Posts Tagged ‘regs’

Community Rooftop Gardens Go Global

What a splendid breath-enhancing addition to the city of Washington the new Czech Embassy will be!

Museums and post office administrators see the logic of cutting heating and cooling costs with roof top gardens and lawns that reduce solar impact. Quebec is moving forward with plans to green the roof of the Beaux Arts Museum.

In New York City, the USPS created a rooftop garden at a processing facility. Shanghai’s General Post Office, a vast marble showcase for postal services and museum exhibitions, offers a manicured rooftop garden overlooking the Bund.

Mexico City received a greening boost a few years ago when a popular mayor advocated turning rooftops into gardens. Now, a city once known for air pollution is making positive steps towards cleaner air by installing more gardens on rooftops.

The perception in some circles is that the U.S. lags behind progressive European and Asian countries. This green roof industry site suggests the U.S. needs to learn from other countries. But local governments in the U.S. are requiring that buildings incorporate green roofs in new designs or rennovation projects. Atlanta, Georgia is a green leader, retrofitting a green roof on City Hall in 2003.

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The Montgomery County Maryland Agricultural Reserve has endured for 30 years. It was a model for the nation at inception.  Is that still true? 

More than half of the county’s 93,000 acres of viable farmland is preserved through legal mechanisms such as the  transfer of development rights and easement purchases. It is not always clear whether these mechanisms serve the interests of farmers or whether real estate developers are the actual winners.  Montgomery County, Maryland has a farmland preservation goal to protect 70,000 acres of farmland by 2010.  It is now the end of the first quarter of 2011.

The Montgomery County farms that I remember and that still remain are family-run. Of course, many farm families sold out to development and corporate entities, enticed by financial gain.  Most of the dairy farms that go back for generations are gone. Instead of cows, the rolling fields are dotted with McMansions and Starter Castles slapped together with cheap materials with no consciousness of the regional archiectural style, or for that matter, any style at all except Vague Colonial.

The farms that remain operational are industrious, but they are not industrialized. Preserving farmland resources impacts the health and quality of life for all citizens of Montgomery County.  It is imperative to sustain the pioneering purpose of the agriculture preserve so that farmers will continue to produce there.

County residents have the duty to prevent the collusion of developers and council executive, that in practice sells open space in the agricultural zone for increased tax revenues.  Current practices are undermining the original premise of the agricultural preserve and sounding the death knell for production capabilities in the future.

Resources:

Montgomery County, Md. Agriculture Facts http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/ded/agservices/pdffiles/agfactsheet2010.pdf

National Capital Farms – http://www.nationalcapitalfarms.org/

Farm Country Escape — http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/travel/escapes/111099.htm

Montgomery County Farm Tour – http://dc.about.com/od/specialevents/a/MCFarmTour.htm

 

USDA Organic brand – a circle with “USDA” on top half of circle and “Organic” on bottom half of circle placed on a green field with cultivation suggested by white lines signifying rows of plants.

Organic Certifications

Has anyone seen this certification brand?  QAI -Quality Assurance International — a stylized Q with earth shaped grid in center and words “Quality Assurance International” on edge of circle inside the Q.  At one time the brand included the words “certified organic” in the logo.

When you buy fresh produce, check that the organic certification brand is visible.  Learn about standards by visiting the websites of regulatory agencies for the countries that provide the food that you buy and eat.

Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_certification

http://www.qai-inc.com/about/index.asp

http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/organic/certification.htm

http://www.quebecvrai.org/




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