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Urban farm tours in Columbus

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest When you think of farms, you might envision wide open grass lands, a tractor and grazing cows, pigs or horses. But did you know there are farms right here in urban Columbus?Columbus was home to only five urban farms just three years ago. Now, there are 16 urban farms throughout the city, said Mike Hogan, an Ohio State University Extension agriculture and natural resources educator.The public can tour five of these farms this summer. Sponsored by Franklin County OSU Extension and Columbus Urban Farmers Network, each tour offers a look at a different type of urban farm.The Columbus Urban Farmers Network is comprised of urban farms and food producers who are striving to expand the local food system by producing food in urban areas of Columbus.“The goal of the Columbus Urban Farm Tour Series is to educate consumers about different models of urban farming and allow them to see how urban farming can benefit neighborhoods and communities,” said Hogan.The farm tours have been developed for Columbus residents to participate in and will be offered on Saturdays or Sundays this summer starting July 22. They include:Converting Vacant Land Farm Tour, July 22 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Wheatland Farm, 116 N. Wheatland Ave. in Columbus.Commercial Market Garden Tour, July 29 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Heirloom Produce, 7700 Richardson Rd. in Groveport.Residential Permaculture and Food Garden Tour, Aug. 5 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Sunny Glen Wellness, 3507 Sunny Glen Place in Columbus.Productive Residential Urban Farm Tour, Aug. 20 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Over the Fence Urban Farm, 143 E. Dominion Blvd. in Columbus.Suburban Farmstead and Micro Dairy Tour, Sept. 2 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Jedidiah Farm and Studio, 5058 Smothers Rd. in Westerville.All the tours are free and open to the public.“These five tours have been chosen to highlight different models and objectives of urban farms,” said Hogan. “The farm tours are also designed to allow existing urban farmers to learn from their peers.”Converting Vacant Land Farm TourThis tour focuses on turning vacant urban areas into productive, sustainable urban gardens that provide food-insecure residents more access to fresh, local produce.Wheatland Farm operates on 1 acre of land at a former hospital site. The location has been repurposed to grow food through a large-scale raised bed growing system. The farm sells its crops to local restaurants and others to individuals who order them through a veggie box program in which produce is delivered to their home or to a local collection point. The funds the farm receives from those sales support a pay-what-you-can farm stand that provides low-income families with fresh produce.Registration is encouraged. Email urbanfarms@midohiofoodbank.org.Commercial Market Garden TourHeirloom Produce uses an approach called regenerative agriculture to produce food in a more sustainable way. The tour will show how a vegetable market garden relies on fewer synthetic inputs like fertilizer to maintain and improve soil health, and instead recycles organic matter through composting, cover crops and green manures.Heirloom Produce is a large market garden consisting of 16,000 square feet of production space on a 2-acre residential lot. Root crops and leafy greens are marketed to restaurants and at several local farmers’ markets. The garden has a hoophouse to start seeds, chickens to build nutrient levels in the soil and is adding beehives this summer.Residential Permaculture and Food Garden TourPermaculture refers to systems designed to work in concert with nature, including the use of perennial plants and design principles that are observed in natural ecosystems, Hogan said.This tour will demonstrate how a low-cost, low-input food garden in the backyard of a home can easily be adapted to provide food for food-insecure families.Participants will get to see a native plant and pollinator garden, a vegetable and herb permaculture garden, and a small in-home seedling operation and homemade cold frame to transition plants to the outdoors.Productive Residential Urban Farm TourThis tour will allow residents to see how Over the Fence Urban Farm uses different growing techniques in various types of garden spaces, such as vertical gardening and permaculture design.Over the Fence Urban Farm focuses on sharing sustainability techniques for growing food that is fresh and locally harvested. The farm is funded through a community supported agriculture (CSA) program, and family, friends and neighbors help tend the land.Suburban Farmstead and Micro Dairy TourThis tour will focus on the use of dairy goats, honeybees, poultry and hogs for pasture rehabilitation, and will discuss the importance of using native plants to create self-supporting systems.Jedidiah Farm and Studio is a 5-acre farm in Westerville, where the Taylor family utilizes a food production system that relies on natural systems as opposed to monocultures systems such as corn, soybeans, or other row crops. Visitors can expect to see a space that has transitioned from a typical suburban lawn to perennial food forests, guilds, woodlands and pasture.Full descriptions of each farm and tour can be found here: go.osu.edu/UrbanFarmTour17.For more information about the Columbus Urban Farm Tour Series, contact Hogan at 614-866-6900 or hogan.1@osu.edu.last_img read more

How to Calculate the Value of Energy Improvements

first_imgTwo points of viewThe simple answer to your question, says Michael Blasnik, is no.“There is no way to figure out the exact savings from a retrofit because we don’t have a perfect parallel version of the world handy where everything else was the same except for the retrofit,” he writes. RELATED MULTIMEDIA What Is a Deep Energy Retrofit? Home Energy Monitoring, Part 1: Knowledge is Power RELATED ARTICLES Added Note by Author (4-7-2011):Can’t believe I missed this one, but Mike Rogers of Green Homes America reminded me that they too, do an energy bill guarantee on their retrofits and have for several years. Blasnik suggests Meulen can get a “fairly good idea” of savings by analyzing energy and weather data, but he adds, “You can’t control for everything in any given home — differences in occupancy, behavior, non-temperature weather (wind, solar gain), and other changes in the building and equipment can all affect the observed savings… By analyzing the energy use of large groups of homes you can learn a lot more about retrofit impacts, but the findings in any one home will always be suspect.”John Klingel, however, is voting an “emphatic” yes to Meulen’s question.“Not down to the gnat’s butt, as you will never get ‘exact’ for anything, anywhere, anyhow,” Klingel says. “But if you can assume that whoever will live there for the next few years will behave like they did in the prior few years, and the weather will generally be what it has been, then all the variables are gone. Is that a fair assumption?“Well, what other options do you have?” Klingel writes. “Does it matter if you are off 5%? That’s your call. Just do a heat analysis with insulation A and insulation B, or whatever A and B you want to compare, and you’ve got a pretty good handle on it. I don’t see any issues with that at all.” Should renovators promise results?These variables raise an interesting question, as suggested by David Meiland. “So,” he asks, “should someone doing an audit for an individual homeowner make projections regarding energy use before and after improvements? Give them payback periods for improvements?”“Consulting professionals of many stripes do this all the time, as do contractors and installers wanting to make a sale,” says James Morgan. “Whether they SHOULD is more a question of ethics than technology, given that nearly all have motivation to err on the optimistic side, sometimes wildly.“I have known energy consultants go so far as to guarantee performance,” he adds, “but (given the multiple variables Michael mentions) this did not prove a sustainable business model.”Blasnik doesn’t see a problem with providing an estimate of energy savings that will result from a retrofit, providing the contractor has a “reasonable method” behind him. “That’s not the same thing as telling people what their bills will be next year,” he says. “The savings are how much less energy they use compared to what they would have used if they didn’t do the retrofit.”“For example, if a household’s heating energy use was $1,000 last year and you install retrofits to reduce that by about $200, that doesn’t mean their energy use will be $800 next year,” Blasnik adds. “It could be that they just had a baby and their heating use would have gone up to $1,100 but instead it’s now $900 — they actually saved $200 but their bills only went down by $100.“In any given home we don’t really know how the energy use would have changed without the retrofit, but across large groups of homes we can generally confirm the impacts of retrofits using evaluation methods.” A ‘self fulfilling prophecy?’The problem with your approach, Blasnik tells Klingel, is that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. “If energy savings don’t meet expectations, you’ll be able to come up with a reason that explains it, and if savings do meet your expectations you’ll be convinced you had it figured out.”But in general, neither the weather nor the habits of the occupants will be the same from year to year. “The differences won’t usually matter that much if you are expecting energy savings of 40% or so, but they will matter quite a bit if you are expecting savings of 20% or less,” Blasnik says. “Energy use tends to change from year to year with a standard deviation of perhaps 10%. Since you are only looking at one house, it limits how strong a conclusion you can make regardless of the results.”Klingel sees Blasnik’s point: namely, that doubling the amount of insulation in a house doesn’t guarantee that next winter’s energy bills will be cut in half.“Certainly, Nature is going to vary and confound/camouflage your results; that’s Nature,” he writes. “But, all that aside, you’ve still got your savings tucked into that variability. It’s still there, whether it shows its face or not. That was my point: The savings will exist, but not necessarily be recognizable year to year. Heat loss is heat loss. Fuel usage, and subsequent variability, is another issue.” Adding more insulation, replacing an inefficient furnace, or performing air-sealing measures are oft-recommended strategies for lowering energy consumption and saving money.Aaron Vander Meulen puts his finger on a key issue, however, when he wonders whether there is a way of determining exactly how much money improvements such as these will save.“Anecdotally, my parents upgraded to a 95% furnace last year, and are seeing the savings, but it would have to be compared to the [heating degree days] for each year, correct? And even at that it’s something of a crap shoot since they have a gas water heater as well? One would need to monitor volume of gas at the furnace, correct? is there any sensor for this?”His question points to the complexity of this seemingly simple question and is the subject of this week’s Q&A Spotlight. Remodel Project: Deep Energy Retrofit Best Construction Details for Deep Energy Retrofits Our expert’s opinionHere’s what Peter Yost, GBA’s technical director, had to say:I have yet to meet a high performance residential remodeler who is happy with an energy modeling program for existing homes. Michael Blasnik has done a lot of great work in this area, demonstrating how frustrating it can be to try to predict the impact of various strategies using existing modeling tools.That said, existing homes give us a starting point lacking in new homes: utility bills. I have used the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Home Energy Saver, , a Web-based tool. The detailed long version requires about 45 minutes to an hour of data entry, and I’ve come within $100 of my total annual energy bills on our own home — pretty amazing. So, we are making progress in this area.But to me the most promising work is in the area of energy bill guarantee programs. For the longest time, I have been telling folks that there are no programs that do energy bill guarantees for remodeled homes — just new ones: Bigelow Homes (the first in the country; they’ve been doing it for more than 20 years now)Artistic HomesComfort HomeTucson Electric PowerBut just a year or so ago, one of my online students in a Boston Architectural College course corrected me: there are in fact TWO programs that guarantee energy bills for gut rehabs or substantial energy improvements: Tucson Electric Power and Masco’s WellHome.I don’t know what sort of energy modeling software each program uses, but the basic approach of all of these programs is to guarantee just the space conditioning loads by using the shoulder seasons to average out a base load (the base load being DHW, appliances, lighting, and plug load).But clearly, taking into account the vagaries of any existing home’s unique energy performance and occupant behaviors can be at least partially deciphered by using the “institutional memory” of the home built in to the utility bill history.last_img read more

Three Surat fire victims cleared Class XII exams

first_imgThree of the 22 students who died in the fire on Friday had appeared for the Class XII Board exams and cleared them comfortably, as per the results that were declared on Saturday.The students were identified as Yashvi Kevadiya, Mansi Varsani and Hasti Surani. “While Yashvi passed the exam with 67.75 percentile (C1 grade), Mansi received 52.03 percentile (C1 grade) and Hasti scored 69.39 percentile (B2 grade),” said Surat police spokesperson P.L. Chaudhari.last_img

Infant remains stuffed in cardboard box funeral company loses licence

first_imgTORONTO — A company in southwestern Ontario has lost its bid to keep its licence to transfer corpses after a contractor stuffed an infant’s remains into a cardboard box.In its decision, a Divisional Court panel found a tribunal had made no errors in ordering the licence revocation of Niagara Funeral Alternatives based in Ridgeway, Ont., which was operated by an unlicensed Patrick O’Charchin ostensibly under his geriatric father, Jerome O’Charchin, who was an authorized funeral director.“There was ample evidence before the tribunal to make the findings it made,” the court said in its ruling this week. “Regardless of how the hospital presented the human remains, Niagara Funeral chose the disgraceful manner of transporting them.”Court and tribunal documents show the case arose two years ago when Patrick O’Charchin retained a licensed funeral director, Paul Scrannage, to transport an infant’s remains from a Hamilton-area hospital morgue to a nearby crematorium. O’Charchin gave Scrannage a cardboard box with various funeral-related supplies and told him to use the box to pick up the remains.At a hearing that revoked Scrannage’s licence last year, witnesses testified the remains were in an adult-sized body bag along with autopsied brain tissue in a plastic pail on a hallway gurney. Video evidence showed Scrannage stuffed the body bag into the cardboard box, which was too small, using black tape to keep the lid closed. He placed the box in his vehicle, retrieved the pail, and delivered them to horrified crematorium staff.“They testified that they had never encountered human remains delivered for cremation in a repurposed cardboard box or in two separate containers,” according to records from the Licence Appeal Tribunal. “They were shocked at the manner in which the remains were delivered — which they characterized as undignified and disrespectful.”Scrannage’s tribunal hearing also heard from witnesses that he had handled other remains roughly, apparently brushing off one complaint by saying, “They don’t feel it.” He denied the accusation and the tribunal concluded it had not been proven.Witnesses also testified that he removed pacemakers or defibrillators without wearing protective equipment and in inappropriate settings. Instead of using a single-use scalpel for the incision, carefully removing the device and stitching up the gash, witnesses said he used a utility knife he carried in his pocket.Scrannage testified it was Patrick O’Charchin who supplied him with a kit that included a utility knife.Ultimately, the tribunal endorsed a proposal from the Registrar, Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act to revoke Scrannage’s licence.“Scrannage transferred the remains of an infant in a manner that was disrespectful, undignified and fell below the standards expected in the industry,” the tribunal concluded.Complaints about Scrannage’s handling of the infant remains led to the investigation of Niagara Funeral Alternatives that also turned up other problems related to contracts and pricing, as well as allegations that it was the unlicensed Patrick O’Charchin who actually ran the business, not his father.The tribunal concluded the allegations were valid. It found the younger O’Charchin had instructed Scrannage to use the cardboard box to pick up the infant remains as a cost-saving measure. Revoking Niagara Funeral Alternatives’ transport licence was appropriate, the tribunal found. On appeal to Divisional Court, the company tried to blame the hospital for the infant transfer problem, and denied it was the son who managed the business. It also argued the licence revocation penalty was too severe. The appellate court dismissed the appeal. Colin Perkel, The Canadian Presslast_img read more