Pickin' Chicken App

There’s an app for that! It’s that time of year where we all start to spend hours browsing hatchery websites deciding what breeds of chickens we want to try this year. Now Mother Earth News has made our lives easier by creating an app to help narrow you choice down based on breed traits such as egg production, egg color, meat production, and cold hardiness. You can see it here: The Pickin’ Chicken App Written by Rachel Burmeister, Internship Coordinator...

Fighting Hunger

Check out this article about women farmers in rural Africa. For us in the United States, its hard to imagine trying to do so much with so little.  Rural women key in fighting hunger ...

Beginner Mushroom Hunting In Colorado

When you think of gourmet mushrooms names such as porcini, chanterelle, and morels come to mind. Buying these mushrooms in the store can cost a small fortune, but picking them yourself from the wild can save you money and is  great way to get outside. As a beginner mushroom collector in Colorado, the easiest gourmet mushroom to identify is the Porcini. The porcini grows between 8000 and 10000 feet hear in Colorado and are most often found underneath small Albert pine trees in moist soil. Identifying mushrooms can be tricky, but Porcini’s are one of the easiest to identify. Mushrooms are identified using their cap, gills, and stalk. A Porcini’s cap is a rusty red color with no white spots on it. The stalk is pure white with no skirt attached, while he gills are white and sponge-like with no ridges. You can see in the top picture, the rusty red cap and smooth white stalk of the Porcini. When identifying Porcinis there is only one mushroom which can cause harm in Colorado that looks similar to the Porcini. This mushroom is known as the Fly Cap. The Fly Cap looks similar to the Porcini, but on closer inspection it differs in many ways. First, the Fly Cap’s cap is bright red with white dots, and the white gills look like ridges instead of a sponge. Lastly the fly cap is not bulbous looking like the Porcini. The second picture is an example of a Fly Cap which upon consumption can make you very sick. Mushroom hunting is a fun and easy way to gather edible gourmet mushrooms for your table. If you...

Intern Profile – Mike Wolf

Time for another intern profile. This week it is about Mike Wolf who has been doing great work here working on water quality, chemical management, and studying how to cycle an aquaponics systems. Here is a little more about him in his own words: My name is Mike Wolf. I am a senior at Colorado State University studying Environmental Health. I am a big outdoors guy with hunting and fishing being my favorite activities. Right now I am a water quality intern at Nourish the Planet where I am responsible for checking water quality parameters for the various aquaponics systems we have.  I hope to one day own my own Aquaponics farm. When did you first become interested in sustainability? I first became interested in sustainability when I learned to fish as a kid. I learned that by only harvesting what you could eat for that day led to more fish in the future. What are the most interesting/important things that you’ve learned since being an intern at Nourish the Planet? The most important thing that I have learned while interning at Nourish the Planet is that growing your own food both increases appreciation for it and empowers you to take care of yourself. How do you incorporate sustainability into your life? I grow my own lettuce and basil inside my apartment using a simple hydroponic garden. What do you want to see change in the world in the next 10 years? I would like to see a move away from demonizing hunting and fishing as a means of feeding yourself here in America through education about the benefits of hunting and fishing to us humans...

Creating a Natural Equine Environment part 3

Last week I talked about the slow feeding movement, and this week I’d like to talk about ways to create a more natural environment in your pasture or paddock. The paddock or pasture design that a horse owner will choose will largely depend on the qualities of their land. This includes topography, size, and the ability of the land to sustain horses. For every size and shape of property, there are ways to maximize benefits of the land and provide a more stimulating environment for the horses. Horse owners that are lucky to have enough land to pasture all of their horses have the advantage of being able to provide the most natural type of environment. Horses on larger pastures undoubtedly engage in more natural behaviors such as grazing for longer periods, participating in mutual grooming and play activities, and simply moving more than horses that are kept in confined spaces. Because of these natural habits pastured horses are less prone to many illnesses. For example, pastured horses have a lower incidence of gastric ulcers since constant grazing prevents the stomach’s pH from dropping. In comparison, horses only fed a couple meals a day experience drastic drops in gastric pH within a short time after they finish their meal. In addition, by walking and living on uneven terrain the horse’s legs are exposed to more varied stress which makes them  less prone to lameness from a misstep or slip. Even with large pastures there are management and design issues that need to be kept in mind. Large areas of land still need rest periods to recover from the wear...