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Monday, December 19, 2011

New Sponsor | New Ei Focus

The close of 2011 brings a hearty welcome to Brooklyn-based EcoLogic Solutions as an Elemental Impact sponsor.  ELS manufactures and distributes environmentally preferable institutional cleaning products with the following mission:
to bring the safest, most effective and cost competitive cleaning products and solutions to institutions.  We recognize that everyday chemicals are not only dangerous for the user, but also are exceedingly toxic to the environment.
Founded in 2005, ELS is emerging as an industry leader in educating corporations about the importance of shifting their cleaning practices to sustainable methods and products. Foodservice operators are one of ELS' primary client bases and they exhibited at the 2011 National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago.

Anselm in a Scott Seydel sandwich -
Scott Seydel  on the left and
Scotto Seydel on the right
In a short period, ELS has garnered an impressive and happy client base ranging from Whole Foods to NBCUniversal to the Statue of Liberty.  "We have found ELS' green product lines, service and training to be the best quality in the marketplace"  says Jerry Gonzales, Director of Food Service Operations, Statue of Liberty.  The ELS News Page includes a list of prominent press coverage.

With his boundless energy and in-depth expertise, ELS President & CEO Anselm Doering is taking a leadership role in Ei's Toxic-Free Environment focus slated to begin in early 2012.  In the Green Foodservice Alliance days, a Cleaning & Pest Control Committee met for about six months laying the groundwork to move into the toxic-free arena.  Several Charter Zero Waste Zones Participants have agreed to serve as pioneers in addressing the toxins inherent within their standard operating practices.

Stay tuned for future blog posts announcing the focus launch and action points.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Kids Nutrition Takes Center Stage

The National Restaurant Association teamed with the American Culinary Federation for a survey of nearly 1,800 chefs to understand What's Hot in 2012 when chefs' plan their menus.  From a food standpoint, kids nutrition took center stage with local, sustainable products in a strong supporting role.  In addition to nutrition, chefs intend to develop more kid friendly portion plates of adult menu items.
The top menu trends we’re seeing in our What’s Hot in 2012 survey reflect the macro-trends we have seen grow over the last several years. Nutrition – especially when it comes to children – is becoming a major focus for the nation’s nearly one million restaurants, in tune with consumers’ increasing interest in healthful eating.” 
Joy Dubost, Ph.D, R.D., director of Nutrition & Healthy Living for the National Restaurant Association

Here are the top ten 2012 menu trends according to the survey:
1. Locally sourced meats and seafood
2. Locally grown produce
3. Healthful kids’ meals
4. Hyper-local items
5. Sustainability as a culinary theme
6. Children’s nutrition as a culinary theme
7. Gluten-free/food allergy-conscious items
8. Locally produced wine and beer
9. Sustainable seafood
10. Whole grain items in kids’ meals 

Ahead of the curve, the NRA launched the Kids LiveWell program earlier this year to much fanfare.  See the IMPACT Blog post, NRA Takes the Lead with Health Impact, gives the details of the Kids LiveWell launch.  According to Dawn Sweeney, NRA CEO:
Children’s nutrition is one of the strongest trends we’re seeing in the restaurant industry right now. The success of our new Kids LiveWell program demonstrates that the industry is on the right track when it comes to highlighting nutritious options on menus nationwide.
To further support kids nutrition, the Healthier Kids Fare Pavilion debuts at the NRA 2012 Show May 5 - 8. The Pavilion will feature food and beverage manufacturers showcasing nutritious items for kids, including products with limited fats, sugars and sodium, and items that provide essential nutrients.  For more information, see the NRA press release, Healthier Kids Fare Pavilion to Debut at NRA Show 2012.

Sign @ an Atlanta
McDonald's drive through
Restaurants across the board, ranging from quick service to fine dining, understand the importance of serving children healthy food.  More than a trend, the chefs take seriously the impact food they prepare has on the consumer and are at the forefront of ensuring food consumed away from home is nutritious, healthy and, of course, delicious!

Listed as the fourth top trend, hyper-local items may be synonymous with the Zero Waste Zones' closing the loop with on-site chef gardens.  The ZWZ Blog post, Chef Gardens - a Tasty  Way to Close the Loop, spawned a CNN story for Cheff Micah Willix on his amazing rooftop gardens @ Ecco. Thanks to Micah's ingenuity the gardens are irrigated by condensate water from the restaurant's air conditioning system.  See the ZWZ Blog post, Yippee - Chef Micah is World Famous!, for details and link to the video.

The importance of nutrition and health impact is common ground for Elemental Impact and the NRA.  Stay tuned for many developments on the NRA's support for the nation's second largest industry to aid our civilization in creating a healthier lifestyle, one bite at a time.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Every Life Matters

At times it seems Angels come to the Earth and make a statement that propels rippling change throughout humanity.  Tim Wilson may well be one of those Angels.  On December 10, 2010 Tim died tragically underneath a bridge in the affluent Buckhead Community where the Georgia Governor calls home.  During the night the temperatures dipped into the 20's and Tim froze to death.

Laura's quilt honoring
Tim Wilson
Laura Martin, a local artist & business woman who founded Ties That Matter, felt the magnitude of Tim's death.  A woman of action, Laura created a memorial quilt for Tim while she dealt with the complexity of emotions surrounding his death.  From the quilt and her community connections, Every Life Matters was launched in October, 2011. Listen to Laura's voice of ELM's foundation via her blog post, Homelessness - a call to action.

The immediate ELM focus is collection of blankets to keep tragedy at bay and a base level of comfort for those unable to secure one of the limited available spots in area shelters.  

First Call to ACTION: scour your home for unused (or rarely used) blankets, clean and donate them to one of the many receiving facilities around the city.  For drop-off locations, visit the ELM Donate a Blanket page.

Blankets are the beginning.  In Laura's words:  This campaign has no end. We’ll just keep at it until a bridge is no longer “home” for anyone and until every man, woman and child in our city has enough of a support system to weather the bad times, no matter how bad they get. And, when we’re done in Atlanta, we’ll move on to other communities.

Second Call to Action:  Sign the ELM pledge - a book with the signatures will be presented to Atlanta Mayor Reed.  The pledge is simple and powerful:

I pledge to see the men, women and children whoare homeless in my city as fellow citizens, worthyof kindness and consideration.
I promise to support those who offer care,
resources and real change that help our neighborsfind food, shelter, employment and a return tostability.
I add my name to others who believe that every life matters.

To sign the pledge, go the ELM Pledge page.

On the ELM website sidebar is a Mother Teresa quote that brings home the magnitude of poverty and how it extends will beyond physical survival into emotional realms.  From Mother Teresa:
"We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty."

This post is a foundation for future blog posts on matters close to my heart.  For those who follow the ZWZ Blog and IMPACT Blog, I rarely write in first person.  Many of these posts will be written in first person as they are from the canyons of my heart where I understand the monumental importance of immediate action for our impoverished brothers and sisters.

As Laura, I live in Buckhead and know many beautiful individuals who live within the streets by their first names.  One of my missions is to bring Dignity back into their lives along with survival needs.  There are so many simple, caring acts we may do - an easy one is eye contact with a friendly "Hello"  More to come in future posts.

See the IMPACT Blog post, Ties That Matter, for details on Laura's organization that trains refugees to make gorgeous products from donated ties.

Please join me in congratulating Laura for her fortitude and taking ACTION with practical, immediate results.  It is the power of individuals like Laura that will crest humanity into a dimension where love, dignity and abundance are the foundation.  We may only arrive by actions of the Heart driven by Love.

Give Responsibly, Give GREEN

landfill destined gift wrapping
Holiday gift giving is a beautiful expression of the Heart yet it has unintended aftershocks for our Earth.  In past seasons, an average of 8,000 tons of wrapping paper and 40,000 miles of ribbon (enough to circle the Earth twice!) found their final home in landfills. This year make a commitment to wrap presents in recyclable material AND be sure to recycle it.

When purchasing gifts be aware of the packaging consequences on the recipient's waste stream. For items packaged in landfill destined material, communicate to the manufacturer your displeasure with their choices - use your consumer demand to create shifts in product manufacturing.

Creative green gift packaging
For more facts on holiday recycling past trends and advice on how to make this Holiday Season a sustainable one, visit the Georgia Recycling Coalition's FB page for recent posts.  

Green Gift Giving goes beyond packaging and is grounded in material and operating practices used in the manufacturing process. Understanding the impact of the product manufacturing on the Earth's resources, including the treatment of labor, is key to giving with integrity.  

Many have taken the time to compile lists of green gifts where integrity is interwoven throughout the entire production, packaging and transportation process. The 2010 Mother Earth News Blog post, Giving Green Gifts: Tips & Ideas, has many practical ideas for sustainable giving.

Thanks to her diligent research Christina Coleman prepared an impressive 2011 Eco-Fabulous Gift Givers Guide on her recently launched The Greenhouse Gratitude Blog. The list starts out with one of the most eco-friendly gifts - an on-line donation to a non-profit on behalf of the loved one.  Christina took considerable care to include items made with integrity and several listings are from Made by Survivors. With categories for babies, the home, gardening and pets, to name a few, the Guide is an excellent resource for gifts of the heart, gifts supporting the Earth.

Blankets ready for distribution
 in New Orleans
While many have the luxury of gift giving during the holidays, there is a population living in the streets who are in pure survival mode and at high risk of freezing to death. This year consider giving clean, unused blankets to homeless shelters or other venues that will distribute them to those sleeping in the cold. For those in the Atlanta area, a new non-profit Every Life Matters coordinates blanket collection and distribution. 

However you choose to express LOVE this holiday season, keep the Earth and Humanity present while giving.  Give Responsibly, Give GREEN, Give from the Heart.