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    Daily Digest 10/7 – Good News Friday: Wash, Rinse, Redeem; Are Backyard Gardens a Weapon Against Climate Change?

    by DailyDigest

    Friday, October 7, 2016, 12:51 PM

This is Good News Friday, where we find some good economic, energy, and environmental news and share it with PP readers. Please send any positive news to with subject header "Good News Friday." We will save and post weekly. Enjoy!


U.S. added 156,000 jobs in September; unemployment rate rose to 5 percent (jdargis)

The pace of hiring has also slowed slightly this year, likely because a once-deep pool of available labor has grown thin. In 2015, the U.S. averaged 229,000 new jobs per month, and the unemployment rate fell from 5.7 to 5.0 percent. So far this year, the U.S. is adding roughly 182,000 new jobs per month; the unemployment rate is unchanged from January.

Food For Fines In Lexington, Kentucky (TOF)

According to God’s Pantry, 10,211 pounds, or 5 tons, of food were received, which is the equivalent of 8,370 meals. The program started Nov. 16 and concluded Dec. 18. In 2014, only parking citations were eligible for the food for fines program. This year the program was expanded to include traffic citations. Last year, LexPark collected 6,200 food items.

Wash, Rinse, Redeem: A Look Inside A Beauty School—In A Men’s Prison (jdargis)

“Out there cutting hair, nobody asks what your record is as long as you have a good rapport, good communication skills, and good people skills,” Jones says, his voice nearly drowned out by the whirring of hair dryers and salon chatter. All around him are his fellow inmates, many of whom are defined as “sensitive needs,” which includes convicted murderers, sex offenders, ex-gang members, as well as repeat career criminals like Jones. The individuals here are either studying to become licensed beauticians—a rigorous training process of six hours a day, five days a week—or are there to enjoy the salon’s range of services as the beauty school's practice clients.

D.C. opens first compost site, adds anti-idling technology to police cars (TOF)

In addition to the composting site, Gray also announced new green technology for the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). To save fuel and reduce air pollution, the department is testing advanced battery and anti-idling technology on 75 vehicles.

Police vehicles often idle for long periods while in use. Idling consumes fuel and emits gases that are known to harm the atmosphere. The new anti-idling controls will allow necessary functions of the vehicles, such as overhead lights and computer terminals, to operate without the engine running.

Are Backyard Gardens a Weapon Against Climate Change? (jdargis)

The study’s conclusion is pretty interesting: It states that while gardening can definitely have a beneficial environmental effect over store-bought produce (with all the transportation and infrastructure that comes along with retail), it’s the little things that matter. How dense is your garden? What kind of water are you using? How are you monitoring your compost?

Solving Climate Change With Beer From Patagonia’s Food Startup (jdargis)

While the line seems intended for hikers and campers—haute trail food—the products were selected, Cameron says, because, as dry goods, they’re “shelf-stable,” and because each comes from a subcontractor that met their environmental and labor standards. “The first product was about saving wild salmon species—catching the salmon in the correct way so you can count how many are coming upriver, how many you can safely take,” she says. “So what we want to do in each case is make sure that we’re armed with enough information to make the right decisions, and when we are, that really determines when we bring it out.”

5 Ways to Turn Your Dream of Buying Farmland into Reality (jdargis)

It’s no secret that American farmers are aging and that their children are largely uninterested in taking over. Transfer networks match retiring landowners with young farmers and help them navigate a transition of ownership. After a brief training period, sometimes involving a short-term lease, the novice purchases the operation at a low price and takes over. Yes, you’ll have to submit to some mentoring, but the opportunity to snag land on the cheap and learn directly from someone who has literally been there can prove a boon for beginners. The Center for Rural Affairs maintains a list of such programs.

Foula, Scotland—the Most Remote Inhabited Island in Great Britain (jdargis)

Foula Island, part of Scotland’s Shetland Islands, is home to a population of only thirty people who primarily earn their living as sheep and pony farmers. The island has been owned by the Holbourn family for the past hundred years. Growing numbers of visitors are making their way to Foula as bird watchers from around the world come to see its puffins, skuas, razorbills, gannets, and more. Getty Images photographer Jeff Mitchell paid a visit to Foula recently, and returned with these images of its people, animals, and landscape.

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  • Fri, Oct 07, 2016 - 2:36pm



    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Nov 08 2010

    Posts: 199

    Backyard Gardens - Good for the Environment????

    Of course backyard gardens are good for the environment.


    Do we really need to study the obvious? Maybe, but:

    Who writes these articles? I fear it is small farmers/homesteaders who need to make some $ because our current economy's market values aren't enough for them to make a decent living without using the short cuts available to those who rely on fossil fuel products.



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  • Fri, Oct 07, 2016 - 3:22pm

    Kim L. Law

    Kim L. Law

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Dec 05 2014

    Posts: 19

    I can imagine high Carbon footprint gardens...

    with a lot of inputs such as soil / amendments, water, tools and doing things wrong such as tilling. Sometimes I wonder how much carbon I'm really sinking in my backyard since I do bring in soil and use municipal water. Is the transportation carbon cost really negated by the plants? Eventually it will but with fairly high inputs, would it take 1 month or 1 year of constant growing for it to start making a difference?

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  • Fri, Oct 07, 2016 - 3:39pm



    Status Silver Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jul 30 2009

    Posts: 2923

    US state public pension unfunded liabilities to hit $1.75 trilli

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  • Fri, Oct 07, 2016 - 9:56pm

    Reply to #2


    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Aug 08 2009

    Posts: 124

    food's footprint

    [quote=Kim L. Law]

    with a lot of inputs such as soil / amendments, water, tools and doing things wrong such as tilling. Sometimes I wonder how much carbon I'm really sinking in my backyard since I do bring in soil and use municipal water. Is the transportation carbon cost really negated by the plants? Eventually it will but with fairly high inputs, would it take 1 month or 1 year of constant growing for it to start making a difference?


     the analyses that i've seen on farm to mouth energy use suggests that the largest energy consumption relating to food takes place in the home, mostly in food preparation…for instance, i'm sure burning a lot of propane when i boil ten quarts of tomatoes from my garden down to 5 qts to make sauce….and those who'd cook with electric in this part of the country are still burning mostly coal, as nuclear and gas are still a smaller part of the generation capacity for the utilities here…



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  • Sat, Oct 08, 2016 - 2:25pm



    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Nov 08 2010

    Posts: 199

    packaging of food

    There are a lot of things in the grocery store that I will not buy because of all of the damn stryofoam, cardboard, plastic, paper, etc. that they are packaged in. Have you seen any studies about that rjs?

    Also, how about the thousands of miles that much of American food travels before it gets to the table?

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  • Sat, Oct 08, 2016 - 6:00pm

    Reply to #2


    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Oct 13 2008

    Posts: 295

    Re; BackYard gardening

    rjs wrote:

    "largest energy consumption relating to food takes place in the home, mostly in food preparation."

    I wouldn't bet on that. A lot of energy goes into growing crops. plowing fields, agra-petrochemicals (fertializer, pesticides, herbacides), irrigation (pumping water from deep wells), harvesting, grain drying, package prep & packaging, refrigeration (fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy), and the 1200 mile transporation. about 99% of the energy used to bring food to the consumer is fossil fuels.

    That said, most backyard gardens only provide a few meals. Most people grow a few easy to grow items like tomatos, melons, and some greens (lettace, string beans, broccoli, etc). The majority of calories consumed still come from grocery stores (grain based food, meats, dairly, etc). also consumers still buy fresh fruits & Vegetable from the grocey store during the winter months. Most fresh foods during winter months are imported from over 2000 miles away. In most cases, consumers with backyard gardens likely only produce a few percent of their food consumption. The rest comes from grocery stores. perhaps a few more percent comes from farmers markets.

    rjs wrote:

    "burning a lot of propane when i boil ten quarts of tomatoes from my garden down to 5 qts to make sauce"

    a tomato sauce companies is also going to use a simular process, just on a bigger scale. Perhaps their implementation is more energy efficient, but a lot of energy is still consumed converting tomatoes into sauce.

    FWIW: I don't see how backyard gardening is going to help the pending energy crunch. At best, any measures taken would at best delay a crisis by a few years. The issue is that there is simply too many people consuming too much resources. There is about 7.4 Billion people, that all want food as well as a high living standard. There is no way your going to convience anyone to adopt an abject poverty lifestyle to transistion to a sustainable system. I also don't see how the majority of the population can ever be convienced to major lifestyle changes. The majority of the worlds populaiton exists in urban regions and lack the land and resources to reduce there dependancy on fossil energy. 

    If you want to do something, the best option in my opinion is relocate to a rural region and adopt a self-reliant lifestyle. When the permanent energy crisis unfolds you will likely be able to maintain a reasonable living standard, and less likely to get caught up in a violent turmoil.

    The biggest worry, is that as the global economy faulters (as its in the process of doing now). that there will be another world war. We can already see rising tensions in Europe (Russia-NATO), the Middle East, and Asia (US-China-Japan, India-Pakastan, US-Japan-N. Korea). The US, China, Europe are all switching to Military Keynesium in order to prop up thier failing economic policies. Sooner or later, one or more nations is going to cross the line that leads into direct military confrontation. The world has 440 nuclear powerplants that are all going to be compromised soon after the ICBMs reach their targets.





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