We all can do our part for the planet

Nutrition & Wellness in New London County

fruit and vegetables in shopping basketErica Benvenuti, the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) dietitian, provides workshops, presentations, and food demonstrations for low-income families and individuals in Southeastern Connecticut. The interactive, educational classes are designed to help people make healthy food choices on a limited budget. 

The EFNEP program’s nutrition and cooking classes teach practical, easily applicable skills, such as simple dishes to make with foods that are easy to have on hand. Participants learn life skills, smart shopping, and how to prepare easy, nutritious meals and snacks. The program serves a wide range of constituents, including middle school, high school, and college students; pregnant women and new moms; special education classes; refugees and recently arrived immigrants; and residents of transitional living facilities. Participants have the opportunity to taste the items prepared, and, in some classes, help prepare the food.

Erica also participates in New London County food policy planning and educates agency staff in order to broaden the impact of the program and regularly reach new clients. Program partners include Ledge Light health District, New London Mayor’s Fitness Initiative, Norwich Free Academy, United Way of Southeast CT, and Catholic Charities. EFNEP workshops have helped motivate and empower participants to make healthier food choices and become more physically active. 

The newly renovated gardens at River-front Childrens’ Center. 

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Minnesota Turns to Water Recycling to Help Replenish Water

Minnesota.jpg

Water is a precious resource.  It makes up about 70% of your body composition.  Almost every bodily process requires water to function.  A lack of any basic necessity is a scary thought, but a lack of water for consumption is the most frightening of them all.  It’s a genuine threat and some states like Minnesota which has been pushed to realize this danger take it seriously and are looking into recycling water.

According to Minnesota Public Radio, population growth, an increase in irrigation, and industrial use of groundwater resources are depleting supplies in a few parts of the state.  According to Jen Kader, the program manager for the Freshwater Society which is a nonprofit water conservation group, explained, “We don’t often think about water being something that we have to consider being scarce in Minnesota.  Yet in some places, water resources are being drained faster than they’re being replenished.”

State officials and environmental groups have decided to treat and reuse dirty water to build up their clean water sources.  Meanwhile, by capturing this stormwater, it’s reducing flooding and ridding lakes and rivers of pollutants.  After all, the water is fine, but it’s the stuff in it that isn’t.  

The way the process works is you take raw sewage, run it through bar screens and a grit chamber to take out the big stuff then run it through a primary clarifier in which the chunks go to a digester and for de-watering to produce useful biosolids.  Meanwhile, the water from the primary clarifier goes to the aeration basin and final clarifier, supplemented with a thickener to return to the digester or run through a sand filter and disinfectant to produce reusable water.  

So far, in Minnesota, state officials and environmental groups have been collecting, treating, and reusing dirty water for the purposes of reducing demand for clean water and ridding lakes and rivers of pollutants.

St. Paul installed a water-reuse system to save about 450,000 gallons of water annually.  Water is collected from the roof of the Metro Transit maintenance facility, treated for debris and microbe removal and used for toilets and irrigation for the field.  Also, in Hugo, a housing development is buying stormwater for irrigation opposed to using drinking water. According to the City Administrator, Bryan Bear, “The stormwater costs them a lot less to buy, and so that saves significantly on their water bill.”

Luckily, people are interested in reusing water in Minnesota.  According to Anita Anderson, an engineer in the Minnesota Department of Health, even though water recycling projects are expensive and the state regulations are confusing, there’s significant interest in reusing water.  She said, “We were starting to get more calls from people asking, ‘Can I use this source of water to irrigate with?’  Or, ‘I want to do an eco-development, and I want to recycle all the water on site.'”

Water reuse is soon to become a popular process in Minnesota, perhaps a pioneer for other states in need of water conservation.
 

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4-H Mentoring Program Continues

corn

Extension Educator Edith Valiquette leads the 4-H Mentoring program. In November, the group started their community service projects and gifts for their family. Each school had a Family Night Out (FNO) in November. At this FNO, family pictures were taken for distribution at the December FNO. This is a popular activity with our families. It is often the first and only family picture they have received. The purpose of FNO is to strengthen the bonds between parent and child. Each FNO has a small meal, fun activity and an educational component.

UConn Extension received funding for this program for year eight, to start on February 1, 2018.

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Innovate to irrigate: 19 innovations to increase food production without draining the earth

Whenever you bite into a piece of food, do you think about where it comes from? How did it get from the ground to your table? Who are the farmers and entrepreneurs who cultivated and sourced it? It’s strange to think that this doesn’t cross our minds more often.
 
This issue is one we should be thinking about more and more often. As populations continue to grow, there needs to be new innovations to increase sustainable food production, without draining the earth. With factors such as climate change impacting water supplies and security, business-as-usual just won’t cut it.
 
For this reason, on January 29th, 2018, the
Water for Food International Forum Innovation Fair: Innovate to Irrigate, gathered together 19 organizations who are leading the way in this challenge, through creative technologies that support farmer-led irrigation practices.

Water for Food International Forum Innovation Fair: Innovate to Irrigate 
took place on January 29th, 2018 at the World Bank. 

In her opening remarks,  Laura Tuck, Vice President for Sustainable Development at the World Bank, applauded the focus of “highlight[ing] technologies that both improve the expansion and intensification of farmer-led irrigation, but also really help us address the risk they raise for the sustainability of resources.”
 
Below are just a few of the innovations from some of the most creative organizations in the irrigation field:

1. KickStart International 
KickStart International aims to meet the needs of small-scale farmers in Africa by selling its products through the local private sector supply chain.
 
“We design, market, and promote small-scale irrigation technologies that are efficient, sustainable, very low-cost, and high-quality,” explained Jenna Rogers-Rafferty, Director of Development & Strategic Alliances.
 
Incorporating feedback from farmers, the organization is currently working to develop and improve a solar-pump technology focusing on durability and efficiency.
 
KickStart has also worked with an award-winning film team to produce a short documentary, A Seed of Maize, which “depicts how difficult the decision process is for farmers when they’re thinking about investing in something like irrigation,” according to Rogers-Rafferty. This film has been used to show both farming communities and partners all the considerations that go into adopting new irrigation practices.

2. Upstream 
Upstream uses satellite imagery with machine learning to monitor and measure from space. What does this mean for irrigation and agriculture? By taking data from a variety of sources, the platform essentially provides a one-stop-shop to search for insights on specific regions of land. For example, is the land irrigated? And using what technology?
 
Upstream hopes that presenting the information in this way will aid decision-making: “We’re trying to make it as easy to use as possible, by taking traditionally very difficult GIS processes that require degree, and making them so that any practitioner or developer could go learn,” said Marshall Moutenot, Co-Founder.
 
In addition to monitoring, the program allows users to search for and pinpoint things such as rice fields in California, or where in an irrigation system there might be room for hydro-power.
 
“The sky is the limit,” Moutenot added. “If the satellites exist, we can get as detailed as those allow us.”
 
3. Acclima
With a mission to increase productivity and efficiency in agriculture, Acclima is focused on the precise application of irrigation water. At the Innovation Fair, they were showcasing two Time Domain Reflectometers (TDR), which do just that.

It’s the only sensor on the market that is able to accurately report the soil water content despite the salinity of the soil under normal growing conditions,” Kingsley Horton, General Manager at Acclima, explained as a buzz of conference participants gathered around to examine the TDR sensors.
 
Because salinity can interfere with measurements, this sensor allows farmers to get an accurate reading to reduce water waste, pumping costs, and erosion, while increasing crop yields and nutrient uptake into the plants.
 
So what’s on the agenda? In order to continue to bring prices down and make these products available to small-scale farmers, Acclima is seeking collaboration with major partners in the field.


4. Dynamax
Dynamax is also measuring moisture levels, but this time in plants.  From small flowers to large trees, “we can put sensors on a plant that tell us exactly how much the [water] flow is for one day. So we can tell exactly what that plant needs in water,” offers Eric Pena, Business Development for Dyanamax.
 
This data is then uploaded to a cloud based system, so the data can be read and compared across all plants surveyed. Pena added: “It’s the whole next level. If you give a plant exactly the right amount of water for the efficiency, then it actually raises the yield.”

In his remarks at the Innovation Fair, U.S Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) spoke compellingly about “this idea of economic regeneration, particularly the use of our land – so we are helpfully harvesting it, and leaving it in a sustainable manner for those who come after us.”
 
By bringing together some of the most creative minds working on this challenge, the Innovation Fair hopes to have made a contribution towards this vision.
 
To learn about more innovations in the field, check out the rest organizations who joined us at the 2018 Water For Food Innovation Fair:

  1. Ceres-WWF AgWater Challenge (WWF)
  2. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute
  3. EnviroAtlas
  4. Feed the Future
  5. FFAR – Literature Table
  6. International Water Management Institute
  7. Irritec
  8. JAIN Irrigation
  9. LUANAR
  10. m-Farm
  11. Netafim
  12. Rivulis
  13. SAFI
  14. Sasaki
  15. Solidaridad

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Igniting action for farmer-led irrigation at Water for Food International Forum

  • Smallholder agriculture is the predominant form of farming in much of the developing world, yet agricultural production falls short of its potential due to lack of access and right to water for irrigation. 
  • Technological innovation and public and private engagement are key to expanding farmer-led irrigation in support of global food security and poverty reduction.
  • These issues emerged as major themes during a conference hosted by the World Bank that brought together farmers, governments, private food and technology companies, financial institutions, and researchers and practitioners from around the world.

Food and water security is a growing concern, particularly for smallholder farmers in the developing world.

Water scarcity, lack of access and rights to water for irrigation, and climate shocks are just a few of the challenges that global farmers face. To address these challenges, the international community needs to boldly advance sustainable investments in smallholder irrigated agriculture.

The opening session of the Water for Food International Forum – Farmer-led Irrigated Agriculture: Seeds of Opportunity explored these themes. The event is taking place at the World Bank on January 29-30, 2018. Convened by the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska and the World Bank, in partnership with U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Agency for International Development, the event provided a platform for diverse stakeholders to share mutual challenges and innovative solutions to sustainable water and food security. The meeting explored key trends in the economic, demographic, geographic, and policy facets of farmer-led irrigation.

In her opening remarks, Kristina Georgieva, Chief Executive Officer, World Bank, emphasized the need to focus on supporting farmer-led irrigation to reduce global inequality and poverty. She discussed the rapid speed of change in the world, and how “it is particularly tragic if those already behind are cut off from opportunities of technology and development.” To this end, the international community needs to come together to share experiences and knowledge on improving the sustainability of water management practices – for all. To meet the twin goals of food security and poverty reduction, it is important to scale up farmer-led irrigation through a blend of leadership, innovation, experience, and financial resources. “It is paramount that we care deeply about rural populations where two-thirds of people are still living in poverty,” Georgieva added.

The World Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Kristalina Georgieva, gives opening remarks. 
Photo credit: @OSU_Irrigation

Elizabeth Nsimadala, President, Eastern African Farmers Federation echoed this sentiment, highlighting the strategic importance of farmer-led irrigation in developing countries, as well as “targeting youth and women.” Africa cannot sustainably feed its people without irrigation – and sustainable agricultural intensification is critical to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. She recognized the importance of innovative financial models, and that farmers need to see the long-term benefits of their investments.
 
The Water for Food International Forum provides the opportunity for diverse actors to work together and in her remarks, Christine Daugherty, Vice President, Global Agronomy Solutions, PepsiCo, spoke about the global market drivers related to farmer-led irrigation. She spoke of how the private sector can help develop inclusive food supply chains, to not only feed a growing population but also to provide adequate nourishment: “We must not simply produce more food, but produce the food that will nourish and support this growing population.”
 
Tomorrow, the Forum will continue to delve into the challenges of feeding a growing population, improving nutrition, adapting to the impacts of climate change, and reducing global poverty. It will also look at how to support technological innovations and public and private sector collaboration to maximize finance for development. Overall, the first day highlighted the need for multiple stakeholders to work collaboratively towards the shared goal of expanding inclusive finance to empower farmers and redefine public and private sector partnerships. Smallholder farmers are essential to feeding the world, and we must invest in the efficient use of resources today to meet the needs of tomorrow.

Follow along @WorldBankWater with #Water4Food as we bring you more updates from the Forum tomorrow!

[Read More …]

Locally Sourced Food – Even in Mid-Winter

By Diane Wright Hirsch, MPH

Senior Extension Educator, Food Safety

 

vegetablesAfter a not-so-local food-filled holiday season (including, I must confess, raspberries, grown somewhere in South America, in a fruit salad), it might be a good time to get back on track. Though it can be more difficult in the winter, eating locally sourced foods is far from impossible in these mid-late winter months.

Eating seasonally can get a bit tedious over the long hard winter if your supply is limited by either amount or variety. But, many farmers are now extending their growing seasons with greenhouses, high tunnels and other production methods. You may find the fruits of their winter labor at a winter farmers’ market near you. Actually, there are at least 9 of these markets in the state—one is likely not far from you. Included are the Fairfield Winter Market; the Litchfield Hills Farmers’ Market in Litchfield; the New Milford Farmers’ Market; CitySeed’s indoor farmers’ market in New Haven; Stonington Winter Farmers’ Market; Coventry, Ellington, and Storrs Winter Farmers’ Markets in Tolland County; and Stonington Farmers’ Market. Check with the local market near you for hours, days and times: they are easily searchable on the internet. Some meet only once or twice a month, others continue to be open weekly.

Keep in mind that shopping at the farmers’ market in the winter is different than in the summer—or than in a super market in the winter. The food choices will be different. You might find beets, carrots, celeriac/celery root, Jerusalem artichokes, kohlrabi, parsnips, potatoes, radishes, rutabagas, salsify, sweet potatoes, turnips, and winter squash. If you are not familiar with, let’s say, kohlrabi or rutabaga, type the name into your favorite search engine (or leaf through a good general cookbook) and you will be sure to find a tasty recipe or two.

You might also discover Belgian endive, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, chicories, curly endive (frisée), escarole, kale, radicchio, and spinach or other greens that are being produced in high tunnels or greenhouses.

Hearty leafies like escarole, chicories, endive and radicchio make a great base for a winter salad.  Because they have stronger flavors than the usual romaine or ice berg, they make a great base for other seasonal foods. Try escarole or arugula with pears and walnuts. Or try making a coleslaw with red cabbage and shredded kale—it is really delicious with dried cranberries or chunks of fresh apple added.

Flavor your winter veggies with leeks, onions and shallots. They can pretty much all be used interchangeably, but there are subtle flavor and pungency differences that may lead the eater to favor one over another. Try them raw, in salads; cooked, in just about any soup, stew, stir fry or casserole; or roasted, alone or mixed with other winter vegetables.

Winter fruits and vegetables are not the only edibles to be found at the winter markets.  Connecticut producers of beef, lamb, pork, chicken and even, in one market, duck, are found at all of the winter markets. Pick up potatoes, carrots, onions and beef or lamb for a Connecticut grown stew! Connecticut shoreline sourced seafood, including clams and lobster, is sold at several markets. Eggs, milk, yogurt and a wide array of artisan/farmstead cheeses are available as well. Locally produced animal protein foods can be a bit more pricey than the supermarket variety, but one taste and you will know that is was worth it. Give them a try and you will be hooked.

Finally, you might be lucky enough to find maple syrup, honey, locally produced cornmeal, dried beans, or pasta sauces made from Connecticut grown tomatoes, pickles and relishes made from a variety of vegetables from local farms.

And, keep in mind that the mid-winter diet calls for some seasonal vitamin C. While not grown locally, citrus fruits are certainly a seasonal food. It makes sense to add them to your grocery list at this time of year-even if you know they won’t be found at your local farmers’ market. First of all they provide vitamin C and other nutrients that might be difficult to find in a limited seasonal diet. Look for those grown in the US, including Texas, Florida, Arizona, and California, if that will make you feel better (local can be defined as you see fit, here!). Sliced oranges are great in winter salads made of a mixture of radicchio, escarole and endive. The sweetness of the oranges offsets the bitterness of the greens. Finish with some balsamic vinegar and a little olive oil. You can also use dried cherries or cranberries in this salad along with some walnuts or pecans.

Sprinkle orange juice over cooked beets or carrots, or use the rind in cranberry bread. Limes and their juice are often used in recipes that are Indian, Central American or Caribbean in origin. A bit of lime juice along with a handful of cilantro will make a black bean soup even better.

For more information on eating locally and seasonally, contact the Home and Garden Education Center at ladybug@uconn.edu or 1-877-486-6271 for more information.

[Read More …]

Locally Sourced Food – Even in Mid-Winter

By Diane Wright Hirsch, MPH

Senior Extension Educator, Food Safety

 

vegetablesAfter a not-so-local food-filled holiday season (including, I must confess, raspberries, grown somewhere in South America, in a fruit salad), it might be a good time to get back on track. Though it can be more difficult in the winter, eating locally sourced foods is far from impossible in these mid-late winter months.

Eating seasonally can get a bit tedious over the long hard winter if your supply is limited by either amount or variety. But, many farmers are now extending their growing seasons with greenhouses, high tunnels and other production methods. You may find the fruits of their winter labor at a winter farmers’ market near you. Actually, there are at least 9 of these markets in the state—one is likely not far from you. Included are the Fairfield Winter Market; the Litchfield Hills Farmers’ Market in Litchfield; the New Milford Farmers’ Market; CitySeed’s indoor farmers’ market in New Haven; Stonington Winter Farmers’ Market; Coventry, Ellington, and Storrs Winter Farmers’ Markets in Tolland County; and Stonington Farmers’ Market. Check with the local market near you for hours, days and times: they are easily searchable on the internet. Some meet only once or twice a month, others continue to be open weekly.

Keep in mind that shopping at the farmers’ market in the winter is different than in the summer—or than in a super market in the winter. The food choices will be different. You might find beets, carrots, celeriac/celery root, Jerusalem artichokes, kohlrabi, parsnips, potatoes, radishes, rutabagas, salsify, sweet potatoes, turnips, and winter squash. If you are not familiar with, let’s say, kohlrabi or rutabaga, type the name into your favorite search engine (or leaf through a good general cookbook) and you will be sure to find a tasty recipe or two.

You might also discover Belgian endive, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, chicories, curly endive (frisée), escarole, kale, radicchio, and spinach or other greens that are being produced in high tunnels or greenhouses.

Hearty leafies like escarole, chicories, endive and radicchio make a great base for a winter salad.  Because they have stronger flavors than the usual romaine or ice berg, they make a great base for other seasonal foods. Try escarole or arugula with pears and walnuts. Or try making a coleslaw with red cabbage and shredded kale—it is really delicious with dried cranberries or chunks of fresh apple added.

Flavor your winter veggies with leeks, onions and shallots. They can pretty much all be used interchangeably, but there are subtle flavor and pungency differences that may lead the eater to favor one over another. Try them raw, in salads; cooked, in just about any soup, stew, stir fry or casserole; or roasted, alone or mixed with other winter vegetables.

Winter fruits and vegetables are not the only edibles to be found at the winter markets.  Connecticut producers of beef, lamb, pork, chicken and even, in one market, duck, are found at all of the winter markets. Pick up potatoes, carrots, onions and beef or lamb for a Connecticut grown stew! Connecticut shoreline sourced seafood, including clams and lobster, is sold at several markets. Eggs, milk, yogurt and a wide array of artisan/farmstead cheeses are available as well. Locally produced animal protein foods can be a bit more pricey than the supermarket variety, but one taste and you will know that is was worth it. Give them a try and you will be hooked.

Finally, you might be lucky enough to find maple syrup, honey, locally produced cornmeal, dried beans, or pasta sauces made from Connecticut grown tomatoes, pickles and relishes made from a variety of vegetables from local farms.

And, keep in mind that the mid-winter diet calls for some seasonal vitamin C. While not grown locally, citrus fruits are certainly a seasonal food. It makes sense to add them to your grocery list at this time of year-even if you know they won’t be found at your local farmers’ market. First of all they provide vitamin C and other nutrients that might be difficult to find in a limited seasonal diet. Look for those grown in the US, including Texas, Florida, Arizona, and California, if that will make you feel better (local can be defined as you see fit, here!). Sliced oranges are great in winter salads made of a mixture of radicchio, escarole and endive. The sweetness of the oranges offsets the bitterness of the greens. Finish with some balsamic vinegar and a little olive oil. You can also use dried cherries or cranberries in this salad along with some walnuts or pecans.

Sprinkle orange juice over cooked beets or carrots, or use the rind in cranberry bread. Limes and their juice are often used in recipes that are Indian, Central American or Caribbean in origin. A bit of lime juice along with a handful of cilantro will make a black bean soup even better.

For more information on eating locally and seasonally, contact the Home and Garden Education Center at ladybug@uconn.edu or 1-877-486-6271 for more information.

[Read More …]

Locally Sourced Food – Even in Mid-Winter

By Diane Wright Hirsch, MPH

Senior Extension Educator, Food Safety

 

vegetablesAfter a not-so-local food-filled holiday season (including, I must confess, raspberries, grown somewhere in South America, in a fruit salad), it might be a good time to get back on track. Though it can be more difficult in the winter, eating locally sourced foods is far from impossible in these mid-late winter months.

Eating seasonally can get a bit tedious over the long hard winter if your supply is limited by either amount or variety. But, many farmers are now extending their growing seasons with greenhouses, high tunnels and other production methods. You may find the fruits of their winter labor at a winter farmers’ market near you. Actually, there are at least 9 of these markets in the state—one is likely not far from you. Included are the Fairfield Winter Market; the Litchfield Hills Farmers’ Market in Litchfield; the New Milford Farmers’ Market; CitySeed’s indoor farmers’ market in New Haven; Stonington Winter Farmers’ Market; Coventry, Ellington, and Storrs Winter Farmers’ Markets in Tolland County; and Stonington Farmers’ Market. Check with the local market near you for hours, days and times: they are easily searchable on the internet. Some meet only once or twice a month, others continue to be open weekly.

Keep in mind that shopping at the farmers’ market in the winter is different than in the summer—or than in a super market in the winter. The food choices will be different. You might find beets, carrots, celeriac/celery root, Jerusalem artichokes, kohlrabi, parsnips, potatoes, radishes, rutabagas, salsify, sweet potatoes, turnips, and winter squash. If you are not familiar with, let’s say, kohlrabi or rutabaga, type the name into your favorite search engine (or leaf through a good general cookbook) and you will be sure to find a tasty recipe or two.

You might also discover Belgian endive, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, chicories, curly endive (frisée), escarole, kale, radicchio, and spinach or other greens that are being produced in high tunnels or greenhouses.

Hearty leafies like escarole, chicories, endive and radicchio make a great base for a winter salad.  Because they have stronger flavors than the usual romaine or ice berg, they make a great base for other seasonal foods. Try escarole or arugula with pears and walnuts. Or try making a coleslaw with red cabbage and shredded kale—it is really delicious with dried cranberries or chunks of fresh apple added.

Flavor your winter veggies with leeks, onions and shallots. They can pretty much all be used interchangeably, but there are subtle flavor and pungency differences that may lead the eater to favor one over another. Try them raw, in salads; cooked, in just about any soup, stew, stir fry or casserole; or roasted, alone or mixed with other winter vegetables.

Winter fruits and vegetables are not the only edibles to be found at the winter markets.  Connecticut producers of beef, lamb, pork, chicken and even, in one market, duck, are found at all of the winter markets. Pick up potatoes, carrots, onions and beef or lamb for a Connecticut grown stew! Connecticut shoreline sourced seafood, including clams and lobster, is sold at several markets. Eggs, milk, yogurt and a wide array of artisan/farmstead cheeses are available as well. Locally produced animal protein foods can be a bit more pricey than the supermarket variety, but one taste and you will know that is was worth it. Give them a try and you will be hooked.

Finally, you might be lucky enough to find maple syrup, honey, locally produced cornmeal, dried beans, or pasta sauces made from Connecticut grown tomatoes, pickles and relishes made from a variety of vegetables from local farms.

And, keep in mind that the mid-winter diet calls for some seasonal vitamin C. While not grown locally, citrus fruits are certainly a seasonal food. It makes sense to add them to your grocery list at this time of year-even if you know they won’t be found at your local farmers’ market. First of all they provide vitamin C and other nutrients that might be difficult to find in a limited seasonal diet. Look for those grown in the US, including Texas, Florida, Arizona, and California, if that will make you feel better (local can be defined as you see fit, here!). Sliced oranges are great in winter salads made of a mixture of radicchio, escarole and endive. The sweetness of the oranges offsets the bitterness of the greens. Finish with some balsamic vinegar and a little olive oil. You can also use dried cherries or cranberries in this salad along with some walnuts or pecans.

Sprinkle orange juice over cooked beets or carrots, or use the rind in cranberry bread. Limes and their juice are often used in recipes that are Indian, Central American or Caribbean in origin. A bit of lime juice along with a handful of cilantro will make a black bean soup even better.

For more information on eating locally and seasonally, contact the Home and Garden Education Center at ladybug@uconn.edu or 1-877-486-6271 for more information.

[Read More …]

King Point Cove – A Lesson In Wastewater Reuse

news DTT image with crane.png

While in the early stages of the development, the developers were interested in creating a wastewater treatment and reuse system that could scale up as the community continued to expand.

The King’s Point Cove Project needed a solution that could handle wastewater flows that were highly variable. Given peak times created by events at the clubhouse and tournaments on the course, the current system would get overwhelmed. Additionally, with a small number of homes on the collection system to start, a traditional activated sludge proved too difficult to operate effectively. Thus, the Active Water Solutions Packaged system was chosen for its ease of operation, and its resiliency in the face of variability.

The effluent criteria for this project include 5 mg/L for BOD, 12 mg/L for TSS and 3 mg/L for NH4-N.  The design for the initial phase was developed to treat 15,000 gpd, and  was built in a single 53’ high cube shipping container.  Due to the permit requirements, and intended reuse, tertiary filtration was also included for effluent polishing.   

The treatment system was designed as a submerged fixed-bed biofilm reactor (SFBBR), which incorporated a specifically-calculated fixed-film surface area submerged in the aeration basins (i.e. bioreactors). The process train is simple and includes an influent fine screen, two aerobic bio-reactors, clarification, disinfection, and tertiary filtration.  A sludge holding tank was also integrated into the self-contained system. 

golfc.png

Simplicity and biological stability are the core benefits of the King’s Point Cove system. Considering the required low BOD effluent, and additional nitrification requirements, the SFBBR’s biofilm-based treatment process allows for a more complete carbon oxidation and improved autotrophic bacteria proliferation.  Biofilms are highly self-regulating in accordance with pollutant concentrations, thereby omitting the need for a RAS process in most cases.  Therefore, the operator does not have to be concerned with balancing F:M ratios or varying quantities of wasted versus returned sludge.

The development at King’s Point Cove is an ideal example of what happens when science and design work together to make wastewater treatment and reuse seamless and environmentally friendly. 

Interested in learning more about this project? Contact us today. 

 

Learn More

[Read More …]

Technological innovations are on exponential curves; but are water supply, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) measurement methods stuck in time?

Co-authors: Evan Thomas and German Sturzenegger

Technological innovations have the potential to revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development—if we rise responsibly to the challenge of measuring their impact.

Fifteen years is a long time for technology. In 2003 the “World Wide Web” was pervasive by 1986 standards. Yet today, the web of 2003 may very well have been spun by a single spider.

It’s been over two years since the United Nations introduced the Sustainable Development Goals. How can we better monitor progress toward them? This month, the World Bank Group and the InterAmerican Development Bank, along with collaborators from partnering institutions, published an overview of innovations in the monitoring of water supply, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) impact measures, directly tied to SDG #6: “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.” The authors explore the potential of new measurement technologies to “revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development in the sector,” one of the hopes pinned to the SDG framework.

Download the report

Credible measurement methods must be both valid and reliable. Ideally, multiple measurements of the same subject would reap the same finding, and conscious and unconscious bias or error would be minimized. But we are not in an ideal world, and there are myriad methods to choose from, each with its own advantages and limitations. Often, it’s a good idea to use more than one to paint a complete picture of both WASH delivery and adoption.

In this book, the authors review a landscape of technologies, methods, and approaches that can support and improve the water and sanitation indicators proposed for SDG target 6.1, “by 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all,” and target 6.2, “by 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.” The volume reviews the rationale for a continued reliance on household surveys and censuses, analyses water quality monitoring standards applicable to SDG6, assesses methods for measuring water and sanitation use and behavior, describes the emergent technologies, including water meters, water pump sensors, and latrine motion detectors, and evaluates the relevant technologies and services that offer improvements in the collection of, and action on, data from water and sanitation programs.

For instance, in Sub-Saharan Africa, about one million hand pumps supply water to over 200 million rural water users across the continent, yet as many as one-third of all hand pumps are thought not to be working at any given time, with 30–70 percent broken within two years. In Ethiopia and Kenya, sensors connected to the satellite network are being installed on remote electrically powered boreholes to monitor functionality and water service delivery. These measures are entered into decision aids that may dispatch technicians, supplies, or other response. Also, mobile-enabled “smart hand pumps” reduced the pump downtime from an average of 27 days to 2.6 days.

In some cases, technologies and methods are readily available, thanks to long-term effort. Household surveys are in this category, although there is innovation here too, as a reliance on grueling and sometimes problematic paper-based processes shifts toward electronic, cloud-based, and georeferenced means of collecting, systematizing, and reporting big data. Other promising technologies are yet to be rolled out (e.g., drone surveys to identify latrines on roofs, remotely reporting sensors for tracking public facilities’ usage), but may be integrated over time as disruptive technologies evolve alongside the so called 4th Industrial Revolution. Some means of measurement are direct, some remain indirect. Some are objective, while others involve rigorous training to help users avoid subjective influence. Some are cheap. Others remain expensive. Some involve obstacles to scalability, while others are just waiting to be scaled up (the use of satellite imagery, for example). The exciting thing is the very fact that we can’t set in stone what is the “best” type, because we can expect more options to open up in an exponential curve between now and 2030.

Effective monitoring is needed to ensure interventions are having the impact they were designed for, and to generate evidence for adjusting them in a timely manner. Our hope is that, by making this information publicly available, we will encourage you and other WASH practitioners to begin using these technologies when monitoring SDG 6, so this ambitious goal is more likely to be achieved.

Going back to our opening theme: monitoring of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) from 2000-15 was like an early iteration of the “World Wide Web”—global, comprehensive, but unidimensional, based on household surveys. Innovative technologies are not expected to replace this process, but rather to complement it—and to take contextualization, triangulation, and accuracy to new heights and depths. Although some such technologies are ready to be rolled out soon, it is entirely possible that some will be invented closer to 2030… possibly by you.

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