30 April 2006

Guardian – Tory pisses off….

Posted in GVRD, Media, Observations at 7:52 am by urbanwild

onto compost.

Oh how I love British wit: We need more brave men like him to speak out…

Go green with urine, says leading Tory
Gaby Hinsliff
Sunday April 30, 2006

The Conservative Party chairman is urging the nation to pee on its compost heaps to help the environment.

Francis Maude, who admitted he and his family were slightly ‘psycho’ about recycling, delivered the unorthodox gardening advice after being asked what his personal contribution was to the green cause on Radio 4’s Any Questions?

Maude also said that he planned to buy a greener car when the time came to replace the family vehicle. He said: ‘If I share a tip with the audience it is that if you pee on your compost, it has a double environmental whammy – it speeds up its decomposition so you can get it on the garden more quickly, and it also saves water.’

Bob Flowerdew, of the Gardeners’ Question Time panel, argues that urine contains potash and nitrogen which is a rich fertiliser. The urea in urine is said to speed chemical reactions involved in breaking down organic material.

And in my own area:

On an average day in the GVRD, approximately
580 litres of water is used by each person at home and at work (including all residential, industrial, commercial, institutional, and agricultural sectors). Average daily water consumption for the GVRD is about one billion litres.
The one-day record for water use was two billion litres – enough to fill BC Place Stadium.


Google search urine fertilizer

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Probiotic bacteria aids digestion

Posted in Media, Probiotic at 12:56 am by urbanwild

I'm tracking stories about probiotics. Friendly microorganisms can be a benefit to both people and the planet.

A health dividend without side-effects
By Jane Clarke, The Times nutritionist

THE development of a flatulence-free bean should be a comfort to the tens of thousands of Britons who suffer from digestive problems, but could also bring health benefits to a wider public.

The Venezuelan research is part of continuing studies into the use of what are known as probiotic bacteria to aid digestion. The scientists fermented one such bacterium, Lactobacillus casei, with the beans to decrease the proportion of soluble fibre, a cause of flatulence.

Read the rest of this entry »

28 June 2005

Urban Wilderness mentioned in Globe & Mail

Posted in Media, xdx archive at 1:34 pm by urbanwild

And in Vancouver, a gardener called “Urban Wild” has been quietly adding greenery where there was once only cement and dirt and chronicling his adventures on his blog”

A link to my blog is included in the “Resources” sidebar as well as:

Primal Seeds

Toronto Public Space Committee, Guerilla Gardening

Globe & Mail
(Toronto, Canada)
June 25, 2005

Resistance is fertile: Guerrilla gardeners bring flower power to neglected urban spaces. It’s a dirty job, KAREN LaROCCA writes, but someone has to do it

Byline: KAREN LaROCCA; Special to The Globe and Mail

Ten of us take to the streets armed with tools for digging, seed packets, water and a bag of decent dirt. Not to mention the still-warm coffee grounds we’ll use for compost that we wrangled from a java joint.

We also carry a vision.

Part of a campaign of secret, simultaneous plantings planned by the Toronto Public Space Committee, our group is committed to the mission: vandalizing neglected urban spaces with nature. Call it organic culture-jamming, sneak
attacks against encroaching concrete.

Technically, we’re criminals.

Of course, both the Toronto Police and City of Toronto officials I spoke to admitted they were unlikely to expend resources on chasing gardeners unless it posed a safety hazard. (Constable Isabelle Cotton even went so far as
to say, “I would certainly hate to charge someone with mischief or anything for doing a good thing like this.”) Guerrilla gardening is quick and dirty: In larger spaces, we plant camomile, which will spread and act as groundcover. Sweet William and cosmos are bold colour statements for open, sunny spots. We stick to hardy perennials for shady areas.

When we come across a used condom at one planting site, our co-ordinator notes, “This is really not a glamorous job.” At the edge of the lot of an abandoned home, another member says, “We’re gonna increase the property value here tenfold.” On one major street, we decide against planting sunflowers in tiny patches of dirt we find, because, as one GGer puts it, “people will probably just lock their bikes to them anyway.”

While gardening is often solitary, such actions foster community, not only among the participants — who are from all walks of life, though they are mostly young people, activist types — but also for the folks who live in the bleaker areas of the downtown core.

Locals ask questions; some volunteer to pitch in. At our second planting this spring, for example, a woman who lives nearby volunteers some of her own seedlings and settles in to work the hard dirt with us. We also install small signs: “Please water me! This garden brought to you by the guerrilla gardeners.”

After all, this kind of garden is something we can all share, part of a growing urban beautification movement that includes green rooftops and community gardens.

In fact, guerrilla gardening’s roots go deep. In New York, the Green Guerrillas have been around since 1973, tossing seed mixes, encased in water balloons, into vacant lots. More recently, the Guerrilla Garden Posse has sprouted in London, Ont., where “Corporal Hollyhock” describes their Friday evening “random acts of gardening” as part fun, part community inspiration. And in Vancouver, a gardener called “Urban Wild” has quietly been adding greenery where there was once only cement and dirt and chronicling his adventures on his blog.

At the end of the first afternoon, the Toronto gardeners go our separate ways, pleased with the first round of vandalism. Sure, none of it is much to look at right now. But I am already grinning at our dirty work, imagining the cheerful surprises awaiting our fellow citizens.

And all it takes is bending a law or two.


Seeds of liberation

Want to prettify your own city and reclaim public space? Here’s the green revolution tip sheet:

1. Officials are unlikely to charge guerrilla gardeners unless they are causing mischief or endangering others. Cover your butt and use only sites that are unused or unwanted — never plant in public gardens or parks — and leave the land in better condition than you found it in.

2. Apply a little vision to the land around you. Back laneways, railway embankments, edges of parking lots and concrete planters left unattended by city gardeners are great spots to garden.

3. Keep a packet of seeds in your pocket or knapsack, along with a spoon, so you can “attack” with nature whenever you come across a neglected or unattractive spot.

4. Look for plant varieties that are native to the area and that like dry conditions. Perennials are good, especially “vigorous” and “self-sowing” varieties. Also try sunflowers, cosmos, purple sage, forget-me-nots, asters, morning glories (a vine suitable for growing along chain link fences), poppies and marigolds.

5. If you want to try growing edible plants in wasted spaces, avoid planting near pollution sources.

6. Consider the soil conditions of your sites, and plant only in those unloved spots around the city where they aren’t likely to be moved, driven over or weeded.

7. Don’t forget to go back and water, especially during the first week after planting. Planting right after a rain will buy you a few extra days.

8. Spread the word as you go. Let passersby know what you’re doing and encourage them to help.


Primal Seeds

Toronto Public Space Committee, Guerilla Gardening

Urban Wilderness: http://urbanwild.diary-x.com.