Monthly Archives: March 2012

Being a Locavore, According to Kids

By Cameron Crane

This March, we have spent a lot of time talking about the locavore movement, and the importance of teaching children where their food comes from. Locavorism is a concept that was highlighted by Rana DiOrio when she wrote What Does It Mean To Be Green?, and exploring the subject through the eyes of experts this month has been a great experience for us.

Today, please welcome experts Katie (8 years old), Erica (7 years old), and Jacquelyn (6 years old) to the blog, as I interview them about exactly what it means to be a locavore.

Do you know what it means be a locavore?

Katie: I think it’s like when an animal doesn’t eat any meat. It just eats like leaves and berries and things it finds in the forest.

Being a locavore means that you only eat food that is produced locally — within a certain distance (usually around 100 miles) from where you live. Are you a locavore?

Katie: I think so.

Erica: I think so. We always go to the grocery store with my babysitter. (Yells through house) Anna! Are we a locavore?

Jacquelyn: I don’t know.

Well, do you know where the food at the grocery store comes from?

Katie: Usually it comes from trucks — trucks of food. And like, obviously, the truck gets the food from different places. Like one time I saw a whole truck just filled with soda right outside Eddie’s.

Erica: From companies. And farms. Chicken, and apples, and corn and stuff come from farms.

Jacquelyn: The grocery store buys it. I don’t know from who. Probably a bigger store?

Do you ever go to the farmer’s market?

Katie: We don’t go usually, but sometimes when it’s a nice day. I like them because usually there is really good food. We go there for lunch sometimes. I like doing that. We don’t always go, though, because sometimes there are too many people. You can barely cross the street!

Erica: Sometimes we go there to get stuff that we don’t normally get. They have some fancy things.

Jacquelyn: Mhmm, but not for a while.

Why do you think it is important to buy food locally (like buying strawberries from a local farmer, instead of one that lives far away)?

Katie: It is better so that food doesn’t go to waste. If nobody bought the strawberries, they would just go old, and then the farmer probably wouldn’t be able to sell them. Maybe he would have to stop growing them, if nobody was buying them.

Erica: Is it just easier that way. Because then you don’t have to worry about driving to get them, they are right there!

Jacquelyn: The other farmer probably has his own people to buy strawberries.

Thank you Katie, Erica, and Jacquelyn!

Being a Locavore, According to Kids

By Cameron Crane

This March, we have spent a lot of time talking about the locavore movement, and the importance of teaching children where their food comes from. Locavorism is a concept that was highlighted by Rana DiOrio when she wrote What Does It Mean To Be Green?, and exploring the subject through the eyes of experts this month has been a great experience for us.

Today, please welcome experts Katie (8 years old), Erica (7 years old), and Jacquelyn (6 years old) to the blog, as I interview them about exactly what it means to be a locavore.

Do you know what it means be a locavore?

Katie: I think it’s like when an animal doesn’t eat any meat. It just eats like leaves and berries and things it finds in the forest.

Being a locavore means that you only eat food that is produced locally — within a certain distance (usually around 100 miles) from where you live. Are you a locavore?

Katie: I think so.

Erica: I think so. We always go to the grocery store with my babysitter. (Yells through house) Anna! Are we a locavore?

Jacquelyn: I don’t know.

Well, do you know where the food at the grocery store comes from?

Katie: Usually it comes from trucks — trucks of food. And like, obviously, the truck gets the food from different places. Like one time I saw a whole truck just filled with soda right outside Eddie’s.

Erica: From companies. And farms. Chicken, and apples, and corn and stuff come from farms.

Jacquelyn: The grocery store buys it. I don’t know from who. Probably a bigger store?

Do you ever go to the farmer’s market?

Katie: We don’t go usually, but sometimes when it’s a nice day. I like them because usually there is really good food. We go there for lunch sometimes. I like doing that. We don’t always go, though, because sometimes there are too many people. You can barely cross the street!

Erica: Sometimes we go there to get stuff that we don’t normally get. They have some fancy things.

Jacquelyn: Mhmm, but not for a while.

Why do you think it is important to buy food locally (like buying strawberries from a local farmer, instead of one that lives far away)?

Katie: It is better so that food doesn’t go to waste. If nobody bought the strawberries, they would just go old, and then the farmer probably wouldn’t be able to sell them. Maybe he would have to stop growing them, if nobody was buying them.

Erica: Is it just easier that way. Because then you don’t have to worry about driving to get them, they are right there!

Jacquelyn: The other farmer probably has his own people to buy strawberries.

Thank you Katie, Erica, and Jacquelyn!

An Interview with Charles Higgins, Executive Director, Slide Ranch

By Rana DiOrio, Founder of Little Pickle Press
 
As we explore what it means to be a locavore this month, I thought it would be relevant and compelling to interview Charles Higgins, the Executive Director of Slide Ranch in Muir Beach, California, who was recently appointed to serve on the Marin Parks and Open Space Commission. The mission of Slide Ranchis to teach visitors the impact of our choices on food, health, and the environment through hands-on activities and independent exploration of our farm and coastal wild lands. 
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about Slide Ranch? How did it come to be?
A: In 1969, the 134 acres of magnificent coastline that comprise the ranch were rescued from commercial development and purchased by a local conservation-minded attorney, Doug Ferguson, with help from the Nature Conservancy. The Slide Ranch nonprofit organization was incorporated in 1970 as a nature exploration program. It later became one of the first Park Partners in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Q: What makes Slide Ranch so special?
A: The setting is spectacular-right on the coast and only 35 minutes north of San Francisco. School-age children can visit and experience nature in a way that is transformative to them. They can walk on soft earth, smell and taste plants, connect with the land. It gives them a new concept of food.
Structured and unstructured times are both very powerful for children. In school and in modern society, children are increasingly scheduled, but we allow them to explore and discover in an unstructured manner, too. This can provide very tactile, physical experiences that stimulate a different kind of learning—milking a goat will have a totally different impact than watching it on the Discovery channel.
Q: In many ways, the Slide Ranch mission was ahead of its time. Today, it has never been more relevant as there is a growing national movement toward more local and sustainable living. Have you seen an increase in your community at Slide Ranch as a result?
A: We have seen a dramatic increase in enthusiasm and depth of learning.  Young teachers especially “get” how important human interdependence with the environment is. So, school field trip dates are sold out. Summer camp has sold out for the past few years.
Our site includes a one-acre certified organic garden, pastures grazed by goats and sheep, a productive chicken and duck coop, wild coastal bluffs and tide pools, and a group campsite from which we can see San Francisco across the mouth of the bay. For many of our low-income urban participants, a visit to Slide Ranch is their very first opportunity to connect with the elements, make direct contact with the animals, plants, and processes that produce food, and explore the extraordinary biodiversity of the Bay Area.  The outdoors, rather than being a dangerous or unfamiliar place, becomes a safe place for discovery, nourishment, creativity, and reflection. 
Q: Slide Ranch is set up to use food to educate Bay Area residents and children about our connection to nature and the people who work to feed us, in order to inspire a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle. How do you do this?
A: Slide Ranch serves approximately 8,000 visitors a year through three major educational programs.  Our School and Community Program provides field trips and overnights to 3,000 Bay Area students pre-school to high school each year, about half of them from San Francisco.  During the summer, we offer Summer Camp to children ages 5-12 and a junior camp counselor program for teens. Family Days, usually Saturdays in the spring and fall, is where families can experience camping in a user-friendly manner.
I’m always looking for ways to expand. Our parking lot accommodates 25 cars, so that is a limitation. We are pretty close to capacity.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about the new center under development at Slide Ranch? When is it scheduled to open?
A: We are rehabilitating our 95-year old farmhouse to create a new building that will have a learning lab for exploring the economy and ecology of farming and food as well as our central commons and dining area.
The learning lab on the ground floor will educate people about the factory farming of food and the factory farming of animals. It will explain how fast food supports these unsustainable practices.
Upstairs will be the central commons, dining room, with a larger observation deck, and a demonstration kitchen for multicultural cooking sessions, cooking from the garden, and local chef days. The facility will give us a better platform for our programming and will help us to underscore the connection of farming to cooking to eating. It is scheduled to open in spring of 2013.
Q: What is your favorite part about being involved in Slide Ranch?
A: It is a glorious place to work. I work in a funny little room that was part of a building that was built in the 70s. We start every day at a staff meeting outdoors or in the yurt as the fog lifts off the bluff to reveal the vast Pacific expanse. The other day as I was leaving my office for the day, I heard a Great Horned Owl hooting in the Cypress grove above our barn.
Then there is the intellectual/philosophical side. This place is so powerful for connecting children to their own bodies and their environment, getting them in touch with themselves and their world. Observing this is very gratifying. The transformation is especially profound for city kids.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to tell us about Slide Ranch?
A: It is exciting doing this work at this time in our evolution. An experience in nature that uses all of our senses connects us to a primal internal compass. The needle on the compass transects and connects all life systems.
Slide Ranch helps us to feel our way through life, aware and awake. It helps those who experience it to make better choices. If we can get the children to feel a new sense of “awakened-ness”, they can effect important changes. We try to give them experiences and to model the best practices that are in harmony with the natural world.
The ranch has served 200,000 visitors over the last 40 years. Have you visited it? Please leave us a comment!

An Interview with Charles Higgins, Executive Director, Slide Ranch

By Rana DiOrio, Founder of Little Pickle Press
 
As we explore what it means to be a locavore this month, I thought it would be relevant and compelling to interview Charles Higgins, the Executive Director of Slide Ranch in Muir Beach, California, who was recently appointed to serve on the Marin Parks and Open Space Commission. The mission of Slide Ranchis to teach visitors the impact of our choices on food, health, and the environment through hands-on activities and independent exploration of our farm and coastal wild lands. 
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about Slide Ranch? How did it come to be?
A: In 1969, the 134 acres of magnificent coastline that comprise the ranch were rescued from commercial development and purchased by a local conservation-minded attorney, Doug Ferguson, with help from the Nature Conservancy. The Slide Ranch nonprofit organization was incorporated in 1970 as a nature exploration program. It later became one of the first Park Partners in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Q: What makes Slide Ranch so special?
A: The setting is spectacular-right on the coast and only 35 minutes north of San Francisco. School-age children can visit and experience nature in a way that is transformative to them. They can walk on soft earth, smell and taste plants, connect with the land. It gives them a new concept of food.
Structured and unstructured times are both very powerful for children. In school and in modern society, children are increasingly scheduled, but we allow them to explore and discover in an unstructured manner, too. This can provide very tactile, physical experiences that stimulate a different kind of learning—milking a goat will have a totally different impact than watching it on the Discovery channel.
Q: In many ways, the Slide Ranch mission was ahead of its time. Today, it has never been more relevant as there is a growing national movement toward more local and sustainable living. Have you seen an increase in your community at Slide Ranch as a result?
A: We have seen a dramatic increase in enthusiasm and depth of learning.  Young teachers especially “get” how important human interdependence with the environment is. So, school field trip dates are sold out. Summer camp has sold out for the past few years.
Our site includes a one-acre certified organic garden, pastures grazed by goats and sheep, a productive chicken and duck coop, wild coastal bluffs and tide pools, and a group campsite from which we can see San Francisco across the mouth of the bay. For many of our low-income urban participants, a visit to Slide Ranch is their very first opportunity to connect with the elements, make direct contact with the animals, plants, and processes that produce food, and explore the extraordinary biodiversity of the Bay Area.  The outdoors, rather than being a dangerous or unfamiliar place, becomes a safe place for discovery, nourishment, creativity, and reflection. 
Q: Slide Ranch is set up to use food to educate Bay Area residents and children about our connection to nature and the people who work to feed us, in order to inspire a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle. How do you do this?
A: Slide Ranch serves approximately 8,000 visitors a year through three major educational programs.  Our School and Community Program provides field trips and overnights to 3,000 Bay Area students pre-school to high school each year, about half of them from San Francisco.  During the summer, we offer Summer Camp to children ages 5-12 and a junior camp counselor program for teens. Family Days, usually Saturdays in the spring and fall, is where families can experience camping in a user-friendly manner.
I’m always looking for ways to expand. Our parking lot accommodates 25 cars, so that is a limitation. We are pretty close to capacity.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about the new center under development at Slide Ranch? When is it scheduled to open?
A: We are rehabilitating our 95-year old farmhouse to create a new building that will have a learning lab for exploring the economy and ecology of farming and food as well as our central commons and dining area.
The learning lab on the ground floor will educate people about the factory farming of food and the factory farming of animals. It will explain how fast food supports these unsustainable practices.
Upstairs will be the central commons, dining room, with a larger observation deck, and a demonstration kitchen for multicultural cooking sessions, cooking from the garden, and local chef days. The facility will give us a better platform for our programming and will help us to underscore the connection of farming to cooking to eating. It is scheduled to open in spring of 2013.
Q: What is your favorite part about being involved in Slide Ranch?
A: It is a glorious place to work. I work in a funny little room that was part of a building that was built in the 70s. We start every day at a staff meeting outdoors or in the yurt as the fog lifts off the bluff to reveal the vast Pacific expanse. The other day as I was leaving my office for the day, I heard a Great Horned Owl hooting in the Cypress grove above our barn.
Then there is the intellectual/philosophical side. This place is so powerful for connecting children to their own bodies and their environment, getting them in touch with themselves and their world. Observing this is very gratifying. The transformation is especially profound for city kids.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to tell us about Slide Ranch?
A: It is exciting doing this work at this time in our evolution. An experience in nature that uses all of our senses connects us to a primal internal compass. The needle on the compass transects and connects all life systems.
Slide Ranch helps us to feel our way through life, aware and awake. It helps those who experience it to make better choices. If we can get the children to feel a new sense of “awakened-ness”, they can effect important changes. We try to give them experiences and to model the best practices that are in harmony with the natural world.
The ranch has served 200,000 visitors over the last 40 years. Have you visited it? Please leave us a comment!

Farm to School and the Locavore Movement

By Cameron Crane


If we know anything from recent research, it is that eating habits in children are being developed both inside and outside of the household. According to a study by John Hopkins University, with most children in the U.S. eating at least one meal a day at school and many low-income students eating two and sometimes three meals a day at school, the influence a parent has on their child’s eating behavior has steadily been growing weaker. That’s why this month, as we discuss what it truly means to be a locavore, it is important to address ways that schools can support the movement.

Several initiative programs, like Farm to School, provide the opportunity to do just that. Farm to School is a program that connects schools (K-12) to local farms, with the objective of improving health and nutrition education opportunities, and supporting local farmers. The National Farm to School Network was founded in 2007, by a collaboration of 30 organizations that were co-led by Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC) and the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute (UEPI) at Occidental College.


Today, key functions of the program include (1) “including local products in school meals-breakfast, lunch, afterschool snacks-and in taste tests, educational tools and classrooms snacks”; and (2) “introducing food-related curriculum development and experiential learning opportunities through school gardens, farm tours, farmer in the classroom sessions, chefs in the classroom, culinary education, educational sessions for parents and community members and visits to farmers’ markets.”

The program has benefits ranging from an increase in knowledge about and attitudes toward the environment, to improving nutrition, and supporting the local economy. And of course, like the locavore movement itself, the program seeks to “decrease the distance between producers and consumers, thus promoting food security while reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and reliance on oil.” Farm to School programs are also wonderful because they strengthen the connection between schools and the local community.

If you are interested in starting the Farm to School program in your local school district, you can find a list of proactive steps here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Teachers, do you want to continue the conversation about the importance of eating local and protecting the environment? Be sure to check out our award-winning title What Does It Mean To Be Green? by Rana DiOrio, and our complimentary lesson plans.

For the month of March only, when you purchase What Does It Mean To Be Green? you will receive 25% off and FREE SHIPPING on your entire order. Just enter LPPGreen12 at checkout. Hurry! Just a few days left.

Sources:

http://www.livablefutureblog.com/2011/01/are-you-learning-your-food-habits-at-home-doesnt-look-like-it

iatp.org

Farm to School and the Locavore Movement

By Cameron Crane


If we know anything from recent research, it is that eating habits in children are being developed both inside and outside of the household. According to a study by John Hopkins University, with most children in the U.S. eating at least one meal a day at school and many low-income students eating two and sometimes three meals a day at school, the influence a parent has on their child’s eating behavior has steadily been growing weaker. That’s why this month, as we discuss what it truly means to be a locavore, it is important to address ways that schools can support the movement.

Several initiative programs, like Farm to School, provide the opportunity to do just that. Farm to School is a program that connects schools (K-12) to local farms, with the objective of improving health and nutrition education opportunities, and supporting local farmers. The National Farm to School Network was founded in 2007, by a collaboration of 30 organizations that were co-led by Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC) and the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute (UEPI) at Occidental College.

Today, key functions of the program include (1) “including local products in school meals-breakfast, lunch, afterschool snacks-and in taste tests, educational tools and classrooms snacks”; and (2) “introducing food-related curriculum development and experiential learning opportunities through school gardens, farm tours, farmer in the classroom sessions, chefs in the classroom, culinary education, educational sessions for parents and community members and visits to farmers’ markets.”

The program has benefits ranging from an increase in knowledge about and attitudes toward the environment, to improving nutrition, and supporting the local economy. And of course, like the locavore movement itself, the program seeks to “decrease the distance between producers and consumers, thus promoting food security while reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and reliance on oil.” Farm to School programs are also wonderful because they strengthen the connection between schools and the local community.

If you are interested in starting the Farm to School program in your local school district, you can find a list of proactive steps here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Teachers, do you want to continue the conversation about the importance of eating local and protecting the environment? Be sure to check out our award-winning title What Does It Mean To Be Green? by Rana DiOrio, and our complimentary lesson plans.

For the month of March only, when you purchase What Does It Mean To Be Green? you will receive 25% off and FREE SHIPPING on your entire order. Just enter LPPGreen12 at checkout. Hurry! Just a few days left.

Sources:

http://www.livablefutureblog.com/2011/01/are-you-learning-your-food-habits-at-home-doesnt-look-like-it

iatp.org

Permaculture in Sub-Saharan Africa

Using Permaculture to Promote Local Food Production in Sub-Saharan Africa
By Catherine Carlton

Catherine and Clement prepare the truck for the weekly vegetable box delivery as a part of the garden’s CSA program that delivers fresh, organically grown produce to Lilongwe residents.
As some of the other blog posts in this month’s newsletter have described, there are a number of challenges to being a locavore in the United States. Most of the food in our grocery stores comes from hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away. While farmers markets, urban farming, and home gardens are taking off in popularity, it is still difficult to provide for an entire family solely through these outlets.
In the small, Southern African country of Malawi, the challenges to being a true locavore are significantly different, though no less difficult to overcome. Between eighty and ninety percent of Malawians are subsistence farmers. Their families depend on the food they are able to grow within walking distance of their homes. However the vast majority of the crops grown in Malawi are conventionally produced staple crops (primarily maize), grown for sale rather than home consumption. Very few Malawians grow their own fruits or vegetables. Furthermore, the country does not have the infrastructure to import or distribute fresh produce. In Malawi, there is not only a lack of locally produced fruits and vegetables – there is a lack of produce entirely.
The Kusamala Institute of Agriculture and Ecology, which houses Nature’s Gift Permaculture Centre, where I currently live and work, is seeking to improve this situation through trainings and demonstration sites that promote permaculture techniques. As Eston, our in-house Malawian permaculture guru, told me on my first day at the Centre, permaculture is a system of agricultural design that integrates people and nature for mutual benefit.
On a tour of the Centre Eston further explained that permaculture designs focus around six zones. At the Centre, zone 0 is the living area; zone I is intensive vegetable production, primarily annual plants; zone II is a food forest that utilizes vertical space and perennials to maximize production and minimize labor inputs; zone III is our rain fed staple crop field; zone IV is a managed woodlot; and zone V is an unmanaged wilderness area. The zones are generally designed radiating out from the living area, with areas that require the most labor closest to the house. In addition to energy and resource efficiency, permaculture generally, and the Centre specifically, emphasize utilizing readily available, local resources with the overarching goal of improving the environment, both ecologically and for human use.
Chickens are rotated around the vegetable plots to help add nutrients, remove pests, and aerate the soil.
At the Permaculture Centre, this has taken many forms. Inheriting a 20-hectare plot of land that was formerly used as a horse stable left much to be desired in terms of soil structure and fertility. As many sustainable agriculture philosophies can tell you, and as we’ve learned first hand, soil is the most important resource in a farm or garden. We integrate a number of strategies to improve the health of our soil – utilizing a nearby dairy for compost materials, rotating chickens around the garden to add nutrients, remove pests, and aerate the soil, planting locally available agroforestry species to increase soil nitrogen, and implementing crop rotations designed to provide the soil with a variety of nutrients.
The proud gardener’s pose with their recently completed compost piles. After 6 weeks the compost will be ready to work into the vegetable beds.
While vegetable production is my current focus here, the Institute also has projects aimed at carbon sequestration and soil nitrogen fixation through sustainable woodlots, planting jatropha trees for biofuel production, and a medicinal garden. Utilizing the different permaculture zones, the Centre is striving not only to become self-sufficient, but also to improve the surrounding environment and to substantially reduce our ecological impact.
As a demonstration center, training site, and facilitator for workshops in more remote villages, the Institute focuses on ensuring that the principles of sustainable agriculture and environmental stewardship do not end at the borders of its 20-hectare plot. By demonstrating the success of sustainable agricultural practices and by finding passionate farmers that are willing to try new approaches, the Institute plans to help diversify the local food economy while at the same time improving nutrition and reducing farmer dependence on expensive, petroleum-based chemicals.
The vegetable gardens and staple fields at the Kusamala Institute are by no means perfect; we are constantly trying new things, some of which succeed and some of which do not. We are working to improve both the environmental quality and the quality of life on our own plot of land and in Malawi – it is an endless growth process. It is perhaps this never-ending learning process that I love most about the path I’ve found in sustainable agriculture.
 ~~~~~~~
Catherine Carlton began her career in international development and sustainable agriculture as a Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia after graduating from Stanford University in 2006. Upon returning from Zambia, Catherine competed her Master’s Degree in International Environmental Policy, with a focus in conservation and sustainable agriculture. She is currently working as a program associate at the Kusamala Institute of Agriculture and Ecology in Lilongwe, Malawi. You can visit her blog here.

Permaculture in Sub-Saharan Africa

Using Permaculture to Promote Local Food Production in Sub-Saharan Africa
By Catherine Carlton

Catherine and Clement prepare the truck for the weekly vegetable box delivery as a part of the garden’s CSA program that delivers fresh, organically grown produce to Lilongwe residents.
As some of the other blog posts in this month’s newsletter have described, there are a number of challenges to being a locavore in the United States. Most of the food in our grocery stores comes from hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away. While farmers markets, urban farming, and home gardens are taking off in popularity, it is still difficult to provide for an entire family solely through these outlets.
In the small, Southern African country of Malawi, the challenges to being a true locavore are significantly different, though no less difficult to overcome. Between eighty and ninety percent of Malawians are subsistence farmers. Their families depend on the food they are able to grow within walking distance of their homes. However the vast majority of the crops grown in Malawi are conventionally produced staple crops (primarily maize), grown for sale rather than home consumption. Very few Malawians grow their own fruits or vegetables. Furthermore, the country does not have the infrastructure to import or distribute fresh produce. In Malawi, there is not only a lack of locally produced fruits and vegetables – there is a lack of produce entirely.
The Kusamala Institute of Agriculture and Ecology, which houses Nature’s Gift Permaculture Centre, where I currently live and work, is seeking to improve this situation through trainings and demonstration sites that promote permaculture techniques. As Eston, our in-house Malawian permaculture guru, told me on my first day at the Centre, permaculture is a system of agricultural design that integrates people and nature for mutual benefit.
On a tour of the Centre Eston further explained that permaculture designs focus around six zones. At the Centre, zone 0 is the living area; zone I is intensive vegetable production, primarily annual plants; zone II is a food forest that utilizes vertical space and perennials to maximize production and minimize labor inputs; zone III is our rain fed staple crop field; zone IV is a managed woodlot; and zone V is an unmanaged wilderness area. The zones are generally designed radiating out from the living area, with areas that require the most labor closest to the house. In addition to energy and resource efficiency, permaculture generally, and the Centre specifically, emphasize utilizing readily available, local resources with the overarching goal of improving the environment, both ecologically and for human use.
Chickens are rotated around the vegetable plots to help add nutrients, remove pests, and aerate the soil.
At the Permaculture Centre, this has taken many forms. Inheriting a 20-hectare plot of land that was formerly used as a horse stable left much to be desired in terms of soil structure and fertility. As many sustainable agriculture philosophies can tell you, and as we’ve learned first hand, soil is the most important resource in a farm or garden. We integrate a number of strategies to improve the health of our soil – utilizing a nearby dairy for compost materials, rotating chickens around the garden to add nutrients, remove pests, and aerate the soil, planting locally available agroforestry species to increase soil nitrogen, and implementing crop rotations designed to provide the soil with a variety of nutrients.
The proud gardener’s pose with their recently completed compost piles. After 6 weeks the compost will be ready to work into the vegetable beds.
While vegetable production is my current focus here, the Institute also has projects aimed at carbon sequestration and soil nitrogen fixation through sustainable woodlots, planting jatropha trees for biofuel production, and a medicinal garden. Utilizing the different permaculture zones, the Centre is striving not only to become self-sufficient, but also to improve the surrounding environment and to substantially reduce our ecological impact.
As a demonstration center, training site, and facilitator for workshops in more remote villages, the Institute focuses on ensuring that the principles of sustainable agriculture and environmental stewardship do not end at the borders of its 20-hectare plot. By demonstrating the success of sustainable agricultural practices and by finding passionate farmers that are willing to try new approaches, the Institute plans to help diversify the local food economy while at the same time improving nutrition and reducing farmer dependence on expensive, petroleum-based chemicals.
The vegetable gardens and staple fields at the Kusamala Institute are by no means perfect; we are constantly trying new things, some of which succeed and some of which do not. We are working to improve both the environmental quality and the quality of life on our own plot of land and in Malawi – it is an endless growth process. It is perhaps this never-ending learning process that I love most about the path I’ve found in sustainable agriculture.
 ~~~~~~~
Catherine Carlton began her career in international development and sustainable agriculture as a Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia after graduating from Stanford University in 2006. Upon returning from Zambia, Catherine competed her Master’s Degree in International Environmental Policy, with a focus in conservation and sustainable agriculture. She is currently working as a program associate at the Kusamala Institute of Agriculture and Ecology in Lilongwe, Malawi. You can visit her blog here.

Hunger Games in the Land of Abundance

By Dani Greer

Our month-long discussion of the locavore life and why the concept is important wouldn’t be complete without taking a look at hunger today. By now, we’ve all read the statistics about the astronomical amount of food waste in the United States. Here are some recent U.S. statistics from the Society of St. Andrew. According to Bread for the World, one in five children lives in a household that struggles to put food on the table. The statistics haven’t changed much since I became aware of them more than thirty years ago. Despite this, our Congress still argues about whether school cafeterias should subsidize breakfasts and lunches for students!
In the last few decades, additional challenges have magnified the potential issue of world starvation. Here are some of the more compelling to the welfare of life on Earth including we humans:
Those are just the major issues, with localized issues, resources, and leadership adding unique complications. It sounds like the basis for a dystopian novel! In fact, when I searched the word “hunger” for the purposes of this post, guess what popped up high in the hits? The Hunger Games. Curiosity got the better of me, and I went down a research side street to learn more. Written by Suzanne Collins and published in 2008, the film version opens in America on Friday. For readers who have been living under a rock (like me) here’s a quick synopsis:

At an unidentified future date, the nation of Panem has risen out of the ruins of what was once known as North America. Due to an unsuccessful uprising by the districts of Panem, a raffle (known as the “reaping”) is held to choose one boy and one girl, aged 12–18, from each of the twelve districts to participate in the Hunger Games, a competition in which each contestant, or tribute, battles until only one is left. The winner receives honor, gifts, and enough food and supplies to never worry about anything ever again. The Hunger Games are a yearly reminder to the 12 districts of the Capitol’s authority, and punishment for their rebellion over 70 years ago, in which the 13th district was supposedly destroyed. 

Sounds creepy, doesn’t it, but could this be what’s in store for our futures? I hope not, but the truth has often been stranger than fiction, and one can hope that a good, compelling story will bring awareness and discussion that might change, in a positive way, the course of our real lives and futures.

To end this on a lighter note, I found an entertaining video interviewing the charming young actors from the movie, in which they talk about their favorite and not so favorite foods, among other crazy fan questions. Give it a look, and tell us if you’ve read The Hunger Games. Are you planning to see the movie? We welcome your comments!

Hunger Games in the Land of Abundance

By Dani Greer

Our month-long discussion of the locavore life and why the concept is important wouldn’t be complete without taking a look at hunger today. By now, we’ve all read the statistics about the astronomical amount of food waste in the United States. Here are some recent U.S. statistics from the Society of St. Andrew. According to Bread for the World, one in five children lives in a household that struggles to put food on the table. The statistics haven’t changed much since I became aware of them more than thirty years ago. Despite this, our Congress still argues about whether school cafeterias should subsidize breakfasts and lunches for students!
In the last few decades, additional challenges have magnified the potential issue of world starvation. Here are some of the more compelling to the welfare of life on Earth including we humans:
Those are just the major issues, with localized issues, resources, and leadership adding unique complications. It sounds like the basis for a dystopian novel! In fact, when I searched the word “hunger” for the purposes of this post, guess what popped up high in the hits? The Hunger Games. Curiosity got the better of me, and I went down a research side street to learn more. Written by Suzanne Collins and published in 2008, the film version opens in America on Friday. For readers who have been living under a rock (like me) here’s a quick synopsis:

At an unidentified future date, the nation of Panem has risen out of the ruins of what was once known as North America. Due to an unsuccessful uprising by the districts of Panem, a raffle (known as the “reaping”) is held to choose one boy and one girl, aged 12–18, from each of the twelve districts to participate in the Hunger Games, a competition in which each contestant, or tribute, battles until only one is left. The winner receives honor, gifts, and enough food and supplies to never worry about anything ever again. The Hunger Games are a yearly reminder to the 12 districts of the Capitol’s authority, and punishment for their rebellion over 70 years ago, in which the 13th district was supposedly destroyed. 

Sounds creepy, doesn’t it, but could this be what’s in store for our futures? I hope not, but the truth has often been stranger than fiction, and one can hope that a good, compelling story will bring awareness and discussion that might change, in a positive way, the course of our real lives and futures.

To end this on a lighter note, I found an entertaining video interviewing the charming young actors from the movie, in which they talk about their favorite and not so favorite foods, among other crazy fan questions. Give it a look, and tell us if you’ve read The Hunger Games. Are you planning to see the movie? We welcome your comments!

Being Global Wins an Appy Award!

By Cameron Crane

Last night marked a milestone for Little Pickle Press. We are very excited to announce that our Being Global app, developed in partnership with Kite Readers, took home an Appy Award in the Multicultural Media category.

The 2012 Appy Awards, organized by MediaPost and sponsored by Microsoft, pay tribute to the world’s finest and most exciting apps in every imaginable category. The winners were announced last night at the Marriot Marquis in San Francisco, CA. We are extremely grateful to have been selected as a winner, especially with competition as stiff as Disney.

Being Global is an interactive, multi-media, and bilingual app kit for parents and educators to teach children about the goodness in exploring, appreciating, and respecting other children’s traditions, religions, and values the world over.

App Features for Being Global include the following:

  • Award-winning content (for ages 4 & up)
  • Read To Me and Touch & Read formats, with word highlighting in sync with voice narration to help kids with the pronunciation and spelling of new words
  • The ability to toggle between English and Spanish on each page
  • 50+ animations and touch-based interactions that complement the key educational concepts within the book
  • A journal activity for kids to write, illustrate, and share their own global experience
  • Coloring activity which enables kids to color a page within the book with paint brushes and color swatch
  • Touch-based quiz game that demonstrates how to say “hello” in multiple languages
  • Award-winning, rhythmic Global song with animations that kids will love to sing-along with
Click here to learn more about the app.

We would like to congratulate all the winners of the 2012 Appy Awards. For a full list of winners, click here.

Stay tuned for pictures from the event!

Being Global Wins an Appy Award!

By Cameron Crane

Last night marked a milestone for Little Pickle Press. We are very excited to announce that our Being Global app, developed in partnership with Kite Readers, took home an Appy Award in the Multicultural Media category.

The 2012 Appy Awards, organized by MediaPost and sponsored by Microsoft, pay tribute to the world’s finest and most exciting apps in every imaginable category. The winners were announced last night at the Marriot Marquis in San Francisco, CA. We are extremely grateful to have been selected as a winner, especially with competition as stiff as Disney.

Being Global is an interactive, multi-media, and bilingual app kit for parents and educators to teach children about the goodness in exploring, appreciating, and respecting other children’s traditions, religions, and values the world over.

App Features for Being Global include the following:

  • Award-winning content (for ages 4 & up)
  • Read To Me and Touch & Read formats, with word highlighting in sync with voice narration to help kids with the pronunciation and spelling of new words
  • The ability to toggle between English and Spanish on each page
  • 50+ animations and touch-based interactions that complement the key educational concepts within the book
  • A journal activity for kids to write, illustrate, and share their own global experience
  • Coloring activity which enables kids to color a page within the book with paint brushes and color swatch
  • Touch-based quiz game that demonstrates how to say “hello” in multiple languages
  • Award-winning, rhythmic Global song with animations that kids will love to sing-along with
Click here to learn more about the app.

We would like to congratulate all the winners of the 2012 Appy Awards. For a full list of winners, click here.

Stay tuned for pictures from the event!

Featured Customer of the Month: California Academy of Sciences

By Cameron Crane

California Academy of Sciences

55 Music Concourse Dr.

Golden Gate Park

San Francisco, CA 94118

One of the most exciting things that we experience as a company is when we find new avenues to reach the readers of our children’s books. So, it is no surprise that we are delighted that our titles have made it to the gift shops of planetariums, aquariums, and museums. Today, we recognize California Academy of Sciences, a cutting-edge science center that houses all three (and more!), as our featured customer of the month.

The California Academy of Sciences is a scientific institution in San Francisco, California with a mission to explore, explain, and protect the natural world. From the institution’s architecture, to its multifaceted exhibit halls and educational resources, the Academy is successful in doing just that. Driven by a “commitment to leading-edge research, educational outreach, and finding new and innovative ways to engage and inspire the public”, the Academy offers a meaningful experience that is truly unforgettable.

Housing over 40,000 animals, and hundreds of exhibits, the Academy ensures that each trip offers an experience that is different and more exciting than the last. Major venues for the Academy include: the Steinhart Aquarium, the Morrison Planetarium, the Kimball Natural History Museum, a 4-story Rainforest center, the Naturalist Center, and the Hearst Forum. Of course, we also recommend the Academy Store, where our award-winning titles are displayed among a collection of wonderful fiction and non-fiction literature, clothing, toys, and other Earth-friendly merchandise.

As previously mentioned, what makes the Academy so special is not just its venues, but also the building itself. Built in alignment with the company’s mission of sustainability, the California Academy of Sciences is the world’s greenest museum. The Academy is also the largest public building to have earned the platinum rating (highest rating possible) for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). As a company with sustainable practices, Little Pickle Press recognizes that it is not easy to take the extra step to become so environmentally responsible, and it is a pleasure for us to have proactive, value-driven customers like the Academy.

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, or are planning a trip here, we highly recommend paying a visit to the California Academy of Sciences, and experiencing all that this unique museum has to offer. While you are there, be sure to also keep an eye out for our books! For more information about visiting the museum, click here.

Little Pickle Press would also like to extend a big thank you to the California Academy of Sciences and its partner, Event Network, for being such a wonderful customer and such a valuable resource to the community.

Featured Customer of the Month: California Academy of Sciences

By Cameron Crane

California Academy of Sciences

55 Music Concourse Dr.

Golden Gate Park

San Francisco, CA 94118

One of the most exciting things that we experience as a company is when we find new avenues to reach the readers of our children’s books. So, it is no surprise that we are delighted that our titles have made it to the gift shops of planetariums, aquariums, and museums. Today, we recognize California Academy of Sciences, a cutting-edge science center that houses all three (and more!), as our featured customer of the month.

The California Academy of Sciences is a scientific institution in San Francisco, California with a mission to explore, explain, and protect the natural world. From the institution’s architecture, to its multifaceted exhibit halls and educational resources, the Academy is successful in doing just that. Driven by a “commitment to leading-edge research, educational outreach, and finding new and innovative ways to engage and inspire the public”, the Academy offers a meaningful experience that is truly unforgettable.

Housing over 40,000 animals, and hundreds of exhibits, the Academy ensures that each trip offers an experience that is different and more exciting than the last. Major venues for the Academy include: the Steinhart Aquarium, the Morrison Planetarium, the Kimball Natural History Museum, a 4-story Rainforest center, the Naturalist Center, and the Hearst Forum. Of course, we also recommend the Academy Store, where our award-winning titles are displayed among a collection of wonderful fiction and non-fiction literature, clothing, toys, and other Earth-friendly merchandise.

As previously mentioned, what makes the Academy so special is not just its venues, but also the building itself. Built in alignment with the company’s mission of sustainability, the California Academy of Sciences is the world’s greenest museum. The Academy is also the largest public building to have earned the platinum rating (highest rating possible) for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). As a company with sustainable practices, Little Pickle Press recognizes that it is not easy to take the extra step to become so environmentally responsible, and it is a pleasure for us to have proactive, value-driven customers like the Academy.

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, or are planning a trip here, we highly recommend paying a visit to the California Academy of Sciences, and experiencing all that this unique museum has to offer. While you are there, be sure to also keep an eye out for our books! For more information about visiting the museum, click here.

Little Pickle Press would also like to extend a big thank you to the California Academy of Sciences and its partner, Event Network, for being such a wonderful customer and such a valuable resource to the community.

Being Global is a Bologna Ragazzi Digital Award Finalist!

By Cameron Crane

This week Bologna, Italy, hosts one of Little Pickle Press’s favorite book festivals of all time. The Bologna Children’s Book Fair is the largest international publishing fair, and this year we are especially excited to be attending, as our Being Global app is currently a finalist for a Bologna Ragazzi Digital Award.

Being Global is an interactive app for our award-winning title What Does It Mean To Be Global? by Rana DiOrio, and illustrated by Chris Hill.

App Features for Being Global include the following:

  • Award-winning content (for ages 4 & up)
  • Read To Me and Touch & Read formats, with word highlighting in sync with voice narration to help kids with the pronunciation and spelling of new words
  • The ability to toggle between English and Spanish on each page
  • 50+ animations and touch-based interactions that complement the key educational concepts within the book
  • A journal activity for kids to write, illustrate, and share their own global experience
  • Coloring activity which enables kids to color a page within the book with paint brushes and color swatch
  • Touch-based quiz game that demonstrates how to say “hello” in multiple languages
  • Award-winning, rhythmic Global song with animations that kids will love to sing-along with

Built in partnership with Kite Readers, this app has been our introduction into a new era of children’s media, and we are so grateful that it has seen such tremendous success.

Being a finalist for the Bologna Ragazzi Digital Award is a great honor, especially with the immense amount of extraordinary children’s apps in the market. “With over 250 entries from every continent, this award for excellence in digital story publishing is recognition from the world’s largest children’s publishing fair that new digital formats have now joined their print-based counterparts for the Bologna Ragazzi award.” This year’s award was comprised of 252 entries from 179 publishers in 25 countries.

Winners for the Bologna Ragazzi Digital Award will be announced March 18th.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you are attending the Bologna Children’s Book Fair this week, be sure to attend the breakout session for eBooks and Apps: Managing the Collaborative Publisher/Developer Relationship, with Rana DiOrio (Little Pickle Press), Chintu Parikh (Kite Readers), and Dominique Raccah (Sourcebooks). For more information, click here.

Being Global is a Bologna Ragazzi Digital Award Finalist!

By Cameron Crane

This week Bologna, Italy, hosts one of Little Pickle Press’s favorite book festivals of all time. The Bologna Children’s Book Fair is the largest international publishing fair, and this year we are especially excited to be attending, as our Being Global app is currently a finalist for a Bologna Ragazzi Digital Award.

Being Global is an interactive app for our award-winning title What Does It Mean To Be Global? by Rana DiOrio, and illustrated by Chris Hill.

App Features for Being Global include the following:

  • Award-winning content (for ages 4 & up)
  • Read To Me and Touch & Read formats, with word highlighting in sync with voice narration to help kids with the pronunciation and spelling of new words
  • The ability to toggle between English and Spanish on each page
  • 50+ animations and touch-based interactions that complement the key educational concepts within the book
  • A journal activity for kids to write, illustrate, and share their own global experience
  • Coloring activity which enables kids to color a page within the book with paint brushes and color swatch
  • Touch-based quiz game that demonstrates how to say “hello” in multiple languages
  • Award-winning, rhythmic Global song with animations that kids will love to sing-along with

Built in partnership with Kite Readers, this app has been our introduction into a new era of children’s media, and we are so grateful that it has seen such tremendous success.

Being a finalist for the Bologna Ragazzi Digital Award is a great honor, especially with the immense amount of extraordinary children’s apps in the market. “With over 250 entries from every continent, this award for excellence in digital story publishing is recognition from the world’s largest children’s publishing fair that new digital formats have now joined their print-based counterparts for the Bologna Ragazzi award.” This year’s award was comprised of 252 entries from 179 publishers in 25 countries.

Winners for the Bologna Ragazzi Digital Award will be announced March 18th.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you are attending the Bologna Children’s Book Fair this week, be sure to attend the breakout session for eBooks and Apps: Managing the Collaborative Publisher/Developer Relationship, with Rana DiOrio (Little Pickle Press), Chintu Parikh (Kite Readers), and Dominique Raccah (Sourcebooks). For more information, click here.

Coming Soon: Your Fantastic Elastic Brain Book App!

By Diane Darrow, a Tech/Media Librarian and an Apple Distinguished Educator

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain by Dr. JoAnn Deak and illustrated by Sarah Ackerley explains to young children how trying something new, taking risks, and making mistakes, expands your capacity to learn! Young readers will not only learn about one of the body’s most complex organs, but also will discover how persistence can strengthen and stretch their brains.

As if creating a beautifully written and illustrated animated book were not enough, Little Pickle Press has incorporated fifteen brain strengthening games or “workouts”. Each of these interactive activities demonstrates how different learning experiences can enhance brain development. Children can learn how to play chess, engage in listening games, recognize musical sequences, consider an emotional response to paintings, and even practice trying to pat their head and rub their stomach at the same time. Afterwards, they can discover why each activity strengthened their brain and reflect on their learning process in an embedded journal. Quite possibly, they just felt a little stretching beneath their skull!

This ingenious book app offers a window into the inner workings of the brain while raising awareness of the thought process. Spend time reading and discussing this book with a child you love. A truly valuable learning experience awaits you both.

Little Pickle Press will be launching our new Your Fantastic Elastic Brain App this weekend at the American Montessori Society Annual Conference in San Francisco, CA. Stay tuned for details on how to download the app.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Diane Darrow is a Library Media Specialist at Reed Union School District in California and an Apple Distinguished Educator. Her school is recognized as one of 56 Apple Distinguished Schools in the nation.

Coming Soon: Your Fantastic Elastic Brain Book App!

By Diane Darrow, a Tech/Media Librarian and an Apple Distinguished Educator

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain by Dr. JoAnn Deak and illustrated by Sarah Ackerley explains to young children how trying something new, taking risks, and making mistakes, expands your capacity to learn! Young readers will not only learn about one of the body’s most complex organs, but also will discover how persistence can strengthen and stretch their brains.

As if creating a beautifully written and illustrated animated book were not enough, Little Pickle Press has incorporated fifteen brain strengthening games or “workouts”. Each of these interactive activities demonstrates how different learning experiences can enhance brain development. Children can learn how to play chess, engage in listening games, recognize musical sequences, consider an emotional response to paintings, and even practice trying to pat their head and rub their stomach at the same time. Afterwards, they can discover why each activity strengthened their brain and reflect on their learning process in an embedded journal. Quite possibly, they just felt a little stretching beneath their skull!


This ingenious book app offers a window into the inner workings of the brain while raising awareness of the thought process. Spend time reading and discussing this book with a child you love. A truly valuable learning experience awaits you both.

Little Pickle Press will be launching our new Your Fantastic Elastic Brain App this weekend at the American Montessori Society Annual Conference in San Francisco, CA. Stay tuned for details on how to download the app.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Diane Darrow is a Library Media Specialist at Reed Union School District in California and an Apple Distinguished Educator. Her school is recognized as one of 56 Apple Distinguished Schools in the nation.

LPP Will Be Attending the AMS 2012 Annual Conference

By Cameron Crane


Little Pickle Press is grateful for all of our customers, but one of the things we pride ourselves on is our connection to educators. From our titles, to educational apps and complimentary lesson plans, we strive to offer parents and educators a variety of media to teach their children about some of today’s most important topics. That is why Little Pickle Press is very excited to be exhibiting at this year’s American Montessori Society Annual Conference in San Francisco, CA.

The conference will be held this Thursday through Sunday, and will be attended by families, Montessori educators, Montessori organizations, and the larger education community. As the mission states, the AMS 2012 Annual Conference is “dedicated to connecting children and their global community as we guide them in becoming independent, responsible, and caring lifelong learners.”

We are very grateful to be attending this year, and with the conference located in our home base, we are able to offer a variety of unique promotions and opportunities. If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area this weekend, be sure to stop by Booth 802! Here are some of the opportunities you can take advantage of:

Purchase our titles for your child or classroom, and have your books personally signed by three of our award-winning authors. Yes, you read that right! Signings will be held for authors Rana DiOrio, Land Wilson, and Dr. JoAnn Deak. Below is a schedule of the times that each will be in Booth 802:

Rana DiOrio: Thursday 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Land Wilson: Saturday 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
JoAnn Deak, Ph.D.: Friday 10:00 am to 1:00 pm

This will also be one of your last opportunities to purchase a First Edition copy of Your Fantastic Elastic Brain on TerraSkin® (tree-free) paper. First Editions are only available while supplies last.

Come meet inspirational speaker and future LPP author Melanie Jones. Melanie Jones is the Founder and Director of Speak to Children, a non-profit organization specializing in teaching character development to children and teens. She is also an established inspirational speaker, consultant, and author of a wonderful picture book that we will publish in 2013. She will be in the booth Thursday afternoon and Friday, so come by and say hello!

Be among the first to try our new interactive app for Your Fantastic Elastic Brain! This weekend marks the exciting launch of our new digital asset for Your Fantastic Elastic Brain. Based on the award-winning title by Dr. JoAnn Deak, and full of exciting workouts and brainteasers, this digital asset is sure to become a favorite among children, parents, and educators. We will be demoing the app in our booth, so be sure to stop by and try it out!

We are also looking forward to connecting with as many parents and educators as possible, so if you are attending the conference, please come say hello at any time! I will be in the booth all weekend, and am very excited to meet other attendees and to learn all I can about the Montessori community.

The AMS 2012 Annual Conference also has a wide variety of exciting events lined up this weekend, including several presentations by Dr. JoAnn Deak. For a schedule of Dr. Deak’s presentations, click here.

We hope to see you this weekend!

LPP Will Be Attending the AMS 2012 Annual Conference

By Cameron Crane


Little Pickle Press is grateful for all of our customers, but one of the things we pride ourselves on is our connection to educators. From our titles, to educational apps and complimentary lesson plans, we strive to offer parents and educators a variety of media to teach their children about some of today’s most important topics. That is why Little Pickle Press is very excited to be exhibiting at this year’s American Montessori Society Annual Conference in San Francisco, CA.

The conference will be held this Thursday through Sunday, and will be attended by families, Montessori educators, Montessori organizations, and the larger education community. As the mission states, the AMS 2012 Annual Conference is “dedicated to connecting children and their global community as we guide them in becoming independent, responsible, and caring lifelong learners.”

We are very grateful to be attending this year, and with the conference located in our home base, we are able to offer a variety of unique promotions and opportunities. If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area this weekend, be sure to stop by Booth 802! Here are some of the opportunities you can take advantage of:

Purchase our titles for your child or classroom, and have your books personally signed by three of our award-winning authors. Yes, you read that right! Signings will be held for authors Rana DiOrio, Land Wilson, and Dr. JoAnn Deak. Below is a schedule of the times that each will be in Booth 802:

Rana DiOrio: Thursday 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Land Wilson: Saturday 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
JoAnn Deak, Ph.D.: Friday 10:00 am to 1:00 pm

This will also be one of your last opportunities to purchase a First Edition copy of Your Fantastic Elastic Brain on TerraSkin® (tree-free) paper. First Editions are only available while supplies last.

Come meet inspirational speaker and future LPP author Melanie Jones. Melanie Jones is the Founder and Director of Speak to Children, a non-profit organization specializing in teaching character development to children and teens. She is also an established inspirational speaker, consultant, and author of a wonderful picture book that we will publish in 2013. She will be in the booth Thursday afternoon and Friday, so come by and say hello!

Be among the first to try our new interactive app for Your Fantastic Elastic Brain! This weekend marks the exciting launch of our new digital asset for Your Fantastic Elastic Brain. Based on the award-winning title by Dr. JoAnn Deak, and full of exciting workouts and brainteasers, this digital asset is sure to become a favorite among children, parents, and educators. We will be demoing the app in our booth, so be sure to stop by and try it out!

We are also looking forward to connecting with as many parents and educators as possible, so if you are attending the conference, please come say hello at any time! I will be in the booth all weekend, and am very excited to meet other attendees and to learn all I can about the Montessori community.

The AMS 2012 Annual Conference also has a wide variety of exciting events lined up this weekend, including several presentations by Dr. JoAnn Deak. For a schedule of Dr. Deak’s presentations, click here.

We hope to see you this weekend!

Young Writer of the Month: What it Means to be a Locavore

By Hugo Palmeira

In the day and age where everything is interconnected, both in terms of information as well as cause-and-effect, it is no surprise that people have been branching out and beginning to consider new decisions which might not have needed consideration in the past; well, at least not as much consideration. One of these things ties into perhaps one of our biggest concerns as a collective group of human beings: the Earth. Sustainability, as we have come to understand, will likely be our biggest challenge as occupants of this planet and thus many people have thought up all sorts of ways to minimize our environmental impacts. One of the more recent movements is “locavorism.” But what does it mean to be a locavore? And why should we care?

On a more superficial and literal level, to be a locavore means to purchase food that is grown or produced within a 100-mile radius of where it is to be consumed. So, for a person living in Marin County, this would mean buying food whose origins are from within that 100-mile radius. At this point, some people may be wondering what the big difference is between potatoes coming from a 90-mile distance as opposed to a 2,500-mile distance. After all, a potato is just a potato no matter where it is from. But the point is just that: most people never even consider the distance their food travels. For most, the criterion that holds the highest degree of saliency when it comes to their food is simply how it was grown. In other words, “were pesticides used, was it a sustainable practice, was it by a huge corporation or a family-owned enterprise.” Simply put, the issue of distance rarely surfaces when buying groceries. Unfortunately however, distance is often—to say the least—a pretty big deal.

Just imagine the quantity of gasoline it takes to transport a truckload of potatoes 2,500 miles…or some fruits & vegetables on a plane from South America. Very quickly it all adds up! With global climate change already in full-swing, there are many who feel this transportation of goods to be both excessive and avoidable. Enter the locavore. For the most part, being a locavore is not all that difficult; especially with the amount of resources available— it is easier than ever to be informed of where your food originates. And with local Farmer’s Markets happening year-round, the task remains manageable. According to Marin Magazine’s website, there are over a dozen Farmer’s Markets in Marin County, several of which are active year-round regardless of the season.

However, with this being said, the same may not be true for different areas, and the decision to become a locavore may be harder to maintain than one would like it to be. But you never know until you try it. It may even be easier than expected. A word of advice: be realistic; it may not be feasible to jump into this headfirst. Research it, try it out for a week or two, or three and get a feel for it. Should challenges arise, remember why you have undertaken such an endeavor; lead by example, be the bigger person and make the conscious decision. For parents, what sort of message do you think this will send your children? There is perhaps no better way to demonstrate the importance of something to your children than simply doing it, knowing full well that they will be observing. Both the planet and your local community will be grateful.

For more information, visit the movement’s website.

For 10 steps on becoming a locavore, check out PBS’s article.

Image credit: trendingmom.com

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Don’t forget that this March, you can download a free enhanced e-book copy of What Does It Mean To Be Green? for your little picture book reader. Click for the iBook version or the Nook Book. You can also buy a hardcover copy and get 25% off and free shipping by entering LPPGREEN12 at checkout.