All Hands on Deck, Monday, July 3

Hey friends! Here’s a great way to gather friends, celebrate the waters we love, and provide very visual representation of our concern and willingness to do what it takes to protect our waters, even as national funding drains away.

All Hands on Deck is happening Monday, July 3, in coastal cities all around the Great Lakes, including six states, Canada, and members of Tribal Nations. Close to home, the event is being held right in South Haven, Michigan, July 3, 10-10:30am, at South Beach.

Link a hand, hoist a flag, and trade a marble for the Great Lakes to raise awareness for the need for our water to be: non politicized, non monetized, non polluted, protected from invasive species, and for our watersheds and lake feeders to be free from contamination of all forms.

Check out the movement at www.allhandsondeckgreatlakes.org

And if you’re interested in joining DUCC members, comment below, please! Perhaps we can carpool to South Haven’s lovely shore!

Greening Gardening is FUN

Also, it was delicious. Also inspiring. And sweet. And funny. Our May 11 evening presentation-and-dessert Green Gardens event drew a huge and good-looking crowd!

We used the cool new tech (hello big presentation screen!) and old tech (that one coffee pot? Not happy.) Such big thanks to our presenters, Avril Freeman, the agricultural educator, her daughter Hazel, who brought comic breaks to the evening:

And Ken Freestone, master-composter-among-other-green-roles, who made dirt-making sound fun and important. (So many ways composting helps the environment!)

I don’t want to make a long post about it, but do want to share resources along with the slides, to help us all get started. If you have more resources, farms, seed sources, plant swaps, composting supplies, farms, markets to share, please post them in the comments!

Here goes:

Were you inspired to start growing food in your flowerpots, on your borders, in a straight-up veggie plot? Here’s a helpful planting calendar.

Going to grow from seed? You might want to wander up to Zeeland to visit this place.

Want to learn more about trading plants you’ve started? Connect with Avril.

No thanks, you’d rather save your manicure, support a farmer, and buy a local share of a farm’s fresh produce? Shop local community-supported Ag here.

And of course, there is our own, local and lovely Saugatuck Farmers’ Market at the SCA. Fridays from 9am to 3pm, starting on the 26th!

Want to get started composting? Want one of the cool compost bins Ken designed? He’ll make and deliver them, or he will put together a kit you can assemble yourself. And the basics, hand-out-forms and how-tos are all right here.

Want to reach Ken directly, to talk about putting a Green Michigan bin at your home or business? Write to him here.

Want to donate to Greenmichigan.org to thank Ken and his team for all the love and time he’s given DUCC? There’s a handy donate button right here.

Download Avril’s Green Gardening Preso

Ken’s Compost Presentation

Our Covenant Sunday

 

This past Sunday, we officially became a Creation Justice Church by formally adopting our Creation Justice Covenant. Here is Eric LeJeune, leading the congregation in the ceremony. A lovely way to observe Earth Day.

We also welcomed our friend Ken Freestone, one of the presenters for our upcoming Green Gardens gathering. If you would like to join us that evening, sign up in our Friendship Hall or write to julie@ridl.com. Ken is sort of the Pied Piper of composting in West Michigan, which will be obvious from his comments on Sunday…

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

My name is Ken Freestone and I am a Master Composter. No I don’t write music and I haven’t composed any songs.

I am proud to be certified through MSU Extension to demonstrate composting techniques, tools and details about how to compost. I have actually been composting since I was 10 years old in my Grandmother’s Garden, and been teaching passionately for the past 20 years.

Composting is the original recycling and incredibly simple to do as humans, and also part of an incredibly complex system that nature does all of the time, with little or no help needed from us humans.

Finding God in the Compost Pile
http://www.naturalnews.com/024580_compost_organic_nature.html
From Natural News
The compost pile is a paragon of death and renewal. Mixing organic waste and manure in a mound large enough to retain heat promotes decomposition and disinfection. The pile is turned early and often for uniformity and to avoid foul-smelling fermentation. In aerated piles, good organisms dominate and the smelly ones die. In large-scale commercial composting the heated pile also becomes inhospitable for Salmonella, E. coli and other manure pathogens. The recent infestations of spinach, onions, peanut butter and hamburger do not arise from organic farms where good compost is used, but rather from factory farms with filthy runoff problems that use sewer sludge or synthetic chemicals as fertilizer. Good compost promotes food quality. In a well-made compost pile, good bacteria defeat the bad ones, just like it should be. An abundance of friendly microbes defines the quality of finished compost, and the power of those microbes depends on their mineral content.

Compost is not just the key to sustainable agriculture, but also God’s will. It is the renewal of things, and the only tangible form of reincarnation. It is life’s resolve and death’s acceptance. What transpires in a compost pile is as awesome as in any religion, and its miracles are accessible. The God in the compost pile is worth dirtying one’s fingernails for. The fruit of its faith is in the fertility of the land, the salubrity and appeal of its produce, and ultimately in the balance of things. Eating fresh, hardy, local organic produce is spiritually gratifying, like returning to Eden. Understanding the wisdom of nature and respecting its mystery, through compost, brings us closer to the Oneness: Nature’s unifying principle.

I love how that encapsulates the beauty, the systemic approach and the complexity of compost.

I will share fun stories, simple techniques (even a 30 second composting lesson) and the beauty and complexity of dirt/soil/microorganisms and bugs.

 

Green Gardens

On May 11, the Douglas UCC Creation Justice Team brings you “Green Gardens,” a really fun evening event designed to help us manage our patches of Earth and support green growers, to keep her healthy and the plants and foods we raise happy and flourishing, all while feeding a shared table and a shared water table safe enough for everyone downstream of us. Our teachers will be Ken Freestone, Master Composter (yes, that’s a thing), returning to us from GreenMichigan.org, and Avril Freeman, an Agriculture Educator (definitely a thing, too).

Thing 1 and Thing 2 will race us through all of the possibilities for growing our own or working with our landscape maintenance folks and local farmers to reduce our impact, improve our yields, recycle our garbage into gold.

The details:

May 11, Green Gardens

DUCC Friendship Hall

6:30pm, social time

7:00pm, program begins

Please sign up for this event in the Friendship Hall at Douglas UCC or by writing to julie@ridl.com. We will have desserts and light snacks, coffee and tea service to share. This is not a potluck, but if you feel inclined to share something, sharing is always nice.

Saving Your Energy: the Notes

 

So many thanks to Chuck Otto and CJT team lead Eric LeJeune for interesting and action-provoking presentations at our latest CJT potluck, February 9. Here are their presentation slides with contact names and numbers for home energy audits and information on switching your energy plan to one that invests fully in green energy development. It just takes minutes to do that, folks, and virtually wipes out your carbon footprint while you are at it.

Chuck Otto’s presentation:

douglasucc_pres_2-17

Eric Lejeune’s presentation:

renewable-energy-sources

Save Your Energy

“Save Your Energy — Plug the Leaks in Your Home” is the title of our next education potluck at 6pm, February 9 (with February 16 a possible ice-delay date, to protect our speaker, who comes in from Grand Rapids.)

The potluck begins at 6pm, the presentation at 7:15pm. Please watch for potluck sign-up sheets in the Friendship Hall soon!

And of course, if you have friends/family interested in this topic? Bring them along!

You can help us help the speaker speak to the Energy questions that bother you most if you use the Contact link to send us your vexing energy-saving-at-home questions.

Chuck is a friend of the CJ Team,  a public relations and corporate communications specialist who long ago focused his career on promoting and reporting corporate social responsibility and environmental sustainability in business. His clients have included the U.S. Department of Energy, Herman Miller, Whirlpool, and the Detroit Medical Center. His passion is reducing energy use, here, there, everywhere. It makes his eyes light up. If we could harness THAT, we could solve the climate crisis overnight.

You’ll love Chuck as much as we do. So hit that sign-up sheet when you see it. And meantime, do ask us your pressing Home Energy questions!

Let’s Talk Trash Potluck

 

Our first potluck in the Creation Justice Team’s education series was held the evening of November 10, 2016.

We had an amazing turnout to learn from Ken Freestone of Green Michigan, who entertained us with recycling stories, taught us how recycling works in our region, and challenged us to find interesting new ways to reduce waste (Zero-waste parties, anyone?).

It was a night necessary to all of us for so many reasons.

As if that were not enough to chew on, we had a wonderful potluck (thanks to everyone who fed us!), including Ken Freestone’s extremely popular bread. He sent along a copy of his slides for his talk, below, which includes local recycling resources, a copy of his bread recipe, below (with an offer to teach a bread making class any time, anywhere). And a link to the Youtube video where he learned the process.

Next Creation Justice potluck is coming in February. Energy savings at home. Onward!

recycling-resources_greenmichigan-org_v2

haac-class-bread-recipe

How to make Ken’s fabulous bread