Sustainable Greenville

Celebrating Quality of Life, Environment and Health in the Upstate

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Transportation Tuesday

Posted by ed.wilmot on March 25, 2014 at 10:50 AM Comments comments (0)


For years Furman University has been a leader in sustainability and environmental action. And this year is no different. In fact, this may be Furman's most ambitious set of events focused on the environment that the school has created.


Earth Week started yesterday and continues through to next Monday with the closing lecture by artist Alexandre Dang at 7pm. Throughout the week you can visit the art installation at the Trone Student Center: The Dancing Solar Powered Daisies. Furman has this to say about Alexandre. "His kinetic art is designed to raise awareness of solar power and help promote sustainable development. He will present a multimedia presentation on his art and what he sees are the world's grand energy sustainability challenges with an emphasis on the sustainable development within the third world. His artwork provides a unique blend of science, technology, and art."


Expect events all week long. Today there are two great events going on.



Furman has become an integral part of sustainability here in the Upstate. With the creation of the Shi Center for Sustainability in 2008, the university launched itself onto the national sustainability scene and has had a significant impact on how the Upstate views sustainability. The center has worked closely with local businesses, non-profits and government to launch successful projects. But more importantly, the center has provided much needed education to the staff and student body at Furman University. It is this broad commitment that has propelled the school to its status as a leader in sustainability.



If you get a chance, there are several opportunities this week to share in this commitment. Today and Saturday will be the busiest days for Earth Week! Today's Transportation Day!


All Day-Electric Car Display in front of the library

2PM-Electric Motorcycle Demo in front of the library (it goes really really fast!)

3:45-Bike Parade in front of Timmons. Will go around campus. Show helmet in Paddock for a 10% discount!

7PM-CLP with John Waters in Burgiss! This should be awesome. Let's "Bring Power To The People!"



And the rest of the week:

Wednesday: Water Day

Thursday: Trash Day

Friday: Farm Day

Saturday: Vendor Fair and Water Walk

Sunday: $4 Dinner at the Vista House





Tireless Thursday

Posted by ed.wilmot on March 20, 2014 at 6:40 PM Comments comments (0)


It's that time of year when events are popping up every day and I try to get out to as many of them as possible while still acting as sustainable as possible.

Some days I just want to get out and enjoy the weather, relishing the approaching warmth, and all the while getting much needed exercise. Today has been the perfect day to get out here in the Upstate and do just that. Working from home, I turned the heat off and opened up the doors and windows in the house so that I could get some fresh air. Mid afternoon, it was short walk and then some more work before heading out the door for the evening. The drive into town was as nice as it could possibly be for the first day of Spring.

But what about all those great events coming up over the next three months? They are waiting for you and me to discover them. I spend sometimes an inordinate amount of time looking for events, festivals, classes, workshops, and anything else that embraces the spirit of sustainability. But I don't mind. The reward is knowing that you and your friends and family have the most comprehensive list of things to do any time of year.

Connecting you to these activities is one of my MISSIONS in life.

So, let me just mention a few of my favorite green and healthy events for this Spring.

First of all is The Banff Mountain Film Festival. The tour of films can be found all across our region. Tomorrow and Saturday night the tour will be in Greenville. But alas, I waited to long to get tickets and they were sold out. So I checked the showing in Brevard. Sold out. But there are still a few tickets left for April 29 in Boone. But I won't be able to make that date. This is the first year in many that I was unable to attend.

The 6th Annual Integrative Health Care Conference is at the end of the month up in Asheville, featuring Dean Ornish and many other well known natural health proffesionals as featured speakers. Attendees come from all over the country for this amazing event. Three days of incredible speakers and information.

The Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery is having their annual Spring Flea on March 29. The two fleas they do each year is a great place to spend your dollars locally and have fun doing it. It's going to be a day of local art, handmade treats and repurposed vintage goods.

TEDxGreenville is scheduled for April 11 and what a great time it's going to be. This year's theme is UNZIPPED. I will let you decide what that means or you can go to their website to find out. If you love to be inspired by great ideas then this is the event for you. Each and every day you can view literally thousands of videos from TED speakers from all over the world. This year's TEDxGreenville will be held at the Kroc Center in Greenville.

April 12 is one very busy day. Roper Mountain Science Center is having their annual Earth Day event. You could take a drive to Asheville for the 10th Asheville Artisan Bread Bakers' Festival . Or stay in Greenville and visit Natural Awakening's 5th Anniversary party with a Healthy Living Expo, featuring local health and wellness booths and two nationally recognized documentary films. The films' stars will be in attendance.

Greenville Tech holds their Earth Fest event April 16 and there will be a ton of local organizations and businesses focused on the environment. April 26 and 27 is the Annual Stone Soup Storytelling Festival in Woodruff. Do you love a good story? Then its a must for you.

And let's just mention two of the best May events. The Asheville Herb Festival is scheduled for May 4-6. You will find almost every conceivable herb at the festival. It's a great road trip for the day. You might even be able to sneak in a hike along the Parkway.

And finally let's mention Greenville's best little farm tour, Greenville Organic Foods Organization's annual Urban Farm Tour scheduled for May 17. You will discover a wide range of backyard gardens, community gardens, school gardens and urban farms all within 8 miles of downtown Greenville. There will also be workshops throughout the day along with local foods to purchase. If your entertainment leans towards education, then is an an absolute must.

But remember, the best way to find all of these events and many more is to visit the Sustainable Greenville community calendar. So get your pen out and mark your calendars for Spring fun and adventure.

Review of the film "Ingredients"

Posted by ed.wilmot on February 8, 2011 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (1)

I just got home from the Upcountry History Museum after viewing the film "Ingredients" at the Flicks For Thought Fim Series hosted by the Greenville Organic Foods Organization (GOFO) and Upstate Forever and sponsored by the David E. Shi Center for Sustainability. Tonight GOFO presented Ingredients. With a reception of fantastic food made from local ingredients, the restaurant Scratch was a perfect example of the partnerships described in the film. 


The film is based around the idea farming is just now returning to its roots of seasonality where food is central to the health and stability of society on a day to day basis. The film is told in four parts: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter in and around primarily the Portland, Oregan region. And yet the stories behind the seasons could be told almost anywhere in the world. They do interview famers and chefs from New York and San Francisco area as well.


This film celebrates farmers and chefs. Instead of focusing on the failings of conventional farming, it describes the successes of what can happen when chefs and farmers embrace a sustainable farming system (just like Scratch does with our own local farmers). Throughout, you get to witness the interaction of not only chefs and farmers, but also local residents and farmers. These relationships have proven to be the back bone of a growing local food movement.


The visual appeal of the film is top notch. As the seasons progress, a variety of produce parades across the screen projecting vibrant colors and you can begin to imagine also the clear smells associated with the food. As one of the farmers scoops up some of the biodynamic soil in one of his rows of vegetables, he says, "You can smell the forest floor, right?" I could certainly imagine it.


Many of the interviews of farmers, such as John Neumeister of Cattail Creek Lamb farm, are a pure pleasure to listen to. You get to see and hear their excitement and joy of raising and providing clean, healthy food to their customers. This excitement is what is needed to galvanize communities around quality food and getting our young people involved on a one to one relationship with food. As mentioned in the film, children will eat more than the daily allowance of vegetables if they are out in the garden and field discovering a relationship to the land and what it can provide us.


So if you get a chance watch this film. The trailer for the film is below.


If you would like to purchase a copy, visit . From now through March 31, when you purchase a DVD, $10 of your purchase goes directly to GOFO. When you order, enter the promo code "GOFO" and you'll be making a significant contribution to this great organization and the projects they are offering throughout the Greenville area. 


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Book Review - "American Terroir"

Posted by ed.wilmot on February 7, 2011 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (1)

It's time to get back on track with blogging. Every week I will feature a new book or movie release and how it applies to sustainability. These books and films will make you think about how you are living in relation to the world and what you can do to live more gently on the hollowed grounds of planet Earth.

$16.48 at Better World Books. Click on book cover to purchase.


To start out this new venture of reviews, I introduce to you "American Terroir: Savoring the Flavors of Our Wood, Waters, and Fields" by Rowan Jacobson, the author of the James Beard Award Winning "A Geography of Oysters".


Mr. Jacobsen loosely defines this French term, used mostly within the wine industry, as "the taste of place"; or more accurately, the taste of place dependent upon microclimate, nutrients, soil compostion, moisture content, etc. He explains terroir has a fundamental relationship with our knowledge and connection with the land we inhabit and use. The growing local food movement has embraced terroir as one of the motivating factors behind its power to generate excitement and a cross-generational love affair of foods with real flavor.


Terroir provides the actors and scenery for amazing food stories. And the best stories live on on through our memories. This is where "American Terroir" shines. Rowan's adept use of words and rhythm make this book sing with stories that celebrate place, food and the actors that danc between these elements.


With twelve stories that feature foods from every corner of North America (and a slight fancy to other parts), he lays out a format that features his adventures in these environments, a geographical and historical look at these foods, recipes featuring the foods, and then resources for learning about and obtaining the featured foods (I have already favorited many of the websites). After salivating over the idea of getting my fingers sticky with Tupelo Honey, why not have a website and phone number handy to do just that?


The chapters cover all types of foods: maple syrup, coffee, cider, honey, mussels, potatoes, wild foods, oysters, avocados, salmon, wine, cheese and chocolate.


There's plenty to learn; every page exudes potential sensory adventures, bouyed by both practical knowledge and archane tidbits of information. In the chapter 'Little Truths' Rowan describes the phenomenon called "sensory-specific satiety", which "is common in humans and other omnivores - after a few bites of something, it becomes less desirable...We are built to forage." Ahh...I now have a name for that common experience.


Then in the honey chapter Rowan reveals the possible history to the word honeymoon; ..."derives from an ancient tradition of supplying the bride and groom with an ample supply of mead to sweeten the new marriage,..."


Nearly every chapter alludes to sustainability in one form or another. The chapter on avocados (my favorite food of all time) really makes a point why terroir is important to sustainability. He points out one acre of land with avocado trees can produce eight tons of fruit per year, but requires 1.3 million gallons of water. This is not a problem in its native land of Mexico due to the plentiful supply of rains; but in California this does not allow for any true sustainable farming. "At sixty thousand acres, California's avocado industry uses the equivalent  of two hundred and fifty thousand households."


Flavor in its purest form is all about place. Whether something tastes best as a result of its natural habitat (as is the case of Haas avocados along the Cupatitzio River in Michoacan, Mexico) or as a transplant (as is the case with Totten Inlet Oysters in Puget Sound), food relies on the geography and geology of place to imbue a sense of wonder and curiosity on our tastebuds.


So be careful, reading this book may set the itinerary for your next weekend getaway or vacation.

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