Monthly Archives: March 2015

Basil in the Basement

Getting that urge for the flavors of a Michigan summer? How about some basil? Growing Green Family Farms grows basil, cilantro, and microgreens in an environmentally controlled basement. They take care to maintain the right lighting, airflow, humidity, and temperature – so we can have basil in March!

Microgreens are small greens; usually no more than 2 inches tall. They are not sprouts, but are rather a young plant that is in between a sprout and an older green. They also grow kale, lettuces, wheatgrass, bok choy, and beet greens in a greenhouse.

No herbicides and pesticides are used. And, the fertilizer used is an all-natural mix of plant and mineral materials. The water is filtered rainwater.

So, what to do with basil when there are not a lot of other summer veggies around? How about paring them with dried tomatoes? Did you dry tomatoes last summer? If not, think about it for the upcoming summer. And, you can always make a pesto sauce!

I also send a small bunch of basil through the juicer when I am making a juice blend from other greens. It really adds a summery punch.

Where to find MI winter basil:

Fulton Street Farmers Market on Saturdays between 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.

Velo City Cycles in Holland on Saturdays between 11:00am and 1:00pm.

Farmhouse Deli in Saugatuck/Douglas on Saturdays between 9:30AM and 10:30am.

Nourish Organic Market in Grand Rapids.

Nathan from Growing Green

For more shopping details, visit their website.

Join my Hive!

Joshua KruisWe seem to have a love-hate relationship with bees. Maybe it stems from an inadvertent childhood bee sting, but many people are afraid of anything that looks like a bee. So, why care about bees?

According to NRDC research, keeping bees safe is good for the planet, the economy – and for our plates! They pollinate more than $15 billion worth of our US food. Would you miss Michigan cherries and apples if the trees were not pollinated? How about cucumbers, carrots, onions, and blueberries?

We want our food and lawns to look a certain way, and yet we don’t think about how the pesticides are affecting bees. And, we don’t think about habitat loss due to development or how climate change might affect bees and other beneficial insects. Let’s develop that mindset!

Wild Mitten Honey Co-op in Grand Rapids is doing just that by helping to save local bees. It started when founder, Joshua Kruis took a job removing bee and hornet nests from people’s property. They would ask him if the bees were going to be killed. (Again, the love-hate relationship.) On one trip, he borrowed some equipment and took the bees to his partner, Teresa DeJager as a gift for her garden.

“While removing hives from people’s homes last summer I noticed that many were concerned about the wellbeing of the honeybees. Even though the hives were infested with a potentially lethal insecticide, people wanted to make sure that, if they were honeybees, they would not be killed,” said Kruis. Impressed by this and his love for the buzzing little ladies he started brainstorming how more people could be involved with caring for bees. He continued, “Getting started is a bit intimidating which is why the Co-op offers the opportunity to be a virtual beekeeper. Each of our members will have an opportunity to come down and visit the hive they sponsor at least 2 times a year. They will also receive updates on the health of their hive throughout the year, and of course, they receive honey from their hive.”

That’s how Wild Mitten Honey Co-op was born. Now YOU can become a virtual bee keeper! Join the Co-op by helping with the purchase of equipment and up to a 1 year supply of honey. You can also purchase additional honey, and set up a convenient recurring annual payment. Or, you can purchase a honey-lover subscription and have one, two, or three pounds of honey delivered right to your door! (Honey is delivered within a 10 mile radius of Grand Rapids, MI.)

Another way to support bees, is to join an event on Thursday April 7th at Mitten Brewery in Grand Rapids. The event will raise money to create a community apiary/garden onsite at the Well House garden with the goal of bringing the love of bees and beekeeping into the city. Well House provides safe, affordable housing to the homeless, and providing a haven for bees will add to their great mission!

The event will include a beard contest (women with crafted beards welcome too), entertainment by Rick Chyme (extraordinary rapper with an extraordinary beard), and a honeybee art raffle. You can also make your mark by adding graffiti to a hive box!

The hives are in the Grand Rapids, MI area and each is named after a flower. There are openings in my second hive. Visit their honey shop to get your membership. Be sure to indicate that you want to join Lavender hive! Let’s keep bees together.

Photos courtesy of Wild Mitten Honey Co-op

Photos courtesy of Wild Mitten Honey Co-op

Disclosure: I received an unsolicited discount on my Queen Bee Wild Mitten membership. They did not compensate me to write this post and all opinions expressed here are my own.

Be a Part of the Conversation

My two passions: Buildings and Food! How do they come together? Sustainability.

After being inspired by a documentary shown at a Vegan GR event, I researched livestock and greenhouse gases. The article attached below has the results. It’s located on the US Green Building Council website. We are looking for YOUR ideas about how sustainable food and sustainable buildings can complement each other.

CLICK HERE to inspire us!!

Let us know how you address food-related climate change and greenhouse gas emissions in your buildings. What do you see as the most pressing issues between food and buildings/occupants? And, what have you been reading lately about the data?

Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

Photo by Jim Gebben

Photo by Jim Gebben