Thursday, March 24, 2011


LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 29:  Beekeeper and Chai...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeThey're small and fast. They make a buzzing sound that is furiously busy. When seen in close range, they instill in us, a knee-jerk reaction to run away and/or swat at them stupidly, making them mad, giving cause to sting you.

But did you know that bees are in integral part of any healthy garden?

If you answered "yes", then you can skip this post and get back to web surfing, Facebook, Twitter or whatever it is you were doing before you found this post.

If you answered "no", then here are a few things you need to know about bees for your garden.

1. Bees are pollinators, meaning, sure, they collect honey for the queen, but more importantly for your garden, they pollinate other fruits and vegetables.

2. Bees are your friends. They'll come around daily without asking. They won't bother you unless you try to take them away from their precious supply of pollen (see first paragraph above). Most importantly, bees are necessary and vital for the health of your garden.

3. So how do you attract bees? Bees love certain plants and herbs. Here's a partial list of plants to attract bees to your garden space, whether it's a small space in your yard or in a community garden.

Basil, cornflowers, dahlias, lavender, mint, poppies, rosemary and thyme.*

So remember, love those bees and swatting!

*This is a partial list taken from Avec Eric: A Culinary Journey with Eric Ripert

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Thursday, February 03, 2011

I’ve been itching to plant my spring greens and veggies. But first, I had to get my actical; the plastic wrist bracelet that tracks my metabolism, physical activity and qualifies me (and twenty-nine others) for the 4’x12’ raised garden beds at FPCG. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, the actical shrinks as the week wears on and gets incredibly itchy, usually during the middle of the night. That’s right; we wear the actical 24/7, for one week. Tia Meer, the FPCG manager, has been instrumental in keeping the garden at FPCG running smoothly. Last night she arranged for us to meet and fulfill our obligations. Thanks Ethos Vegan Kitchen for giving us the time and space.
Every three months for the past nine months, FPCG gardeners fill out the required forms and endure a week of the scratchy bracelet that is now seen more as a badge of honor, than a nuisance. After one more actical week (May 2011) the garden officially becomes community property complete with monthly dues, by-laws and various committees to keep things running smoothly.
Since we broke ground in May 2010, we’ve seen three planting seasons and are now preparing for spring and summer vegetables. Tomatoes, radish, carrots, fresh herbs, lettuce, potatoes and beans thrive alongside chard, broccoli, kale, snapdragons, marigolds, and citrus trees.
My garden is planted. Now it’s just six days, one hour and ten minutes before I can stop scratching.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Gardening Basics Class offered by Transition Orlando

Transition Orlando, a community based, grass-roots organization dedicated to change at the local level, offers a Gardening Basics Class this Saturday, January 8th at Festival Park Community Garden in Orlando. Learn garden basics such as soil, compost, seeds, plant spacing, Florida seasons and more. Join The Simple Living Institutes's Tia Meer and Transition Orlando's Richard Powell for a fun and informative afternoon. Gardening Basics Class is scheduled from 1:30-3:00. Bring a chair and water. Class size is limited.

Festival Community Park Garden located at the corner of Robinson and Primrose in Orlando, 32803. Click here for registration and additional information. All proceeds from the gardening class go towards Transition Orlando, The Simple Living Institute and Festival Park Community Garden.

Get out there and GARDEN!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Save on grass fed beef & support HomeGrown Coop

Florida Fresh Beef Company will donate 5% of all proceeds from its online gourmet butcher shop sales to the Homegrown Coop for any orders received though January 31, 2011. Use Voucher Code BeefBaron2011 in the checkout section of our website.

Go to for information on our 100% Grassfed, dry aged, Aberdeen angus beef. Raised organically without any hormones or antibiotics. Pass this email on to as many people as you like. Any orders with Voucher code BeefBaron2011 will be flagged for 5% and sent to Homegrown Coop in February 2011. Show your support while experiencing the highest quality grassfed gourmet beef available anywhere. We also have available (but not on the website yet, pastured grassfed Katahdin lamb and pastured gourmet pork.) For those items, please call the office @ 352-566-8586 and speak with Customer Service.

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and  prosperous New Year,

All the best

Jan Costa, Director
J. Leslie & Associates, LLC
Florida Fresh Beef Company
Florida Glatt Kosher Meats
Ocala, Florida 34482

Friday, December 17, 2010

Call for Urban Gardeners at Festival Park Community Garden in Orlando

  • Do you live in downtown Orlando?
  • Do you want to be part of an urban garden community?
  • Can you commit to a research study and maintain a 4' by 12' plot all year long?

If you answered yes to these questions, Festival Park Community Garden is now seeking participants for its ongoing research study and to fill a few plots (already tilled and built).

For more information and a chance to grow your own veggies, contact Tia Meer
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Monday, November 15, 2010

Spotlight: Ethos Vegan Kitchen

Ethos Vegan Kitchen: Creating Options for the Vegan community
By now, many Orlando foodies have been to Ethos Vegan Kitchen once or twice, or like many, it may be your favorite “go-to” restaurant. Whether you’ve been there a lot or not at all, Ethos Vegan Kitchen has been dishing up lunch, dinner and Sunday Brunch since 2007.
What does Ethos mean? According to its web site, by definition, it means, "the distinguishing character, sentiment, moral nature, or guiding beliefs of a person, group, or institution."
Ethos Vegan Kitchen is located on N. Orange Avenue near Lake Ivanhoe; a hip, evolving area in downtown Orlando. Owners Laina and Kelly Shockley have created an inviting, fresh, compassionate environment and approach to dining in the constantly evolving food service world of Orlando. Here are a few things that you might not know…

Did you know…that 90% of all the products are prepared daily at Ethos?
Did you know…Ethos is 100% Vegan?
Did you know…that up to 50% of their products are organic?
Did you know…they use Seitan (say-tahn)?
Did you know…they are working on a kids menu? (think Mac & Cheese, PB & J)
Did you know…they offer free WiFi ?(inside only)
Did you know…Laina does all the design and development on the web site?
Did you know…Kelly’s favorite at Ethos is the Vegan Pepperoni Pizza?

To find out more about its menu, Laina, Kelly and the incredibly talented staff at Ethos Vegan Kitchen, check it out yourself and let us know something about Ethos that you know. Open seven days.

Ethos Vegan Kitchen; 1235 N. Orange Avenue #101 Orlando 32804; 407.228.3898;

Post by Maureen Cavanaugh Berry
Photo courtesy of Ethos Vegan Kitchen