Who Doesn’t Love Food and Farms

Do you support small farmers and sustainable agriculture? If you answered yes, then the Food and Farms Coalition is for you!

This coalition between Mother Hubbard’s Food Pantry and Hoosier Action is working to influence the federal 2018 Farm Bill. This bill effects a wide swath of Hoosiers including farmers, SNAP benefit recipients, and those of us that like buying food from farmers at the Bloomington Farmers Market.

The next meeting of this group can be found on Facebook. They meet Tuesday, February 27 at 6:30pm at the Monroe County Public Library.

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75 Years

This Saturday, come hear Joe Peden speak. Check out this video of Joe Peden; chances are you have been on the farm he and his wife run in Monroe County.

He and the rest of Monroe County celebrate the 75th Annual Meeting of the Soil and Water Conservation District. Among other things they help make cover crops affordable for area farmers and keep septic systems running.

The event is Saturday, February 24 from 9am to 12:30 at St Paul United Methodist Church on West 3rd St. Tickets are only $10 and can be found on Eventbrite.

At this event you can also learn about hoop houses, small plot invasive species, stormwater systems, and pasture management.

How You Can Lobby for Science

Does the current administration have you scratching your head, wondering why the sudden disbelief in science and facts? Well you aren’t alone!

Dori Chandler is with the Union of Concerned Scientists and will give a workshop called “Effective Communication with Legislators: How to be a Lobbyist for Science.” The talk is Thursday, February 22, 12:30 – 2:00 PM in Room S201 (Patten Room) of the Indiana University Geology Building (1001 E. 10th St.). Free lunch provided! This event is free and open to the public.

This workshop will be followed with an opportunity later in the month to go talk to state legislators.

This workshop is brought to you by the newly formed and very active Concerned Scientists at Indiana University.

What is Gnarley Tree?

I didn’t know either until last night’s Monroe County Environmental Commission meeting, and it further came into focus with the front page article in today’s Herald Times.

Gnarley Tree is a new company in Bloomington which has already racked up an impressive list of clients including the World Bank.

They just picked up a new client: the City of Bloomington. You can hear more about what Gnarley Tree and COB are planning Wednesday February 01 from 4-6pm in City Hall Council Chambers in the Showers Building. I hope you can make it!

Light Rail in Indiana

A bright light of mass transit in Indiana arrived as January came to a close. The Indiana House lifted the ban on light rail in the counties in and around Indianapolis. The IBJ article covering this is here.

We’ll see what the Senate and eventually the Governor will do…

It is worth noting that China is heavily investing in light rail as a solution to growing cities. They are also using exciting technology. See an intersting article here. The reason this is worth noting is that the House is reacting to a major employer considering Indiana. If we don’t start improving our mass transit systems to catch up to Chinese and other country’s investments, we will find it very difficult to attract an increasingly urban workforce.

It would also benefit our great state and our ability to attract and retain an educated workforce by investing in regional mass transit.

EPA’s Gina McCarthy Offers 3 Reasons to be Optimistic

EPA Admin  Gina McCarthy at Indiana University

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy came to Bloomington last night. Read her (bio), and follow her on Twitter (@ginaepa).

She offered three reasons to be optimistic despite a Trump Administration’s proposed 31% cut to the EPA budget.

  1. We are living in the midst of a Clean Energy Revolution that doesn’t depend on Washington budgets, but is driven by the markets. This is clearly evident in Monroe County by the growth of solar installations on County and residential structures. She mentioned that this revolution could move faster with government investment, which we are seeing in Monroe County!
  2. A Transportation Revolution is on the horizon. Driverless vehicles and electric cars are rapidly developing. Numerous countries are also looking to ban the internal combustion engine. McCarthy also warned that China will soon lead the way in green technology and US companies will be looking East to catch up. Fortunately here in Monroe County there are already electric car charging stations, as I wrote about in October 2017.
  3. McCarthy urged unity and continued effort which is something Monroe County is very good at doing! To this end two groups brought Administrator McCarthy to Bloomington. Indiana University’s Environmental Resiliency Institute and the newly formed Concerned Scientists at IU.

The EPAs Janet McCabe was also in the audience. The Monroe County Environmental Commission brought her to Bloomington in 2016 for a talk on the Clean Power Plan.

    2 Big Events to Not Miss this Sunday!

    This Sunday, January 14 there are not 1 but 2 events you can not miss in Monroe County!

    1. Bicentennial Celebration Join county officials and hundreds of everyday citizens at the County Courthouse from 1-4pm. There will be historic conversations starting at 1:30pm. There will also be activities for kids, live music, and lots of history! Need more information? Visit www.visitbloomington.com/bicentennial-2018.

    2. Wild and Scenic Film Festival This film festival is making its debut appearance in Monroe County and it all runs from 5-8pm at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. Tickets are only $25 and proceeds support the Indiana Forest Alliance. Food trucks and live music round out this must see event!