Saturday, November 28, 2009

Down the Drain

Fact: An American household uses up to 400 gallons of water per day*

Fact: The United States uses more water than any other country in the world**

Fact: Our water supplies are running low

Yep, that precious liquid which is essential to life, is running low – very low. According to an article written by Mark Frauenfelder, (“Lake Mead Is Drying Up”) in GOOD magazine, our supply is far too low and demand has gotten way too high.

In 2008, Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa’s office released a document entitled, “Securing L.A.’s Water Supply” which outlined a plan to create sustainable sources of water for Los Angeles.

Some of the methods intended to cut back on water usage included: “investments in state-of-the-art technology…rebates and incentives…installation of smart sprinklers, efficient washers and urinals; and long-term measures such as expansion of water recycling and investment in cleaning up the local groundwater supply.” The goal was to conserve/recycle 32.6 billion gallons of water per year (this amounts to enough water to supply 200,000 homes for one year).

The document also laid out reasons for the decline in water availability:

- Climate conditions (e.g. low levels of snowfall, “environmental commitments” and high levels of drought) have reduced the “long-term availability” of water from our water sources.

- The city of Los Angeles typically receives water from five different sources including: the Eastern Sierra Nevada watershed; the Colorado River; the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta; the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD); and local groundwater and recycled water.
Water deliveries carried from the Eastern Sierra Watershed to Los Angeles, via the Los Angeles Aqueduct (LAA), have dropped dramatically. From 1995-2000 Los Angeles received about 63% of its water from the Eastern Sierra, compared to only 34% from 2001-2004. This is said to have occurred because of the redistribution of water to other areas for environmental purposes (improvements).

- Another problem is groundwater contamination. Los Angeles’ ground water accounts for about 11% of its total water supply. The San Fernando Valley (SFV), where Los Angeles gets the majority of its groundwater from, has such high levels of contamination, however, that much of it cannot be used.

What’s being done about it:

Under the “City of Los Angeles Emergency Water Conservation Plan” (Chapter XII, Article I of the California Water Code), water resources available to the City must be put to “maximum beneficial use to the extent to which they are capable.” This conservation plan has actually been in effect since 1991, but was not enforced until recently (as of August 11, 2009).

Los Angeles is currently undergoing Phase III of the ordinance. Some of the restrictions include:

- Using a water hose to wash paved surfaces including: sidewalks, walkways, driveways and/or parking areas (unless it is for safety or sanitation purposes).

- Using water to clean, fill or maintain levels in ponds, lakes, decorative fountains or any other structure intended for visual purposes, unless the water is part of a recirculation system.
- Washing a vehicle with a hose, if that hose doesn’t have a self-closing water shut-off or device attached to it. Residents of the City of Los Angeles also may not allow the water to run continuously while washing said vehicle.

- Irrigating lawns, landscape, or other vegetated areas while it is raining.

- Watering lawns, landscape, using irrigation systems, etc. on any day other than Monday or Thursday, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. only.

While there are exceptions to these rules it is absolutely essential to the future of Los Angeles’ water supply that you abide by the restrictions outlined in this ordinance.

Now that we have all of that covered, here are some steps you can take to make a difference in the amount of water that is being used and wasted:

- Make sure you have a low flow showerhead & low flow toilet.

- Cover your pool. We Angelenos love our pools, and rightfully so – it gets incredibly hot here (thanks to the fact that we live in a desert). Keep water from evaporating as quickly by purchasing a solar pool cover, which will also capture and trap heat from the sun (thus, no need for a pool heater).

- Bring your car into a car wash, rather than washing it at home. Law requires commercial car washes to drain dirty water directly into sewers so that it can be treated properly and many recycle and reuse their water as well.***

- Bathe with a bucket in the shower. Capture the runoff water and use it to water the plants in your backyard. I’ve been doing this for the past couple of months, and I kid you not, roses that had withered away months back have started to bloom again! I know this may sound somewhat inconvenient, but think about the “inconvenience” of having no water at all years down the road…

- Turn the water off the second you’re not using it. For example, while washing the dishes, make sure that you turn the water off as you place the dishes in the dishwasher – many people unknowingly let the water run while loading. Even better yet, scrape the plate, place in dishwasher and let it take care of the rest!

- Wash your hair every other day or less. Not only will daily washing strip your hair of its natural oils, but a conventional showerhead spews between 2.5 to 4 gallons per minute.* You could save around 20 gallons of water per day (60-80 gallons per week) if it takes you five minutes to wash and condition your hair.

- Shave, exfoliate and deep condition your hair with the water off, during your shower.

- Abide by the rule: if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down.

Obviously, do your best not to use more water than needed. This sounds simple enough, but had it been our mantra for the past years, we wouldn’t have gotten ourselves into this mess with no water to clean it up.

* “This is a Turn Off” by Adam Matthews & Siobahan O’ Connor in GOOD magazine
**Based on the average per-capita water use in the U.S.
***Information from Sophie Uliano’s “Gorgeously Green 8 Simple Steps to an Earth-Friendly Life”

Images from:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fresh From Your Farmers' Market

Why you should support your local Farmers’ Markets:

1) Many of the farms use sustainable agricultural practices.

2) Money goes back in to your community.

3) The food is organic, thus pesticide free.

4) The produce is super fresh.

5) Less packaging is involved.

6) The distance the food travels is exponentially less than the distance food travels to super markets:

According to an article titled, "Eat Locally and Ease Climate Change"
written by Lloyd Alter, on Planet Green: “A full tractor-trailer hauls about 32,000 pounds of produce. On average...this food travels about 1,750 miles from farm to market, in trucks that get about 5.5 miles per gallon. That's 320 gallons of fuel to transport 32,000 pounds, or about a gallon of fuel for every 100 pounds of food."

Side note: Do not be alarmed if you come across a stand or two (or even more) that do not have a “Certified Organic” sign hanging in their tent. It can be expensive getting certified so some farmers opt not to, but still practice organic and sustainable farming. You should, however, inquire if they use pesticides and such in their farming, just as a precaution.

Check out the guide (below) to find Farmers’ Markets around the L.A area:*


West Hollywood Monday Farmers’ Market
Plummer Park - N. Vista and Fountain Ave


Woodman Avenue Market
14006 Riverside Drive Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
(866) 966-9495

Made an impromptu stop here on my way home one day. Great selection of fresh/ripe veggies. Not as many fruit vendors as I would like, but there are lots of craft boutiques.

Culver City Certified Farmers’ Market
Main & Culver, Culver City


Santa Monica Wednesday Farmers’ Market
Arizona Ave & 2nd Street

Northridge Farmers’ Market And Family
5pm-9pm (April-October)
Northridge Fashion Mall (between Macys and Borders)
9301 Tampa Ave
Northridge, CA 91324

Hollywood Lemon Grove Farmers’ Market
4959 Lemon Grove Ave @ Hobart Blvd.

“The Hollywood Lemon Grove Farmers' Market is a certified farmers' market that opened on June 18, 2008. It is replacing the market formerly located in the Sears parking lot (known as the Hollywood-Sears Farmers' Market). The new market offers a variety of fruits and vegetables as well as nuts and dried fruits. In addition to a great selection of fresh produce, the market hosts events for children and adults including healthy cooking demonstrations, tastings, a salsa contest, Spring into Health activities, free raffles, live music, craft workshops and pumpkin carving for kids.

The market is open year round. The Hollywood Lemon Grove Farmers' Market proudly accepts EBT/Foodstamps and WIC/Senior FMNP coupons.”


Westwood Farmers’ Market
Vets Garden, Westwood
310- 861-8188

“At the Westwood Farmers Market, at the Vet's Garden at the VA, the emphasis is on real farmers and on gourmet, hard to find foods. The market features more than thirty farmers and food vendors in a beautiful garden setting, plus plenty of shade, and lots of free parking! The market will serve farmers and consumers, and also the Vets Garden, which helps veterans with rehabilitation, training, and employment programs. Come to the garden to enjoy lunch or dinner, listen to music, and bring home your fruits and vegetables.”

Went here to buy food for my Green BBQ. The surroundings were quite pleasant: there is a garden to walk through and eat in while you listen to live music.

L.A. La Cienega Farmers’ Market
South La Cienega Blvd and West 18th Street, Los Angeles

Century City Certified Farmers’ Market
1800 Avenue of the Stars, Century City 90067

Glendale Certified Farmers’ Market
100 block of North Brand Blvd.
Between Broadway and Wilson

“The Glendale Farmer's Market features everything from fresh-baked breads, farm-fresh vegetables and fruit, to honey, nuts, flowers, and plants. Some of the produce sellers offer organically grown produce so look for signs or ask the sellers for details about their growing methods.”


Venice Farmers’ Market
Venice Way & Venice Blvd

Echo Park Farmers’ Market
Parking Lot #663 on Logan Street, south of Sunset Boulevard

“The Echo Park Farmers’ Market opened on October 13, 2006 and features quality locally grown seasonal fruits and vegetables.

As with all SEE-LA’s markets, WIC (Women, Infant, and Children) Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program checks and EBT/Food Stamps are accepted."


Santa Monica Pico Farmers’ Market
Virginia Ave. Park (Pico & Cloverfield Blvd)

Santa Monica Saturday Organic Farmers’ Market
Arizona Ave & 3rd Street, Santa Monica

Burbank Farmers’ Market
3rd St & Orange Grove (City Hall Parking Lot)

“For the freshest fruits, vegetables and flowers, visit the Farmer's Market in Downtown Burbank, California every Saturday morning. Whether you are looking for fresh produce or organic foods, the Burbank Farmer's Market has a huge assortment of great products grown and made locally.

With farmers representing areas throughout Southern California, you can pick anything up from the standard vegetables and fruits to flowers, honey, breads, nuts, herbs and many more great treats.”

Old Town Calabasas Certified Farmers’ Market
23504 Calabasas Rd.
Woodland Hills, 91364
(Calabasas Road & Mulholland Drive)

L.A. Silver Lake Certified Farmers’ Market
3700 Sunset Blvd
Between Edgecliff Dr & Maltman Ave (intersection of Griffith Park Blvd)

“Get the freshest vegetables and fruits directly from the original growers! Most items are organic produce and non-sprayed. We have apples, oranges, Asian pears, berries, nectarines, peaches, grapes, plums, limes, avocadoes, pomegranates, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, chilies, cauliflower, potatoes, asparagus, lettuce, onions, baby lettuce, Asian vegetables, cabbage, eggs, plants, orchids, the best flowers and more.

We also have pita bread, French crepes & Shawarma, fresh bread, gourmet tamales, dried fruit, fresh imported roasted coffee, tropical fruit, fresh from the farm natural juice, pupusas, Fresh Farmers' Market made Salads, fish, cheese & olives, pies, flan & herbs, pre-packaged Korean foods, Pizza, Empanadas, and sugar-cane juice & coconuts.

The market also features Arts and Crafts, including jewelry, incense, clothing and more.”


Santa Monica Sunday Farmer’s Market
2640 Main Street. (Ocean Park & Main St.)

Pacific Palisades Farmers’ Market
1037 Swarthmore Avenue
Pacific Palisades, 90272
(Between Sunset Blvd. and Monument)

Beverly Hills Certified Farmers’ Market
9300 block of Civic Center Drive, Beverly Hills
(310) 550-4796

“The Beverly Hills Farmers' Market is a weekly outdoor certified market which provides the community with the finest of California-grown, fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables, juices, breads, specialty items and more in a festive outdoor street setting.”

Brentwood Certified Farmers’ Market
Gretna Green & San Vicente, Brentwood
(818) 591-8161

Obviously a favorite of mine. See:
Pluots & Strawberries & Raspberries OH MY!

Melrose Place Certified Farmers’ Market
Melrose Place & Croft, Los Angeles

Studio City Certified Farmers’ Market
Ventura Place & Ventura Blvd., Studio City

West L.A. Certified Farmers’ Market
1645 Corinth Ave., Los Angeles

Encino Certified Farmers’ Market
Victory Blvd & White Oak, Encino

“Encino Farmers Market is a fun way for every one in the family to spend time together for shopping, food and fun! The market is open year round on Sundays from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at 17400 Victory Blvd. (between White Oak and Balboa) with plenty of convenient parking.

We are a certified farmers market, featuring a great variety of California grown fruits, vegetables, fresh flowers, eggs and chicken, honey, mushrooms, plants, and more! During the peak months between May and November, about 40 farms from all over central and Southern California participate.”

Hollywood Farmers’ Market
Ivar and Selma Avenue between Hollywood and Sunset Blvd.
Parking: Cinerama Dome: $2 for first 2 hours with Market Validation (entrance at Ivar & Delongpre). Metered Parking: Check Parking Enforcement signs. Some meters FREE until 11AM on Sundays. Doolittle Theatre: Limited free parking. LA Film School: $2 parking; at NE corner of Ivar & Sunset

“The Hollywood Farmers' Market is a "certified" open-air street market with approximately 90 farmers, 30 local artisans, and 30 baked goods and prepared food vendors who sell their own products every Sunday. It is a direct-to-consumer marketplace with all produce and products from local, California vendors and growers.

Besides offering a fantastic variety of the freshest California-grown fruits and vegetables, the Hollywood Farmers' Market has increasingly become a destination shopping venue. Other products include honey, fish, free-range poultry and eggs, bison meat, gouda cheese, olives, mushrooms, sprouts, jams, jellies, fruit juices, specialty sauces and dips, dried fruit and nuts, an espresso cart, Mexican, Caribbean, Middle-Eastern and many other ethnic foods prepared at the market, hot crepes, breads, cookies, clothing, jewelry, gifts and so much more.

The Hollywood Farmers' Market also hosts street musicians every Sunday as well as local nonprofit community organizations and free special events for the community including chef demos, cookbook signings, tastings, children's craft workshops, and family-oriented festivals. Free helium balloons for children, recipes and other information in addition to Hollywood Farmers' Market t-shirts, aprons and bags are available at the Information Booth at Ivar and Selma Ave.

Accepts food stamp/EBT cards and WIC & Senior FMNP."

*Please note: the day, time and location for any given Farmers’ Market are subject to change.

Farmers' Market Information from:

Images via: Free People Clothing Boutique Blog, Notes By Naive, She Who Eats, "Chokes", Eat Your Fruits and Veggies