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Lexicon: Ecology, Organic, Natural & Sustainable

This page will be updated all the time and serves as a mini lexicon

Compost: is organic matter that has been decomposed and recycled as a fertilizer and soil amendment. Compost is a key ingredient in organic farming. At the simplest level, the process of composting simply requires making a heap of wetted organic matter; leaves, “green” food waste, and waiting for the materials to break down into humus after a period of weeks or months to become e.g. soil. Worms and fungi further break up the material. Aerobic bacteria manage the chemical process by converting the inputs into heat, carbon dioxide and ammonium. The ammonium is further converted by bacteria into plant-nourishing nitrites and nitrates through the process of nitrification. Compost can be rich in nutrients. It is used in gardens, landscaping, horticulture, and agriculture. The compost itself is beneficial for the land in many ways, including as a soil conditioner, a fertilizer, addition of vital humus or humic acids, and as a natural pesticide for soil. In ecosystems, compost is useful for erosion control, land and stream reclamation, wetland construction, and as landfill cover. Composting can be done at home or for an intire society.

Ecologist: An understanding of how biodiversity affects ecological function is an important focus area in ecological studies. Ecologists are concerned with ecosystems as a whole and, within them, the abundance and distribution of organisms (people, plants, animals) and the relationships between organisms and their environment. Ecologists usually choose a specialist area (e.g. freshwater, marine, terrestrial, fauna, flora) and then carry out a wide range of tasks relating to that area. When starting out, ecologists often conduct surveys to identify, record and monitor species and their habitats. With career progression, work is likely to become more wide-ranging, with senior ecologists being more involved in policy and management work. Ecologist seek to explain:

  • Life processes and adaptations
  • Distribution and abundance of organisms
  • The movement of materials and energy through living communities
  • The successional development of ecosystems, and
  • The abundance and distribution of biodiversity in the context of the environment.

An ecologist may be involved in environmental impact assessments which are required by law for planning permission. Alternatively, they may collect and manage biological information for national databases or produce comprehensive lists of species that need to be monitored and protected.

Ecology: is the scientific study of the relationships that living organisms have with each other and with their natural environment. Topics of interest to ecologists include the composition, distribution, amount (biomass), number, and changing states of organisms within and among ecosystems. Ecosystems are composed of dynamically interacting parts including organisms, the communities they make up, and the non-living components of their environment. Ecology is an interdisciplinary field that includes biology and Earth science. Ecology is not synonymous with environment, environmentalism, natural history, or environmental science. It is closely related to evolutionary biology, genetics, and ethology. Ecology is a human science as well. Ecology addresses the full scale of life, from tiny bacteria to processes that span the entire planet. Ecologists study many diverse and complex relations among species, such as predation and pollination. The diversity of life is organized into different habitats, from terrestrial (middle) to aquatic ecosystems.

Ecosystem: Everything in the natural world is connected. An ecosystem is a community of living and non-living things that work together. Ecosystems have no particular size. An ecosystem can be as large as a desert or a lake or as small as a tree or a puddle. If you have a terrarium, that is an artificial ecosystem. The water, water temperature, plants, animals, air, light and soil all work together. If there isn’t enough light or water or if the soil doesn’t have the right nutrients, the plants will die. If the plants die, animals that depend on them will die. If the animals that depend on the plants die, any animals that depends on those animals will die. Ecosystems in nature work the same way. All the parts work together to make a balanced system.

GMO: A genetically modified organism (GMO) is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. Organisms that have been genetically modified include micro-organisms such as bacteria and yeast, plants, fish, and mammals. GMOs are the source of genetically modified foods, and are also widely used in scientific research and to produce goods other than food. GMOs are used in biological and medical research, production of pharmaceutical drugs, experimental medicine, and agriculture.

Organic Certification: a certification process for producers of organic food and other organic agricultural products. Any business directly involved in food production can be certified, including seed suppliers, farmers, food processors, retailers and restaurants. Requirements vary from country to country, and generally involve a set of production standards for growing, storage, processing, packaging and shipping that include:

  • no human sewage sludge fertilizer used in cultivation of plants or feed of animals
  • avoidance of synthetic chemical inputs not on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (e.g. fertilizer, pesticides, antibiotics, food additives, etc.), genetically modified organisms, irradiation, and the use of sewage sludge;
  • use of farmland that has been free from prohibited synthetic chemicals for a number of years;
  • keeping detailed written production and sales records;
  • maintaining strict physical separation of organic products from non-certified products;
  • undergoing periodic on-site inspections.

In some countries, certification is overseen by the government, and commercial use of the term organic is legally restricted. Certified organic producers are also subject to the same agricultural, food safety and other government regulations that apply to non-certified producers. To put the word “organic” on a food product is a valuable marketing advantage in today’s consumer market, but does not guarantee the product is legitimately organic.

Organic Foods: are foods that are produced using methods that do not involve modern synthetic inputs such as synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Organic foods are also not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives. Organic food production is a heavily regulated industry and many countries require producers to obtain special certification in order to market food as organic.

Recycling: is processing used materials, waste, into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, reduce energy usage, reduce air pollution (from incineration) and water pollution (from landfilling) by reducing the need for “conventional” waste disposal, and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Recycling is a key component of modern waste reduction and is the third component of the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” waste hierarchy. Recyclable materials include many kinds of glass, paper, metal, plastic, textiles, and electronics. Although similar in effect, the composting or other reuse of biodegradable waste – such as food or garden waste – is not typically considered recycling. Materials to be recycled are either brought to a collection center or picked up from the curbside, then sorted, cleaned, and reprocessed into new materials bound for manufacturing.

Sustainability: is the capacity to endure through renewal, maintenance, and sustenance, or nourishment, in contrast to durability, the capacity to endure through unchanging resistance to change. For humans in social systems or ecosystems, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of responsibility, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of stewardship, the responsible management of resource use. In ecology, sustainability describes how biological systems remain diverse, robust, and productive over time, a necessary precondition for the well-being of humans and other organisms. Long-lived and healthy wetlands and forests are examples of sustainable biological systems.

How to get rid of Scab

Scab is very common on plants leafs and comes back regulary, especially in polluted environments. Scab can be white, brown or rusty brown. An easy and effective natural solution:

– 3 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar mixed in 3,5 litres of water.

Water for a week early mornings and/or after sunset, depending on climate.
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To Freeze Celery

Celery is quite a big vegetable in Sicily, and the issue is always that we need only 15 cm of the stem mostly for soups.
Solution: Cut the celery in 15cm pieces, or pieces you like, and freeze in just as they are. Celery should last in good frozen condition about 5 months in the freezer.

19916_447136108685687_104595115_nCelery works fine to freeze in just as it is

Green Energy: Biomass

Biomass as a renewable energy source, is biological material from living, or recently living organisms. As an energy source, biomass can either be used directly, or converted into other energy products such as biofuel.

1) Biomass is plant matter used to generate electricity with steam turbines & gasifiers or produce heat, usually by direct combustion. Examples include forest residues (such as dead trees, branches and tree stumps), yard clippings, wood chips and even municipal solid waste.

2) Biomass includes plant or animal matter that can be converted into fibers or other industrial chemicals, including biofuels. Industrial biomass can be grown from numerous types of plants, including miscanthus, switchgrass, hemp, corn, poplar, willow, sorghum, sugarcane, bamboo, and a variety of tree species, ranging from eucalyptus to oil palm (palm oil).

.1Biomass power plant in Medan, North Sumatra

Biomass energy is derived from five distinct energy sources: garbage, wood, waste, landfill gases, and alcohol fuels. The largest source of energy from wood is pulping liquor or “black liquor”, a waste product from processes of the pulp, paper and paperboard industry. Waste energy is the second-largest source of biomass energy. The main contributors of waste energy are municipal solid waste, manufacturing waste, and landfill gas. Biomass can be converted to other usable forms of energy like methane gas or transportation fuels like ethanol and biodiesel. Rotting garbage, and agricultural and human waste, all release methane gas—also called “landfill gas” or “biogas.” Crops, such as corn and sugar cane, can be fermented to produce the transportation fuel, ethanol. Biodiesel, another transportation fuel, can be produced from left-over food products like vegetable oils and animal fats.

A biomass plant can be used by farms e.g. a 500 kW plant, or bigger up to several mW to provide e.g. cities with electricity.

If Biomass is environmental friendly are still under critical discussions. Biomass is a renuable source of energy.

Benefits drinking water with Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar, ACV, contains the same nutrients as apples. Apples are one of the most nutritionally rich fruits available, filled with all kinds of vitamines, amino acids enzymes, antioxidants, and minerals such as beta carotene, calcium, iron, pectin, silicon and potassium.

P11301541 glass of water with 1 tsp ACV

Drinking ACV with water on regular basis reduces bad cholesterol, lowers cancer risk, cardiovascular disease, and promotes overall health. ACV purifies the blood, clean vital organs, prevents diarrhea, prevent diabetes, stop hiccups and cures sore throat.  It is also good for women with menstrual issues by reducing cramps, shortening duration and blood flow.

Drinking a mixed glass in the morning helps digestion during the day, reduces risk of food poisoning, and reduces dental caries, whiten your teeth and fights mouth inflammations.

Choose organic, unpasteurized and unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar for best health benefits.

How to drink ACV:

1) 1 glass of water with 1 tsp ACV

2) 1 tsp honey, 1 tsp ACV in warm water before you eat

3) If the taste do not bother you, take 1 tsp raw ACV

4) For sore throat: warm up ACV and water, gargle every hour

Coffee Ground for Plants

Do not throw away the coffee ground, do as Granny did and throw it to the plants. For best results use organic coffee, especially if you use coffee ground for fruits and vegetables you grow. You can also use coffee ground in your compost for nutrient soil.

Coffee ground is used as fertilizer and pesticide:

– Fertilizer: Betters the texture and fertility of the soil, and attracts earthworms. It is a little bit acidic and creates a natural acidic form of bacteria, which boosts the growth of acid-loving plants like tomatoes, roses, blueberries and evergreens. Is also filled with nitrogen, which especially tomato plants likes, an important mineral that helps vegetables and plants to grow.

– Pesticide: Scares away vegetable and flower eating slugs and snails.

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How to use it:

– Lay coffee ground on the soil just before watering. Avoid to use fermented grounds. if you use organic filters, you can also throw the filter with the coffee ground.

– You can use coffee ground in composts.

– To balance the pH in soils that needs a pH between 3.0 and 5.0    

– You can use coffee ground with water, mix some coffee ground in water, let stay for two days and water the plants.

Boiled coffee ground contains less benefits, but is still usable.

Yellow Watermelon and its Benefits

The yellow watermelon is like the red, pink and white watermelon. It tastes much sweeter, like honey and is more watery, but can differ depending on which conditions the fruit grows. It is yellow because it lacks the antioxidant lycopene that the red and pink watermelon contains. But it is still filled with many important nutrients.

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Yellow watermelon contains vitamins A, several B and C, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and calcium. It keeps your  immune system strong and is good for you heart.  Contains a lot of water, so it’s a good choice to stay hydrated. It is a low calorie fruit with only 45 calories per 150gr.

For more information about Watermelons Healthbenefits, please click HERE.

10 Best Benefits of Grapes

Grapes are a great source for many health benefits and contains several important nutrients. Ten of them are:

Protects the Heart

Antioxidants in grapes prevent blockage in blood vessels which is caused by the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Also increases nitric oxide levels in the blood to prevent heart attack, and lowers blood pressure.

Brain Power

The resveratrol in grapes fights brain-damaging plaques and free radicals, and keep blood vessels healthy by preventing blockage.  Resveratrol can increase blood flow to the brain by 200 % and reduces levels of amyloidal-beta peptides in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

Anti Skincancer

Resveratrol has a positive effect  to prevent cancer. Also protects the skin from damaging UVB rays of the sun and this way protecting the skin against cancer. Anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins have properties of anti-proliferate which fights the growth of cancer causing agents.

Anti Radiation

Protects the body against radiation therapy when used as treatment of cancer.

Anti Inflammation

Resveratrol is also anti-inflammatory, and is one reason to prevent heart diseases. Pro-inflammatory molecules has their activity level reduced by eating grapes.

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Anti Diabetes

Prediabetics given resveratrol had a 10 % drop in blood sugar levels, according to research by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Grapes gives better blood sugar balance, better insulin regulation, and increases insulin sensitivity. Grapes are classified as a low glycemic index (GI) food, with GI values ranging between 43-53.

Protects Genes

Resveratrol as a nutrient that activated the human gene for survival and longevity. Activation of these longevity genes by resveratrol and activation by calorie-restricted diets is the best combination for longevity.

Weight Loss

It reduces cells’ ability to store fat and causes fat cells to disintegrate faster.

Anti Migraine

Drink fresh pure grape juice in the morning to ease migraine.

Anti Bacterial

Red grapes contain antibacterial and antiviral properties to protect you, and is also effective against poliovirus and herpes simplex virus.

Wind Energy

Wind Power is the conversion of wind energy into a useful form of energy, such as using wind turbines to make electrical power, windmills for mechanical power, windpumps for water pumping or drainage, or sails to propel ships. A large wind farm may consist of several hundred individual wind turbines which are connected to the electric power transmission network.

Blog 3Wind turbines in Sicily

Offshore wind farms can harness more frequent and powerful winds than are available to land-based installations and have less visual impact on the landscape but construction costs are considerably higher. Small onshore wind facilities are used to provide electricity to isolated locations and utility companies increasingly by surplus electricity produced by small domestic wind turbines. Wind power, as an alternative to fossil fuels, is plentiful, renewable, widely distributed, clean, produces no greenhouse gas emissions during operation and uses little land. Any effects on the environment are generally less problematic than those from other power sources.

Environmental Improvements

This sicilian organic fruit producer tries to reduce plastics in the market and packs the grapes from start in recycable paper bags. When the fruit is mature they just cut the stem, pack it in boxes and send them to the customer like this.
The fruit gets also a much better quality growing like this.

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