Thursday in the City- Changing the Way We Eat

TEDx Viewing Parties ~ February 12

Not going to make it to New York next weekend for the TEDx Manhattan event dedicated to “Changing the Way We Eat”? It’s not too late to sign up for a local Bay Area viewing party. The caveat: because the event starts at 10:30 am EST, West Coasters have to be early risers to catch all of the live simulcast. TEDx Manhattan is a one-day conference promoting regional sustainable food and efforts to shift our food system to one that is healthy and accessible to all. There are meet-ups in San Francisco, Oakland, andWalnut Creek.

Information taken from Weekly E-letter of the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture ~ 

Thursday in the City- Wrap it up

Compai Gift Wrapping ideas

I am having buyer’s remorse.  I had planned all year to make all of my own wrapping paper and then in a compulsive, frantic and stressed rush, I bought cheap gift wrap rolls from Target.  I haven’t even been in a Target in two years.  We had a Christmas light emergency and ended up there. There was a recycled logo on the front of the packaging.  After getting home, I realized that the fine print said “it can be recycled” as opposed to “it was recycled”.  I guess that is some improvement considering most paper is un recyclable.  Wrapping paper is one of the biggest wastes at Christmas.  Now I have paper and feel bad.  But I can prevent someone else from doing the same thing!  Also, I have realized that many toy drives are looking for wrapping paper donations.  That may also be a good option.  

If you have great eco-friendly ways to wrap gifts or ideas to make your own wrapping, let us know by leaving a comment or posting a picture in our Flickr Pool.  

Here are some amazing DIY wrapping ideas that will surely impress without a lot of money and are more friendly to our environment!

Celery Stamp at Geninne’s Art Blog (I had the same idea over Thanksgiving stuffing!)

CompaiCreatives Photostream (see more like the packages at the top of the page)

Handmade Stamps at Design Sponge

Rolling Pin Prints at Craft Chi

Using things around at Wrap Art

Reuse catalogs at Curbly

Other alternatives

Happy Thanksgiving!

We would like to say “thank you” to all of our readers for all of your comments, advice and support.  It is really starting to feel like a community and a source for reliable information!  So thank you for all of your contributions.    Enjoy the holiday!  


Sleep in on Friday and shop local

Photo Source:  we heart it

Giveaway- The Hunt for Bees

Giveaway readers (Cindy, Danielle, please email us your address so that we can send you the Sunflower seeds!  Thank you for all of your comments.  

Email your information to:  dogislandfarm(at)gmail(dot)com

Photo Source

Thursday in the City- Nightlife at the California Academy of Sciences

California Academy of Sciences - Rainforest Atrium

Steinhart Aquarium - California Academy of Sciences

If you haven’t been to the California Academy of Sciences yet, go to the Thursday Nightlife event!   Every time I have gone to a Thursday night event, it has been a blast.  There are djs, drinks, demos, and of course all of the exhibits.  The aqauriums are magical and  the rainforest is pretty amazing too.  Check out their food related events and demos tonight at this weeks “A Taste of NightLife”.   

The below is taken from California Academy of Sciences Events.  

Films from KQED

The Botany of Desire

NightLife is pleased to be screening  The Botany of Desire, the popular film based on Michael Pollan’s best-selling book.  This work explores the nature of domesticated plants from the dual perspective of humans and the plants themselves. Pollan presents case studies that mirror four types of human desires that are reflected in the way that we selectively grow, breed, and genetically engineer our plants. The apple reflects the desire of sweetness, the tulip beauty, marijuana pleasure and the potato sustenance.

Black Gold

“As westerners revel in designer lattes and cappuccinos, impoverished Ethiopian coffee growers suffer the bitter taste of injustice. In this eye-opening expose of the multi-billion dollar industry, Black Gold traces one man’s fight for a fair price.”  — Black Gold website

Capacity for screenings of The Botany of Desire and Black Gold are limited. Show passes are available the night of the event and will be distributed on a first-come first-served basis.

Acclaimed PBS shows Check Please and Roadtrip Nation will be screened inside the building and we will have a special appearance by the Roadtrip Nation RV.

Buy Tickets to NightLife on November 18th »

Food Demonstrations

NightLife, KQED and a variety of expert organizations have a treat for all of you foodies this week: food demonstrations that with stimulate both your taste buds and your mind.  A select few attendees of each talk will get to sample the outcome.  Topics include:
The Science of Taste – Presented by the Culinary Institute Chef and 18 Reasons, including Flavor Bar and Miracle Fruit demonstrations
The Science of Chocolate  – Presented by Tcho andMadecasse

Beer and other Sundry topics – Presented by Roadtrip Nation
Including clips from their popular series.

Capacity for these talks is limited.  Show passes are available the night of the event and will be distributed on a first-come first-served basis.

On a less formal note, we’ll have a number organizations setting up demonstration and sampling tables throughout the Academy, to both titillate and educate.  Among those participating are Hayes Valley Farm18 ReasonsLuna BarBionade, and edible insects.

Thursday in the City- Giveaway to join the hunt for bees!

A lot of organizations are using the internet to gain interest and participation in public art and science projects.   Most recently, I participated in the Wonderarium where you plant a succulent that came with a UPC like code that allows the plant to be tracked online.   That way everyone participating could watch how others were doing and where they were.   I found a similiar project while walking around the Green Festival this past weekend only this one involved tracking bees.   I spoke to a represetative at the “Your Garden Show” booth. is a free online platform connecting gardeners of all experience with a wealth of knowledge, tools and resources to inspire environmentally sustainable green spaces, big and small, indoors and out. They are recruiting ‘bee counters’ for one of the citizen science initiatives they are supporting, The Great Sunflower Project.  People get a seed packet of Helianthus annuus, Lemon Queen Sunflower, to attract bees to their garden.  They are then asked to report online how many bees they count. This would be a great activity for anyone concerned with the bee population, just curious or with a classroom. 

The Great Sunflower Project was started two years ago as a way to gather information about our urban, suburban and rural bee populations. They wanted to enlist people all over the US and Canada to observe their bees and be citizen scientists. Sunflowers were chosen  so that they could standardize study of bee activity and provide more resources for bees. Sunflowers are relatively easy to grow and are wildly attractive to bees. Since 2008, the expanded list of plants studied include Bee balm, Cosmos, Rosemary, Tickseed, and Purple coneflower. So far they’ve found that the on average our gardeners are likely to see a bee pollinate every 2.6 minutes. Surprisingly, over 20% of our gardens never saw a bee! 
For more information or to get involved with this project, go to  
Dog Island Farm has 5 seed packets to giveaway!  Just leave a comment below telling us what your favorite thing about fall is!  We will make the selections randomly.  Postage is only within the US.  

Thursday in the City- Turn Branches into Furniture

DIY coffee table at How’s House

I love the idea of going out into the woods and gathering branches to make something.  When I lived in a wooded area, we would collect vines and make wreaths.  It was so fun.  We also made forts from larger branches. (I was much much younger then)  Now I live in the city, luckily near the beach, and collect drift wood.   But I still think back to how fun it was to have that direct connection to nature and my environment, to be able to use it sufficiently and bring it into my home to enjoy.   Below are some great articles and instructions to make your own furniture from fallen branches and twigs.  It would be a great activity during this wonderful fall weather!

Wild and Woody at Mother Earth News

Willow Twig Furniture at Instructables

Fallen Branches by Brent Comber

How to Make Twig Furniture at Mademan

Plant Display Stand Instructions at Esprit Cabane

Twig Baskets at Suite101

Thursday in the City- Shopping

Two great shopping guides: (even has an iphone app)

Thursday in the City- Learn to make traditional Day of the Dead breads

pan de muerto
Day of the Dead: Celebrate with traditional breads and a fantastic dinner
Wednesday, October 27th, 2010 6:30-9:00 pm

The photo and below information were taken from the “The day of the Dead is appraoching…” E-letter from La Cocina.  For more information, go to

Dia de los Muertos will soon be upon us. Join Chef Luis Vazquez, owner of Chaac Mool, as he shares how food lies at the heart of this festive holiday. We will focus on mak ing tra di tional Day of the Dead breads like pan de muerto. Guests will leave with a sam pling of breads and din ner and drinks are included. 

As always, a portion of the proceeds of this class benefit La Cocina’s innovative Business Incubator Program. Thank you for your support!

Where: La Cocina, 2948 Folsom St. San Francisco, CA
When: Wednesday, October 27th, 2010, 6:30–9 PM
What: Day of the Dead class, take home breads (you make ’em!), dinner and drinks. 
How Much: $65 for the class  
Why: Really, do you have a better idea?

Thursday in the City- Learn

Fall is bringing a lot of educational opportunities and events.   Garden for the Environment is a great place to go learn a little bit about all different gardening topics, and you can do it on the weekend!   This month, learn about permits, salad gardens, chickens and ducks, and rooftop gardens.   Check out GFE events at  

Garden City
GARDEN CITY WORKSHOP II: Navigating Permits & Building Community Support for your GardenThis series is offered in partnership with SFPT, Kitchen Garden SF, Hayes Valley Farm and Garden for the Environment
Date: Saturday, October 17th, 2010
 10AM – 2PMLocation: McLaren Lodge, San Francisco CACost: $20
After you find a potential garden site, what’s next? In this worksshop, learn how to successfully navigate the procedures and permits relevant to your type of site. Learn how to effectively build community support for your garden project and cultivate a committed volunteer group to ensure your garden thrives. A panel of successful garden-entrepreneurs will share how they launched their projects and lessons learned in the process. Please bring water and a bag lunch. For more info Please visit
Registration: Contact Julia Brashares at 415.750.5110 or

Date: Saturday, October 23th, 2010
 10AM – 12NOON Location: Garden for the Environment, 7th Ave at Lawton Street, San Francisco Instructor: Brooke Budner, Little City Gardens 
Little CityFresh salad greens are one of the most productive and rewarding crops to grow year round in our foggy coastal climate. A salad from your garden can be so much more than a bowl of chopped lettuce. A salad can include diverse shapes, colors, textures, flavors and nutrients, from common greens like arugula and spinach, to underappreciated wild edibles like purslane and amaranth. In this hands-on workshop we will discuss all of the potential as well as cover everything you need to know about producing and collecting your own salad greens from seeding to the dinner table.  At the end we will sample a salad for inspiration. Come learn from the amazing growers at Little City Gardens.
Register Online Here
For phone or email registration: Please call (415) 731-5627, or email Or register in the garden the day of the workshop.

Date: Saturday, October 23rd, 2010
 1PM – 3PMLocation: Garden for the Environment, 7th Ave at Lawton Street, San Francisco 
Paul Glowaski, co-founder Urban Eggs and Dinner Bell Farm
City ChickensHarvest fresh eggs from your own back yard! You can keep chickens and ducks in San Francisco! Join Paul Glowaski, co-founder of Urban Eggs, for an exciting workshop on organic “eggriculture”. You will learn how to keep healthy chickens and ducks in San Francisco, including coop design, flock and human health concerns, chicken and duck feed, and what to expect from baby chicks to laying hens.
Register Online Here
For phone or email registration: Please call (415) 731-5627, or email Or register in the garden the day of the workshop.

Date: Saturday, October 30th, 2010
 10AM – 12NOONLocation: Garden for the Environment, 7th Ave at Lawton Street, San Francisco 
Maya Donelson, ‘Graze the Roof Garden’ at Glide Memorial
rooftop GardeningDo you find yourself gazing out across the urban landscape imagining a roofscape of lush green and food producing gardens? Roof gardens are being implemented as an attractive and effective response to the urban challenges by providing numerous environmental and health benefits. In this workshop we will showcase inspiring roof gardens from around the world, discuss the many benefits, introduce various methods and technologies and demonstrate how to build your own self-watering container so you can be a part of roofscape transformation here in the Bay Area. Join GFE and Maya Donelson from Graze the Roof as we take urban agriculture to the next level! (image: Peter DeSilva)
Register Online Here
For phone or email registration: Please call (415) 731-5627, or email Or register in the garden the day of the workshop.

Other Events taken from the GFE Newsletter- October:

EVENT: Kids in Gardens II: Bugs, Water and Beyond!
Date: October 23rd, 2010
 9am – 4pmLocation: Alice Fong Yu Elementary School, 1541 12th Street, San Francisco, CA 94122
An award-winning workshop for San Francisco Unified School District educators, garden coordinators, and parent volunteers. Get a jumpstart on creating and using an educational garden for your school. Participate in demonstrations of activities to teach to students about bugs, pollution prevention, and integrative pest management. Learn strategies for efficient watering and preventing surface runoff pollution as well as tips for teaching water conservation. For more information please visit

Young Farmer MixerEVENT: Greenhorn Young Farmer Mixer
Date: October 28, Pie Ranch, Pescadero, CA : 3-9pm
October 30, 18 Reasons, San Francisco, CA 
The Greenhorns, a grassroots nonprofit organization led by a raucous posse of America’s new generation of farmers, will host a series of free mixers for young farmers at five sites in Northern California beginning October 15th. The aim of these gatherings is to create a space for young farmer entrepreneurs and up-and-comers from the nation’s leading agricultural state to hang out, network, share skills, and connect with statewide support organizations. For more information, please visit

EVENT: Dinner Bell Farm Sustinably Raised Chickens
Date: October 28, 2010
 5pm – 7pmLocation: Mission Pie, San Francisco, CA
The extraordinary farmers at Dinner Bell Farm are now taking advance orders for sustainably raised chickens for deliveries to the East Bay Area, San Francisco, Sacramento and Santa Cruz September through December. Dinner Bell says “As meat farmers and stewards of the land, we find joy in respecting the lives of our animals and meeting their needs as best as we can. Our birds range freely over fresh pasture and are never confined to small spaces”. To learn more about our chickens, please visit
Dinner Bell Farm Chicken Order Form