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Wednesday, January 24, 2024

What We Eat Matters

The act of eating, a task in which the entire Animal Kingdom engages, integrates within and influences the complete spectrum of earthly phenomena. From an individual perspective, what we eat directly impacts the physical vessel's immediate and long-term health. From a macro perspective, what we eat drives economic markets, commercial agriculture-crop choices and practices, societal justices and injustices, species extinction, and a myriad of other subtle and overt scenarios.

In his superb Intentional Eating MasterClass, renowned journalist and author Michael Pollen substantiates how the act of eating is integrated within establishing healthy water and soil systems and addressing the Insect Apocalypse; in a market-driven economy consumers vote with dollars spent. The Regeneration in ACTION (RiA) article, SOIL & WATER: the foundation of life, introduces the Insect Apocalypse and gives an overview of the Intentional Eating MasterClass.

Within the Nature Prevails platform, Elemental Impact (Ei) launches the What We Eat Matter (WWEM) focus area; WWEM topics align with work inaugurated during the Ei Era of Regeneration (June 2017 to current.) Initial topics include Personal Well Being, World Water Pollution & Depletion, and Diversity Reduction. 

Personal Well Being
Healthy soils with active, balanced microbial communities and fungi networks are the foundation for growing nutritious, tasty food that supports mental, physical, and emotional health.

Nutrition
Conventional agriculture practices apply manmade fertilizers and "cides"* to fields and crops. Additionally, conventional farming practices include mono-crop agriculture, often minimal to no cover crops and crop rotations, and livestock separated from the produce fields. This farming protocol compromises and often kills the underlying soil ecosystem resulting in food lacking in nutrition and taste.

Healthy, nutritious meal
 Photo credit: Holly Elmore Images
Future articles will explore the importance of organic farming, regenerative agriculture, along with the current controversaries surrounding the terms and practices. Additionally, future articles will delve into the impact of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere on diminished food nutrition.

The RiA article, From Organic Certification to Regenerative Agriculture to Rewilding Landscapes: an evolution towards soil integrity, explains how WWII was a catalyst for an era when unforeseen consequences of high-tech development would create toxic environments and devastating scenarios across the globe.

From the article: though it was introduced in the 1930's, synthetic-pesticide use became widespread after WWII. According to LivingHistoryFarm.org:

World War II was the first U.S. war in which diseases – many like typhus and malaria carried by insects – killed fewer people than bullets and bombs. The reason was DDT. The insect killer – or "insecticide" – had been discovered in 1939 and was used extensively by the U.S. military during the war. So, it is no wonder that the postwar period saw the dawning of the chemical age in pesticides.

Then, as today, agriculture uses 75 percent of all pesticides. Between 1947 and 1949, pesticide companies invested $3.8 billion into expanding their production facilities. They were rewarded by huge profits.

Many historians have called this the golden age of chemical pesticides – effective new chemicals were available and of all of the risks and dangers to human health and the environment were not yet known.

* "cides" are defined as herbicides, pesticides, insecticides, and fungicides. 

Physical, Mental, and Emotional Health
The health ramifications of farming with chemicals, in lieu of using Nature's perfected biological systems, are severe. Recently published, the Gut Biome MasterClass explains in simplistic terms the impact of chemical farming on the gut biome and its implications on the body’s endocrine system. 

In his September 2023 Rev On Air: The Power of Regeneration for a More Beautiful World interview, Zach Bush. MD shares in a scientific, medical vernacular the role soil health and chemicals (glyphosates, "cides," etc.) play on human mental, physical, and emotional health. Autism is specifically discussed and the dramatic role diet plays with individuals on the mental spectrum.

Tasty Food
Food grown in soils with healthy, vibrant ecosystems are tasty, often in contrast with the bland grocery-store produce from conventional farms. In his The Real Organic Project’s The Power Of Deliciousness interview, Chef Dan Barber sets the stage for emphasizing the importance of delicious food. Chefs have a powerful voice with consumers and may educate and influence the public on WWEM.

Tasty, healthy food
Photo credit: Holly Elmore Images
Over the decades Ei worked closely with chefs on zero waste and later regenerative practices, and is one of eleven Collaborative Partners with the World Chefs Feed the Planet initiative.

If consumers invoke their power of demand for toxic-free, nutritious, and tasty food, the agricultural industry will respond and conventional farming will segue into organic and regenerative practices. 

World Water Pollution and Depletion
As water and soil are in a sacred marriage, conventional farming practices equally pollute soil, aquifers, and waterways.

Chemical Farming
In addition to causing nutrient-deficient food, the "cides" and manmade fertilizers rich in nutrients, mainly nitrogen and phosphorus, used in conventional farming seep into the soil. Eventually the toxins and excessive nutrients flow into the aquifers and/or waterways. Heavy rainfall and melting snow wash the "cides" and nutrients from the farmlands into streams, rivers, and other waterways. 

In the U.S., the Mississippi River transports the "cides" and nutrients from the Midwest and Southern farming belts into the Gulf of Mexico. The excessive nutrients cause massive algae blooms that deplete the shoreline water of oxygen necessary to support marine life.

Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone
Photo credit: Ocean Today
According to the 2021 article, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Happening Now: Dead Zone in the Gulf 2021,  Larger-than-average Gulf of Mexico ‘dead zone’ measured, River discharge and nutrient loads contribute to size:

The Mississippi River is like a drainage system for your street, but it connects 31 U.S. states and even parts of Canada.These nutrients are ultimately funneled into the Gulf of Mexico, sometimes traveling more than a 1,000 miles downstream to start a chain of events in the Gulf that turns deadly.

The nutrients fuel large algal blooms that then sink, decompose, and deplete the water of oxygen. This is hypoxia, when oxygen in the water is so low it can no longer sustain marine life in bottom or near bottom waters—literally, a dead zone. And it happens every summer.

When the water reaches this hypoxic state, fish and shrimp leave the area and anything that can't escape like crabs, worms, and clams die. If the amount of pollution entering the Gulf isn't reduced, the dead zone will continue to wreak havoc on the ecosystem and threaten some of the most productive fisheries in the world.

Time-Released Fertilizers and Pesticides
With the common use of time-released fertilizers and pesticides in conventional farming came an unintended consequence: the flooding of micro and nanoplastics into the soils from the time-release capsules. ... and what goes into the soils eventually ends up in the aquifers and waterways.

In May 2022, the Center for International Environmental Law published a report on the plastics in the soils, Sowing a Plastic Planet: How Microplastics in Agrochemicals Are Affecting Our Soils, Our Food, and Our Future. From the astonishing report:

Plastics are everywhere in agriculture, from greenhouse films and landscaping fabrics to crop coverings and product packaging. Many of these uses provide pathways for plastic contamination. But the application of plastic-coated agrochemicals to soils and crops directly introduces microplastic into the environment and potentially into the food supply. It also compounds the health and environmental hazards posed by agrochemicals themselves.

One of the least known and most concerning sources of microplastic pollution is their deliberate addition to synthetic fertilizers and pesticides used in industrial agriculture.

Microplastics disintegrate into nanoplastics that are capable of segueing through cell walls. Thus, plants may join the animal-protein food contaminated with plastics.

As they use compost and other natural substances for crop nutrition and generally abstain from agrochemicals, organic and regenerative farms do not contribute to the tremendous plastics in the soils from plastic-coated capsules.

Water-Intensive Food
According to the New York Times (NYT) December 2023 article, How America’s Diet is Feeding the Groundwater Crisis, depletion of once abundant aquifers are due to America's increased consumer demand for cheese and chicken, mainly pizza and chicken wings.

In addition to an increase in exported chicken and dairy products, Americans ate an average of 100 pounds of chicken in 2022, doubling the annual consumption from 40 years ago. Beyond the water necessary for livestock-farming practices, water-intensive animal-feed crops, mainly soybean and alfalfa, are grown on the most arid lands in the American Midwest. Thus, once bountiful aquifers are nearly depleted. 

With water-scarcity challenges in California, many dairy farmers moved their California farms to high-dessert states like Idaho where regulations were less stringent on water usage. Before the dairy-farm migration in the 1990's, Idaho enjoyed a bountiful aquifer that supported life in the arid climate. Yet, over the past decades, the dairy farms along with animal-feed crops severely depleted the aquifer to a dangerous, cautionary state. 

According to the NYT article, "Idaho recently joined Wisconsin and California in an elite club: States that produce at least 1 billion pounds of cheese annually; each pound of cheese produced requires, on average, 10 pounds of milk. And the cows producing that milk need to eat high-protein foods, including water-intensive alfalfa."

While Idaho's water woes are caused by dairy ranching, in Arkansas, America's chicken headquarters, once bountiful aquifers are stressed by the expanding chicken farms and the related row crops to feed the fowl. Over the past decade, the value of the state's largest agriculture commodity doubled to an estimated $6.3 billion.

Additionally, the vast amount of chicken waste often pollutes local water.

 As quoted in the NY Times article:

Food choices have long led to debates not only about personal health, but also animal welfare, cultural expectations and the role of government regulations in shaping people’s diets. The damage that animal agriculture is doing to fragile aquifers, while less documented, is particularly important: The decline of the aquifers could affect what Americans eat, and potentially become a threat to America’s food supply.

Facts in the Water-Intensive Food section are directly or paraphrased from the NYT article, How America’s Diet is Feeding the Groundwater Crisis.

Diversity Reduction
For a myriad of reasons, the number of species facing extinction increased dramatically over the past decades; thus, there is a severe reduction in the diversity of species living on the Earth.

Insect Apocalypse
At the base of the prey hierarchy, insects are food for fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds. In addition to recycling soil-system nutrients, insects play an essential role in the decomposition portion of nature’s circular-life cycle.

Red-bellied woodpecker 
feasting on insects

Photo credit: Holly Elmore Images
Since the 1970’s, the Earth’s insect population suffered from severe population declines as well as loss of diversity.

The prolific use of pesticides in commercial and residential landscapes, corporate and municipal-grounds maintenance, and industrial agriculture is a strong contributing factor in the severe decline of insect populations.

According to the November 2019 Somerset Wildlife Trust Insect Declines and Why They Matter Report by Professor Dave Goulson, 41% of insect species are threatened with extinction.

Thus, the Insect Apocalypse is well underway.

By choosing to eat organic food grown on farms who use regenerative practices, the consumer gives economic incentive for farmers to grow crops in a manner that supports insect populations.

The RiA article, SOIL & WATER: the foundation of life, introduces and gives additional details on the Insect Apocalypse.

Holocene Extinction (sixth mass extinction)
According to the November 2019 Science Alert article, Are We Really in a 6th Mass Extinction? Here's The Science, current conditions indicate that the Earth's Holocene extinction, or sixth mass extinction, is well underway. From the article:

A mass extinction is usually defined as a loss of about three quarters of all species in existence across the entire Earth over a "short" geological period of time. Given the vast amount of time since life first evolved on the planet, "short" is defined as anything less than 2.8 million years. 

... The Earth is currently experiencing an extinction crisis largely due to the exploitation of the planet by people. 

The World Wildlife Fund 2020 Living Planet Report states:

A 68% average decline of birds, amphibians, mammals, fish, and reptiles since 1970.

The findings are clear: Our relationship with nature is broken.

Biodiversity – the rich diversity of life on Earth – is being lost at an alarming rate. This loss effects our own health and well-being. Today, catastrophic impacts for people and the planet loom closer than ever.

The above is an excerpt from the RiA article, Urban Carbon Sinks: Rewilding Urban Carbon Sinks.

Conventional agriculture practices across the globe are a strong contributor to the Holocene Extinction.

Reason for Hope
As Michael Pollen encourages in his previously referenced Intentional Eating MasterClass, if enough consumers vote with their food dollars, market forces will shift conventional farming to organic/regenerative agriculture. Thus, many of the challenging scenarios featured above will mitigate, disintegrate, and/or lessen the damaging impacts. There is a movement underway to eat healthy, nutritious food.

Additionally, there is movement underway for consumers to grow their own food at their homes, in community gardens, and in other urban environments. Beyond building local food security for humans, the increased gardening provides nutrition for urban wildlife, including the insect population. The Ei Rewilding Urban Pilots at Ei Founder & CEO Holly Elmore's home serve as an inspiration for "what can be done" at a residential home.

In his two-hour filmed interview, The Future of Human & Planetary Health, on Rich Roll's podcast, Zach Bush, MD emphasizes the cardinal importance of healthy soil ecosystems to regain human and planetary health. As with Michael, Zach encourages the consumer to get to know their farmers and use their food dollars to influence shifts in current agriculture practices.

Within the esoteric realms, Zach shares the validity of invoking collective consciousness to create a new healthy earth based on human intentions from the heart. The recent RiA article, Collective Consciousness, a movement, a solution, introduces the power of collective consciousness as a pathway for regenerating an Earth where life as we know it thrives.

It is important to understand the far-reaching, global impact of our eating choices. The preceding only touches on several of the impact areas. Remember WHAT YOU EAT MATTERS!

_______________________________________

Tax-deductible donations in any amount are greatly appreciated to support Ei's important work. 

DONATE HERE


About Elemental Impact:
Elemental Impact (Ei) is a 501(c)3 non-profit founded in 2010 as the home to the Zero Waste Zones, the forerunner in the nation for the commercial collection of food waste for compost. In June 2017, Ei announced the Era of Recycling Refinement was Mission Accomplished and entered the Era of Regeneration. Current focus areas include Nature PrevailsSoil Health | Regenerative Agriculture, and Water Use | Toxicity.

The Regeneration in ACTION Magazine articles, From Organic Certification to Regenerative Agriculture to Rewilding Landscapes: an evolution towards soil integrity and SOIL & WATER: the foundation of life, published to explain and substantiate the importance of Ei’s rewilding urban landscapes work within the Nature Prevails focus area. What We Eat Matters is an emerging platform that intertwines within the three focus areas.

The Holly Elmore Images Rewilding Urban Landscapes-album folder documents two active pilots: the Native-Plant Landscape Pilot and the Backyard Permaculture-Oriented Pilot.

MISSION:
To work with industry leaders to create best regenerative operating practices where the entire value-chain benefits, including corporate bottom lines, communities, and the environment. Through education and collaboration, establish best practices as standard practices.

Ei’s tagline – Regeneration in ACTION – is the foundation for Ei endeavors.

The following mantra is at the core of Ei work:

Ei is a creator, an incubator.
Ei determines what could be done that is not being done and gets it done.
Ei brings the possible out of impossible.
Ei identifies pioneers and creates heroes.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Elemental Impact supports the Florida Environmental Film Festival

As 2023 came to a close, Elemental Impact (Ei) Founder & CEO Holly Elmore accepted Florida Environmental Film Festival (FEFF) Founder & President Elizabeth Pickett Gray's invitation to serve on the FEFF Advisory Board. What an honor!

Ten Thousand Islands 
photo courtesy of Holly Elmore Images
The FEFF mission is to present environmental films and educational events that advocate for broadening our knowledge of environmental issues impacting Florida.

As a third generation Floridian, Elizabeth experienced first hand the native, wild Florida when waterways were pristine, wildlife flourished on the ranch lands and other untamed areas, and the Gulf beaches teamed with shoreline birds, crabs, and other natural inhabitants. Over the past decades, Florida gained popularity as a vacation destination as well as a retirement haven for full-time residents as well snow birds, those who reside in Florida only during the winter months; subsequently, commercial and residential development escalated, often causing the demise of fragile ecosystems.

With her cinematic experience, Elizabeth understands how to harness the power of film to educate on challenging scenarios and inspire individual and collective action. In her own words,

Big Cypress National Preserve
photo courtesy of Holly Elmore Images

“I grew up when the Gulf of Mexico smelled like an ocean, backwoods waters ran clean and clear, and the sound of sweet wildlife rang in my ears. Coming home, I found worsening conditions of red tide, spills of phosphate, dead fish on the water’s edge, spring waters polluted, our precious ranch lands being sold, our beautiful wildlife starving, with nowhere to go… We are now at a pivotal moment in time in Florida. We are the last generation that can change the damage being done to our great state before it’s too late…

I surround myself with people who are brilliant and passionate about the environment, and I bring them together to collaborate and create synergistic solutions to problems we face. Together, we make things happen. I’m sort of like the wizard of OZ, I’m the person behind the curtain.”

Sarasota public beach path
photo courtesy of Holly Elmore Images
Though originally an in-person event, during the COVID pandemic the FEFF segued into a virtual semi-annual festival and continues successfully to host films within a festival format online. Films are followed by panel discussions with ecologists, environmental advocates, and filmmakers along with a question and answer opportunity for the audience. Beyond environmental education, attendees learn how they may volunteer or take other action to address challenges showcased by the film.

The next virtual film festival is scheduled for Friday, February 2 through Sunday, February 11.

In addition to film screenings, the FEFF is active within five project areas:

  1. Films with Homeowner Associations supported by discussion and question & answer sessions.
  2. Field Trips that showcase how Florida biodiversity works.
  3. Volunteer Testing Waters in partnership with the Florida Lakewatch.
  4. Land & Watershed Cleanups.
  5. Book Circle Conversations.

Holly is excited to bring Ei's experience and expertise to the FEFF Advisory Board and contribute to environmental education on current challenges as well as solutions.

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Local Food Security: building a movement through yard gardens and food forests

During the COVID pandemic, flaws in the national and global food systems were evident with the plethora of empty grocery shelves caused by supply chain and other challenges. Often, local producers came to the rescue by providing healthy, nutritious produce to communities through neighborhood farmers' markets and consumer farm visits.

Recently planted garden
Photo credit: Holly Elmore Images
Additionally, there was a significant increase in home and urban gardening. A March 2022 University of Georgia (UGA) study, COVID-19 pandemic fueled massive growth in green industry, found about one out of every three people began gardening in 2020 because they were home more.

According to the study's lead author, Benjamin Campbell, UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, "Gardening not only gave people something to do, but it also gave them a little bit more happiness.” Food insecurity was a driver for many of those included in the study.

Historic Gardening Movements
Depleted soils, broken food systems, and supply-chain challenges contribute to food insecurity for rural and urban populations. Local food security is a a severe challenge for humanity.

According to the U.S. Department of Human and Health Services, in 2020, 13.8 million households were food insecure at some point during the year. The World Food Programme made a dire announcement:

2022: a year of unprecedented hunger

As many as 828 million people go to bed hungry every night. The number of those facing acute food insecurity has soared - from 135 million to 345 million - since 2019. A total of 49 million people in 49 countries are teetering on the edge of famine.

Image courtesy of Living Farm History
During the Great Depression (1929 - 1939,) local gardens provided a means of survival. According to the Gardens Role in Great Depression Research Paper, governments introduced relief gardening programs to combat emotional stress, poverty, and hunger. The relief gardens were also referred to as vacant-lot gardens, subsistence gardens, or welfare-garden plots.

In World War II (WWII,) the federal government called on citizens to plant victory gardens; nearly 20 million Americans answered the call in the name of patriotism. Victory gardens produced an estimated 9 - 10-million tons of vegetables, the equivalent of the commercial-agriculture-crop production destined to feed the troops: victory gardens made a tremendous difference and avoided food-shortage and hunger scenarios during the war.*

Thus, the U.S. has precedent on preventing food insecurity on a mass scale during the Great Depression and WWII via home and vacant-lot gardening. Challenge: both programs were strongly promoted and supported by the U.S. federal government. Without government support, communities, non-profits, and individuals must create a movement for U.S. residents to plant and nurture gardens, instead of lawns, at their homes.

* Facts provided by the Living History Farm, Farming in the 1940's, Victory Farms.
** Section is an excerpt from the Regeneration in ACTION (RiA) article, Water & Soil: the foundation of life
.

Modern-Day-Gardening Movement
Inspired by the relief gardens' and victory gardens' past successes and fueled by the food shortages during the COVID pandemic, a modern-day-gardening movement is underway. 

In 2021, Modern Farmer publisher Frank Giustra and Big Green Co-Founder Kimbal Musk announced the launch of the Million Gardens Movement (MGM,) a charitable food initiative; MGM aspires to give everyone the opportunity to grow their own food, whether it is on a windowsill or in a backyard, and to create a healthier, happier, more sustainable world.

Big Green and Modern Farmer started Million Gardens Movement to make it simple for anyone to give a family a garden,” says Musk. “Planting a seed is an act of hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Ei food forest
Photo credit: Holly Elmore Images

The Elemental Impact (Ei) Rewilding Urban Landscapes Pilots (EiPilots) support the modern-day-gardening movement and showcase how lawns may be replaced with vegetable gardens and food forests; the Ei Pilots are aesthetically pleasing as well as functional. Located in Ei Founder & CEO Holly Elmore's spacious front and backyards, the Ei Pilots are easily accessible for tours. 

The RiA article, Ei Rewilding Urban Landscapes Pilots, introduces the pilots while the article, Urban Afforestation: Food Forests and Microforests, showcases the global-food forest movement.

Tours are an excellent avenue to inspire neighbors and community residents to join the gardening movement. Individual tours were common from the onset of planting seeds, seedlings and saplings within the Ei Pilots.

Food Forest Tours
As part of their 2023 Eat Local Week (ELW) festivities, Transition Sarasota hosted dual for-pay food forest tours on October 18. As the curator of the Ei Rewilding Urban Landscapes Pilots and a food forest at his parents' home, Zach Zildjian of ZZ Design Services spearheaded the tours. One of the most popular ELW events, the food tours were oversold!

The RiA article, Food forests transform lawns into lovely, beneficial landscapes, features the ELW food forest tours.

Holly begins the Ei Food Forest tour in her backyard.
Photo credit: Ana Galeana
On January 7, 2023 the FB group 941 Natural Gardeners hosted an Ei Pilots tour focused on the backyard food forest and the vegetable, herb and edible-flower garden. Nearly 30 intrigued local residents attended the Sunday morning tour. Though Holly lead the tour, Zach was on site to answer in-depth and technical questions.

Beginning indoors due to the rain and chilly temperature, tour participants were welcomed with homemade sweet treats along with Holly's butterfly pea blossom-white-tea blend. While indoors, Holly gave the an introduction to Ei, the Ei Pilots, and the underdevelopment Ei Focus Area What We Eat Matters. 

As the rain subsided, the tour began with the Native-Plant-Landscape Pilot in the front yard; the pilot intention is to provide food and habitat for local, urban wildlife. Over two-years young, the Native-Plant-Landscape Pilot was designed by Pam Callender of Lifelines and installed on November 18 & 19, 2021. Holly explained that the impervious driveway was removed to enlarge the pilot area and aid with rainfall retention on the property.

Holly explains the evolution of the Ei Food Forest.
Photo credit: Ana Galeana
Once in the Backyard Permaculture Oriented Landscape (POL) Pilot. Holly explained how the backyard was permitted to grow wild for almost nine months. As she weeded the tall grass of sandspur plants, the yard guided Holly on the paths that eventually earmarked the food forest home. While still in the wild state, the invasive carrotwood tree was removed from the southside yard; once the large tree was removed, the area was perfect for the vegetable, herb, and edible-flower garden (garden.)

The POL Pilot general rule is any non-native plant must either produce human food and/or nourish the soil ecosystem.

After Holly hand weeded it, the designated food forest area was covered with cardboard and topped with mulch to prepare the soil for the trees and ground cover. On June 15, 2022, the food forest was installed under Zach's design and direction. An organic process, the food forest welcomes new plantings, ground cover, and trees on a sporadic basis.

Two of the groundcover crops - sweet potatoes and African mint potatoes - produce an abundant, tasty  harvest. The Meyer lemon, Persian lime, Surinam cherry, Barbados cherry, mulberry, and loquat trees bore fruit in their first year; though healthy, the tangerine, Eureka lemon, persimmon, pomegranate, and kaffir lime trees are yet to bear fruit. 

Harvested blossoms and house-made tea blend
Photo credit: Holly Elmore Images
On a regular basis, Holly harvests and dehydrates butterfly pea and sun hemp blossoms, lemongrass, moringa leaves, pennyroyal stems, and lobster flower leaves for house-made tea blends. Additionally, Holly uses lemongrass stalks and kaffir lime leaves for culinary dishes.

In late September, 2022, Holly along with Zach's crew planted over 500 seeds in preparation of the garden installation weeks later. 

... and then Hurricane Ian ravaged the Florida Gulf Coast mere days after planting the seeds. As they were moved indoors while preparing for the hurricane, the seeds were unharmed. Though Ian wreaked havoc on it, the food forest proved resilient and sustained minimal long-term damage.

Hurricane debris, mainly large branches and medium-sized tree trunks, were perfect for confining the garden's three main plots. In its second winter season, the garden thrives and produces an abundance of lettuces, vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers.

As the tour concluded, many participants eagerly accepted plant cuttings and seedlings from the food forest.

Beyond Food Security
Though a strong proponent of building local food security for humans and urban wildlife alike, the Ei  Pilot's primary focus is on replacing lawns and open space with native-plant and permaculture-oriented landscapes. 

Lawns are environmentally detrimental as they lack diversity, generally are non-native plants, and are often treated with the "cides"* and petro-chemical fertilizers. The previously referenced RiA article, Water & Soil: the foundation of life, explains the devastating impact of lawns on the environment and urban wildlife.

Ei celebrates that the Ei Rewilding Urban Landscape Pilots create a tremendous added-value benefit by supporting the modern-day-gardening movement via building local food security with yard gardens and food forests.

* the "cides" include herbicides, pesticides, insecticides, and fungicides.

_______________________________________

Tax-deductible donations in any amount are greatly appreciated to support Ei's important work. 

DONATE HERE


About Elemental Impact:
Elemental Impact (Ei) is a 501(c)3 non-profit founded in 2010 as the home to the Zero Waste Zones, the forerunner in the nation for the commercial collection of food waste for compost. In June 2017, Ei announced the Era of Recycling Refinement was Mission Accomplished and entered the Era of Regeneration. Current focus areas include Nature PrevailsSoil Health | Regenerative Agriculture, and Water Use | Toxicity.

The Regeneration in ACTION Magazine articles, From Organic Certification to Regenerative Agriculture to Rewilding Landscapes: an evolution towards soil integrity and SOIL & WATER: the foundation of life, published to explain and substantiate the importance of Ei’s rewilding urban landscapes work within the Nature Prevails focus area.

The Holly Elmore Images Rewilding Urban Landscapes-album folder documents two active pilots: the Native-Plant Landscape Pilot and the Backyard Permaculture-Oriented Pilot.

MISSION:
To work with industry leaders to create best regenerative operating practices where the entire value-chain benefits, including corporate bottom lines, communities, and the environment. Through education and collaboration, establish best practices as standard practices.

Ei’s tagline – Regeneration in ACTION – is the foundation for Ei endeavors.

The following mantra is at the core of Ei work:

Ei is a creator, an incubator.
Ei determines what could be done that is not being done and gets it done.
Ei brings the possible out of impossible.
Ei identifies pioneers and creates heroes.

For additional information, contact Holly Elmore at 404-510-9336 | holly@elementalimpact.org. 

Thursday, January 11, 2024

I AM Humanity

On October 28, I AM HUMANITY hosted the first annual Humanity Day, a virtual celebration complemented with an in-person event hosted at the  Unitarian Universalists of Sarasota; the well attended Sarasota event honored local environmental leadership for their important work.

Humanity Day panel discussion
Photo courtesy of Holly Elmore Images
Within an excellent panel discussion, Elemental Impact (Ei) Advisor Charles Reith showcased the environmental and community impact of the Suncoast Urban Reforesters microforests. Fellow Ei Advisors Tim Rumage, Ringling School of Art and Design Professor of Environmental Studies, and Sandy Gilbert, Solutions to Avoid Red Tide Chair, as well as Ei Founder & CEO Holly Elmore attended the in-person event.

For the virtual celebration, Holly was interviewed regarding Ei's decades-long impact and her personal philosophies. The 12-minute-interview video is available on Vimeo for viewing.

Introductions
After introducing Ei, Holly gave an overview of current endeavors in the discovery/pre-launch stage that extend beyond Ei Rewilding Urban Landscapes:

  • Photo courtesy of the CIEL
    Invasive Species
    – focus on invasive species as a tasty food source by working with the established food manufacturing and distribution systems; restore ecological health while providing nutrition to the growing human population.
  • Micro | Nanoplastics in soils – issued in 2022, the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) Sowing a Plastic Planet: How Microplastics in Agrochemicals Are Affecting Our Soils, Our Food, and Our Future report established the tremendous amount of micro and nanoplastics in our soils from time-released fertilizers and pesticides; work with residential and commercial landscaping nurseries on shifting practices away from using time-released products.
  • Scaling-Up Composting in Sarasota – Ei serves as a Table2Farms industry expert during the organization’s funding stage; a Sarasota composting pilot spearheaded by Ei is in the budget within the first round of funding.
Keys to Success
When asked about the keys to Ei's proven success, Holly explained that her corporate (Arthur Andersen auditor and Trammell Crow Company controller) and entrepreneur (owner of two restaurants and an off-premises catering business) experiences play a critical role. As a business person and entrepreneur, Holly speaks in a voice that is heard by business executives, government officials, and respected scholars; Ei has an excellent track record with creating regenerative operating practices that make good, solid business sense, including bottom-line and intangible benefits. 

Another key to success is Holly's awareness of FLOW, knowing when to flow with a project’s progress, when to step to the sidelines when the flow ceases, and when to return to the flow. There are many examples of projects that "went to the sidelines" and flowed into tremendous impact when focused upon a few years later.

Collective Consciousness
As introduced in the Regeneration in ACTION (RiA) article, Collective Consciousness: a movement, a solution, working together in a holographic manner where ALL benefit is a must to ensure survival of humans as the predominant species on the Earth. 

Photo courtesy of Holly Elmore Images
In 2012, Ei introduced the WE Consciousness as a higher octave of the then tagline Sustainability in ACTION. When the "I" is replaced with "WE," the impact of our actions extends to the entire community and beyond; collective action accomplishes more profound results than singular effort. By working together, synergies are unlocked, unnecessary boundaries, including competitive barriers, disintegrate, and creative energies catapult possibilities into grounded realities.

The following initiatives showcase how the WE Consciousness naturally integrates within Ei's important work.
In 2015 Ei Advisor Tim Rumage, a planetary ethicist, along with David Houle co-authored This Spaceship Earth. The book's premise compares the Earth to a spaceship where there are finite resources necessary for survival. To replenish resources for survival, humans must understand there is no waste, only the segue into the resource's next valuable use.

This Spaceship Earth introduces crew consciousness:
The critical difference between the spacecraft of the space programs and science fiction and Spaceship Earth is simply that: we live on a spaceship that must resupply itself from itself. This is why we need to recognize that we are crew not passengers.
When humans shift from the unaware passenger mentality to crew consciousness, the current wasteful-use-of-resources and polluting-the-planet practices will evolve into solutions for replenishing finite resources and cleansing the environment.

Marshall McLuhan succinctly states the crew-consciousness premise, “There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth, we are all crew.” … and the crew must work in unison for the spaceship to survive and once again thrive.

In alignment with the Nature Prevails premise, Tim emphasizes "We are not trying to save the earth - we are not trying to save the planet. We are trying to save ourselves from ourselves"

I AM Humanity is another derivative of building an empowering collective consciousness.

Worker Populations
Since recorded history, humans often developed out-of-balance dynamics within their culture where worker populations were disrespected and frequently abused. The current scenarios of extreme poverty, severe homelessness, and food scarcity prevalent across the globe impact many urban environments; the challenging scenarios reflect the unbalanced societal hierarchies established within cultural and government norms. If humans emulated insect- and animal-community protocol an equitable societal structure would emerge.

A gentleman sleeps on a 
sidewalk in Austin, TX

Photo courtesy of Holly Elmore Images
Societal hierarchies within bee and ant colonies, wolf packs, elephant herds, bird flocks, and other eusocial colonies demonstrate that the community is only as strong as the weakest link; as long as they perform their designated tasks within these eusocial colonies, the workers are treated fairly and with respect. When it maintains dynamic balance within their population and the other Principles of Nature* align, the community thrives.

In essence, water, soil, and insects are the foundation for life on the Earth and must be addressed as a trilogy. The RiA article, Nature Prevails: it is time to emulate Nature's perfected systems, establishes the trilogy.

In human societies, indigenous races and worker populations are comparative to the insects' role in nature's perfected cycles. Indigenous races carry the wisdom of their ancestors when humans lived in balance with Nature, respecting the resources generously provided by the Earth; the worker population provides the necessary labor for the overall population to thrive within the balance of basic essentials: food, shelter, and clothing.

* The Principles of Nature are defined in the referenced article, Nature Prevails: it is time to emulate Nature's perfected systems

A Renewed Earth
Ei book cover: From Macro 
to Micro to Nanoplastics 
Image courtesy of Holly Elmore Images
Within the current physical reality, it is impossible to clean up the challenges that humans created on the Earth. For example, it is not possible to clean-up the massive micro and nanoplastic pollution; nanoplastics segue through cell walls and cause yet-to-be-determined health hazards in the plant and animal kingdoms. 

Humans created a HUGE mess on the planet; a mess that the Earth will regenerate into evolved life systems yet most likely after humans are extinct or at least not the planet’s predominant species.
 
From Holly's perspective, collective consciousness is key to creating a renewed Earth. When the tipping point is reached of heart-based humans living on the Earth, collective consciousness will simply create a new reality based on the heart-based intentions of those humans participating.
 
With a collective consciousness movement underway. there is optimism for humanity's survival.

Back to Basics
In her closing remarks, Holly shared that it is time for humanity to get back to the basics. For Ei, the basics are Water, Soil, and the Microbial Communities integral to water and soil life systems. Holly often states the following quote during interviews:
We must, absolutely MUST, return our water and soil microbial communities back to a healthy, balanced state for life as we know it to survive and once again thrive on planet Earth.
 Another aspect of back to basics is taking care of and nurturing our worker populations, similar to ant and bee colonies. A community is only as strong and resilient as the health and happiness of its worker population. Humanity has a lot to learn from the eusocial species throughout the animal kingdom. 
 
Holly concluded her interview with a sincere thank you to I AM Humanity for their collective consciousness initiatives. As she bowed in reverence, Holly proclaimed " I AM Humanity."

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About Elemental Impact:
Elemental Impact (Ei) is a 501(c)3 non-profit founded in 2010 as the home to the Zero Waste Zones, the forerunner in the nation for the commercial collection of food waste for compost. In June 2017, Ei announced the Era of Recycling Refinement was Mission Accomplished and entered the Era of Regeneration. Current focus areas include Nature PrevailsSoil Health | Regenerative Agriculture, and Water Use | Toxicity.

The Regeneration in ACTION Magazine articles, From Organic Certification to Regenerative Agriculture to Rewilding Landscapes: an evolution towards soil integrity and SOIL & WATER: the foundation of life, published to explain and substantiate the importance of Ei’s rewilding urban landscapes work within the Nature Prevails focus area.

The Holly Elmore Images Rewilding Urban Landscapes-album folder documents two active pilots: the Native-Plant Landscape Pilot and the Backyard Permaculture-Oriented Pilot.

MISSION:
To work with industry leaders to create best regenerative operating practices where the entire value-chain benefits, including corporate bottom lines, communities, and the environment. Through education and collaboration, establish best practices as standard practices.

Ei’s tagline – Regeneration in ACTION – is the foundation for Ei endeavors.

The following mantra is at the core of Ei work:

Ei is a creator, an incubator.
Ei determines what could be done that is not being done and gets it done.
Ei brings the possible out of impossible.
Ei identifies pioneers and creates heroes.

For additional information, contact Holly Elmore at 404-510-9336 | holly@elementalimpact.org.