Each growing season, Rutgers produces a newsletter entitled “What’s in Season from the Garden State”. This month the newsletter discusses the contributions of two distributors who have helped make Jersey Fresh produce available across the state to restaurants, schools, and local farmers markets. What makes these distributors so important that Rutgers has dedicated their seasonal newsletter to them? One of the main reasons why these distributors are valued is because they are bridging the gap between farmers and local businesses so that local produce is available to us! Check out the following link to view the whole newsletter and read more about the good our local distributors are doing for NJ.  Rutgers What’s in Season

Also found in the newsletter is a list of produce that is available through the winter from these distributors. I’ve included some links for recipes that can be made using a variety of the items found on the list. You can also find more recipes at the Jersey Fresh website.

Winter-Fresh Recipes

Red Quinoa with Roasted Butternut Squash, Cranberries and Pecans  This is a great winter dish, one that really sticks to your bones and gives you that warm feeling inside! Quinoa is a grain that is jam-packed with protein.  The butternut squash and cranberries add great flavor and color to this delicious dish.

Fried Brussels Sprouts In many the word fried usually conveys one of two messages; unhealthy or yummy! Well believe it or not this dish is both healthy and delicious. The Brussels sprouts are pan-fried in olive oil and lightly seasoned with garlic and lemon.  These veggies are a simple and satisfying addition to any meal!

Winter Vegetable Soup This soup is full of winter-harvested veggies.  It would be perfect served on a cold snowy day.

Feel free to share your winter-Fresh recipes with us!

 

GCU’s got the Power!

      When you pull into the A&S parking lot it is not difficult to notice the solar panels which line the fields. This is a large sustainable initiative, which provides 15% of the power needed for the A&S, library and Wellness Center, has gained recognition from the EPA. The solar panels provide “green” energy to the campus. This means that the energy created by the solar panels is renewable and reduces the amount of CO2 emissions which are generally created by conventional power systems (http://www.georgian.edu/news_releases/110418_green_power_champion.htm).

A little less noticeable, but definitely not any less important, is the change in thermostat settings on campus. The heating and air conditioning thermostats have been set to 78F and 68F, respectively, in attempt to reduce energy use on campus. Have you ever walked into a classroom in the winter time where it feels like the heat has been on full blast all day? Instead of leaving the heat (or air) running unnecessarily, the thermostats have been set in order to allow the buildings to maintain a comfortable temperature but also turn off when that temperature is achieved. This simple, yet efficient task can be performed at home, in an office, or any place that has a thermostat.

In my house during the winter, the thermostat is set so that it’s warm in the morning and evening when everyone is home, and cooler during the day and overnight while no one is home or we’re sleeping. If you can’t program your thermostat (i.e. if you live in a dorm room that has a thermostat with an on/off switch), turn it off just like you’d turn the light off when you leave the house! What do you do to conserve energy in your day-to-day life?

Eat Well Through the Holidays

Eating locally grown foods is not only a sustainable practice, but has many nutritional benefits as well. Since local produce doesn’t have a long way to travel, when you purchase it you are receiving a truly fresh product. Less travel time also means fewer emissions from delivery trucks, less energy used to store products, and overall decreased pollution. These are just a few of the many benefits of eating locally grown food.

You may be saying to yourself, “It’s almost December, what can I buy now that is locally grown?” You may be surprised to learn that in NJ, beets, cabbage, and lettuce are just a few types of produce grown through November. There are also farms in NJ, such as Good Tree Farm in New Egypt, that have green houses on premise so that they can continue to produce goods through the winter months.

To find up-to-date availability of local produce check out the NJ Department of Agriculture Jersey Fresh page: http://www.jerseyfresh.nj.gov/ (This is the latest availability report as of November 14 http://www.jerseyfresh.nj.gov/JFreport.pdf). You can also check with your local supermarket or farmers market to find out if they sell Jersey Fresh produce.

 

When planning your holiday meals this year don’t forget to serve your family and guests something fresh, Jersey Fresh that is. Check back for recipes that incorporate seasonal produce!

The Mercy Garden

Mercy Garden

Behind St. Catherine’s you will find GCU’s newest addition, the Mercy Garden. Faculty, staff, students and community members have been working together in the past couple of months to get the garden up and running! And just because the cold weather is upon us does not mean we can’t grow yummy veggies in our garden! Currently cabbage, swiss chard, some leafy greens and herbs have been planted and will grow through the end of the fall semester. Environmentally friendly practices, such as composting, are used in the garden to promote sustainability.  To learn more about GCU’s Mercy Garden, check out the video below.

The Mercy Garden

The next time you take a stroll around GCU, stop by and see what’s growing in our garden :)

Georgian Court Recognized by EPA as Top Green Power Purchaser in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference in 2010-2011

Nothing initiates school pride like finding out that GCU has been recognized as the EPA College & University Green Power Champion for our region! Read on to find out exactly what GCU has done in order to make our campus more eco-friendly!

Lakewood, NJ, April 18, 2011 — Georgian Court University announced today that it was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the 2010-2011 Individual Conference Champion for using more green power than any other school in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference. 

Since April 2006, EPA’s Green Power Partnership has tracked and recognized the collegiate athletic conferences with the highest combined green power purchases in the nation. The Individual Conference Champion Award recognizes the school that has made the largest individual purchase of green power within a qualifying conference.

Georgian Court University beat its conference rivals by purchasing more than 6 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power, representing 110% percent of the school’s annual electricity usage. Georgian Court University purchases a utility green power product from NextEra Energy Resources, which helps to reduce the environmental impacts associated with the campus’ electricity use. 

According to the U.S. EPA, Georgian Court University’s green power use of more than 6 million kWh is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the electricity use of more than 500 average American homes annually, or the CO2 emissions of nearly 900 passenger vehicles per year. The Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference’s collective green power purchase of more than 10 million kWh is equivalent to avoiding the CO2 emissions from the electricity use of more than 900 average American homes or the annual CO2 emissions of nearly 1,500 passenger vehicles. 

Thirty-one collegiate conferences and 69 schools competed in the 2010-2011 challenge, collectively purchasing more nearly 1.6 billion kWh of green power. EPA will extend the College & University Green Power Challenge for a sixth year, to conclude in spring of 2012. EPA’s Green Power Challenge is open to all U.S. colleges, universities, and conferences. In order to qualify, a collegiate athletic conference must include at least one school that qualifies as a Green Power Partner, and the conference must collectively purchase at least 10 million kWh of green power. For more information, visit: http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/initiatives/cu_challenge.htm.

Green power is electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, biomass and low-impact hydro.  Purchases of green power help accelerate the development of new renewable energy capacity nationwide and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector. 

About EPA’s Green Power Partnership

The Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that encourages organizations to buy green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with purchased electricity use. The Partnership currently has more than 1,300 Partner organizations voluntarily purchasing billions of kilowatt-hours of green power annually. Partners include a wide variety of leading organizations such as Fortune 500® companies, small and medium sized businesses, local, state, and federal governments, and colleges and universities. For additional information, please visit www.epa.gov/greenpower.

For more information about EPA’s College and University Green Power Challenge, visit the Challenge website at http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/initiatives/cu_challenge.htm.

Today is World Water Day

Today is World Water Day, a day to be conscious about water use and to implement lasting changes to daily habits in order to reduce water waste and promote water conservation.  There are many reasons to curb our water consumption.  As the world’s population increases, so does demand for water.  The World Health Organization estimates that 1.7 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water.  In addition, approximately 2.3 billion people are exposed to water-borne diseases, with children around the world dying from  this type of exposure.  For these reasons, water activists around the world are fighting to make access to clean drinking water a human right (you can help here). 

How can you start conserving water?  The number one thing you can do to save water is take a look at how much water is used in order to produce the food that you eat.  National Geographic has a great interactive comparison guide for water use and different foods.  Did you know that it takes approximately 1,799 gallons* of water to produce one pound of beef, but only 216 gallons to produce a pound of soy beans?  That is a HUGE difference!  This means that small changes (i.e. turning off the faucet while brushing our teeth), while important over the long haul, pale in comparison to the amount of water we can save by simply altering what we put on our plates.  Even one meatless day per week would have an amazing impact on water usage.    

You can also get an estimate of  the typical amount of water you use per day by taking the Water Calculator quiz over at H2O Conserve.  The quiz will get you thinking about  how water connects to almost every aspect of your life.  It will help give you an idea of when you are using the most water and what changes you need to make in order to save.  The site also has a page full of Water Saving Tips  for each area of your home/life, starting with things that you can do at absolutey zero cost (some will actually save you money). 

*This is the most conservative estimate I could find, other sources calculate that it takes thousands of gallons more.

Carbon Fast for Lent

For those of you observing Lent, it is now easier than ever to curb your energy consumption and reduce your carbon footprint.  This year, the United Church of Christ has sent out invitations to members, encouraging them to apply the Lenten principles of “repentance, fasting, prayer, study, and works of love” to the environment, by committing to a carbon fast for Lent.  Those who wish to participate can sign up online to receive daily emails with suggestions for how to reduce your carbon footprint in small ways each day, which will hopefully add up to big changes for the Earth by the end of the 40 day time period.  The reason behind this recent environmental movement is primarily to stress that climate change is not only a scientific and political issue, but a moral one as well.

But is it really our moral obligation to “go green”?  Apparently, more and more religious leaders are joining scientists in urging people to avoid skepticism about climate change.  We all know that our planet and its resources are finite, and it has become overwhelmingly clear that environmental consciousness is not just a fad.  Indicators of climate change are happening all around us; seasons are shifting, temperatures are climbing and sea levels are rising.  The Bishop of London, Rev Richard Chartres, in an interview last year with Christian Today, said “It’s the poorest people in developing countries, who have done the least to cause climate change, that are being hit hardest by its devastating consequences.”  So climate change has already drastically affected the lives of many people.  If we don’t act now, climate change may permanently alter the Earth in such a way that it will be impossible to go back and undo the damage we have done.

Even if you do not plan on observing Lent, there are still plenty of small changes you can make that can result in significant reductions of the impact your life is having on the planet.  One way to get started would be to visit The Nature Conservancy website, and access the Carbon Footprint Calculator to calculate the effect that your daily choices are having on the environment.  It may also be helpful to think about the small things we do every day and how they have an impact on the planet.  For instance, do you pay attention to which garbage cans you use when throwing away trash on campus?  Do you let your car idle in the parking lot while waiting to go into class?  Do you leave the computer on in your dorm when it is not in use? Are your eating habits environmental friendly?  We all have things that we can do better.

Here are some suggestions to get you started on the path to be kinder to our planet, either during Lent or over the long run:

Eat a PB&J: http://www.pbjcampaign.org/

Get Rid of Your Junk Mail: https://www.catalogchoice.org/

Instead of Buying Something New, Get Something Used for Free: http://www.freecycle.org/

Recycle Used Cell Phones: http://www.call2recycle.org/

Purchase a Reusable Water Bottle: http://www.kleankanteen.com/

Encourage Your Family to Stay in a Green Hotel: http://greenhotels.com/index.php