Category Archives: Grow

It’s Time to Save the World

“Is my English OK? Is the microphone on?” asked Greta Thunberg, in one of her most recent addresses. “Because I’m beginning to wonder.”

Laughter from the audience.

It wasn’t a joke. No one seems to be listening.

Nine years ago, when I was Greta’s age, I wasn’t aware. I wasn’t politically, globally, socially, environmentally aware. I wasn’t aware of what our biggest problems were–or that I, as a kid, could do anything about it, even if I did know what was happening in the world.

Nine years ago, I was LARPing (live-action role playing). For those who don’t know, LARP is a game wherein you create a character for yourself, dress up in costume, and run around in the woods at night, fighting faux villains with foam sticks. It’s like playing make-believe in the backyard when you were little, but on a larger scale, with maybe a better production value.

LARP comes in a number of forms, but the game I played was mostly like Dungeons & Dragons. It was a fantasy game. Swords and sorcery. Lightning bolts. Storming the castle. All of that.

While I knew that the events in the game weren’t “real” and that the character I played wasn’t “real,” they always felt important. They felt bigger than the small “reality” I actually lived in. I often felt that my character was better than me. She was stronger, prettier, freer. She had more goodness in her; more to give. I wanted to be like her in real life.

This disconnect–the idea that my character was false and somehow separate from me–affected my growth in a number of ways. I could write a book on it. There’s a lot to unpack. But the point here is that even after I managed to quit the game, I had a hard time developing an idea of who I was without that character.

Recently, with the changing of the seasons, I was hit by a wave of nostalgia. It would be the start of LARP season now, if I was still playing.

I’m still sorting through it, but one of the things that finally occurred to me was that I could be like the heroic character I used to play. I already was like her. She came from me.

But there were still situational differences, systematic differences between that character’s world and mine, dragging me down.

I posted this on Facebook:


And, only days later, the sentiment was echoed by somebody else:


I’ve been flailing for a solution. Something I could do to help the environment, and reconcile the reality of my apparent helplessness with the idea of once having played at being someone courageous and able to create change.

In this video, Jane Goodall advises people to act locally. “Quite honestly,” she says, “if you think globally, you get depressed.” Break it down, then. Start with what you know you can do. Do something. Even if it might seem small. “We’re all interconnected.”

I’ve been worrying myself sick. I woke up today with a sore throat, and a headache, presumably from my newfangled teeth grinding habit. In an anxious, somewhat dissociated haze, I drove to the store for some groceries, just to get out of the house. Everywhere, meat and dairy. Things packaged in plastic. Delicious things that I only felt bad about craving. I bought one of those chocolate bars that claims to help endangered species, and felt doubtful about its impact, but I hoped.

On my way home, it seemed like all I could see was trash. Scattered along the side of the road, accumulating in the ditches, washed up along the curb. Plastic bags blowing in the wind and caught up in bushes.

Enough is enough.

I found a metal stick–one of those garden hooks for hanging bird feeders or little candle pots–and I filed the end to a point on my dad’s bench grinder. I walked across the street to the park outside my house, and I attacked the garbage in the rain garden. I chased it through the foliage, piercing it with my makeshift rapier, collecting its remains.

Maybe this will help.

Photo by Robert Stuart Lowden

I’m an adventurer. It’s my job.

And for all the shitheads out there who consume without thinking, and leave their trash lying around; for the people who continue to make a mess of the world, I have just one message:


Is That a Farm on Your Roof or an Alien Colony? By Charity Kihlstadius


If you look at the top of this building, you may wonder what is up there?
The answer is the future of produce.

Have you ever bitten into a fresh tomato only to b disappointed at the total lack of flavor? So have I. The reason for this is that most produce is not created for flavor but for transportation. Most of the produce we buy in supermarkets and feed our family’s were grown more than a thousand miles away. That means one little tomato has been bouncing around in the back of the truck for quite a while before it reaches the supermarket. And once there, it often sits in a box until placed on a shelf and selected by one of us. All this traveling means farmers need to think of ways to keep that tomato fresh long enough for you to get it home. The end result is farmers often focusing on hardiness over tastiness.

Now you may be wondering what all this has to do with the crazy rooftop. The answer is BrightFarms. BrightFarms is a revolutionary new way to grow produce. By utilizing the wasted space on the rooftops of supermarkets to create sustainable greenhouse farms, BrightFarms has found a way to offer delicious produce at affordable prices, not only for supermarkets, but for you and I as well. The produce grown in these rooftop greenhouses is fresher, tastier, safer along with more affordable and sustainable. Fresher means that the produce will actually have more nutrients in it (healthier) and last longer. Not only will it last longer in the store (saving the supermarkets money on wasted produce), but it will also last longer once you get it home.  Cutting out the need for transporting the produce also means cutting out wasted time and money spent on fuel and labor used to trek it across the country. The farms also help provide jobs by employing local farmers to care for the crops. 

The greenhouse farms are set up at or near the store and are financed, designed, built and operated by BrightFarms. The supermarkets then contract to purchase the produce for a set time (5-10 years). BrightFarms guarantees that the cost of the produce will never exceed market cost. It could be a win-win scenario!

Think about this, the next tomato you purchase could be grown right
above where you buy it by someone who shops at the same
store and buys the same tomatoes. Just that might be worth it.

BrightFarms recently announced partnership with Cub Foods in St. Paul, MN. The greenhouse should be open sometime this year.

Author: Charity Kihlstadius

Grow a Better Community

Looking for a way to get involved with your community? Joining or starting a community garden is a great way to do this.

A community garden is any piece of land gardened by a group of people. Members are able to work together, growing flowers, vegetables, spices, and other plants.

These gardens have awesome benefits to the public. Participating in such an activity will stimulate social interaction, encourage self-reliance, improve the look of a neighborhood, produce food, conserve resources, and promote exercise. Check out this website to find even more ways these gardens can improve your community.

It is important to be a proactive citizen, so start at home. Search for a community garden in your area. Or do you already have experience with growing locally? Share these thoughts and experiences with others interested below.