Leave a comment

B.Good Burger Bringing Quality Fast Food

Photo By b.good burgers.

Cranston R.I __ The local food chain, b.good burgers in Garden city is one of many new healthy burger chains growing in the nation. Though b.good is a “fast food” chain, the ingredients and cooking styles make them a healthier option. Their motto is to know as much as they can about who is supplying their food.

Beef from a local grass fed cow farmer, milk from a local organic dairy farmer, and buns from a local gluten free baker, b.good is meticulous about where it gets its products.

Healthy food and organic burgers are a growing industry in America with chains popping up allover. The biggest aspect is the grass fed beef in the burgers. According to the American Grass Fed Organization, the beef has more vitamin, minerals and is generally healthier for you.

 “It’s a fast food chain,”said Anthony Depaiva, the local store owner. “But we’re doing it the right away.”

Leave a comment

Aquidneck Growers Market Supporting Local Food

Newport 5Newport, R.I. __ The number of farmers markets is growing in america with more popping up every year. Since the early 1990s, the amount and scale has consistently increased. The Aquidneck Growers Market has been consistently growing for over 20 years. After a snowy winter season inside, only two weeks remain before it relocates outdoors with more vendors and hopefully more people.

Famers Markets have been around forever, but their popularity has drastically increased in the past few decades. A product of the health food movement and a returning trend of buying locally, the more markets open every year. The USDA report states that over 4,500 successful markets have opened since 1994. Some data suggests that the demand will exceed supply if more farmers do not begin production.

According to a USDA report: “The U.S. Department of Agriculture will announce Friday that the number of direct-sales markets has increased 9.6% in the past year, with California and New York leading the way.”

Farmers Markets are estimated to bring in over $1 billion a year. But local food sales exceed $7 billion a year. That number is Organic food chartbelieved to be growing. The reason so many are believed to use farmers markets is due to trust. According to the USDA report, most people trust food when they are buying directly from the growers. Seven percent of U.S. organic food sales occur through farmers’ markets, foodservice, and marketing channels other than retail stores.

Not all markets are successful, however, and organic/local food is not taking over yet. The premium price associated with organic and health food is a major drawback for many consumers. According to a New York Times article, the greatest hinderance to the industries growth is the sticker shock people feel when examining the premium prices.

“Rising prices for organic groceries are prompting some consumers to question their devotion to food produced without pesticides, chemical fertilizers or antibiotics,” wrote Andrew Martin and Kim Severson. “In some parts of the country, a loaf of organic bread can cost $4.50, a pound of pasta has hit $3, and organic milk is closing in on $7 a gallon.”

Organic chart 2That price tag can hurt the local Farmers Markets as all are not guaranteed to succeed. According to the USDA study, in a seven year span, 62 markets opened with less than 50 percent surviving.

Aquidneck Growers has seen growth and they soon will be helping those who do not have the money for local/organic food by accepting food stamps. Starting Saturday, May 16, all Aquidneck Growers Markets will accept food stamps.

“We are really happy to see how the community has responded,” said Aquidneck Growers Market Manager Bevan Linsley. “We are thrilled that so many want to support the environment and the local healthy food scene.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Leave a comment

Bad Winter Can’t Freeze Aquidneck Growers Market Growth

Aquidneck Growers 2

Picture provided by Aquidneck Growers Market

Newport, R.I. __ The Newport Vineyards hosts the Aquidneck Growers Market every Saturday and has survived the harshest New England winter on record. Despite set backs with snowfall which delayed farming and maple syrup production, the farmers market continues to grow.

Starting in 1995, the farmers market has operated as a seasonal market for 21 years. This past year, for the first time, Aquidneck Growers operated all year long. Though they maintained traffic in the harsh winter months, they are now feeling the impacts of it.

“That rotten winter really hit us this year,” said Bevan Linsley the Marketing Manager of the Aquidneck Growers Market. “We are just beginning and it’s late because the snow cover was here so long. We are fairly behind.”

According to CBS, this winter is the worst on record. The record cold, with over 100 inches of snow in Boston alone, Rhode Island actually broke the snowfall record before Boston. Latest Weather Chanel predictions suggest the colder temperature in New England could last until July. That has delayed maple syrup and farming production in the state. Aquidneck is feeling that pinch as they wait for their additional summer vendors to have products ready for the new season.

Having been inside all winter, they are on track to begin outdoor farmers markets in two weeks. Once summer arrives they expect to support 30 vendors compared to their now 14. Though winter was harsh, their traffic was consistent. They have recorded between 400 to 600 people attending presently but are projected to get around 900 people in the Summer. Last year they had over 2,000 guests at their Memorial Boulevard site in downtown Newport.

Growers

Picture provided by Aquidneck Growers Market

“We are really happy to see how the community has responded,” Linsley said. “We are thrilled that so many want to support the environment and the local healthy food scene.”

Farmer’s Markets are a growing trend in Rhode Island. There are over 50 active markets in Rhode Island alone. According to Linsley, the Farmers Market is more than a shopping destination. It was once a place where ideas, stories and other crafts were traded.

“This is a place where old things are made new again,” Linsley said. “The new location has been great for promoting the social scene which is a huge component of market success.”

According to Linsley all vendors at the market are direct growers. They do not allow secondary vendors who buy others product and then sell it marked up. Though not all produce is certified organic, Aquidneck supports farmers who grow sustainably. All vendors are asked to pay a fee, but according to Linsley all the money is used to pay overhead costs.

“I think that this year will be a big year,” Linsley said.  “When you go the whole year around you see a more immediate and our traffic has grown steadily.”

Presently the market is held at the Newport Vineyards from 10am to 2pm on Saturdays.

Leave a comment

Robert Quinn Needs Your Help to Expand Scholars at Risk

Robert Quinn

Robert Quinn speaking to a Digital Journalism Class. Photo by: Chris Wade

Bristol, R.I. __ The Executive Director of the Scholars at Risk organization, Robert Quinn, spoke to Roger Williams University seeking help. Lacking a strong digital presence, Quinn is determined to bring on fresh minds to help build an organization dedicated to protecting intellectuals around the world.

The world needs freedom of thought and speech. The voices of the many intellectuals stimulate progressive change. The problem is that not all leaders value those freedoms. In fact, some fear it.

In Thailand, the military government has strict control of it’s people and image. Those that speak against them are put on black lists and arrested. Even John Oliver, from HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” was named an enemy of the state after devoting time on his program to speak about Thailand.

Paula Prado

Professor Paola Prado (PHD) teaches a Digital Journalism class. Photo by: Chris Wade

Luckily for Oliver, he is working in America, but not all have that freedom. Many are imprisoned or cast out. That is what Quinn is fighting against. Standing in front of a group of aspiring Digital Journalists, Quinn looked for help in growing his Organization’s image and reach.

Quinn spoke generally to the campus later in the day, but he started in the Digital Journalism class of Paola Prado. There he picked the minds of a class who are learning to create, manage and spread content online.

“Most of the skills you are learning are skills that can get people in prison elsewhere,” Quinn said to the journalism students.

The journalism students were quick to offer advise and guidance for him to develop his brand. Some suggested starting a blog speaking directly on his topic of interest. Other pointed out ways to improve his social media. The bottom line form him was to expand his digital presence.

“We have thousands of really good stories,” Quinn said. “But we are not telling them. I think there is more opportunity to do meaningful things now than ever before.”

Robert Quinn 2

Robert Quinn asks students for all the help and direction they can give him. Photo by: Chris Wade

The freedom of intellectuals around the world is necessary. In 1700s America, it was a pamphlet by Thomas Paine, a declaration by Jefferson and the writing of Madison that both inspired and formed a new nation. They along with so many others were free to make themselves free and change the world. Those freedoms are threatened in other nations around the world.

Quinn’s organization is small, but he is looking to expand. He is looking for those who can help him tell the stories that need to be told in order to free and protect those who are trying to change the world in nations not so friendly to those who speak out.

Leave a comment

New Technology is Bringing New Energy to Earth Day

3996366952_6ef1fe4fd0_b

Photo by futureatlas.com.

Bristol R.I. __ It has been said that all great causes and industries start with energy. Now renewable energies, such as solar and wind, are on the rise. This week Tesla and Solar City are expected to solve a major problem with renewable energy production, energy storage. With new Tesla batteries designed for home and commercial use, solar and wind energy is expected to grow and sustain a greater impact.

Renewable energy is growing. According to Ben Hulac at climate wire, the industry has seen consistent growth. Renewable energy rose from $9 billion in the first quarter of 2004 to $50 billion for 2015’s first quarter.

Energy is the key element in any major movement in history. The industrial revolution was powered by a then new technology called coal. The automotive industry boom was powered by a recourse called gasoline. Energy is needed to power motors, create heat and so on. The ways society harness, transport and use that energy is what drives it forward. The problem people face now is that oil, coal and other traditional energy sources are drying up. There is another sources though which is guaranteed to last, solar and wind.

8765031426_9468a52df9_k

Photo by Maurizio Pesce.

People have been talking about the “green” solar and wind energy sources for a long time. The problem with the technology has been its inconsistent output. The sun gos down and not every day is windy. It is difficult to efficiently transport and store these renewable energies. That may soon change though.

“We are going to unveil the Tesla home battery, the consumer battery that would be for use in people’s houses or businesses, fairly soon,” said Elon Musk, chairman and CEO of Tesla Motors Inc.

Back in the 1800’s when oil was being tapped, a similar problem surfaced. The first solution for transporting oil were the railroads. Oil industries became a major supporter of the rail lines. Soon after pipelines were invented for the same reason. Today, entrepreneur and billionaire, Musk is making similar innovations that will make new energy more accessible. His solution is batteries.

According to Dana Hull at Bloomberg reported that Andrea James, an analyst with Dougherty & Co. said that Tesla’s energy storage business could be worth as much as $70 to Tesla’s stock.

“Tesla has been able to install more than 100 projects, really without anyone noticing,” James said.

6388553137_5e32e30398_b

Photo by Martin Abegglen.

Renewable energy is the future, it does require more innovations. It is a growing solution, but not yet ripe. If Musk can deliver on his batteries and innovate enough, then the future may be close. Oil is running dry, the environment is suffering, and the world is desperate for a new, clean and sustainable industrial path. The answer may begin with solar, wind, batteries and the will to move on and innovate.

Leave a comment

Aquidneck Beef Provides a Local Organic Option

Picture by Aquidneck Farms.

Picture by Aquidneck Farms.

Portsmouth R.I. __  Organic food is not only grown in the ground, but can also graze upon it. There are ways farmers can treat their livestock which can be considered organic. At Aquidneck Farms, they grow cows for slaughter but by feeding the cows grass rather than corn and allowing the cows room to roam, their product is considered to be healthier, wholesome and a local organic option.

The cow is a major supplier of the American diet. Beef, steak, ribs, hamburger and brisket all come from that grazing mass of protein. The cows at Aquidneck are not seen as commodity items meant only to be killed and devoured, they are living animals and the better they are treated, experts say, the better quality the mean.

“The way the american food system treats its animals is really broken,” John Wood, owner of the The Green Grocer, a local organic food shop said. “The important thing to remember is that what happens to the animal is left in its muscles and meat. If ti is stressed sick and if there are a lot of stress or unhealthy hormones swimming through its system when it is slaughtered, then that goes to us.”

Wood has been selling Aquidneck meat since he opened his shop eight years ago. Trained in the understanding of what makes meat more healthy. Grass fed beef comes with a number of benefits. Where corn fed beef is cheeper and fattens the cows up quicker, grass fed beef has more vitamins and minerals. Grass fed beef is leaner and provides a hardier meal.

Cows are naturally designed to eat grass. Their digestive systems are fined tuned to process that natural material. The reason corn was introduced was to sweeten he meat and to cheapen the feed costs for farmers. Though some corn is considered ok for cows, a primary diet of it leaves the meat and the consumer fatter and without natural benefits.

According to experts, when a human consumes grass fed beef, it actually helps them burn more calories. Switching to grass fed calories will save over 17,000 calories a year alone.

Grass fed beef is more expensive, but modern advances in technology and agriculture are making it more feasible and accessible. Wood believes that now we will be able to sustain the hunger of the growing America while returning to the traditional grazing cattle practices.

Leave a comment

RWU Composts It’s Organic Waste

Compost Plant 2Bristol R.I. __ Foregoing traditional practices of sending all organic and inorganic waste to the landfill, Roger Williams University is instead paying to have it composted.

For a long time food moved in a linear motion through Roger Williams University. It would arrive in the kitchens where it would be prepared and cooked. It then would be served, eaten and the leftovers would be thrown away. After that, the scraps from cooking and the leftovers not eaten would be thrown away with the rest of the trash.

That process is changing and instead of going one way, it will be going full circle. Rhode Island has made greater efforts to be more active in recycling. Organizations like the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporations have gone forward trying to promote recycling breaking down how to properly recycle some resources and even how to use them more efficiently.

Jon Cambra, Senior Chef & Assistant Director of Culinary Operations, is a big advocate of the new wast system.Compost Plant

“We are paying to have our waste taken in the state,” he said. “It is better that we pay for it to be disposed of in a more sustainable way.”

Composting is the process of taking organic waste, and converting it to soil. The most common method involves using worms, which consume the material and then process it. Though the process takes a year, by the end what was once trash is then fertile soil.

At RWU, the organic waste is collected in one of 12 large yellow bins. That saves over 3,000 gallons of trash a week, 156,000 gallons a year.

America generates 250 million tons of trash yearly. Roughly 12 percent of that comes from New England alone. To reduce waste, many are composting trash, turning it into useable energy and soil. It also prevents the wast from going to the Johnston Landfill which many expect to reach capacity in nearly 20 years.

The Compost Plant, based out of Providence, is a new venture started by Leo Pollock and Nat Harris. Their goal was to solve an environmental problem, while building a business.

Every Monday and Thursday, around 11am, they show up in their big truck. They then transport the wast to Fresh Earth Farms, where it begins it’s one year compost process.

That soil can be used to plant and support local gardens and farms. Many of those farms can then provide the school with their produce.

CompostThe full circle of all this starts in the soil. There the food is grown, and which is then sold to RWU.

At RWU, the food is prepped, cooked and consumed. All that organic waste is then put in a large container. That container is picked up by the compost company and taken to Earth Care Farm. There it is converted to soil instead of taking up room at a land fill.

That soil is then sold or given to farms and gardens all over the state. Those gardens and farms then grow food, which finds its way to RWU. The linear path of wast has transformed to a sustainable system of recycling.

Reisel Reports

A look at the 2014 Rhode Island elections from the side of a student reporter

Carnese Media

Good News on Good Food

Working the Polls

Informing Young People About Important Issues To Bring With Them To The Voting Booth

An Eye on R.I.

Watching over your local politics

Grass Clippings

Andrew Grassey's Digital Journalism Blog

Going Burgital

News through a digital lense.

Amber Rambles

The Digital Platform of Amber Ramundo