Bamboo Sporks be with you

Last night we took the kids down to the beach for an end-of-summer picnic, and picnics always remind me of how much I love my reusable bamboo Spork. So I figured, what better time than now to honor and reflect on one of our all time coolest products.

So simple, so functional, and so aesthetically pleasing, the reusable Spork is the epitome of sustainable simplicity. Crafted from bamboo scraps at the Bambu® factory where so many of our bamboo kitchenwares are produced, each Spork rescues a sliver of bamboo from the waste heap, and then, over the course of its long life, goes on to eliminate the need for thousands of disposable plastic utensils. With just a few basic tools, the individual scraps of bamboo are readily shaped into Sporks — no glues or wood stains required.

I always keep a Spork behind my desk here Bambu Batu, and believe it or not I’ve been using the same one for about 5 years now. And the thing is good as new. Whether I’m picking up lunch from one of our cafe neighbors or bringing in some snacks from home, my trustee Spork is always here, ready to get the job done. And it didn’t take long at all to train the cafe staff NOT to put the usual plastic forks and spoons into my take-out lunch.

If you need to improve your workplace utensils, or want to be prepared on your next picnic, road trip, or backpacking excursion, we have several options to meet your needs. For the serious Spork enthusiast, check out the Spork n Cork (a bamboo Spork in a stylish cork carrying case). Or step it up a notch with the To-Go Ware utensil set, comes complete with bamboo fork, spoon, knife and chopsticks, in a handy case with velcro closure and carabiner clip.

To-Go Ware Bamboo Utensil Set

Bamboo Spork and cork carrying case

 

 

 

bamboo iPhone 5 case

After spending a good chunk of hard-earned cash on a smartphone or tablet, it is wise to find a way to protect the device from all of the perils of the modern age. Your electronics may be powerful, but they are still susceptible to drops, cracks, scratches, and the occasional teething baby. Portland, Oregon-based company, PRiNK offers a fashionable and sustainable option for those who wish to remain tech-savvy while also keeping the health of the planet in mind. Once we saw that they produce shells for iPhone and iPad in bamboo, we took notice. Upon finding that they helped to fund the planting of 2,000 trees in the Pacific Northwest last year alone from the profits of their merchandise, we simply had to carry their cases. As an added bonus, they have a partnership with Arbor, one of the most enlightened bamboo clothing companies out there. As members of the Forest Stewardship Council and Fair Labor Association, you can be assured of a quality product that respects both humans and the environment.

Bambu Batu plans to be featuring several sizes of their bamboo mobile device cases for iPhones and iPads with the Arbor logo, our famous “Kale” emblem, stylish Om label, and “B Here Now” mantra. Custom etched designs are also available for anyone with a favorite image or artistic streak! Stay tuned for the newest exciting addition to the Bambu Batu family!

 

greenhouse

What could be a more appropriate use for salvaged wood than use in a recycled greenhouse? Once a thriving organism in its own right, timber rescued from wine barrels, barns, old doors and retaining walls can become a shelter for developing seedlings. A Place to Grow | Recycled Greenhouses recognizes the potential in scrapped wood and bestows upon the material a new life as an environmentally conscious greenhouse, shed, or outdoor studio space.

Operated by San Luis Obispo residents Dana and Sean O’Brien, the company prides itself in finding a solution to construction waste and creating beautiful bespoke structures. Dana boasts a finance degree from Cal Poly SLO, over 20 years as a government employee, and an active role in Habitat for Humanity. Sean graduated with a degree in computer science from Cal Poly, has been a software engineer for more than 25 years, and possesses a California contractor’s license. Together, the O’Briens created their business to pursue their passions for eco-friendly building.

A Place to Grow has been honored by the Martha Stewart American Made Contest, and has created greenhouses for Sage nursery in Los Osos and private residences up and down the Central Coast. For more information, contact A Place to Grow through their website, or email Dana at dana@recycledgreenhouses.com.

The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change

Looking for some light summer reading to keep yourself entertained while also staying informed on matters of international and scientific importance? Look no further. “The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change”, by Grady Klein and Yoram Bauman, is now available. You may remember these characters from their fully-illustrated yet unlikely literary debut, “The Cartoon Introduction to Economics”, which elucidated the dismal science with whimsical clarity. Think of it as a cross between “Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar” by Thomas Cathcart & Daniel Klein and “Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi.

Their latest joint venture takes the most contentious topic in contemporary American politics and spells it out so plainly that even a Tea Party member could understand it. Students, skeptics and scaredy-cats could all stand to gain from a close reading of these climate change comics. Check your local book store or order online today. “The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change” is sure to be a hot seller.

Lush, green, and hardy, bamboo sets the stage for the perfect garden getaway. When planted in thickets, the grass forms walls that provide privacy and quiet. When in clumps, bamboo is an excellent highlight to just about any backyard.

You already know who’s got the best selection of bamboo clothing and textiles on the planet, but Paso Bamboo Farm and  Nursery is the only place on the Central Coast where you will find timber and exotic bamboos ready to be planted in your yard! The Nursery carries thirteen different species that tolerate extreme temperatures and are available in 5, 15, and 25 gallon containers, or can be dug to order. The staff is also able to create bamboo installations for home and business.

In addition to growing the their beautiful specimens of bamboo, the Nursery holds educational talks throughout the county. The owners love to inform the public as to the remarkable qualities of the plant. Easy to maintain, bamboo is an attractive way to sequester carbon and filter the air. Able to harvested for  building material, craft, or textiles, the giant green stalks are as practical as they are ornamental.

Interested green thumbs are encouraged to visit the Paso Bamboo Farm and Nursery at 5590 North River Road in Paso Robles. For more information, head over to their official site and discover a world of versatile, verdant bamboo!

 

Jewelry is a purely ornamental aspect of style and unique representation of personal style. Worn to accentuate the features, each pair of earrings, bracelet, or ring enhances an outfit and serves an example of human craft. Sadly, accessories are all too often sourced from materials surrounded with environmental or political origins. Artistry can be replaced by forced labor, and transform a product from a thing of great artistry to a disposable fashion industry trinket. Takobia jewelry offers beautiful sterling silver and iron jewelry that gives back to a worthy cause. The Waterville, Maine-based company is a contributor to Seeds of Peace, the Love and Understanding Program, and Vietnam Relief Services. Each elegantly simple design is created to inspire confidence in the wearer and instill a sense of pride that their purchase goes towards helping those in need. Bambu Batu is proud to carry a wide selection of gorgeous Takobia earrings, perfect for a holiday gift or just for treating yourself!

Transient Design

In the best of all worlds, clothing would be sustainably sourced, ethically produced, and with profits given to those most in need. Not waiting for the fashion industry to see the light, The Transient Design creates an entire closet filled with hand-woven cotton sewed by Thai workers who are paid fair wages. After taxes and production costs are met, 100% of the profits are donated to organizations like the Wildflower Home women’s shelter in Bo Sang. Fabrics are made and dyed with traditional, indigenous methods for gorgeous, robust, comfortable apparel.

Just in time for the holidays, Bambu Batu is proud to carry a selection Transient Design shawls, Thai fisherman’s pants, and pullover jackets. Casually elegant, each piece shows a dedication to craft and commitment to helping those in need. What better way show your affection to someone you care about than to give them to wrap them in a symbol of love? Come and take a look at our newest items!

 

Most Americans associate slavery with a shameful period in the country’s past. However, slavery still exists in many countries that engage in human trafficking. From the sex trade to agriculture and manufacturing, millions of people around the globe are forced into a life of servitude. The Mountainbrook Abolitionists of the Central Coast formed back in 2012 in response to this shameful and pervasive practice. The organization will hold the “Justice Summit: A Holistic Approach to Combating Human Trafficking” on Saturday and Sunday, November 15-17 at the Mountainbrook Community Church. The event will host a number of experts who will speak about their experiences as advocates for change. Guests will include Nola Brantley, founder of MISSEY, Jon Vanek, a specialist in law enforcement, Jocelyn White of the International Justice Mission, Dr. Melissa Farley, Carissa Phelps, the founder of Runway Girl, and others. Topics will cover faith-based community responses, first responders, psychology of trafficking, and restoration. Mountainbrook hopes their efforts will spark and awareness and generate practical solutions.

Tickets for the entire weekend cost $60 and can be purchased online. Single day passes are also available and scholarships can be obtained upon request. For admission and speaker schedules, please visit the Justice Summit website.

Industrial Hemp

For decades, farmers and environmental activists have been trying to legalize nonpsychoactive hemp for cultivation in California. The plants require far less water and fertilizers than cotton, need no herbicides or pesticides, and produce fibers that can be used in everything from paper to clothing. The crop can renew itself every 90 days, making hemp and excellent natural and biodegradable material. Last week, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 566 into law allowing hemp to be grown domestically. California joins nine other states and over 30 countries in its decision to raise hemp. Already a $500 million industry in the state, California will now no longer have to rely upon importing hemp to support manufacturing demand.

The bill was introduced in 2005 by Senator Mark Leno. Since its initial proposal as HR 32 in 1999, the legislation was vetoed  four times by three different governors. Governor Brown struck down the bill in 2011 citing a gap in state and federal policies, although he acknowledged it was “absurd” that the state had to count on Mexico and Canada to provide hemp. With his approval, farmers will now be able to raise “nonpsychoactive types of the plant Cannabis sativa L. and the seed produced therefrom, having no more than 3/10 of 1 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) contained in the dried flowering tops.”

“I have great confidence in a recent statement by Attorney General Eric Holder,” Leno told the SF Bay Guardian. “He’s said that if a state puts into place a legal allowance and regulatory scheme, that the federal government would not interfere with marijuana. Now, we need clarification between hemp and marijuana, but there’s no sensical way that that could be interpreted that hemp is excluded, given that hemp’s not a drug.”

Bambu Batu offers a few hemp items in the shop, but looks forward to seeing more sustainable, locally-grown fibers on the market!

Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curriculum is crucial in preparing our children to live and work in a modern world. Not only do these disciplines support an economy reliant on a well-educated population, but they also open young minds to the beauty and complexity of their surroundings. To make STEM a national priority, associations have created lesson plans, taught master teachers, and lobbied the government for education reform.

Last year, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo helped present the Central Coast STEM Collaborative with a $50,000 grant to assist in their community outreach and develop their programs. The organization is a collaboration between non-profits, educators, and businesses dedicated to ensuring that the children of the Central Coast are ready for college and workforce. Presented in partnership with California STEM Learning Network (CSLNet), the money is seen as an investment into the future of the state.

CCSTEM continues to hold fundraisers in order to provide grants to students, write curriculum, and hold public events. CCSTEM’s next gathering will be held at the Exploration Station in Grover Beach for the Chemistry of Cocktails. The event will take place on Sunday, November 3, 2013 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m, and tickets are available online for $45. This scientific soiree will feature ten local bartenders battling in a mixology competition, food, live music, and silent auction. All proceeds will go to the Exploration Station’s educational program that serves all ages.

Looking to get involved in STEM education? Check out CCSTEM’s page to see how you can build a relationship with SLO’s brightest minds and donate to the cause.

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