeps taxes in check.
For every $1 in revenue raised by residential development, governments spend $1.17 on services, which increases taxes. For every $1 in revenue raised by a farm, a forest or open space, governments spend $0.34 cents on services.

9 – Local food supports the environment and benefits wildlife.
Family farmers are good stewards of the land — they respect and value fertile soil and clean water.  And their farms provide the fields, meadows, forests, ponds and buildings that are the habitat for many beloved and important species of wildlife.

10 – Local food is about the future.
Supporting local farms today helps keep those farms in your community, ensuring your children and grandchildren have access to nourishing, flavorful and abundant food.  When you choose to buy locally, and make your choices known, you raise the consciousness of your family, friends and neighbors.

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Falling Snow

I found this interesting chart about snowfall totals in the Philadelphia area. It seems the earlier we have our first snowfall, the higher the season snowfall total. 

Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be working out this year.  Our first snowfall was in early December but we’ve barely seen an inch of snow since then. Today will help – we’re expecting five inches of snow in Upper Bucks County.  Schools are closed, roads are a mess – but it’s a sight for the sore eyes of this photographer!

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Moon Over Lake Nockamixon

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Palisades Gallery for my show opening last night – what a great time!  I didn’t get a chance to talk with everyone because it was so well-attended, so if I missed you, please forgive me.   Send me a note and let’s catch up!

Special thanks to those who came from quite a distance – especially the Hofmann boys! – and to my good friend, Moe Telsichs, for the flowers.  

Hope you caught the full lunar eclipse on the way home – it was gorgeous.

Here’s the statement that accompanies the 24 images in my show:

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Between 1982 and 1997, America converted over 25 million acres of rural land — primarily farmland, pastures and ranches — into subdivisions, malls, workplaces, roads, parking lots, et al. That’s about equal to the combined land mass of Maine and New Hampshire.

We’ve been developing 2 million acres of rural land per year for the last 20 years.

If the trend continues, America will develop an additional 85 million acres of countryside by 2050. That’s about equal to the combined land mass of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Virginia.

WHAT DO WE GAIN AND WHAT DO WE LOSE?

We gain infrastructure, homes, roads, shops, schools, parking spaces, hotels, resorts and jobs.

We lose wetlands, woodlands, hundreds of species of plants and wildlife, clean water, the ability to grow our own food, and as recent studies have shown, our mental & physical health, and our sense of well-being.

I want my photographs to help Americans question the worth of our land above & beyond its monetary value.

How much is an open horizon worth to us?

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Nockamixon Cliffs

I’m on a waterfall kick.  Since doing some research on the health benefits of negative ions, and visiting the falls at nearby Ringing Rocks Park last week, I’m off to find more.

This weekend I’m heading to Taughannock Falls State Park in Ulysses, New York.  It boasts a waterfall with a 215 foot drop, slightly higher than Niagara on the American side but with much smaller volume. It’s the highest drop east of the Rockies. The park’s Gorge Trail, open all year, puts you next to the spray of the falls. According to the Park Ranger I spoke with today, the falls are only partially frozen and water’s still coming over the top.

The falls and gorge create a natural amphitheater and the dense spray rising from the bottom of the falls creates a heavy mist — full of negative ions!

Negative ions are air molecules that have lost an electrical charge because they’ve been broken apart by things such as sunlight, moving air or moving water. They’re in abundance in places like waterfalls, the mountains and the beach. When we breath in large quantities of negative ions, it increases the flow of oxygen to the brain and reduces the amount of the mood chemical serotonin in the bloodstream, creating a feeling of mild euphoria.

At the base of Yosemite Falls in California, there are about 100,000 negative ions per cubic centimeter. (A cubic centimeter is the size of a sugar cube.)  In fresh country air, there are about 4,000 and on an L.A. freeway at rush hour, there are 100 negative ions per cubic centimeter.

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Canada Goose

For Pete’s sake, they’re called Canada Geese, not Canadian Geese.  Branta canadensis Birds don’t have a nationality!

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