Say Hello to our new Solar Panels!

This past week, we teamed up with our friends at Urban Grid Solar in Richmond, VA to install eight photovoltaic panels on our south facing roof. These initial 8 panels will be the first of many more to help reduce our environmental impact and help set new sustainable standards in the Richmond community.

These steps go hand in hand with our Environmental Pledge:

At Ellwood Thompson’s, we realize that our actions directly impact our community and environment. It is our goal to establish new  environmental standards in our community and beyond.

We make every effort to bring awareness to environmental issues and more importantly, practice what we preach. We strive to reduce our waste, recycle and compost everything we can, support alternative modes of transportation and incorporate green building methods into our store.

Being a sustainable community partner is something that we owe to our planet.

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Crop Swaps

Heads up, green thumbs struggling to offload excess edibles: Aid is out there. A growing movement, designed to help people eat well, save money, and get to know their neighbors, is planting seeds in communities around the country. Crop swaps–meet ups where people exchange their surplus backyard bounty–are thriving from the San Francisco Bay Area to Boston in city and suburban enclaves and online, too.

Read the rest of the story here.

Nicaraguan Maragogype Peaberry

We’re proud to introduce the 5th Microlot from our friends over at Blanchard’s Coffee in Forest Hill, Richmond. This one in particular is very special for the simple reason that Blanchard’s has the entire 2011 harvest of it.

Pronounced mar-uh-go-heap-ay, known for being the largest bean in the coffee world. The Nicaraguan Maragogype Peaberry is an extremely rare find and Blanchard’s Coffee Co. is excited to have purchased this year’s entire crop, which was limited to a little over 300 pounds.

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Orange Peels to Biofuel

Biofuels are the green-seeming answer to the fossil fuel problem that environmentalists love to hate—and for good reason. While turning food crops like corn into ethanol appears to be a good idea, the conversion process can use up more energy than it’s worth. Not to mention that crops-for-fuel take up field space that would often be better used to grow food in a time of global shortages and escalating prices.

So why not use one of mother nature’s natural waste products—say, orange peels—as the raw material for biofuels and other petroleum-derived products? A chemist at the University of York in the United Kingdom has piloted a technique to do just that. Using high-powered microwaves, James Clark has figured out how to capture gas from fruit peels that can be converted into a variety of useful materials, from plastics to ethanol. via GOOD

An Apple Tree Grows in Suburbia

In a movement propelled by environmental concern, nostalgia for a simpler life and a dollop of marketing savvy, developers are increasingly laying out their cul-de-sacs around organic farms, cattle ranches, vineyards and other agricultural ventures. They’re betting that buyers will pay a premium for views of heirloom tomatoes—and that the farms can provide a steady stream of revenue, while cutting the cost of landscaping upkeep.

Why not line streets with almond and avocado trees, he asks, or replace shrubbery with cabbage and currants? Golf courses could plant their roughs with kale and corn. Lawns—where they must exist—could be edged with chives and herbs.

Read the rest of this article here.

Just How Green Is Your Bicycle Commute?

Biking is so much better for the environment than driving a car. Obviously. I mean, it should be obvious, right? There are several key questions at the heart of this issue. First off, the carbon cost of producing a bicycle, shipping it, and maintaining it. While that might negligible, it’s definitely something that needs to be taken into consideration when truly trying to understand your bike’s carbon footprint, and it’s hard to determine, because most bike manufacturers don’t release such information. And I’m not talking about the green-by-design bicycles, of which they are many, but your run of the mill ones, made of steel or aluminum.

Read more: Just How Green Is Your Bicycle Commute | Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World

Shockoe Forward

Shockoe Forward is a new website dedicated to bringing people together to improve the Shockoe area of Richmond, VA. This program serves to combine knowledge and experience so together we can help make this unique Richmond community better for everyone. If you live near or around the Shockoe Bottom area, this site is definitely worth checking out. Great design and functionality.

Shockoe Forward