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  • Love is in the air! How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day Sustainably

    With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, love is on everyone’s minds. No matter who you are planning to celebrate on this day, whether that be a spouse, partner, friend, or family member, it is important to be mindful of the environment when gifting during this season of love. It can be difficult to imagine how a holiday such as Valentine’s Day could have a negative impact on the environment, however, Valentine’s Day is characterized by plastic wrapped bouquets of roses, balloons, and chocolates in single-use (also plastic) heart-shaped boxes. These mass produced gifts which are the most easily accessible during this holiday often end up in landfills, unable to be recycled or repurposed. If all of these traditional Valentine’s Day gifts are not sustainable, what should I gift the special people in my life this year? Here are some sustainable suggestions you might consider this Valentine’s Day: A long lasting present or intangible present Consider opting for something that will stand the test of time, like a piece of art or mug, or something your person may find useful like a new notebook or book they’ve been meaning to read! You could also give an intangible gift, like a deep clean of a shared space or if you're creative, writing them a song! Gift a living plant Instead of a bouquet of unethically sourced flowers which will wither within a week, consider gifting a potted plant that can be cared for and enjoyed for a much longer time! Even better if it is a native species! Buy fair trade chocolate Chocolate is one of the most purchased items during the Valentine’s season, however, the cacao industry has been known to cause deforestation and use forced labor in order to meet high demands. When looking for a sweet treat for your sweetheart, search for the fair trade logo to make sure you are purchasing from a company which produces their product ethically. On this day when we celebrate those we love, don’t forget to show our Earth some love too!

  • Have No Fear, World Wetlands Day is Here!

    Celebrated on the 2nd of February each year, World Wetlands Day sets out to raise awareness about the importance of Wetlands as an integral part of the environment and their impact on human prosperity. This holiday was officially established by the UN in 2021 and commemorates the anniversary of the Convention on Wetlands, a treaty which provided us with a framework for wise use and preservation of wetlands, which was signed in 1971. Why should we care about restoring and preserving Wetlands? Wetlands are amongst the most degraded ecosystems on our planet, with a decline of 90% since the 1700’s. This poses a huge threat to the health of our Earth and us humans. This year, the official theme of World Wetlands Day, “Wetlands and Human Wellbeing,” aims to illustrate the relationship between the wellbeing of the wetlands and the wellbeing of humans. This ecosystem’s presence is essential as it provides biodiversity, climate mitigation and adaptation, and other such environmental benefits, but they additionally contribute to world economies and beautifies our landscapes, directly affecting us as humans. Even more specific to us Tampa Bay residents, as a staple of our natural Florida beauty, we especially should place an emphasis on protecting these valuable ecosystems!

  • 2024 National Seed Swap Day

    It’s that time of year again! Seed Swap Day is just around the corner. National Seed Swap Day is celebrated on the last Saturday in January, falling on January 27th this year. Both on and around that day, gardeners come together with their communities to exchange seeds and honor the tradition of horticultural exchange we have here in the US. The tradition was started in 2006 by editor of the Washington Gardener, Kathy Jentz, who hosted a seed swap in Washington D.C. to great success, inspiring the instatement of the holiday. Why have a National Seed Swap Day? First and foremost, the exchange of different seeds and their spread throughout a community promotes biodiversity, which is essential to the health of our Earth and humanity. It also encourages community involvement and environmental stewardship. Most importantly, it reinvigorates our love of the Earth and keeps the art of gardening alive and well. “[Seed swapping] is an act of giving and the ultimate form of recycling,” asserted Jentz in a blogpost for the National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture (NICH.) Getting involved in a local seed swap is as easy as a quick Google search. There are plenty of groups on social media who host a space for their local community of gardeners and enthusiasts alike to connect. In fact, the South Tampa Seed Swap, who host a public group on Facebook giving gardening tips and resources, will be holding a seed swap on January 27th from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at their location 4113 Henderson Blvd. between S. Lois Ave & S. Clark Ave in front of Little Red Wagon Native Nursery. If you choose to get involved in the festivities this year, here are some quick tips on how to have a successful seed swap: 1.    Be sure to carefully pack and label the seeds you will be bringing to the swap. It is important that seeds are clearly labeled and properly packaged when contributing to a seed swap so everyone knows what they’re getting! 2.    Include a “usable” amount of seeds according to the plant. Some plants may not germinate as easily, so including an amount of seeds that will likely hold at least some viable plants is great. When in doubt, be generous! 3.    Make a list of the seeds you are looking for beforehand! It’s easy to get caught up in the giving, but receiving is essential to the seed swap too! Know what you’re looking for, so that when the seed swapping is over, you can get back to gardening! Getting involved in National Seed Swap Day is a great way to engage your community, promote gardening in our urban setting, and foster a love for our Earth. Whether you are an experienced gardener or a newcomer, Seed Swap Day is for everyone! Get involved today!

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