Foodie Farming

Photo from outside online.com

Photo from outside online.com

We all indulge in the pleasure of feasting over the holidays. But a true ‘Foodie’ incorporates the best and most interesting culinary delights into their daily diets. It also means being smart about where your food comes from and if you’re really getting what you pay for.

At the same time you are taking care to eat well, but wisely, you are keeping pollutants out of your body and out of the soil and water that every living thing on our planet depends on.

Check out this super quick and easy to understand primer on labeling terms such as organic, hormone-free, cage-free and more: FOODIE LEXICON

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What smells like salad dressing and kills weeds?

I try to find green products for more than just house cleaning to recommend, and I recently tested Bradford Natural Horticultural Vinegar from Planet Natural (here is the vinegar link) on sidewalks and driveways, as well as gravel mulch and bare soil around plants. Here is the description on the website:horticultural-vinegar

Kills weeds fast! Bradfield Horticultural Vinegar is inexpensive and environmentally safe — perfect for organic growers! Contains 20% acetic acid and includes yucca extract — a natural surfactant and penetrating agent — to completely cover weeds and undesirable vegetation. Works fast (within a few hours) and degrades quickly in the environment.

Unique Features:
• Will NOT harm people, pets or wildlife
• Contains 20% acetic acid (household vinegars contain 5%)
• Safe to use in gardens, lawns and landscaped areas
• Will NOT travel through the soil to injure nearby plants
• May be used for pH modification of soil and water
• Made in the U.S.A.

$22.95 per gallon

See the keywords there are Will NOT harm people, pets or wildlife, which is good because the news about decimated bee populations and concern about pollination of crops has a lot of experts worried.

Result: What I found was that it works as described. It works much faster and more effectively on the harder surfaces – within hours! The vegetation in the soil areas that I sprayed, were dying out by the third day. In all areas the plants and shrubs I wanted to keep, appear to be unaffected after a week. There is a very strong vinegar smell for an hour or two afterwards, so don’t do it just before a garden party.

Here is a log of my process on The Cleaning Authority facebook page.

  • Mom just sprayed a test area in a mulched flower bed. Stay tuned. (Gosh, I hope the flowers are alive tomorrow!) She also has some big ant hills in another flower bed and is going to try spraying around them to see if the ants move out.
  • The Cleaning Authority Macomb Okay, I just sprayed my driveway and sidewalk weeds that I usually pull by hand. Visitors stopped by and said it smelled like vinegar. It’s been a couple of hours, so I’m going outside to see if it still smells. Won’t know if the weeds are going to die until tomorrow probably. I have to keep reminding myself that I’m doing this for the bees and the vast majority of crops that depend on pollination.
  • Linda Curatolo This product absolutely works to kill the plants, and the vinegar smell was gone within a couple of hours. By the next day the plants were just as dried and shriveled as if I used roundup. Question remaining: how long will it suppress new weeds from coming up? Stay tuned.
    Bottom line – there are at least two households that will use this product and a whole lot of beneficial creatures such as bees and birds that won’t be decimated by toxic chemical herbicides. Thanks, Mom for being such a good sport. And thanks, Planet Natural for the suggested product!
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Add a Green App

As everyone here at The Cleaning Authority did something solo in honor of Earth Day 2013, I thought I would come up with a few phone apps that can be downloaded to an Apple or Android phone for all our customers, team members, family and friends to join in. The only criteria I had for selecting the apps: free, useful, and green. Click on any image to learn more.

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1) Local Dirt – Buy, sell and find local food with this app.

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2) iRecycle – Tells you how, where and when to recycle just about anything using your current location.

Paper Karma phone app

3) PaperKarma – Lets you take photos of the unwanted mail you want to stop. Snap a photo, and you’re done

Seafood Watch phone app

4) Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch – What used to be a paper guide is now an app that brings you up-to-date recommendations for ocean-friendly seafood and sushi before you order or buy.

And we are really proud of what the TCA crew members did for Earth Day as individuals. Here is a list:

4/20 – Kristi returned cans and took old clothes to the local thrift store.

4/24 – Linda clean up yards, planted trees and flowers, fixed bird houses out of wood, and plans to do even more.

4/24 – Haley picked up trash around the neighborhood.

4/24 – Cassidy planted flowers with her son and mom.

4/25 – Adelle purchased energy efficient shower heads and light bulbs and a tree for her house and did some gardening.

4/25 – Jenna changed to all natural earth friendly cleaning products and started her own garden.

4/26 – Sheri and Jessica bought energy star appliances and boiler, Recycled bottles, cans, paper, glass, ink cartridges, and batteries.  Use reusable water bottles instead of disposable.  RideShare which helps reduce pollution and saves energy.  Reuse grocery bags.

4/26 – Lori cleared vines from back yard to promote healthy growth, planted flowers, and stopped throwing cigarette butts out of her car window.

4/30 – Colleen and Jessica planted flowers for earth day and cleaned up the yard.

4/30 – Ashleigh tilled a veggie garden, replace bathroom light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs, recycled a customers cigar boxes into gifts and jewelry boxes.

5/4 – Grace and Carter planted Hosta Plants and Coral Plants and Cora Bells and Sun Flower Seeds and raked leaves.

5/6- Rachelle  put solar lights in her garden, weeded her garden and gave away old clothes.

5/6- Sam  donated clothes, helped in-laws with garden, switched out light bulbs and recycled bottles with Logan.

5-6- Clarissa planted trees, donated clothes, and switched cleaning supplies.

5/6- Rachelle, Sam and Clarissa saved paper by listing all their Earth Day tasks on one page of paper.

5/6- Jocelyn picked up trash around her neighborhood, recycled trash bags and pop cans from her house and church, and she walked to the park instead of driving.

5/3- Michelle  took old clothes to salvation army and started recycling.

5/6- Rosann  uses reusable shopping bags, gardens organically, saves bread bags and cereal bags to reuse, uses recyclable coffee filters, and unplugs washer and dryer when not in use to save energy.

5/6- Vicki Harris recycled cans and glass bottles and donated clothes to salvation army.

5/6- Angelia  helped plant flowers at her boyfriends house.

5/6- Alex  planted trees and flowers, uses reusable grocery bags and picked up sticks.

5/6- KT cleaned up her grandma’s garden and planted flowers, as well as in her own garden and in her sister’s garden.

5/6 – Amber  and her son went to the butterfly house in Birchwood Mall, took back bottles from her house and her parent’s house and also put cheerios on strings and hung outside for the birds.

4/4- Rene cleaned her yard and planted flowers with her kids.

5/6 – Karen had a garage sale and planted flowers.

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Do your housekeepers launder their supplies?

Dirty Cleaning SuppliesA friend recently told me about the day her cleaning person came in and plopped a pile of frozen rags onto the carpeting. When my friend protested, the cleaner replied, “It won’t hurt anything, they’re frozen.” My friend insisted that she pick them up before they thawed out and wet her carpet. Damage to her carpeting should have been the least of my friend’s worries.

“Why is your cleaner leaving wet rags in her car overnight?” I asked. “You mean to tell me she’s bringing in rags from other houses that haven’t been laundered, and she’s going to use them on your house?!” First of all it’s cold and flu season – which is pretty much all fall, winter and spring – but there isn’t any time of the year that’s appropriate for such an unhygienic practice.

House Cleaning Cloths Laundered

Team member Jolene Billings holds disinfectant, microfiber mop-head, and cleaning cloth near machines where they are freshly laundered daily.

That would never happen with The Cleaning Authority. Our crews follow strict procedures to protect you and your loved ones, including your pets, from germs being carried from one home to the next. Every night our cleaners bring their used cloths and non-sponge mop-heads into our office where they are laundered, dried, folded and divided up for the next day’s cleans.

The Cleaning Authority professionals use a fresh set of cloths and mop-heads per house. They put the used items from each house into bags and take a clean set into the next home. You never have to worry about dirty rags and mops coming into your home from the previous customer and sharing whatever potential ailments they may unwittingly harbor.

Our cleaners want to protect you, as well as their own families. “I wash my hands constantly,” said Lindsey Stanek, one of our Certified Professional Housecleaners.

Beyond that, the disinfecting cleaner we use is effective on an exhaustive list of germs. See the ‘kill’ list from the manufacturer(1) below, and watch this video now to learn more about The Cleaning Authority system. 

20 Neutral Disinfectant Cleaner is proven effective against:

Bacteria:

Pseudomonas aeruginosa1

Staphylococcus aureus1

Salmonella choleraesuis

Acinetobacter calcoaceticus

Bordetella bronchiseptica

Chlamydia psittaci

Enterobacter aerogenes

Enterobacter cloacae

Enterococcus faecalis -

Vancomycin Resistant (VRE)

Escherichia coli1

Fusobacterium necrophorum

Klebsiella pneumoniae1

Legionella pneumophila

Listeria monocytogenes

Pasteurella multocida

Proteus mirabilis

Proteus vulgaris

Salmonella enteritidis

Salmonella typhi

Salmonella typhimurium

Serratia marcescens

Shigella flexneri

Shigella sonnei

Staphylococcus aureus -

Methicillin resistant (MRSA)

Staphylococcus aureus – Vancomycin Intermediate Resistant

(VISA)

Staphylococcus epidermidis2

Streptococcus faecalis1

Streptococcus pyogenes

Viruses:

Adenovirus Type 4

Adenovirus Type 7 – at 2 oz. per gallon

Hepatitis B Virus (HBV)

Hepatitis C Virus (HCV)

Herpes Simplex Type 1

Herpes Simplex Type 2

Human coronavirus

HIV-1 (AIDS virus)

Influenza A / Hong Kong

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

Rubella (German Measles)

SARS Associated Coronavirus (SARS)

(cause of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)

Vaccinia (Pox virus)

Animal Viruses:

Avian polyomavirus

Canine distemper

Feline leukemia

Feline picornavirus

Infectious bovine rhinotracheitis

Infectious bronchitis (Avian IBV)

Newcastle Disease

Pseudorabies (PRV)

Rabies

Transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGE)

Fungi:

Aspergillus niger

Candida albicans

Trichophyton mentagrophytes

(1) ECOLAB Product Number 14981

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$25 Gift Certificate for Cleaning Awarded

Last week we donated the food we collected from our No-Drive Food-Drive and wanted to show a little appreciation to the customers who participated. Two names were pulled from that pool: Kenneth Haldeman and Anna & Tony Lage. Not only do we want to thank Kenneth, Anna and Tony, but all of the customers who gave. Of course we couldn’t have done it without the cleaning crews who picked up, stored and helped package food for delivery to the New Haven Food Pantry. But is there more we can do? Click on the apple tree and let us know what you think of this sustainable idea in our area. ↓

food donations

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TCA visits the New Haven Food Pantry

The-Cleaning-Authority-Food-2

If only our cleaning crews and customers could have been at the New Haven Food Pantry when I dropped off the 473 pounds of food they collected over the holidays. I drove the load over to the pantry on January 21, which is the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. It felt like they were celebrating there, but I get the feeling that’s normal with the dedicated group of family members, friends and neighbors who pitch in at the pantry.

While I was visiting this past Monday, they showed off their Children’s Pantry and Baby Pantry, the only ones of their kind in the state of Michigan. It’s just another thing that’s special about this clean, well-organized distribution center.

New-Haven-Food-Pantry

Cynthia Goward of the New Haven Food Pantry shows off the Baby Pantry where folks can find anything they need from diapers to creamed vegetables.

Cynthia Goward – everyone calls her Cindy – is the ringleader of the New Haven Food Pantry and if you see her going into a Meijers, Krogers or other local business she may be going to thank the manager for their donation of food or funds. And while she’s there, she just might mention another pressing need at the pantry. Cindy is someone that you just want to say yes to. I drove away vowing to keep them in mind for anything else The Cleaning Authority could help with.

Which reminds me, I promised to take a bunch of our five gallon buckets over to Cindy for the community garden that they’re putting in again this spring. I’m really looking forward to another visit.

If you want to feel good about where your donation of food or money is going to, contact Cindy Goward by phone at (586) 749-3688. If you’d like to send a monetary donation, the mailing address is 58725 Haven Ridge Rd., New Haven, MI  48048. And if you are having trouble getting enough to eat, please call and find out how The New Haven Food Pantry can help you.

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No Drive Food Drive

can food2We can add another environmental R to Recycle, Reduce, Reuse, and Repurpose: Redistribute! And The Cleaning Authority wants to start with all that extra food in your cupboard. This week TCA crews are dropping off flyers at the over 500 locations we service, getting the word out about what we’re calling the No Drive Food Drive, our partnership with the Macomb County Food Program. From now until Friday, January 18th, customers can leave all sorts of healthy packaged goods–and personal care products, too–out on their kitchen tables on cleaning day, and TCA will pick them up for delivery to the MCFP pantry.

man2
How difficult must it be for a father to have to ask for help to feed his family?

According to Cynthia Goward of the New Haven location of MCFP, hearty items like tuna and stews are especially needed, as are canned fruit, vegetables and whole grain items. All donations stay in the county. Most recipients are from households that are experiencing a sudden and unexpected loss of income or increase in expense, and a more permanent solution has not yet been found.

The Macomb Food Program is a community non-profit organization 501(c)3 started in 1975. In fiscal year 2012, approximately 56,000 households requested emergency food from the network of 55 pantry sites located throughout the county. This represents a 20% increase in requests over the previous year.

Giving is a Christmas tradition.I’m an optimist, and I see our beautiful state of Michigan turning the corner on recovery these days, but there are some who are still suffering the effects of the downturn. Giving is a Christmas tradition going all the way back to the three wisemen, so please take a couple of minutes to see if there are food and personal care items that you can share, and if you aren’t one of our current customers, take the time to find a food drive near you. Let’s all Redistribute this holiday season. Bless you all.

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