Friday, March 19, 2010

TAP into the global solution to safe water this weekend

Spring has sprung, y'all and it's time to be outside! Perfect time to enjoy a fresh glass of water and support Unicef's Tap Project right here in Charlottesville as a part of World Water Week. At the following 16 Charlottesville restaurants, pay just $1 for the glass of tap water you usually get for free. The money funds UNICEF drinking water projects around the globe.

Ariana Kebob, Aromas, Bang!, Blue Moon Diner, Bluegrass Grill, The College Inn, Eppie's, Fleurie, Horse & Hound Gastropub, Hotcakes, Ivy Inn, Orzo, Petit Pois, X Lounge, Zinc, and Zocalo.

This weekend is the second anniversary of the TAP Project, a nationwide event to bring awareness and solutions to safe, clean drinking water needed around the globe.

You know, the stuff you brushed your teeth with this morning and didn't even think twice about. Now I'm not pointing fingers here - I did the same. But it's a fact that here in America we take for granted fresh, clean water. So let Betty splash a little cold water on your face this morning...

Water Facts and Stats:

*Water-borne disease is the second highest cause of childhood death in the world – killing more than 4,100 children every day.

*UNICEF’s goal is to reduce the number of people without safe water and basic sanitation by 2015. Since 2007, the Tap Project has provided clean drinking water for more than 1 million children.

*Nearly 900 million people lack access to clean water…that’s the population of New York City multiplied more than 45 times over. With $1, UNICEF can provide a child with access to clean, safe water for 40 days, or 40 children with access to safe water for 1 day.

*All money raised via the Tap Project has gone toward UNICEF’s water, sanitation, and hygiene programs. Since 1990, UNICEF has helped 1.6 billion people gain access to clean water and sanitation.

*UNICEF works in more than 100 countries around the world to improve access to safe water and sanitation facilities in schools and communities, and to promote safe hygiene practices.

*A staggering 40% of the world’s population – more than 2.5 billion people – lack basic sanitation facilities.

*About one out of five people in sub-Saharan Africa rely on a clean drinking water source that is more than 30 minutes away.

*So I talked to Gwen Goodkin about how she became involved in Unicef's Tap Project, the exciting 16 restaurant participating this year in Charlottesville, and the important and tres easy thing for you to do: DONATE the money you would have spent on a drink and GET TAP WATER INSTEAD.

*Gwen is excited about the great publicity this year. She’s had help from Channel 29 TV Channel 29 TV, Chuck Baer of Black Baer Sealcoat (Ivy and Crozet folks, have you seen the billboard on Ivy Road - you know the one I'm talking about), and the folks at Lighthouse Studios Lighthouse for putting together an AMAZING PSA, and UnicefUnicef. I LOVE this woman! She gets things done. "All you need is a computer and laser printer and things just happen!" Betty loves positive thinking like this. Her 13-yr-old son (pictured above) has been a huge part of this year's campaign and commenced calling area restaurants while on vacation in Chicago!.

So your part is easy- here's all you do:

1) Take your and your friends and family and your LOCAL GREENBACKS out to a participating restaurant (the first pat on your back - way to keep your green here in the 'ville)
2) Tell them Better World Betty sent you (second pat on the back for supporting a local non-profit - thanks)
3) Then instead of having tap water (you usually have for FREE) or drinks, donate THAT money to the Tap Project! (third pat on the back for personally investing and taking action to solve the world's fresh water drinking problem! You rock.)

The Tap Project continues through next Saturday, March 27th. So you have all week!

Loving water, loving you!

P.S. From their website:

"What is the UNICEF Tap Project?

In 2007, the UNICEF Tap Project was born in New York City based on a simple concept: restaurants would ask their patrons to donate $1 or more for the tap water they usually enjoy for free, and all funds raised would support UNICEF’s efforts to bring clean and accessible water to millions of children around the world.

Growing from just 300 New York City restaurants in 2007 to thousands across the country today, the UNICEF Tap Project has quickly become a powerful national movement.

During World Water Week, March 21-27, 2010, the UNICEF Tap Project will once again raise awareness of the world water crisis and vital funds to help the millions of children it impacts daily. All funds raised support UNICEF's water, sanitation and hygiene programs, and the effort to bring clean and accessible water to millions of children around the world."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Painting with Betty...

This article can be found here, at Abode newsstands around town, or on Cville Weekly's website:cville abode

I’ve stared at enough white this winter, including walls—it’s time for color! And green painting can be fun and economical.

Pick the right paint, the first time!
If I wasn’t picky about color and material, I could head to Ivy MUC (Materials Utilization Center) and check their PEP (paint exchange program) paints; but I want to ensure a low-VOC or zero-VOC brand (like Natura from Benjamin Moore) to protect indoor and outdoor air.

Easy-to-clean latex-based paint with satin or semi-gloss finish is vital for my boys and me (outdated oil-based are higher polluting). Request Green Seal certification to limit and prohibit some toxins. My post-1978 home is lead-free, but be safe and visit for your project. I get 2-4 oz. samples and paint a 12x16 square behind a door: Colors can appear darker inside.

Stick to the basics
After rummaging my garage, I need one high-quality brush, an angled brush, a roller, painters’ tape, and a re-usable aluminum tray. I’ll borrow a step ladder and protect floors and furniture with old sheets or newspaper. Calling—instead of driving—around for prices and selection, I head to Nature Neutral, prep my walls with castile soap and water rinse (or a primer base) and I’m set! A paint calculator on the web tells me exactly how much I need.

If you have less than 1/4 can, let it dry outside. More? Use kitty litter or sawdust to soak up excess, and then dispose as trash. More than a gallon? Call local schools, Discovery Museum, other kid-centered places, or head to the Ivy MUC. (Notice the stunning red at Discovery Museum the next time you're there. That's my friend Kate's "Old World" - hysterical story behind that. When ordering her paint, she accidentally left off the "Romance" in "Old World Romance" and instead of a buttery, creamy color, she came home to vibrant cherry red!!) Reselling on craigslist is another option.

Happy painting!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Congratulations Cville Foodscapes

I was delighted to attend Sunday's launch at Random Row Books of a great new local business in town: Cville Foodscapes!

Built on the idea that there is too much lawn, not enough fresh garden food, six passionate individuals came together to help residents design, install and maintain home veggie gardens. Inspired by a love of gardening and a desire to see more food, not lawns (I love that book!), Wendy, Angel, Cassia, Sky, Sam, and Patrick have spent the past year creating a worker-owned cooperative business that helps Cville with their foodscaping! Besides offering a range of great services around gardening, they also will help you with your water harvesting and composting.

Wendy and I talked at length about the winding business path that lead them to this exciting day. And to our meeting - her friend Betsy has been raving about BWB and Betty's website and her husband actually attended January's Green Drinks and helped celebrate Betty's birthday! So we finally meet. Yeah! And what a light Wendy is! Well-spoken and enthusiastic about spreading their business. I was also happy to be reunited with smiley and completely huggable Angel Shockley. She and I communed in the dirt together while I was doing a work share at Roundabout Farm a couple years ago -- she was part of their on-site farm crew. I also met Patrick, who has an ultracool handout on how to make a flowerpot holder for your bike. I made one onsite (pictured here). Ruby (my bike) is so excited to have her very own marigold (from the seed exchange) blooming this spring if my thumb is as green as I want it to be!!

In talking with them both, I was impressed that they are not only creating a great business - helping people who don't know how or don't have the time or for other reasons just haven't taken the leap to having a home garden - but also the cooperative business model is forward-thinking and innovative enough to hopefully inspire other businesses to grow. They also have an already built in way to give back to the community and serve people who may not be able to afford their services: a "garden grant" program with QCC as their sponsor. A portion of their monthly revenue will go to support garden grants, which helps low-income families take advantage of fresh local food as well. Love it!

So if you've been thinking about taking the plunge into gardening, but are not quite sure how to start or what it entails, call the folks at Cville Foodscapes for a free consultation (their info should be in Betty's directory under Landscaping and Food shortly) (434) 806-6255 or email or go to their website:

Here's too edible lawns everywhere!