News from Around the Web: An Ode to Mud

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This recent piece in the New York Times is strike a chord with all you gardening- and farming-types out there. It pays homage to mud, a field and garden bed companion that the author, Verlyn Klinkenborg, is missing this year.

Mud-Less Season

There are clear advantages to a spring without mud. I have not lost a boot to the suction of the barnyard swamp. I haven’t had to cut drainage channels through the corral. Nor have I had to tractor through primeval ooze while hauling a round bale to the run-in shed.

Still, something is missing in a season in which the forsythia came and went without mud. In a well-drained garden, mud season makes it easy to do your spading, whether you plant potatoes on Good Friday, as my uncle does, or merely prepare the earth for tomatoes to come.

What we have this year, dry earth, is intractable stuff — hard, powdery and too light in color. What rain has fallen has barely laid the dust, and even a good storm now wouldn’t raise the kind of mud I’ve come to expect over the years. Mud season is more complex than that. It needs frozen ground, good snowpack and a sudden thaw. The mud of mud season isn’t merely waterlogged dirt. It is upheaval, the amphibian earth changing shape before your eyes. It is the seed of spring in the corpse of winter.

To read the rest of this piece on NYTimes.com, click here.

Spring Plant Sale & Farm Festival is Tomorrow!

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Don’t forget: tomorrow, April 28th, is the 2nd Annual Four Elements Farm Spring Plant Sale & Farm Festival. From 11 am to 10 pm, Elemental Herbs, in partnership with Four Elements Organics, will have thousands of organic plant starts for sale, including numerous varieties of fruits, veggies, herbs, flowers, and heirloom grains, all of which have been grown in our beautiful straw-bale greenhouse.

In addition to the sale, the Farm Festival will feature activities for the entire family including:

  • Farm tours
  • Watershed ecology walks
  • Permaculture workshops
  • Information on sustainable living, organic gardening and cooking
  • Yoga
  • Children’s activities

There will also be tons of fabulous food and live music from The Earthtones, Burning Bush and BoomBala!

For more information and directions, visit www.fourelementsorganics.com.

Spring Plant Sale & Farm Festival

Elemental Herbs is counting down the days until the 2nd Annual Four Elements Farm Spring Plant Sale & Farm Festival. On April 28, from 11 am to 10 pm, don’t miss the opportunity to jump start your spring garden and party down farm-style.

We are partnering with Four Elements Organics for the sale, which will have thousands of organic plant starts, including numerous varieties of fruits, veggies, herbs, flowers, and heirloom grains that have been grown in our beautiful straw-bale greenhouse.

In addition to the sale, the Farm Festival will feature activities for the entire family including:

  • Farm tours
  • Watershed ecology walks
  • Permaculture workshops
  • Information on sustainable living, organic gardening and cooking
  • Yoga
  • Children’s activities

There will also be tons of fabulous food and live music from The Earthtones, Burning Bush and BoomBala!

For more information and directions, visit www.fourelementsorganics.com.

 

Elemental Herbs: News from the Web

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This is an interesting piece that appeared in the New York Time recently about Wal-Mart’s allegiance with a a major environmental group. What do you think of these two as bedmates? And what, if anything, do you think will come out of such a partnership? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Unexpected Ally Helps Wal-Mart Cut Waste

by Stephanie Clifford

Michelle Harvey, an employee of the Environmental Defense Fund, has a security badge to a site that used to be considered enemy territory: the headquarters of Wal-Mart Stores in Bentonville, Ark.

An environmentalist in Bentonville sounds like the premise for a low-budget reality show, but Wal-Mart has been courting environmental groups and seeking their input on its policies in the seven years since it first announced a sustainability program.

The company, the nation’s biggest retailer, has met some environmental goals and missed others. On Monday, it plans to announce that it now reuses or recycles more than 80 percent of the waste produced in its domestic stores and in its other United States operations. That is up from 64 percent as of 2009, but it is short of the zero-waste goal the company hopes to get to.

Wal-Mart’s environmental push has helped transform public opinion of the company, easing the way for it to open stores in urban areas like Chicago and Los Angeles. About a quarter of Americans now have a favorable impression of Wal-Mart, about double the percentage that did in 2007 (the earliest available figure for Wal-Mart), according to the YouGov BrandIndex, which measures consumers’ impressions of companies and products.

Before Wal-Mart announced the environmental initiative in 2005, H. Lee Scott, the chief executive, reviewed the legal and public relations problems the company was having. It had paid millions of dollars in fines for violating local pollution laws, and was facing a lawsuit claiming that Wal-Mart discriminated against women. Mr. Scott wondered if behaving differently could enhance the company’s reputation, he told Fortune. That year, Mr. Scott announced a wide-ranging plan to lessen the retailer’s environmental impact. Wal-Mart has issued regular updates on its progress since then.

Click here to read the rest of this article on NYTimes.com.

EH Earth Day Contest: We Have a Winner! Plus More Prizes!

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Congratulations to Lorrin Salchli for winning last week’s Elemental Herbs Earth Day Contest! A healthy product will be shipped to you directly!

Just as a reminder, throughout the month of April, we are going to be celebrating Earth Day in a big way. Every Monday, until April 23rd, look for our Earth Day Question of the Week here or on our Facebook and Twitter feeds. Answer the question here on the blog in the comments section and you’ll be entered to win an Elemental Herbs goodie. We’ll choose a winner at random and send the lucky person his or her eco swag in the mail.

The question will be posted on the Elemental Herbs Facebook page and on Twitter, but don’t forget to leave your answers here on the blog.

This week’s question: If you had $1 million to donate to an Earth-friendly charity or cause, which one would you choose and why?

Go. go. go! We can’t wait to see your responses!

April Earth Day Contest: We Have Winners!!

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We have not one but two winners of our Earth Day Contest this week! Denise and Stephanie, please email your addresses to caroline@elementalherbs.com.

To win prizes and share your knowledge throughout the month of April, look for our Earth Day Question of the Week every Monday until April 23rd. Answer the question here on the blog in the comments section and you’ll be entered to win a different Elemental Herbs goodie each week. We’ll choose a winner at random and send the lucky person his or her eco swag in the mail.

The question will be posted on the Elemental Herbs Facebook page and on Twitter, but don’t forget to visit the blog to leave your answers.

This week’s question: Which Earth-friendly celebrity do you most admire and why?

Go. go. go! We can’t wait to see your responses!

Ingredient Spotlight: Arnica

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Elemental Herbs’ products are full of great stuff picked fresh on organic farms all over the Bay Area. In this series, we take a peek inside our jars and tubes to explore the healing properties of some of our ingredients. This week we investigate the amazing arnica!

Arnica Montana is a member of the Asteraceae Family. It is a perennial, with bright green leaves and cheerful yellow flowers. It is from the flowers and rhizomes — or underground stems — that homeopathic practitioners make arnica salves and arnica oils.
Arnica remedies are almost exclusively used topically to help fight infection and inflammation. Arnica is also believed to help heal sprains and bruising.

We use arnica in our Herbal Cool spray to help relieve pain and swelling. Our arnica is ethically wildcrafted and extracted with certified organic alcohol for the purest product possible. Combined with menthol, the spray goes on cool and then quickly warms, providing all-natural pain relief.

Enter Our April Earth Day Contest… No Foolin’!

April is a month of rebirth: the beginning of spring, longer periods of sunlight and a pervasive feeling of gratitude that winter is finally over!

April also plays host to Earth Day. This year the 42nd Earth Day will be celebrated on April 22nd but, here at Elemental Herbs, we plan to party starting right now, with prizes all month long.

To participate, look for our Earth Day Question of the Week every Monday until April 23rd. Answer the question here on the blog in the comments section and you’ll be entered to win a different Elemental Herbs goodie each week. We’ll choose a winner at random and send the lucky person his or her eco swag in the mail.

The question will be posted on the Elemental Herbs Facebook page and on Twitter, but don’t forget to visit the blog to leave your answers.

This week’s question: What changes have you made to make your lifestyle more green?

Go. go. go! We can’t wait to see your responses!