Bird House Made From Recovered Bullets

The people at Urban Gardens have once again found a thought-provoking piece of functional art in this Brass Birdhouse made from over 2,500 bullets found in Lebanese hunting grounds.

The piece, made by New York based design studio L.E.F.T. is, to me, an interesting juxtaposition between good and ugly. You have 2500 bullets and you can use them to make art or to make war. It’s your choice.

Plus I like the little perch.

cause.it

May 11, 2012

This topic isn’t exactly the kind of thing I usually write about but I was so impressed by the concept I couldn’t resist.

A new smart phone app called cause.it lets businesses, people and non-profits come together in a unique way.

Here is how it works. Businesses partner with non-profits. People volunteer for these non-profits and in exchange get discounts to use at the businesses the non-profits are partnered with.

Right now cause.it is only available in a few cities but the company is growing quickly.

There is a very good video on the web site that explains things in full detail.

The Boxcar Grocer

April 12, 2012

Alison and Alphonzo Cross
Founders of The Boxcar Grocer

In many underprivileged neighborhoods there is an inadequate supply of healthy food. Due to (often mistaken) preconceptions about crime rates, insurance, shoplifting, and vandalism, chain supermarkets are reluctant to open stores in these areas.

As a result, many people who live in these neighborhoods are forced to rely on local corner stores which carry mostly overpriced, unhealthy food.

Sister and brother Alison and Alphonzo Cross are trying to put an end to that in Atlanta with a new venture, The Boxcar Grocer. According to its co-founders, The Boxcar Grocer is “at the intersection of food justice and high concept retail.” In other words, it is testament to the fact that you can have a corner store in an urban area that provides healthy food choices to those with limited transportation options.

The Boxcar Grocer gets much of its produce from growers in and around the city of Atlanta. There is great information, including videos, on the Community page of their web site about some of the farmers they work with.

As the Cross team puts it, “with community support, we will have a thriving model of convenience store retail that successfully unifies the ideals of the larger environmental and food movements with the needs and voices of diverse urban communities such as Castleberry Hill, Mechanicsville and the West End areas of Atlanta.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

According to an article in Good written by Andrew Price there is a company, ecoATM, that will give you cash or store credit to trade up to a newer cell phone.

You take your old phone to a kiosk which will visually or electronically inspect it and decide what its value is. You can then get cash or store credit for a new phone.

You can find a location here.

The RE Store

April 7, 2012

A Repurposed Headboard From The RE Store
Photo Courtesy of The RE Store

For almost twenty years RE Store (there are actually two) in Western Washington has been providing quality recycled building materials as an alternate to new materials to sustainably conscious consumers. And over those twenty years the store has grown into a company that now also offers an amazing range of services. Not only can you go to the store to pick out materials, the RE Store also offers a free pick up service and a green demolition service.

What is green demolition you ask? It is a way to dismantle a building using machine and hand techniques to recover materials for reuse. This can include everything from structural framing beams to flooring and fixtures. The RE Store specializes in whole-building deconstruction, which is economically competitive with regular demolition and allows for the reuse up to 50 percent of most structures. This keeps a lot of materials out of the land fill.

The RE Store also has skill building workshops for the community and a Sustainable Living Center. Take a look at their web site and blog for more information about this inspiring and highly useful venture.

Find A Place To Compost

April 4, 2012

A picture of compost soil

A picture of compost soil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have stuff to compost but no actual place to compost? Go to FindAComposter.com, enter your location and compost centers will magically appear on your computer screen.

As for keeping the stuff to compost until you get to the compost site you have a couple of options. As we don’t have much counter or under the sink space I put it in a plastic bag in the freezer. But if you have a bigger kitchen there are all kinds of small, kitchen top and under the counter compost pails with charcoal and other kinds of filters that work well.

Fruit Blossoms

Fruit Blossoms (Photo credit: jaxxon)

A few miles from downtown Seattle a group of civic-minded people are working hard to build the Beacon Food Forest, “a land management system that mimics a woodland ecosystem but substitutes in edible trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals.”

The goal of the group is to create an area that will provide a variety of food for the community while requiring a minimum of maintenance. Fruit and nut trees, a variety of berries plus other perennial and annual vegetables will all be planted in the edible forest. Harrison Design is the landscape architect company that did the schematic for the Forest you see below.

The Food Forest’s mission is not only to feed the community but also bring the community closer together and raise awareness of issues like climate change. There are, of course, challenges such as not having a small group of people take a large portion of the spoils. But I commend the Beacon Food Forest group for taking on this endeavor and wish them the best of luck.

If you live in the Seattle area and are interested in volunteering or getting more information go here.

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