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Author Archive | Anita Shirreffs

MEET THE LOCALS – GABRIELE MAREWSKI- Owner of PARADISE FARMS

MEET THE LOCALS!

8 Q’s & A’s for South Florida

“MEET THE LOCALS” introduces us to the local, dedicated & inspiring people out there working in some capacity for our planet.

We ask each interviewee 8 questions. The first 5 we questions we ask all interviewee’s, and then we pose an additional three question’s that they chose from a list we provide. In FEBUARY 2014 its Gabriele Marewski.

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Gabriele Marewski,  is the former owner of the acclaimed Paradise Farms, an organic farm in Homestead that also incorporates some biodynamic principles into their practices. She is pictured here on the left with her friend Hani Khouri.

1)       What is your website/project or is there one you would like to recommend?

www.paradisefarms.net

2)       What environmental policies would you like to see Florida adapt tomorrow?

Promoting organic: it would cut down on pollution and certainly make our land and people healthier.

3)       What green policy have you seen adapted in a place outside of Florida that you liked?

Countries that have banned plastic bags!

4)       Favorite beach or outdoor spot in Florida?

Blowing Rocks on Jupiter Island.

5)       Please finish the following sentence “I Love the Ocean because_____”

…it is so healing and relaxing. I love soaking in the ocean early evening to watch natures’ performance art: sun setting and moon rising.

6)       Biggest change you have made in your life to lessen your carbon footprint?

Becoming vegetarian over 40 years ago! Meat production is the single biggest cause of pollution on our planet!

7)       Book or Film you like to recommend OR What are you reading now?

Recent movies: Blackfish, The Way.

Books: I read everything I can find by people who are walking or bicycling long distances.

8)       Favorite way to reuse something?   (i.e like a glass jar to use as Tupperware or give gifts in like candies or homemade vinaigrette etc, cereal box as a mailer, etc)

Composting: food scraps, weeds, etc. come back as great soil for planting.

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In response to a writer at the Sun Sentinel

A writer at the Sun-Sentinel wrote a pro, Port Everglades waterways expansion blurb in the paper.

Here is my emailed response to her. Not the most eloquent! But, atleast it is some input and was CC’d to some local politicians also.

Dear Doreen,

Regarding your blurb on Feb 5, 2014 in the Sun-Sentinel – “Port productivity: Handling freight more efficiently” I wanted to say that, not only are you a consistently poor reporter in general, but such a pro-business – at what ever the cost – sort of reporter, that I feel like you are stuck in another time and place and simply not current with what is going on.

CBS News for instance recently reported that we are on track to have a “fishless” ocean. For your information, saving natural reef is one way to make sure that doesn’t happen. It maybe the biggest way. Yet you make it sound like Port Everglades is backwards and behind the times. Let’s just hope local politicians for once do the right thing? After the Biscayne Bay Dredge, which was illegal, it is hard to tell.http://www.cbsnews.com/news/salt-water-fish-extinction-seen-by-2048/

Yachtsman, and long distance sailor Ivan Macfayden, accounts for us that from his up close and personal viewpoint, the ocean is “broken”.
So what is more “productive ” at this point Doreen? Old business models are just that – old, outdated and unsustainable. We need to save our oceans. Do you know that the ocean makes 70% of our oxygen- and has been producing less oxygen over the past ten years? We need healthy oceans, not more crap from the Peoples Republic of China. These days that is the sort or reporting I will be looking for.
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Biodynamic Farming 101

Popular in Europe, especially Germany, and catching on other places, Biodynamic farming is an interesting science. Complex and precise, it is beyond organic and is a practice for farmers who are really in touch with their surroundings.

Here from Wikipedia:
“Biodynamic agriculture is a method of organic farming originally developed by Rudolf Steiner that employs what proponents describe as “a holistic understanding of agricultural processes”. One of the first sustainable agriculture movements, it treats soil fertility, plant growth, and livestock care as ecologically interrelated tasks, emphasizing spiritual and mystical perspectives. Proponents of biodynamic agriculture, including Steiner, have characterized it as “spiritual science” as part of the larger anthroposophy movement.”  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biodynamic_agriculture

I liked the presentation about Biodynamic farming from the Organic Consumers Association page:
What is Biodynamic agriculture? In seeking an answer let us pose the further question: Can the Earth heal itself, or has the waning of the Earths vitality gone too far for this? No matter where our land is located, if we are observant we will see sure signs of illness in trees, in our cultivated plants, in the water, even in the weather.

Organic agriculture rightly wants to halt the devastation caused by humans; however, organic agriculture has no cure for the ailing Earth. From this the following question arises: What was the original source of vitality, and is it available now?

Biodynamics is a science of life-forces, a recognition of the basic principles at work in nature, and an approach to agriculture which takes these principles into account to bring about balance and healing.
http://www.organicconsumers.org/biodynamics.cfm

Biodynamic farmers get their certification predominately from Demeter International. I have been to some shops in Germany and France that sell mostly Demeter products and you really can “feel” a difference.  http://www.demeter.net/

I enjoyed reading about this fascinating farming practice.  Reading farmers’ say it was making such a difference too, was also wonderful.

Paradise Farms in Homestead, FL has implemented some of the Biodynamic principles into their farming. Local chefs in Miami say the produce from the farm is “the best”.

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MEDITATION: Yep, You May Like it

Just felt like talking about meditation.

“I like it, I like it, Yes I do!” (name that song)

Why does a discussion about meditation belong on a environmental blog?

Let me count the way’s.

1. If you’re not hearing what’s going on with the planet, chances are your life is too busy. Meditation will help you slow down.

2. If you have heard what is happening to the planet, but it hasn’t urged you to respond, change some habits, whatever, meditation will get you tuned back in – to reality. Yes, it is still there.

3. If you feel like nothing you do will make a difference, so why bother, you may need to press the re-set button. Meditation will put you back in the drivers seat. When you are in the drivers seat, you are in charge of the ride and mindful drivers make healthy decisions. They see the road ahead.

4. Meditation will give you a new appreciation of what is important. Happiness does not come from things, and it is almost impossible to see that trusim in today’s world. Meditation will help curb your consumer cravings, and save money.

5. Meditation is your friend.

You can be any religion or no religion in order to meditate. The most basic meditation practice is to sit on the floor, legs crossed, and preferably on a meditation cushion that will lift your butt a few inches off the floor- this helps with comfort and focus. You want to keep your spine straight, like a “stack of coins”, don’t lean to any side, or to the back or front and keep your head/chin looking straight ahead.

After getting your seat comfortable, you want to work on your focus, on your gaze. Mindfulness meditation is not practiced with eyes closed, it is done with the eyes open, albeit not WIDE open, Lol. In the begining you want to direct your focus toward the tip of your nose. If that proves impossible, then look at the floor a few feet in front of you.

Once you get your gaze settled, you need an object to meditate on, and in the begining it is recommended to use your breath for the focus of meditation.  So sit straight, be comfortable, settle into your gaze- on your nose or floor, and just watch your breath. You do that by counting your breaths. Use a count of say “5.”

Example: The breath comes in, in, in and then slowly goes out, and that is 1 count. The breath comes in and goes out and that’s 2, and so on, all the way to five and then start again from one. “Watch” the breath. When your mind wanders from watching the breath, and it will, just drop the thought as soon as you recognize you are wandering, and come back to your breath. Try not to follow thoughts that arise, instead gently go back to and stay with the breath. Try not to blink, or blink too much. Start with a ten or fifteen minute session.

Here is a picture of the type of cushion I use. It is a really firm type of foam and it is about 4-5 inches high. You sit on the edge of it and it helps take pressure off the spine, and also keeps you alert. I rest my left hand palm side up in my lap, put my right hand palm up, on top of that and touch thumbs.

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I read that Mick Jagger has been doing Buddhist meditation for years… cool.

“I like it, I like it, Yes I do!”

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Manatee’s: For the Record, Florida

Manatee’s have a few friends in Florida, but not enough in local Government, atleast for an endangered species.

In 2013 we had a record number of manatee deaths due largely to human factors including negligence, and that fact is glaring officials in charge of protecting the creatures, in the face.

Agriculture practices in Florida are toxic to our waters and manatee habitat. Preliminary manatee necropsy reports from the Indian River Lagoon manatee die off last year indicates excessive nitrogen in the creatures bellies. Dr. Brian Lapointe of the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Fort Pierce, says:  “…because of all the nutrients, from septic tanks, fertilizer run-off, and the various human sources on the water shed, this plant (Gracilaria) has formed massive algae blooms, overgrows seagrasses, and can smother the seagrasses, cutting off the light they need for example, And, this has of course, affected the manatee…. he says research needs to focus on the toxins in the lagoon.”

Additionally watercraft incidents with manatees are on the rise. Recently the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s “Stock Assessment Report” aka SAR, for the Florida population of the West Indian manatee was updated and added to the Federal Register. Why is that important? Because it documents what seems to be a genuine lack of interest on the part of the State of FL to deal with the issues that are killing off our manatee’s.  Do we really want to let that happen?

Reading the SAR report, I came away questioning the formula’s that the state is using to determine what methods to implement to most effectively protect the manatee’s?

Jaclyn Lopez, a Florida-based attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity said: “The Service’s finding today indicates that we can do more to protect manatees from unnecessary human induced mortality. Our collective efforts have helped the manatee rebound, but the recent die-offs in Indian River Lagoon and LeeCounty, coupled with mortality attributable to needless collisions with watercraft, threatens to undo all of the progress Florida as made toward recovering this iconic animal.”

What can you do? Well, stay informed for one, and let your elected officials know that you are concerned. Keep and eye out for manatees if you are a boater, observe No Wake Zones and encourage others to do so too.

The SAR report is an eye opener, atleast it was for me. You can read it here

http://www.fws.gov/northflorida/Manatee/SARS/20091231_FAQs_Florida_manatee_final_SAR.htm

Here is an interesting article about what the Indian River Lagoon die off of manatee’s is partly attributed to, according to Brian Lapointe…
http://news.wfsu.org/post/finding-clues-mass-animal-die-may-play-out-csi-indian-river-lagoon

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SIXTEEN FLORIDA CITIES, ONE MESSAGE: We Want Clean Water!

This event took place on the 22nd January, 2014.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Today concerned Floridians from more than 100 different organizations in 16 communities at risk from water pollution, toxic algae fueled by fertilizer, sewage and animal manure, and the unrestrained over-consumption of water resources gathered to make a stand for clean water in Florida.

Events were held in Boynton Beach, Bradenton, Ft. Myers, Ft. Pierce, Gainesville, Interlachen, Jacksonville, Key West, Palm Bay, Orlando, Naples, Ocala, Stuart, Tallahassee, Tampa, and Vero Beach.

Photos of the events may be accessed at on the campaign Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FCWDcampaign

The public was joined by local and state level elected officials who want to join the fight to save Florida from the threat of lost jobs, lost quality of life and lost natural environments that we now face due to the degradation of our state’s waters; they were State Senator David Simmons andState Representative Linda Stewart (in Orlando), State Senator Bill Montford, State Representative Michelle Rehwinkle-Vasilinda, and State Representative Alan Williams (in Tallahassee), State Representative Mark Danish, Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner and Tampa City Councilwoman Mary Mulhern (in Tampa), State Representative Lori Berman (in Boynton Beach), State Representative Heather Fitzenhagen (in Ft. Myers), Manatee County Commissioners Michael Gallen and Robin DiSabatino (in Bradenton), Indian River County Commissioner Peter D. O’Bryan and Indian River County School Board Member Dale Simchick (in Vero Beach), St. Lucie County Commissioners Tod Mowery and Chris Dzadovsky (in Ft. Pierce),Jacksonville City Councilman Jim Love , Palm Bay City Councilwoman Michelle Paccione, and Interlachen Mayor Ken Larsen.

Civic, water and environmental groups from every corner of the state have come together to launch a historic endeavor – a collaborative campaign to harness the resources and energy of organizations and individuals from throughout our state to demand and win the protection of Florida’s springs, rivers, lakes, and estuaries. 

The cornerstone of the campaign is the Floridians’ Clean Water Declaration which was developed with the input and support of dozens of environmental organizations. The Declaration lists six rights that should be guaranteed to the people of Florida and four responsibilities of our state government, water managers, and natural resource users.

The goal of the campaign is to get as many individuals, organizations, businesses, and elected and appointed officials as possible to sign the Declaration and commit to work together to achieve its principles. The goal is to demonstrate Floridians’ overwhelming support for protecting state waters and to create a framework for achieving meaningful policy changes in the future.

Today was the statewide launch of this new campaign that encourages everyone to sign the Declaration, share it with friends, family and colleagues, and look for opportunities to engage city and county commissioners, legislators and members of Congress, and business and community leaders.

The Declaration and a description of the campaign is at www.wewantcleanwater.com

Event Locations and Contacts

Boynton Beach

District Office of Representative Lori Berman

2300 High Ridge Road, Boynton Beach, FL 33426-8747

Contact:  Sarah de Flesco (Clean Water Action), sdeflesco@cleanwater.org 561-672-7638

Bradenton

Manatee County Administration Building

1112 Manatee Avenue West, Bradenton, FL 34205

Contact:  Cris Costello (Sierra Club), cris.costello@sierraclub.org 941-914-0421

Ft. Myers

District Office of Representative Heather Fitzenhagen

2120 Main Street, Suite 208, Fort Myers, FL 33901

Contact:  Ray Judah (Florida Coastal & Oceans Coalition), ray.judah@icloud.com,  239-218-7676

Ft. Pierce

Ft. Pierce City Marina

1 Avenue A, Fort Pierce, FL 34950
Contact:  Katy Lewey (Save the Indian River Lagoon/River Kidz St. Lucie County) ktlewey@att.net772-607-3281

Gainesville

Alachua County Administration Building

12 SE 1st St, Gainesville, FL 32635

Contact:  Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson (Our Santa Fe River), merrilleeart@aol.com386-454-4247

Cathy Harrelson (Gulf Restoration Network), cathy@healthygulf.org 727-415-8805

Interlachen

Office of Keyser & Woodward, P.A.

501 Atlantic Avenue

Interlachen, FL 32148

Contact:  Karen Chadwick, (Putnam County Environmental Council)karenchadwick95@yahoo.com386-983-1256

Jacksonville

Northbank Riverwalk

Parking at 221 Riverside Ave, Jacksonville, FL 32202 (near the Yates YMCA)

Contact:  Lisa Rinaman (St. Johns Riverkeeper), lisa@stjohnsriverkeeper.org 904-509-3260

Key West

Reef Relief Environmental Center

631 Greene Street, Key West, FL

Contact: Mill McCleary (Reef Relief), millmccleary@gmail.com305-294-3100

Palm Bay

Palm Bay City Hall

10 a.m.

120 Malabar Road, Palm Bay, FL 32907

Contact: Spence Guerin (Brevard Coalition for Indian River Lagoon Call to Action),spenceguerin@earthlink.net 321-917-2468

Naples

Arsenault Gallery

5:30-7:30 p.m. (presentation at 6 p.m.)

Crayton Cove, 764 12th Avenue South, Naples, FL 34102

Contact:  Eileen Arsenault (Arsenault gallery) info@arsenaultgallery.com239-263-1214

Ocala

Marion County Administration Building

601 SE 25th Avenue, Ocala, FL 34471

Contact:  Barbara Schwartz (Silver Springs Alliance), vallabha@cox.net 352-216-6238

Orlando

Lake Eola Park (peninsula)

Downtown Orlando

195 N Rosalind Avenue, Orlando, FL  32801

Contact:  Chuck O’Neal (League of Women Voters of Florida), Lwvocnr@aol.com  407-399-3228

Stuart

Stuart Memorial Park

300 SE Ocean Boulevard & Georgia Avenue, Stuart, FL 34994

Contact:  Marty Baum (Indian Riverkeeper), indianrivguy@yahoo.com772-631-5827

Tallahassee

Florida State Capitol Waller Park (Dolphin Park)

500 Duval Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399

Contact:  Ryan Smart (Florida Conservation Coalition), smarts421@gmail.com561-358-7191

Tampa

The Straz Center (on Riverwalk behind)

1010 N. W.C. MacInnes Place, Tampa, Florida 33602

Contacts:  Patricia Kemp (Sierra Club), patriciakemp.law@gmail.com813-508-0965

Kent Bailey (Sierra Club), kent.bailey@florida.sierraclub.org

Vero Beach

The Willow School

950 43rd Ave, Vero Beach, FL 32960

Contact: Kristy Polackwich (The Willow School), Kpolackwich@yahoo.com772-538-9304

Missy Tougas (River Kidz) missytougas@gmail.com,  772-216-1583

 

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