A Month's Worth of Eco-Bites

As promised, I've compiled the daily eco-bites that appeared throughout April for handy viewing and reference. Going forward, my goal is to offer a weekly eco-bite that will be posted seperately so it's available on the "Eco-Bites" archive page. Please offer your own or send me green nibbles via e-mail at kim.odonnel@washingtonpost.com

Greenery at Pura Vida Spa in Costa Rica. (Kim O'Donnel)

* Wanna know what's fresh and in season in your neck of the woods? Check out the Eat Local tool developed by the National Resources Defense Council, with biweekly updates for all 50 states (sorry, D.C. is excluded).

* What's it like to eat a diet of foods grown and raised within 150 miles of your home? Follow the experiences of 15 people from around the country who are eating a diet that is 80 percent local for an entire year on Locavore Nation, a blogging project of Lynn Rossetto Kasper's public radio program, The Splendid Table.

* Confused by the difference between organic and conventional produce? Check out these organic cheat sheets:
The Organic Center in Boulder, Colo. has compiled a pocket guide with its recommendations for conventional produce to avoid, and the Environmental Working Group's wallet-sized version offers both its "dirty dozen" (12 worst offenders) and the "cleanest 12," a list of conventional produce that consistently scores lower in pesticide residues.

* Ideal Bite is the "Daily Candy" of the green world, an e-mail subscription service that dishes up a daily dose of eco tips in your inbox. City-specific "bites" are available for Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Seattle subscribers; the rest of us receive a generic "daily tip."

* For more on the Monsanto milk controversy mentioned in last week's blog space, check out 
this article in the current "green issue" of Vanity Fair. The piece is written by the Pulitzer prize-winning investigative team that is Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele.

* The 2007 Word of the Year for the Oxford American Dictionary is locavore, a word coined in San Francisco in 2004 to describe people who eat food that is grown or raised within a 100-mile radius of where they live.
* The original group's Web site and 
Eat Local Challenge, a group blog written by locavores with eating local dispatches and adventuring around the country
* My Food section article on a 100-Mile Thanksgiving.

* King Corn, a documentary that ran the indie theater circuit last fall, is coming to your television screens this week. As part of PBS's "Independent Lens" programming, "King Corn" will air tomorrow, April 15, at 10 p.m. ET on Washington public television network, WETA, and rebroadcast next week. Check PBS for listings in your area.

* Edible Communities is a consortium of 39 quarterly magazines (and counting) from Allegheny, Pa., to Vancouver, B.C., on locally-based eating, farming and shopping. It has become required reading for locavores. In your neck of the woods, the mag is gratis; to read what's Edible elsewhere, you must sign up and subscribe.

* Hot off the green press, just in time for Earth Day, is "Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Green World" by Washington area author Diane MacEachern. The word "purse" is intentional; this book is for women, who "spend eighty-five cents of every dollar in the marketplace," MacEachern writes in her introduction. Printed on acid-free recycled paper (natch), this hefty paperback is a green guide to all facets of life, from your morning coffee to your sleepy-time linens, including substantial chapters on food and drinks.

* The Green Fork is a new blog on eating and dining with a sustainable palate. So far, so tasty, and check the handy list of green-eating links in the right margin.

* Curious about composting? Get the dirt here.

* Crop to Cup buys coffee beans directly from Ugandan family farms and reinvests 10 percent of its profits with the growers, ensuring fair trade and community development. In addition, CTC has created online message boards for farmers to interact directly with consumers. Retail distribution is currently limited to New York and Chicago, but online ordering is available for the rest of us.

By Kim ODonnel |  May 5, 2008; 3:19 PM ET Eco-Bites
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

Hi Kim!

Thank you for compiling the Eco-Bites, and I'm happy to hear that it's going to become a weekly feature. I'll keep my eyes & ears out for anything that you could use. Cheers!

Posted by: Centre of Nowhere | May 5, 2008 5:33 PM

I can't seem to submit my question to the chat, so will post it here.

Hi Kimm -- First a big thank you for the eco-bites. I have loved them and gotten a lot of new information through them.

Second, on tahini and sumac. You got me inspired to make my own hummus again :D My question is about tahini -- any tips on storage? Nothing has ever worked for me -- fridge/dark cupboard -- it ALWAYS goes rancid on me :( What should I do, short of freezing in 3T portions?

Oh, and when I bought the tahini I saw sumac and could not resist. Do you have any favorite uses for it?

Thank you!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Valerie | May 6, 2008 11:25 AM

If tahini is going bad in your refrigerator, your refrigerator is probably not cold enough. Buy a cheap thermometer and make sure temp is below 40 degrees F.

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