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Almanac Archive 6/06/2011

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Don't Miss the VCS Annual Meeting!

Tuesday, June 28, 5:30 pm
at the Wakeman Conservation Center off of Lambert's Cove Road
At this year's meeting, Jeremy Houser will be giving a presentation on his research about the local effects of global climate change. Appetizers and wine will be served. All are welcome. FREE

Facts of the Week
The average American throws away seven pounds of trash a day (more than 75% of that is recyclable or compostable).

America’s waste industry successfully manages 243 million tons of household and other municipal solid waste annually. However, when construction and demolition waste and non-hazardous industrial waste is included, the industry manages nearly 545 million tons of solid waste each year.

Conservation Calendar

The Martha's Vineyard Commission's
Development of Regional Impact

LUPC: DRI Checklist Review - Continued
TONIGHT: June 6, 5:30 pm

Public Information Session
Thursday, June 9, 2011
5:00 to 7:00 PM

Katharine Cornell Theatre, 54 Spring Street, Vineyard Haven from
Officials of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) and U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEMRE) will host a public information session to provide information on the status and next steps for the BOEMRE leasing process of areas of federal waters south of Martha’s Vineyard for the development of offshore wind projects. Will include presentations from EEA and BOEMRE followed by a question and answer session with the audience.

The West Tisbury Farmer's Market is Back!

Wednesdays and Saturdays
Jun 11 - Oct 8, 9:00 to noon
at the Grange Hall
Fresh picked produce from local farms, flowers, delicious baked goods and prepared foods from Island kitchens and more.
Click HERE for more information

Compost Tea Workshop

Poly Hill Areboretum, Saturday Jun 11, 9am-1pm
Gardeners all know the benefits of compost, but with the additional step of steeping our compost in water we can produce an even better home grown product. Join Christopher Roddick, head arborist at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and certified Master Composter, to learn about compost tea. This workshop will introduce participants to the biology and soil foodweb methodology behind compost and brewing compost tea, how to make high-quality compost, and the logistics of producing and using compost tea. Roddick will also discuss the relationship between plants and soil to help improve plant and soil health. $45/$40 for PHA members. Includes mid-morning refreshments.

For More Information:
Email:  karin@pollyhillarboretum.org
Website: www.pollyhillarboretum.org

In Season Recipes

Fish Chowder


saute 2 oz. Salt pork until crisp.   Reserve cracklings and in the same pan, saute 2 medium chopped onions, 1 clove minced garlic, 2 stalks minced celery, salt and pepper.  Saute until softened.

Add 4 cups water, 1 c. fish stock and 2 large potatoes cut into small chunks.  Cutting potatoes with a pointed edge will help create a thickened broth.

When potatoes are nearly done add 2 ½ cups of fish cut into chunks.  Any white fish with a flaky flesh will do; locally available include striped bass and cod.  You can mix the dish up a bit by also adding cut up pieces of fresh day boat sea scallops or even local lobster if you feel like being extravagant.

Simmer for about 10 minutes.  Turn off heat and let sit, covered, for about an hour.

While the chowder is resting, in a separate pot, warm 1 quart Mermaid Farm milk (if regular milk is used add ½ pint light cream) and 1/4 stick of butter.   For an even  thicker chowder. Make a roux of 1 part butter to two parts flour and add to the milk mixture.

Add the warmed milk to the chowder pot and season with parsley, thyme and a little tarragon.
June 6, 2011


VCS Position on Regulating Large Houses

Edgartown Harbor

Large houses can have big impacts on the Vineyard landscape and character. The MVC is updating their checklist for review of Developments of Regional Impact, and is considering regulation of large houses, among other things. Click HERE for VCS testimony on the issue.

A VCS Update on Recycling

The recycling containers at the Steamship Authority were sponsored by VCS' Island-wide Recycling Initiative


Recycling has always been a pretty successful initiative on Martha’s Vineyard despite many difficulties and obstacles which need to be overcome on a day-to-day basis. Even without government mandates many of our business owners, farmers, and individuals have come up with creative ways to reuse and recycle the wastes we generate.

Much of the Vineyard is now served by haulers who pick up recyclables in what is called “single stream” recycling; essentially a mixing of the commonly recycled materials which are then transported off-island to facilities where the recyclables are sorted into similar waste streams for further processing and reuse. The facilities do this sorting using conveyor belts, magnets, fans and even human power.

We seem to be realizing some subtle changes in the way recycling is happening here. The Steamship Authority now has very visible recycling containers at their terminals and recycling is even occurring on some of the boats. More stores are including recycling containers alongside their regular trash containers. Commercial haulers have drastically increased their ability to handle recyclables and will now assist in creating business specific recycling management systems. Solar technology is even being used in Tisbury and Oak Bluffs for waste management in the form of small solar powered compactor units for trash and recyclables. (These units also reduce the frequency of emptying the containers saving money for the towns). The use of biodegradable materials for food service is increasing all over the island. Click HERE to read the full article.

Recycling On the Go...Making it Work

The Obama's getting take out from Nancy's Snack bar in Oak Bluffs

One of the more difficult situations (well, maybe inconvenient is a better word) is what we will call recycling “on the go”. During a typical day, many of us generate trash that either ends up going home with us or is discarded at a store or town trash or recycling container.

Here on MV island, the huge number of seasonal visitors compounds that problem. Convenience stores, specialty food stores, take out establishments, and the frenzied vacation lifestyle contribute to a recycling and trash management situation that requires some thought and effort to solve. Many of the businesses that sell these quickly consumed and disposable items provide opportunity for recycling especially where on-site consumption occurs. Katama General store maintains a recycling station where customers can discard their waste according to type. The Net Result, Morning Glory Farm and many, many other businesses provide recycling containers. Sometimes the opportunities are limited or the waste stream so diverse that customers just don’t seem to be able to handle separation. A business owner is faced with a difficult maintenance effort if customers simply could not manage to separate the lobster shells from the soda can. There are probably no easy fixes for many of these situations but that should not be a reason to not provide for recycling. Some of our towns don’t provide recycling containers on their streets. Sure, maybe the streets are already crowded and the extra cost to pick-up the recyclables would be an issue but innovative solutions are out there. Tisbury and Oak Bluffs have new high-tech solar powered compactors and recyclables collectors which should serve to reduce costs of pick-up significantly.

VCS approached the Steamship Authority a few years ago asking if they could consider providing recycling services. We even included an offer to pay for the containers thanks to a donation made by one of the people who promoted recycling on Martha’s Vineyard, Nellie Mendenhall. The SSA was most willing to see what they could do and it took considerable effort to sort through issues involving their waste contracts, union issues, design issues, location decisions, but once the decision was made to promote recycling, the issues were resolved and now we have recycling containers at SSA terminals and on the boats as well.

One potential way that recycling could be enhanced island-wide would be the adoption of mandatory recycling requirements by all of our towns. Probably not a real popular approach but by making the requirement mandatory, enforcement against any person or business disposing of trash containing unacceptable amounts of recyclables would be an option. While businesses still couldn't do anything about the customer who does not cooperate at least a requirement that businesses make recycling containers available would represent an improvement.


San Fransico Leads the Charge in Nations Composting Effort

Mayor Gavin Newsom, signing composting law in June, 2009

In 2009 the City of San Francisco (already diverting 72% of its waste from landfills thanks to rigorous efforts) instituted the nations first mandatory composting law. At first the law was met with mixed reactions and many people were worried that such a law would infringe upon citizens' freedoms. Well, now the law is a hit with most San Franciscans--and here's why--it saves them money AND does good things for their environment. Reports say business and residence are saving approx 75% from their trash bill by reducing the amount of waste they send to the landfill. It also makes it incredibly easy to compost. In cases documented by NPR, compostable food waste is no longer lingering in apartment buildings' trash chutes or basements, and as a whole, the program has got the city talking about the environment, and related topics like climate change.