Environmental awareness is a way of life.
|Taste the Trend
Mendocino Farms’ first OC
location opens on May 29 in
Be Part of the Solution
For more tips and tricks
on creating a healthier
indoor and outdoor
The Ecology Center’s website.
In the classic “Portlandia” sketch “Is the Chicken Local?,” Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein go to increasingly absurd depths to understand the backstory of the food they’re thinking about ordering. The sketch plays for laughs, but the truth is that eco-minded diners clearly are hyper-eager to understand the sourcing policies of their favorite restaurants.
This month, Mendocino Farms will launch the first Orange County location of its much buzzed-about farm-to-table sandwich shop. Mendocino’s concept is centered on the idea of sustainable, local product sourcing, with many of the featured purveyors getting shouted out by name in the menu. Mendocino takes delivery of its produce every morning, straight from Scarborough Farms in Calabasas. It also has a buyer posted weekly at the Santa Monica farmers market. With excellent access to nearby farms, Orange County is not a new arrival on the local food movement scene. In fact, OC plays host to other fast-casual outlets – La Sirena Grill and Z Pizza among them.
Though its new Costa Mesa eatery will be Mendocino’s eighth location in Southern California, the chain strives to carve a distinct identity and design at each restaurant.
“At every new location we start by asking, ‘What does it mean to an integral part of this particular community?’” Mario del Pero, co-founder of Mendocino Farms, says. “The goal is to have a unique feel while leaving the least deep footprint possible.”
Growing Organic Food: A Primer
The typical carrot travels 1,838 miles to reach your dinner table. Consider growing your own with these tips from The Ecology Center.
Shovel As an organic gardener, a shovel will be your primary tool for a variety of tasks, from digging up soil to turning compost.
Soil and Compost Healthy soil will grow healthy plants. If planting in a container or raised bed, start by adding a simple organic potting soil and compost (3:1). If planting in the ground, amend your native soil with plenty of nutrient-rich organic compost.
Plants Start from seed or use organic seeds or seedlings purchased from your local nursery and read the label to ensure proper planting season.
Mulch The secret ingredient to any healthy organic garden is organic mulch, meaning dry leaves, straw or wood chips. Apply a good four- to six-inch layer after planting to retain moisture, suppress weeds, provide beneficial habitat, and add nutrients.
Water Use a self-irrigated-planter or an olla (ceramic watering pot). If planting in the ground, consider a drip irrigation system to help reduce water consumption.
In the Green
YOLO (you only live once) has been the rally cry of millennials for a few years now, but a tiny county of the same name, just outside of Sacramento, has proven that living once doesn’t mean that future generations have to suffer. Yolo County is currently producing 152% of its required energy using solar panels. This means that it is actually grid-positive, earning almost $500,000 in its first year of selling power back to PG&E.
“Other counties and municipalities can duplicate a piece of this project and achieve the same results,” says Terry Vernon, deputy director of Yolo County. “Even if they only did one megawatt, which most cities can do, it would make a big difference.”
According to the Rocky Mountain Institute, a 501(c)(3) resource management-focused nonprofit, Orange County officials are interested in replicating what Yolo County has done. It doesn’t come as a huge surprise; OC has long been on the cutting-edge of the solar movement, and the boost in income for the county would surely be appreciated.