All posts in Natural Urban Living

Shipping food by truck results in fresh food truck damage every day in a very large scale. Photos 

Images of transport trailer damage of fresh food, this happens every day, all the time.
Support urban farming.

Plastic water bottles take 58 trucks to move 1 million bottles – cardboard water boxes can move 1 million on 1 truck






Bees in the Junction – leave the dandelions






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Better breakfast, better grades

 A new study from the University of Iowa reinforces the connection between good nutrition and good grades, finding that free school breakfasts help students from low-income families perform better academically.
 The study finds students who attend schools that participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s School Breakfast Program (SBP) have higher achievement scores in math, science, and reading than students in schools that don’t participate.
 “These results suggest that the persistent exposure to the relatively more nutritious breakfast offered through the subsidized breakfast program throughout elementary school can yield important gains in achievement,” says researcher David Frisvold, assistant professor of economics in the Tippie College of Business.
 The federal government started the SBP for children from low-income families in 1966. The program is administered in coordination with state governments, many of which require local school districts to offer subsidized breakfasts if a certain percentage of their overall enrollment comes from families that meet income eligibility guidelines.
 Frisvold conducted his study by examining academic performance from students in schools that are just below the threshold–and thus not required to offer free breakfasts–and those that are just over it–and thus do offer them.
 He found the schools that offered free breakfasts showed significantly better academic performance than schools that did not, and that the impact was cumulative so that the longer the school participated in the SBP, the higher their achievement. Math scores were about 25 percent higher at participating schools during a students’ elementary school tenure than would be expected otherwise.
 Reading and science scores showed similar gains, Frisvold says.
 Frisvold says the study suggests subsidized breakfast programs are an effective tool to help elementary school students from low income families achieve more in school and be better prepared for later life.
 Frisvold’s paper is published online, “Nutrition and Cognitive Achievement of the School Breakfast Program,” and will be published in a forthcoming issue of the journal Public Economics.

Urban Beehive Auckland University student Rowan Dunford

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Ikea solar panels when do get get them?

Ikea in the UK is now selling installed solar panels for homes. Media report sates their panels and installation are much lower costs than other manufactures.

excerpt from article on the product…

Purely by virtue of IKEA offering this bundle in their stores, consumers will see that this technology is ready for the mainstream and available to almost everyone with a well-sited roof (and the ability to follow the flat-pack instructions).”

For a typical semi-detached house, a standard 3.36kW photovoltaic system will cost members of IKEA’s free-to-join loyalty scheme, Family Members, £5,700 – considerably less than the £7,000 average price-tag for solar PV systems, according to estimates from the consumer group Which?.
The price includes an in-store consultation and design service, as well as installation, maintenance and ongoing energy monitoring to measure the individual home’s energy generation and consumption. 

Research conducted by IKEA suggests the barriers in the solar power mass market have included high initial costs, misconceptions about payback periods, confusion of technical terms and options and concerns over aesthetics – all of which IKEA claim to address. 

Full article here at  greenfutures



…all text below from Ikea UK website as is the image above.


We want to inspire and enable you to live a more sustainable life at home by offering products and services that will help you to save money, waste and energy. We are also strongly committed to investing in renewable energy and ‘energy-efficient’ technology to help tackle climate change.

For example, we have installed more than 500,000 solar panels on IKEA stores and buildings across the world. As part of this commitment we have decided to make it easier for you to purchase affordable solar panels for your home and could potentially earn you up to £800* tax-free a year.

Hanergy Solar UK have been chosen to offer a full solar installation service using next generation solar technology.

We’ve decided to make it more affordable for you, and IKEA Family members to get an extra 15% off solar installations for your home. Solar panel installations are currently available from the IKEA Lakeside store, and coming to your local IKEA store soon. If you’d like to find out more, feel free to e-mail us.


* Based on a 3.3kW system for a semi-detached home located in Maidstone. 35 degree pitch with south facing roof and 10% shading for a house in Zone 2 according to MCS New PV Guide 1.0 released 07/02/2013. (3314 kWh x 14.9p)

in-store display

in-store display

**Assumes 50% of generation used. Bill savings based on medium user paying 15.32p/unit according to Energy Saving Trust (1657kWh x 15.32p) + Return on Investment: this is measured as First Year Income/Total cost (£824/£5,500). For customers without smart meters, export is not measured, but deemed at 50% (1657kWh x 4.6p)


Live Green Toronto Community Grants 2013


The City of Toronto Environment & Energy Office is now accepting applications for the :

                         2013 Live Green Toronto Community Grants.
The deadline to submit an expression of interest is September 16, 2013.
Grants of up to $25,000 are available for environmentally beneficial projects that address community needs such as:
park enhancements, local food production, sustainable transportation, renewable energy, building retrofits and tree planting.
Eligible applicants include:
    •  resident associations,
    • community groups,
    •  not-for-profit organizations and
    • Business Improvement Areas. Please
    • Applicants can learn more by visiting
Note: note that individuals and businesses are not eligible to apply.
Please help us spread the word by relaying this news to your members or other community and neighbourhood groups that might be interested.
For More information visit the City of Toronto Website at

Long does it take to equalize a cotton bags Eco impact?

Apparently a cotton bag needs to be used more than 100 times for it’s carbon footprint to be less than a plastic one…

Do the Math Movie Green 13 showing today




A Movie to Spark a Movement

Tuesday, June 18th, 6:30 pm
Jane/Dundas Branch Public Library, 620 Jane Street

Co-sponsored by Green 13 and the Jane / Dundas Branch Branch Public Library

Two Canadian Startups Bringing Farm Fresh Produce to Kitchen

All text from

Click here for full story

An online local food hub, the company works with farmer’s markets throughout Toronto to allow people to order locally grown fresh meat and produce. Users can go the site, select individual markets and learn more about each farmer or vendor including their family story and growing practices, what products they’re selling and even their recipes. Orders are delivered to users’ homes of offices with a story rather than a sticker.

FoodStory has launched with three partnering farmer’s markets in Toronto, Leslieville farmers’ market, Regent Park farmers’ market and the farmers’ market at Sick Kids. Eventually they want to be delivering farm fresh food from every one of the 33 markets scattered throughout Toronto.

Matheson said initially it was a challenge convincing some farmer’s that partnering with a startup like FoodStory could be both a sustainable and financially rewarding idea. It makes sense, said the CEO, given that farmer’s markets haven’t changed in many ways over the past 100 years.

“I think some people in agriculture, and this is a stereotype, but they’re not at the forefront of technology, so a lot of them just want to look on in from the outside, see how it goes and join if it looks ok,” the University of Guelph alum told Techvibes.

Click here for full story

Repair Café


The Repair Café is a meeting place where you can bring a broken household item and get help fixing it. It is free for everyone to participate. We are looking for people who are skilled at repairing household items, from appliances, electronics, furniture to clothes.
Our website is . The May 25 event will be hosted at Skills for Change, 791 St Clair West.

Why Repair Café?

We throw away vast amounts of stuff. Even things with almost nothing wrong, and which could get a new lease on life after a simple repair. The trouble is, lots of people have forgotten that they can repair things themselves or they no longer know how. Knowing how to make repairs is a skill quickly lost. Society doesn’t always show much appreciation for the people who still have this practical knowledge, and against their will they are often left standing on the sidelines. Their experience is never used, or hardly ever.

Repair Café is changing all that! People who might otherwise be sidelined are getting involved again. Valuable practical knowledge is getting passed on. Things are being used for longer and don’t have to be thrown away. This reduces the volume of raw materials and energy needed to make new products. It cuts CO2 emissions, for example, because manufacturing new products and recycling old ones causes CO2 to be released.

Repair Café teaches people to see their possessions in a new light. And, once again, to appreciate their value. Repair Café helps change people’s mindset. This is essential to kindle people’s enthusiasm for a sustainable society.

But most of all, Repair Café just wants to show how much fun repairing things can be, and how easy it often is. Why don’t you give it a go?

Who is behind Repair Café Toronto?

We are a group of people in Toronto who are inspired by the Repair Café in Amsterdamand would like to make some changes here in our own city.


Ward 13/Junction homes can get up to $2000 in incentives when making energy saving upgrades to their homes with

click any of the images to visit their site

click any of the images to visit their site

text from the group,

We’re excited to let you know with that Project Neutral and Windfall Ecology Centre have joined forces to create a community-wide climate protection initiative called: Getting to 80!
Getting to 80! is about developing ways to engage and efficiently retrofit entire communities in order to achieve Toronto’s GHG emission reduction target of 80 percent by 2050. The idea is to galvanize stakeholders around offerings for electricity and natural gas savings, renewable energy and water conservation opportunities. The first phase of this program offers residents in Riverdale/Ward 30 and the Junction/Ward 13* with incentives of up to $2000 per household when making energy saving upgrades to their homes. *Residents must have a postal code that starts with M4K, M4J, M4M, M5A, M6P and M6S.  Visit for more information.



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Seattle to Build Nation’s First Food Forest


Re-blogged from take

to view post at take click here

Seattle’s vision of an urban food oasis is going forward. A seven-acre plot of land in the city’s Beacon Hill neighborhood will be planted with hundreds of different kinds of edibles: walnut and chestnut trees; blueberry and raspberry bushes; fruit trees, including apples and pears; exotics like pineapple, yuzu citrus, guava, persimmons, honeyberries, and lingonberries; herbs; and more. All will be available for public plucking to anyone who wanders into the city’s first food forest.

“This is totally innovative, and has never been done before in a public park,” Margarett Harrison, lead landscape architect for the Beacon Food Forest project, tells TakePart. Harrison is working on construction and permit drawings now and expects to break ground this summer.

The concept of a food forest certainly pushes the envelope on urban agriculture and is grounded in the concept of permaculture, which means it will be perennial and self-sustaining, like a forest is in the wild. Not only is this forest Seattle’s first large-scale permaculture project, but it’s also believed to be the first of its kind in the nation.

“The concept means we consider the soils, companion plants, insects, bugs—everything will be mutually beneficial to each other,” says Harrison.

That the plan came together at all is remarkable on its own. What started as a group project for a permaculture design course ended up as a textbook example of community outreach gone right.

Surreal Sunken Platform in park

There’s a wonderfully picturesque spot in Vöcklabruck, Austria where visitors are able to sit in the middle of a pond without getting wet. The scenic landscape includes a path leading down to a hollowed out circular area where people can take a seat and relax amongst nature. It’s a surreal journey along the gradual ramp to the observational platform as the water level gains height either side. Once in the resting area, depending on perspective, visitors seem like they’re wading in the lake without a drop of water on them.


reblogged from mymidernmet


Photo credit: Roland Barthofer

LEAF’s Tree Tenders Volunteer Training



LEAF’s Tree Tenders Volunteer Training

This multi-day course is designed for individuals who want to gain tree-related knowledge and skills. Individuals who want to take on a leadership role in your greening projects would benefit greatly from this course. Topics include biology, soil science, tree identification planting, care and maintenance, municipal bylaws and more! We are currently taking registrations and payments for our spring courses.


Designed to give you tree-related knowledge and skills. If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about trees and how to properly care for them then this course is for you!

Each session provides basic arboriculture training which includes a combination of indoor and outdoor instruction, and a group tree planting. This course is pending approval for ISA Continuing Education Units (CEU).

Cost: $50 +HST / $70 +HST with ISA Citizen Arborist Manual (recommended). Payment cannot be refunded or deferred to future classes.


Next Tree Tenders Courses:


Northern District Library
40 Orchard View Blvd. (Yonge & Eglinton), Toronto
Wed, May 22, 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Thurs, May 23, 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Sat, May 25, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Wed, May 29, 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Oak Ridges Community Centre
12895 Bayview Ave. (Bayview & 16 Ave.), Richmond Hill
Sat, June 8, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Wed, June 12, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Sat, June 15, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.


To register for our spring courses, click here.




  • LEAF’s Community Action Presentation – Free!
  • LEAF’s Tree Tenders Volunteer Training – New sessions coming up
  • Neighbourwoods© Training – Brought to you by local experts, this course is a must if you’re thinking of doing a tree inventory
  • LEAF Presentations, Workshops and Tours – A great way to engage your neighbourhood
  • Spread the Word – We’ve put together a promo package to let others know how they can green their backyards


Click here to find out more information about the following opportunities: