The Nourishmat, a 4′ x 6′ garden system, is an all-in-one roll out garden designed to empower people to start growing food and flowers. The Nourishmat is rolled out onto your soil for easy DIY food production. Roll out the mat, push in the seedballs (clay, seeds, chili-powder and all-natural nutrients), and hook it up to the hose. We think of the Nourishmat as the way to cultivate the next generation of food growers.People have become disconnected from their soil. Earth Starter was formed in order to solve what we believe will be the world’s most pressing issue in upcoming years: sustainable healthy food supplies. Given limited resources and budgets, food as it is available today might not be so accessible in the future. By using the Nourishmat products, you are preparing yourself for this future. Our products offer cost-effective solutions that have a tangible return in your wallet. Our goal is to help people reduce their dependency on global food markets while focusing on creating a more nourishing Earth.

Earth Starter is doing more than just empowering consumers to grow their own food.  They are now making a huge push to help feed children who struggle with hunger. Earth Starter has teamed up with Two Degrees Foods to give 4 meals to children in the United States when you purchase the highly anticipated Nourishmat.  For every Nourishmat YOU PURCHASE, WE GIVE 4 meals to children suffering from hunger in the United States.
The Nourishmat is made of polypropylene, a recyclable landscape fabric used in industrial agriculture.
The Nourishmat was designed to be multi-sensory and intuitive. We used colors in combination with the square-foot method. The layout of the plants revolves around companion planting. For example, the bugs that like marigolds are the same bugs that love to eat the bugs that love to eat tomatoes. Other plants like Nasturitum (everyone’s first question, what is nasti-tu-…..) are great pollinators and so forth. The Nourishmat comes with a planting guide that tells the user where and when to plant.
Every 4′ x 6′ Nourishmat and 2′ x 6′ Herbmat comes with pre-planted seedballs separated by plant type. There is a combination of spring, summer and fall crops so users can continue to grow almost year round (we even have winter wheat during the winter).
We completed a 22 state beta test over the last year and a half. In order for us to have a successful first year run, we had to choose plants that would grow in all USDA hardiness zones. We took the data from our beta test and created the first Nourishmat iteration and adapted a planting guide accordingly. The combination of cool and warm weather crops with a mix of herbs for the summer allows for more successful yields. Bio-diversity promotes more pollinators and the seedballs help protect seeds against harsh environments and pests.
Eventually users will receive instructions based on their geo-location online. That is one of the goals with our Kickstarter — to make information available to our users without overwhelming them or keeping them glued to a tablet or PC. By 2014, users will be able to go-online – select their zip code, we will tell them what grows best in that location, choose a size, and based on seedball inventory, we will use a companion planting method to automatically position and space the plants. It’s all about cultivating gardeners not gardens.
After Kickstarter the the mat will run $39-$79
Nourishmat with Irrigation – $79.95
Nourishmat without Irrigation – $64.95
Herbmat with Irrigation – $49.95
Herbmat without Irrigation – $39.95
The nourishmat
We have already done some pilot testing with the summer camps and schools on the east coast. Right now we are working with the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) and the Mayors office in SF to work on using our curriculum and the Nourishmat as an educational tool. It reduces the intimidation factor because all of the tools are already laid out.
When you combine outdoor learning with something like the ‘Nourishmat’ designed to allow students to grow their own garden and share with other students around the country using the Nourishmat application…well this is hands on learning at its best… students can watch plants grow, share their growing time and success, read, write and communicate with other students, sharing together in the learning experience. Designed for students and schools in mind, the inventors of this creative product are developing a user-friendly curriculum for students as well.Theresa May – Head of School Prince William Academy 

Working with charter schools and visiting the school fairs has been helpful, but parents have been some of the biggest advocates. They have purchased some of beta quantities to be tested in schools in MD and VA. Some of our Kickstarter levels focus directly on allowing folks to give directly to a school of their choice. By working with the SFUSD we are able to use initiatives like Proposition A which gave 120 schools in the San Francisco area each $150,000 for schoolyard greening. We have proposed to put Nourishmats in those spaces with a curriculum with a much small $6,500 budget. Each school is receiving  $150,000 for their own green schoolyard. This gets spent on landscape architects, and plants, mainly and for some, the process will most likely take a few years to get completed.
Our focus is on providing people with all the resources needed to start growing food and flowers today. We have come a long way and have had many bumps and scrapes on the way. Our Kickstarter page doesn’t show the grit that it took to keep going and how hard manufacturing in the US can really be. But it’s part of our mission. We’ve been getting pushed around since day one. Family friends tried to take our idea, the doors to banks were closed and the only funding we could get was from our bank accounts. We started as two young professionals from the University of Maryland who stepped out of their comfort zone to self fund a company. Our team worked hard to beat out better funded company and apps that were poised to win the 2013 Cupid’s Cup presented by fellow UMD Alumnus Kevin Plank. We took the Nourishmat from three stages of product development on our own dime and just when we thought things were going great, a deal with Orchard Supply went by the wayside when the company fell bankrupt a few weeks ago. It hasn’t been easy but it has always been a battle against the rays of the sun.
In order for Kickstarter to be successful we must reach our $70,000 goal.
Here is a link to the campaign:
#GeoEngineering - more prevalent than u know

#GeoEngineering – more prevalent than u know (Photo credit: joykennelly)

In the wake of the realization that climate change is a reality, a geoengineering technology incorporating the use of artificial trees to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is a clear indication that “God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy”.  Geoengineering is defined as “climate engineering, climate remediation, and climate intervention” .(1)  Geoengineering has been used primarily to refer to “the deliberate large-scale intervention in the Earth’s climate system, in order to moderate global warming“.  It typically involves efforts to rid the atmosphere of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and solar radiation management techniques to “offset effects of increased greenhouse gas concentration by causing the Earth to absorb less solar radiation“. (2)

It has been noted that scientists at Columbia University’s Earth Institute are working on a “carbon capture” project, which involves the use of a prototype of artificial trees that will remove carbon dioxide from the air “faster and at higher levels than natural photosynthesis can accomplish”. (3)  This group postulates that the captured carbon dioxide then can be released by a “gentle flow of water” and then can be used industrially or safely sequestered underground.  Many environmentalists take an exception to technological fixes for global warming, such as these because such actions “discourage us from the hard work of actually cutting down on greenhouse emissions”.  The main consideration here is whether the goal here is climate manipulation or solutions to address climate change.

The reality here is that trees are not the culprits in this scenario.  They consistently have done their job well.  They effectively reflect the “greatness of God“.  It is man who has disrupted this process by actions that increase our carbon footprint, namely pollution of land, air and water, reliance on fossil fuels, and to a large extent, deforestation.  Consideration of ethics and moral responsibility is a very valid approach to this issue.  Followers of the green movement recognize themselves as “stewards” of the Earth.  We have a duty to protect the environment and to pass on a healthy world to future generations.  This notion of benevolent management of the world has a foundation in religion, ethics and morality and must not be diminished by greed, politics or sheer lack of responsibility.

Now on to the role of beer (which is good) and its relationship to the idea of artificial trees, in particular, and geoengineering, in general.  So many of us are caught up in a rat race.  You have to admit that when you take a break with an ice-cold beer, the stress level goes down and you can reflect on life.  Now you can appreciate a tree as opposed to the stressful periods when you “couldn’t see the forest for the trees”.  Things start to make sense.  You realize that so many things about life have become artificial, and maybe we should stop this nonsense.

Finally, the acceptance of artificial trees clearly would indicate that people are crazy.  By definition, artificial means “humanly contrived, often on a natural model, manmade, simulated; sham”  Already we rely on so many artificial products and ingredients which ultimately bear heavy costs in terms of money, waste, and adverse health consequences.  Now trees?  To this notion, we must say a resounding NO.  We can grow trees with seeds made by trees.  We do not need to manufacture them artificially.

We can address climate change by a consolidated effort to avoid pollution, recycling, reducing our fuel and energy consumption and living responsibly.  We do not want climate manipulation.  Rather, we demand climate change solutions.  We want to live green, be green.

Sources for this article:

1.  United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) (July 2011) (PDF). Climate Engineering: Technical Status, Future Directions, and Potential Responses (Report). Center for Science, Technology, and Engineering. p. 3. Retrieved 2011-12-01.

2.  Royal Society (September 2009) (PDF). Geoengineering the Climate: Science, Governance and Uncertainty (Report). p. 1. ISBN 978-0-85403-773-5. Retrieved 2011-12-01.


4.  Credit to Bill Currington from song “People Are Crazy”.

On this good green news Monday, LGBG has opted to use this opportunity, in light of the tragic events at  Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, to reflect on the meaning and obligation of green living.  We know that green living means different things to each of us, from protecting the air, land and water to recycling and not polluting to eating healthy diets and getting exercise.  No matter the individual perspective towards green living, I think it is safe to say that there are basic tenets central to our understanding of green living.  They are as follows:

  • The choices made by any one individual affects all of us.
  • The choices we make today will affect us at some point in the future.
  • When we speak about saving the planet or the environment, we are talking about saving ourselves.

With this understanding, it is important for everyone to make living green an obligation, not a choice.  The greatest obligation we have is to our planet and to our children, each and every one of them.  They are the future of this land and as stewards of the Earth, we are obligated to deliver to them a clean, healthy environment.  It is our responsibility to love and protect our young and to do all that we can to ensure that they grow up to be healthy, happy and prosperous adults.  To that end, we are obligated to educate them.  We send them out to school each day with the expectation, and a very reasonable one, that they will return home to us.  In turn, our government has an obligation to provide a safe learning environment for our children and a guarantee that they will be protected and will be returned to us at the end of the day.

A major concern of green living is the safe and environmentally friendly design of buildings, and the conversation regarding this matter must be a top priority.  It is urgent that city planners, engineers, environmental consultants and elected officials design and build schools that are safe and secure from intruders, with the staff and technology to monitor all visitors and deny admission to anyone perceived to be a problem or who pose a potential danger to staff or students.  We know that buildings can be designed to be secure as our prisons are secure on any level that we need.

We also must address the safety of our society, especially our children, from a health perspective.  This begins with coming face-to-face with the issue of mental illness.  We need for every citizen to have access to health care.  This goes a long way to aid in the identification of people, young and old, with mental health or emotional problems, which apparently is a substantial portion of our population as evidenced by the widely used mental health diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder , bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.  We must provide treatment for these individuals, just as we would for people with cancer, heart conditions, arthritis autism or any other physical anomaly.  A change in attitude that regards mental illness as a sickness will help families to come forth and seek help, rather than hiding these conditions so that a loved one will not be made to feel like a pariah in the community.

Green living obliges us to raise our children to respect our environment and the other people and animals who occupy this space with us.  Our choices on how we treat our children, what we feed their minds and bodies, and the examples that we set for them to follow will determine their physical and emotional development and well-being.  We must teach them to be kind to others and to never be a bully to any person or animal.

If we all accept green living as an obligation, not a choice, we can take a major step forward to heal from these recent tragedies and move forward to save our planet and our children.  Let’s all respond to the call of duty to live green, be green.

On Children by Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

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Description unavailable (Photo credit: theloushe)

With the Presidential and Congressional elections approaching quickly, globing warming and climate change are becoming hot topics. The League of Conservation Voters is targeting five House Republicans who either question or totally deny human links to climate change. The organization has labeled these Congressmen the “Flat Earth Five”. To date, two names have been released. They are Reps. Sam Benishek (R-Mich) and Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY). Three additional names will be forthcoming.
Despite the fact that hard science data proves that global warming is a reality, i.e., melting icebergs, severe storms, extreme heat and cold weather, and crop destruction, just to name a few, the “Flat Earth Five” Republicans state there is no climate change, and the notion of global warming simply is a liberal ploy to tax large oil companies. Rep. Benishek specifically says that global warming “is just some scheme” and is “all baloney”. Rep. Buerkle first voiced doubts about climate change in 2010. On the League of Conservation National Scorecard, she has a lifetime score of 9 percent out of a possible 100. This scorecard annually rates members of Congress on conservation and clean energy issues. Rep. Buerkle has the most conservative voting record of all New York Congressional members.
It is difficult to understand and disappointing to know that protection of the environment is caught up in the crosshairs of politics. It is mind boggling that this is such a political issue in this time when 77% of Americans believe that climate change is a reality and that we all need to make lifestyle changes to save the Earth. (

It is promising to see schools incorporate green living standards in curricula and refreshing to witness families work to conserve energy and employ green and healthy practices in the home. Although we often have differing beliefs about environmental issues, the unifying belief should be that this is the only planet we have on which to live. We do not own the Earth. Rather we are the stewards. We work hard to provide a future for our children, and the protection of the environment must be considered a major component of that future.
In the upcoming elections, we must be mindful of the issues crucial to our very existence. The best way to do this is to educate yourself on the candidates and what they stand for. Researching scorecards and voting records is a great start in this endeavor. This is especially true for local and state elections. While we cannot change the whole world in an instant, we can band together and improve our communities through the creation of recycling programs, instituting clean water projects, constructing safe and healthy schools and building “green” neighborhoods. To be the building blocks of the green movement, let’s vote green, live green, be green.

We repeatedly hear the term “global warming”. The very subject usually produces arguments by some that it truly exists and by others that it is a myth. Proponents of the argument for global warming identify melting glaciers, rising sea levels, dying cloud forests and changing habits of wildlife as proof that global warming is occurring. Antagonists of this concept cite historical cyclical temperature changes and the resulting wind and storm patterns as proof that global warming is a myth. In fact, the average global temperatures and concentrations of carbon dioxide have fluctuated cyclically for hundreds of thousands of years. These fluctuations occur with the Earth’s changing positions relative to the sun.
During prior cycles, emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere were balanced by GHGs that were naturally absorbed by the land and water. This balance enabled human civilization to develop in a consistent climate. There were periods of interruptions to this balance—volcanic eruptions that emitted particles, which cooled the Earth’s surface and El Nino, which has its own short and predictable cycles. Something different is happening now and is occurring on a large, consistently measured level. Humans have increased the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at a level 33 percent higher since the industrial revolution. Historically, changes of this magnitude resulted over thousands of years. They now are occurring at this rate over mere decades. Such a rapid rise in greenhouse gases pose unique challenges to life, forcing many living things to be able to adapt.
While environmentalists use the term “global warming”, scientists refer to this phenomenon as “climate change”. As the Earth’s temperature climbs, wind and ocean currents travel in patterns that cool some areas while warming others. Additionally, the amounts of snowfalls and rainfalls are impacted. Global warming or climate change is of concern because it produces extreme weather, ranging from severe storms to extended droughts. This, in turn, poses challenges for all living creatures in terms of food supply, water supply, and threat to life from severe conditions.
We can control the emission of greenhouse gases through green living. To save our planet, let’s live green, be green.