A Little More Good » San Francisco http://www.alittlemoregood.com Good Companies, Good Causes, Good Ideas Sat, 27 Jul 2013 05:10:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.2 Urban Air Market : Crafts for the Conscious Consumer http://www.alittlemoregood.com/blog/san-francisco/urban-air-market-crafts-for-the-conscious-consumer/ http://www.alittlemoregood.com/blog/san-francisco/urban-air-market-crafts-for-the-conscious-consumer/#comments Tue, 07 May 2013 15:25:17 +0000 noraoppenheim http://www.alittlemoregood.com/?p=9299

This way to local, sustainable arts and crafts.

On Sunday, just as San Francisco’s heat wave had ended, local artisans set up shop in Hayes Valley for a sustainable craft fair. Now, I normally despise the practice of ‘event review’ because you were either there or you weren’t, and it’s better to know what’s going on ahead of time, right? But I myself only found out the morning of, so without time to warn anyone, I grabbed my camera and ran out (ok, so my camera happens to also be my phone and the first time I ran out I just missed the bus and because it was Sunday and another one wasn’t coming for awhile, I went home for a bit before I left again, this time at a more leisurely pace).

I’m sure you’re wondering, as I was, what would be different about a craft fair that focuses on sustainability. The answer is, not very much! And this is a good thing! With today’s focus on sustainable methods and materials, it’s sort of a given that a local boutique will only get more customers in the door (or craft fair stall, in this case) with sustainable practices. And on the other hand, although sustainability was the focus of this event, few of the sellers I saw were advertising that their product stood out for environmental reasons, indicating that it’s no longer what sets an artist or artisan apart from the crowd (also a good thing!).

Below are some pictures to highlight just a few of the many dedicated local people, creating products that are as beautiful as they are good for the world or the community (or both).

There was this, but there was so much more! Next time I’ll do my homework and let y’all know ahead of time, instead of after-the-fact. At the very least, you can rest assured that San Francisco isn’t all talk – we’ve got tons of people around who care about the world and are doing their part to keep it good while having fun and making some beauty. Until next time!

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Bee-Cause: Giving Beekeeping A Good Name http://www.alittlemoregood.com/blog/san-francisco/bee-cause-giving-beekeeping-a-good-name/ http://www.alittlemoregood.com/blog/san-francisco/bee-cause-giving-beekeeping-a-good-name/#comments Wed, 01 May 2013 14:58:50 +0000 noraoppenheim http://www.alittlemoregood.com/?p=9176 San Francisco non-profit Bee-Cause is pretty much the gift that keeps on giving. This small but sturdy bee-keeping organization has for its motto, “Helping bees, helping people”. That about sums it up!

Courtesy sfbeecause.org

Eating local honey and helping sustain local bee populations is reward on its own, but Bee-Cause takes it one step further by vowing to contribute more than honey to the community. The organization aims not only to raise honeybees, but goes above and beyond to educate locals about beekeeping and urban agriculture. Using funds from honey sales and donations, they train and offer employment to those who may have a difficult time finding it otherwise. This involves programs for San Francisco youth, who can always benefit from extracurriculars, mentoring, and new skills. It also includes transitional employment for adults whose backgrounds may preclude them from employment through the conventional channels.  SFBC calls San Bruno Avenue home, where its “Bee-Farm” is the site of an apiary (fancy word for bee farm) as well as classes on pollination and beekeeping. They maintain plants there for the bees to pollinate; plants that, when mature, can be harvested to feed humans.

The San Bruno Avenue Apiary
Photo: sfbeecause.org

In addition to the San Bruno Ave home-base, SFBC keeps hives at Alemany Farm and Hayes Valley Farm, so your chances of encountering them are plentiful. Even if bees gross you out or scare you a bit, SFBC is always accepting donations from well-meaning citizens. They also offer their services to people with unwanted honeybee colonies; a quick call to SFBC will have them come by to safely extract the colony or swarm, and ferry it back to the Bee-Farm to contribute to our local honey supply. So let’s see: urban farming, local goods, community development, household services… Is there anything these bee-keepers don’t do??

For more information, check out sfbeecause.org

Up-to-date information on classes, workshops, and volunteer opportunities can be found at the SFBC facebook page.

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Just One Tree Envisions A Treerific Future http://www.alittlemoregood.com/blog/san-francisco/just-one-tree-envisions-a-treerific-future/ http://www.alittlemoregood.com/blog/san-francisco/just-one-tree-envisions-a-treerific-future/#comments Sun, 21 Apr 2013 23:11:06 +0000 noraoppenheim http://www.alittlemoregood.com/?p=9266 When life gives you lemon trees, register those suckers. Just One Tree is one extremely focused organization. The immediate goal? Register all lemon trees in San Francisco. The long-term plan? Start by making San Francisco self-sufficient in lemon production, and then move on to other produce.

Just One Tree is launched under the umbrella organization Urban Resource Systems, whose goal is to encourage cities to produce more of their own resources. Projects in the past have included a compost drive with the zoo, and the San Francisco Greenhouse Project, a combined agriculture / education initiative. What’s neat about the lemon tree project is it envisions a future where the city grows at least the majority of its food, but it starts small, with just one crop, to make the whole plan more manageable. Today, lemons. Tomorrow, the world.

Photo: justonetree.org

Why lemons? Because lemons are versatile: useful for food, drink, and even cleaning products. Beyond that, lemons can grow in San Francisco, and do grow, year round. The basic idea is, if we can grow lemons here in our own backyard (literally), why are we having lemons sent up from Southern California? As if we needed one more reason to resent SoCal!

Just One Tree is running a massive publicity campaign to get out the word about registering your lemon tree, and their website involves lemon recipes, lists of resources if you want to buy and plant your own lemon tree, and a lemon tree map of San Francisco, where you can see all the registered lemon trees in one spot. Next time you spot a lemon tree, ask the owner if they’ve registered it. The goal is 12,000 trees, so every lemon counts.

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826 Valencia’s One-Stop Shop for Writers and Pirates http://www.alittlemoregood.com/blog/san-francisco/826-valencias-one-stop-shop-for-writers-and-pirates/ http://www.alittlemoregood.com/blog/san-francisco/826-valencias-one-stop-shop-for-writers-and-pirates/#comments Thu, 18 Apr 2013 15:13:16 +0000 noraoppenheim http://www.alittlemoregood.com/?p=9040

Photo: 826valencia.org

826 Valencia might not seem like a do-gooder kind of place from the outside. It’s got a crazy window display and an inventive mural up top by Chris Ware that only hint at what’s to come if you walk inside. Once you’re in though, you’re likely to want to stick around. The storefront houses the West Coast’s only pirate supply shop, and that’s just the beginning. Yes, you can buy a replacement peg leg, and yes, you can purchase an eye patch. But all of that, plus the large selection of books, magazines, and DVDs for sale, all by local imprint McSweeney’s Publishing, is just the storefront. Past the nautical rope is the real reason for 826 Valencia: a non-profit organization that helps local kids shape and polish their writing.

The writing center / pirate store has been around for over 10 years now, but in a city that values the latest trends, in a neighborhood that’s always changing, this place never gets old. Started by Dave Eggers in 2002 (you may know his hit memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius), the author used his fame and connections to start this amazingly awesome organization, originally housed in the same building as Eggers’s publishing company, McSweeney’s. As the story goes, the space they leased on Valencia was zoned for commercial retail, so even though they just wanted a place for kids to come and write, by law they needed to sell something. After some brainstorming, they figured why not have a pirate store? And in the end, it turned out to be a pretty good marketing tool… get people in the door through appealing to hipness and imagination, then tell them about the volunteer opportunities that exist behind the rope.

Photo: 826valencia.org

826 has expanded to other cities in its 10 years in existence, and now even has an umbrella branch, 826 National, which works to manage all the organizations. At 826NYC you’ll find a superhero store in front of the tutoring center; in LA, a time travel store. Chicago has a spy store, and Washington, DC houses the Museum of Unnatural History.

826 has tons of fun programs to get kids excited about writing, which is the whole idea. They go into schools to do poetry and college essay workshops, but school classes come to 826 Valencia to make books together and learn how to write poetry about stinky stocks or dinosaurs living in the basement. There are also volunteers at the center almost every afternoon to sit with students  to offer help while they do their homework.  826 has succeeded in creating an exciting environment for kids to work one-on-one (or nearly one-on-one) with volunteers, and has drawn volunteers in by being such an exciting place and having ties to the literary world.

Next time you’re in SF, come by the pirate store and check out some of the published work from 826 students. You might find yourself wishing you had this magical place in your city!

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Download and Move to Do Good. http://www.alittlemoregood.com/blog/good-news/download-and-move-to-do-good/ http://www.alittlemoregood.com/blog/good-news/download-and-move-to-do-good/#comments Wed, 17 Apr 2013 13:56:05 +0000 Amy Height http://www.alittlemoregood.com/?p=9234 Avid runners, cyclists, and walkers: listen up! Those miles you’re logging each week at the gym or in the park can do more good than you may know. In addition to reducing stress, maintaining weight, lowering blood pressure, and increasing metabolism, these heart-healthy activities can now warm the ole’ ticker in a new way.

Check out Charity Miles, the brand new app for Apple and Android devices that allows you to log miles for a charity while you workout. It’s motivating, empowering, and an easy way to make a big difference simply by doing what you’re already doing!

Download the app for free… the rest is pretty simple!

Swipe the screen before your workout, select a charity, and get going. The app logs your miles as you go, assigning a dollar value to your distance (10 cents/ mile for cyclists and 25 cents/ mile for runners and walkers). Charity Miles is big on extending its reach – afterall, the more people inspired to move and contribute, the better! – so they ask that after a workout, users share their achievements with the Charity Miles community and sponsors. Not too tough at all, considering you’re now a ‘sponsored athlete’! Users generate more interest, awareness, and commitment from others as they continue to log miles, which amplifies the potential benefit of this app immensely.

Organizations that benefit from miles logged include the ASPCA, Partnership for a Healthier America, Pencils for Promise, Habitat for Humanity, DoSomething.org, Stand Up 2 Cancer, Red (to Benefit the Global Fund), The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, The Nature Conservancy, Ironman Foundation, Wounded Warrior Project, Autism Speaks, and Every Mother Counts.

As Charity Miles says, changing the world is a team sport – so throw on the spandex, grab your smartphone, and inspire big changes just by getting physical.

(The extra movement in your life is a not-so-hidden added benefit. Go to it!)

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