Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Roundup for the week

A couple of quick notes from this week's inbox...

Seminole Heights Community Garden - Big planting weekends coming up! Get your new food in the ground so you can enjoy the big fall harvest! Check out the latest at developments at http://seminoleheightscg.ning.com - You've got to see it to believe it - a pumpkin patch in our hood!

I (Heart) Africa on Thursday! A benefit by One City Ministries for children and families in Uganda. They will have music, art, and some african crafts so have a good time for a great cause. This is at Grace Family Church in Lutz from 7-10 Thursday Aug. 27th.

Going Green Tampa Bay
The USF sustainability conference is holding its green festival on the same weekend at the Marshall Center. It should be a great time with lots of exhibitors and speakers. More details to follow but check it out for yourself at

Last but not least! - Park(ing) Day
September 18th will invite an invasion of miniature parks downtown on the Franklin corridor. Come see what a dozen or so parking space park conversions look like when we pay the meter and sod the street.

One last note,
Many of you know about the TSM crew's big trip to the birthplace of coffee coming up. It starts tomorrow, so go easy on our help in the shop while we are out. Send us emails if you need something. We'll be back after Labor Day so wish us luck!

-Charles and Amy

Monday, August 17, 2009

Eco-Friendly Stores in Tampa Bay

Today's awesome photo from downtown Tampa is brought to you by Elawgrrl via her Flickr site. Check out the rest of her catalogue here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/elawgrrl/sets/72157606737215731/

This morning I sent out a call to all of our customer list asking them to take a few moments and vote for us in Creative Loafing's Best of the Bay. This year they have a category for Best Eco-Friendly Store. Our advertising has always been word of mouth and viral email-forwarding based on people that have seen what we offer and believe it is worth telling others about. To be honest, I don't know of that many stores like ours in the Bay. If we lived in San Diego or Brooklyn, that might be a different story. In Tampa eco-friendly stores are still blazing a trail that feels well-worn in other cities. We have visited places like Good Use in Boulder, Colorado and Sustainable NYC in New York where we love getting ideas and comparing notes with other shops.

In Tampa, you can find eco-chic clothing and gifts at Why Not Boutique on MacDill and in St. Pete you can find greener flooring and paints from Healthy Home for your remodeling and building projects. Tampa Bay Outfitters has some great green options for the outdoors. Finally, just this last week, I made it to Worm's Way Garden Center on 56th St. in Tampa and found an amazing array of organic gardening supplies as well as the natural ant killer, diatomaceous earth, that I'd been hoping to find.

We have also seen stores come and go here in our almost three years in business. We are always on the lookout for places that are doing the right thing. Let us know of other eco-friendly stores in the Bay in the comments and watch, as we will, for the results of the vote. I'm just proud to say that we have enough stores to actually have a category for the first time! Keep supporting all of us little green guys and we'll do all we can to keep you happy with quality products and knowledge. I would hate to see Wal-Mart or Whole Foods win the greenest store in Tampa Bay.

If you still haven't voted, then here's the link:


Vote now at Creative Loafing!


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Here's an Idea - Bikes for Clunkers

Photo from Tour de Fat

Okay okay, I know it's not a fair trade, but just give me a minute to make my case. First off, cash for clunkers is burning through cash like a freshly bailed out Wall Street exec on a trip to the Caymans. The money will only last a few more hours apparently, so why let this help so few people and take in so few clunkers?
Second, the automotive companies are not the only American businesses worthy of saving. How about some of our great biking companies like Trek or Cannondale? These are entrepreneurial and what could be more American than biking? Okay, so maybe the Tour de Fat isn't as big as the Tour de France yet, but it is growing - go ahead look it up when you're done.
So here you go - you bring in your clunker- something horrible with at least 6, hopefully 8 nasty cylinders and a poorly functioning or nonexistent catalytic converter. Free helmet if this is your daily driver. Anyway, so you then get a brand new, CO2 free, commuter bike! At the rate of let's say 400 bucks a piece, we could put 5 million bikes on the road for $2 billion (check my math, but I'm pretty sure on that). So then, you have taken 5 million cars off the road in exchange.
This is a ridiculously green proposal! Now you have to build new bike lanes and bike racks (jobs for americans) and you might even get a shower at work! Productivity bonus! If you think this is crazy, then just go ahead and burn through the rest of that cash, but just think about it... 5 MILLION BIKES. That's something to get stimulated about.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Community Garden Membership Meeting This Week

Photo from Robin Milcowitz

I visited the Seminole Heights community garden last weekend with my nephew to do a little sweaty volunteer work. It actually ended up being one of those extremely sweaty, change your shirt twice kind of days. Kyle was up for helping, so we went down and did some mowing and trimming. We also got to move some huge piles of horse manure for compost creation. We offered to do general labor because we are pretty new to gardening and can't really be trusted with actual edible plants at this point. However, our tomato and pepper plants in our little garden at home are starting to show early signs of food production.

We had a good time at the garden and shot some photos when it was all done. I always come away from the garden with some new knowledge from the seasoned folks that are consistently working there. Thanks Cindy and Piet! The horse manure apparently has lots of nitrogen but needs to be converted to something a little more user-friendly for the plants to accept it (my limited understanding). So they planted a lot of black eyed peas in this manure heavy compost to do the work. They intend to plow under the peas and use that newly bountiful soil to generate a fall harvest. I hate to see some of the sad poolies (what they call the kiddie pool container gardens) in such a poor state, but summer gardening is tough. I've seen plants wilt in one hot day without watering. The poolies with the peas look amazing though! Huge chia pet mounds of green just shooting for the sky! I hope that this meeting can help re-energize us all and get us back in the garden starting with the big Labor Day planting coming up.

We're not gonna let our first tough summer beat us down! See ya at the garden. Check out the meeting if you're in the hood.


This was sent from Robin, the organizer of our local and new community garden in Seminole Heights. Details from her email follow below.

Hello! We have some new things happening! Be sure to check out all the events and take a gander at the front page too! We're adding gardening tips & Green News & Stuff blog entries daily. C U Soon!

Time: August 5, 2009 from 7pm to 8:30pmLocation: Seminole Heights United Methodist ChurchOrganized By: Robin Milcowitz
Event Description:Our first guest speaker is from the USF Engineering Department and they'll be talking about a program they'reworking on that converts trash to energy.Our second speaker is Willow Lamonte! She'll be giving an in-depth talk about organic gardening and she'llalso be answering your questions and helping you with basic trouble-shooting advice. She'll also be bringingin her books and some additional items to show us that she uses in her own garden.We'll have some drinks available. Please feel free to bring some light snacks to share.We'll have our T-shirts available to purchase and bumper stickers too!Don't miss out on this great event!This meeting is also a way for us to reconnect with people we don't get to see at the garden very much and allow people to come in and let us know how you think we're doing. Things we could do better and even some new things we aren't doing yet. We hope you'll join us.

Thank you!