This mushroom eats plastic

A newly-discovered type of mushroom could not only play a crucial role in slashing plastic pollution, but could have myriad other uses in addressing the environmental plastics crises the planet faces. Discovered in 2012 by Yale University students, Pestalotiopsis microspora is a rare species of mushroom from the Amazon rainforest that’s capable of subsisting on a diet of pure plastic, or more accurately, the main ingredient in plastic–polyurethane–before converting the human-made ingredient into purely organic matter. It can live off of our plastic waste, without oxygen–meaning that the rare breed of mushroom would make an ideal agent for landfill clean-up, literally from the bottom-up.

Market readies for season

The market provides an active family oriented atmosphere offering a variety of local, handmade, and homemade goods and services. Interested Venders should email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with information about your products or services. We had a fantastic year at Merchantville Market Off Centre. In fact, we had our best year yet. With a great core group of consistent vendors who are already looking forward to 2019. We want to thank everyone who came out to support the market, whether it be customer, vendor or volunteer, you are very important to us. Keep coming back and spread the word. Merchantville's Market Off Centre will have hours from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Daffodil Fest on April 13th.

Edible garden weeds

Warm March wind, flowering redbuds, and the greening of the lawn: all suggestions of spring. Early spring is when some of the most prolific, most accessible wild edibles make their first appearances of the year. It's when edible plants are at their tenderest and tastiest. And your own backyard might just be the most convenient and most productive place you'll find to forage this time of year. Here are a few of the more common edible weeds that are likely lurking in your yard and garden.

Ocean plastics get upcycled

Launching Summer 2019 is LowTides Ocean Products and they are celebrating Earth Month with the world's most eco-friendly chair. Built with 2.5 pounds of up-cycled ocean plastic, you too can be the solution to cleaner tides. Look good with a purpose. New styles for a new generation. 95% of Plastics are Used Once; LowTides stylish & durable design is built to make a difference. Each beach chair is made with over 2lb of upcycled plastic. LowTides is the brainchild of a true Jersey boy. Growing up along the water's edge with his cousins on 80th Street in Sea Isle City, New Jersey to now taking his family there, Brent Hutchinson realized that if nothing was done, future generations will not be able to do the same.

Trees have a heartbeat

Until now, scientists thought water moved through trees by osmosis, in a somewhat continuous manner. Now they’ve discovered the trunks and branches of trees are actually contracting and expanding to “pump” water up from the roots to the leaves, similar to the way our heart pumps blood through our bodies. The only difference between our pulse and a tree’s is a tree’s is much slower, “beating” once every two hours or so, and instead of regulating blood pressure, the heartbeat of a tree, regulates water pressure. “We’ve discovered that most trees have regular periodic changes in shape, synchronized across the whole plant … which imply periodic changes in water pressure,” András Zlinszky of Aarhus University in the Netherlands told New Scientist.

More towns stop recycling

Recycling, for decades an almost reflexive effort by American households and businesses to reduce waste and help the environment, is collapsing in many parts of the country. Philadelphia is now burning about half of its 1.5 million residents’ recycling material in an incinerator that converts waste to energy. In Memphis, the international airport still has recycling bins around the terminals, but every collected can, bottle and newspaper is sent to a landfill. And last month, officials in the central Florida city of Deltona faced the reality that, despite their best efforts to recycle, their curbside program was not working and suspended it. Those are just three of the hundreds of towns and cities across the country that have canceled recycling programs, limited the types of material they accepted or agreed to huge price increases. 

Recycling bench update

Recycling Bench Update: Our bins should arrive in a week. In the meantime, please start collection of the following items: Grocery bags, Bread bags, Dry cleaning bags, Newspaper sleeves, Ziploc and other reclosable bags, Bubble wrap, Cereal bags, Produce bags, Ice bags, Wood pellet bags, Case overwrap and Salt bags. Simply bag them up in a trash bag or a large grocery bag, and once the collection bins are placed in town, you can begin the drop-off. Our goal is 500 lbs. of materials between EARTH DAY (4/22) and October 22nd. Putting a collection bin beside your trash can at home can help your family make good decisions about waste disposal. BUSINESS OWNERS: We are in need of locations in town willing to host a collection bin for the 6 month period. Besides hosting the bin you will have no responsibilities, as volunteers will collect the materials on a regular basis. Please reach out to me on facebook or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to offer your space.

Prepping for beans

Soil preparation began along the tennis courts at Wellwood Memorial Park, between Linden and Hamilton Avenues, today for one of IE Merchantville's small action, edible garden projects. Core working group members, Joan Brennan and Marie Hanna, worked to clear the brick perimeter planter of leaves, weeds and debris to lay the groundwork for "Jack's Beanstalks" plantings that will grow up and along the built-in chain link trellis around the courts. 

FoodSmiles St. Albans

Sometimes finding a suitable growing site is just the start of the journey.  This story from Incredible Edible St Albans shows how shear determination and playing the waiting game can result in an Incredible new community growing space. FoodSmiles St Albans, a small Community Supported Agriculture scheme, had been going for a couple of years, when the local council offered them a new opportunity: an unloved piece of land in the middle of St Albans town centre, next to an NCP car park, which they thought would be great to create a community garden. Little did Naomi know it would be 2.5 years later before the growing started.

SEED: The Untold Story

Several residents gathered at Eilandarts Center to view a screening of "SEED: The Untold Story" on Friday, March 29th hosted by Incredible Edible Merchantville. The movie chronicles passionate seed keepers protecting our 12,000 year-old food legacy. Few things on Earth are as miraculous and vital as seeds. Worshipped and treasured since the dawn of humankind. In the last century, 94% of our seed varieties have disappeared. As biotech chemical companies control the majority of our seeds, farmers, scientists, lawyers, and indigenous seed keepers fight a David and Goliath battle to defend the future of our food. In a harrowing and heartening story, these heroes rekindle a lost connection to our most treasured resource and revive a culture connected to seeds. 

Recycle benches

TREX, a company that makes recycled plastic wood substitutes, offers the opportunity to win a FREE recycled park bench to communities that participate in a recycling program. I'm reaching out to gauge public interest and see if any businesses in our town would be interested in hosting a drop-off bin. To win a bench, we would need to collect 500 pounds of plastic refuse in a six-month span (about 40,500 plastic bags), which sounds crazy, but that's only about 11 bags per resident (based on ~3,700 population). Please reach out to me This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by message if you have interest as I am happy to head up this effort. 

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