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Almanac Archive for Jan. 4, 2016

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Quote of the Week
"So you can lie in politics, but you can't lie in business. But today's question is: Can you lie in politics, in business?"
--Bloomberg View columnist Matt Levine (see story and link at bottom right)
Conservation Calendar

Arboretum Winter Tours 
Saturday, Jan. 9, 10:00 to 11:00 am, West Tisbury.
Join Polly Hill staff for a look at plants of interest in the landscape. At this time of year bark and tree structure stand out, along with fruits and berries. Meet at the Visitor Center and dress for the weather. Free, for more info see website or call (508) 693-9426.

Brickyard Walk

Sunday, Jan. 17, 1:00 to 3:00 pm, Chilmark.
A once-a-year chance to visit the Brickyard on the North Shore. Walk the brickwork ruins with staff from The Trustees of Reservations and learn about a once-prosperous industry. Light to moderate hiking conditions with a brook crossing. The walk is $10 for the public (children $3, TTOR members are free) and about two hours. Preregistration is required, call (339) 927-8778 or email.   

Garden Club Meeting
Tuesday, Jan. 19, 1:00 pm, Tisbury.
Regular meeting of the MV Garden Club, featuring presentations by Adam Moore and Kristen Fauteux of Sheriff's Meadow on their properties and native vs. invasive plants. At the Wakeman Center (directions), $10 for nonmembers.

Sustainable Vineyard Films & Paris Climate Talks Highlights
Tuesday, Jan. 19, 7:00 to 10:00 pm, Vineyard Haven.
A big night for short films at the Vineyard Haven Library, including 6 episodes of Liz Witham and Ken Wentworth's Sustainable Vineyard series, as well as a highlight reel of alternative environmental movements at the recent Paris Climate Change Conference.
Almanac Mystery Photo

A recent photo taken up-Island -- send us an email if you have a guess!
Need a hint? Try this photo for a better sense of scale.
In Season Recipe
Thai-Style Roasted Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup

Here's a nice warming soup that's also a refreshing change of pace from winter's abundance of heavy stews. With both winter squash and carrots, even in January it should be easy to include something local!

Recipe and photo by Deryn Macey, see "Running on Real Food" for the the steps.

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp red curry paste
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 large or 2 small butternut squash, roasted
  • 2½ cups carrots, chopped (approx. 4 medium carrots)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp brown or coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Cut your squash in half, spoon out the seeds.
  • Place face down on a cookie sheet and pour a little water onto the pan.
  • Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for approx. 40 minutes or until skin is easily pieced with a fork. When done, scoop out the flesh and set aside.
  • In a large saucepan, cook onion and garlic in the coconut oil for 5 minutes.
  • Add the ginger, spices and curry paste. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring.
  • Add the carrot and squash.
  • Add the coconut milk, lime, sugar and vegetable broth.
  • Simmer for about 20 minutes or until carrots are soft.
  • Puree in batches in a blender until smooth.
  • Serve with lime and cilantro.
  • Makes 4 large dinner-sized portions or 6-8 sides.

Local News

Winter Walk at the Woods Preserve

View more photos of our previous Woods walks in 2012 and 2014

Join VCS at 1:00 on Sunday, Jan. 10 for a return to the ever-changing Frances Newhall Woods Preserve. Located across the towns of West Tisbury and Chilmark, the 512-acre property provides one of the largest intact ecosystems on our island, including at least eight distinct natural communities, ten different soil types, and more than 200 plant and animal species.

VCS has offered guided walks on the Woods Preserve since its protection in 1991, when the owners, Edwin Newhall Woods and Jeanne Woods donated a permanent Conservation Restriction (CR) to the Nature Conservancy (TNC). Upon the Woods’ death, the land was bequeathed to TNC and the CR was conveyed to VCS.

The walk will last one to two hours, followed by cider and cookies. Please dress for the weather, and keep any dogs on leashes. Parking is off North Rd. about one mile from the West Tisbury end; look for VCS signs and flags on the south side of the road. For additional info, please contact our office.

Island-Wide Food Waste Study

Excerpted from the NRDC report "Waste: How America is Losing up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill":
Getting food to our tables eats up 10% of the total U.S. energy budget, uses 50% of U.S. land, and swallows 80% of freshwater consumed in the United States. Yet, 40% of food in the United States today goes uneaten. That is more than 20 pounds of food per person every month. Not only does this mean that Americans are throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion each year, but also 25% of all freshwater and huge amounts of unnecessary chemicals, energy, and land. Moreover, almost all of that uneaten food ends up rotting in landfills where organic matter accounts for 16% of U.S. methane emissions.

That’s a daunting problem! Addressing the totality of this waste will require both patience and persistence; also, different approaches will be needed for the various levels of the problem. For example, waste on the production side is at least partly due to corporate practices and Federal farm policy, which will require consumer pressure and political action – on a national level – to change. On the other hand, the absurd waste that happens once the food hits our plate is a problem just begging for local solutions.
Last year, the state implemented a new law requiring major food service institutions (those producing over a ton of waste per week) to send their organic material somewhere more productive (and less destructive) than the general garbage. Many options are available: good, fresh food can be donated to food pantries, and unusable material can be composted or sent to waste-to-energy digesters. In time, it is possible similar requirements will spread to include smaller institutions, perhaps even individuals.

Project Leader and Intern Needed
A new study funded by the MV Vision Fellowship program is seeking to jump-start this process for our island. The goal of the year-long project is “to identify Island-wide food scrap collection and processing opportunities on Martha’s Vineyard.” The oversight committee is now searching for a project leader and an intern to conduct the study – if you are interested in applying for either position, or would just like to learn more about the scope of the project, please see the job announcement.

Below: Easily compostable materials food waste and yard trimmings account for a quarter of all municipal trash sent to landfills (from EPA, U.S. Waste Characterization, 2007)
Other News

Exploring the Thin Line Between Free Speech and Fraud

Previously in the Almanac, we shared the news of an amusing connection between the NFL’s “Deflategate” scandal and the legal trouble facing Exxon Mobil. The oil company is currently under investigation by the NY State Attorney General largely due to false statements made to investors regarding climate change. (Because it is apparent that Exxon management has long understood that climate change is real and important, denying the science and downplaying to investors the threat to the company’s bottom line may constitute fraud. More on the case itself at NY Times.)
In that story, I noted that lying to the public about science is entirely legal – but unfortunately didn’t explain it very well, causing some befuddled reader reactions. Explaining the contradictions far better than I ever could, this column by Matt Levine of Bloomberg is highly recommended – a clear and quite funny argument for why lying to the public is not just ok, it’s truly the American way.
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Copyright (C) 2016 *Vineyard Conservation Society* All rights reserved.

Original content by Jeremy Houser unless otherwise noted.