All posts by Mayda

Rain Barrels: Catch and Store the Rain

This week’s downpours remind us that nature’s abundance is not always delivered on our schedule.  Erratic weather calls for ingenuity. What could be better than to store all that free water for the coming dry spells of late summer?

Rain barrels, of one form or another, have been around for thousands of years. There are several ways to make your own rain barrel depending on how handy you are with tools and your aesthetic preferences. Plus you can start with just one barrel and add them on for more storage.

A couple of useful videos.  The first is an open screen top barrel:

If you prefer to buy a kit with all the tools and fittings, there are good ones to be found locally. The video below shows the installation of the popular Earth Minded DIY Rain Barrel kit available at Ace Hardware, Home Depot and Rain Brothers:

One more:

You can buy this DIY Rain Barrel Kit at Rain Brothers of Columbus. Make sure you select the right diverter for your downspout size.

So where do you get the barrels? Locally in central Ohio there is Container Management Company,  LLC. They sell a wide variety of refurbished containers for a great deal less than new ones. You can also contact your local soft drink bottler who may also sell syrup barrels to the public.

What about aesthetics, you say? There are lots of creative ways to make those barrels look beautiful as well as useful. Painting your barrels is recommended. It makes them opaque, preventing algae growth inside and preserving your water quality. Plus, barrels lend themselves to coverings of all kinds.  Here are a few ideas:

Of course, if you are not the handy sort, you can buy a ready-made rain barrel. If you are in the City of Columbus or a participating municipality you may qualify for up to $50 rebate on a purchased rain barrel.  Learn more about the Community Backyards Conservation Program.

Store bought rain barrels generally cost around $100 and up.

If you have a rain barrel share a photo and  if you make or buy one after reading this, please comment here and let us know how it turned out.


What’s that weed? It could be Plantain, and it’s edible!

Plantain is thriving in central Ohio neighborhoods right now and it’s edible and medicinal. The leaves are edible raw in salad or cooked as a pot herb, they are very rich in vitamin B1 and riboflavin. Young leaves are more tender.  The herb has a long history of use as an alternative medicine dating back to ancient times.

Always be certain of what your plant is before eating or using. Do your homework first.

Read more about Plantain on this blog article:

Video on identifying broad and narrow leaf plantain:

City of Columbus Hearing on the Local Food Action Plan

Time:           4:00 p.m.
Date:           Thursday, November 3rd, 2016
Location:              Columbus Neighborhood Health Center
Medical Clinic
2300 W Broad St
(614) 645-2300

Notice/Advertisement Title:  Health and Human Services Committee Meeting
Contact Name: Carl G. Williams
Contact Telephone Number: (614)645-0854
Contact Email Address:<>

President Pro Tempore Priscilla R. Tyson, chair of the Health and Human Services Committee will host a public hearing to review the Local Food Action Plan.  The Local Food Action Plan is designed to:  Improve access to nutritious food, and education about healthy food; increase the role of food in economic development; prevent food related waste; and enhance communication and coordination among existing food resources and agencies.

Representatives from the Columbus Public Health and other community stakeholders will be available to present, discuss, and update the community regarding the current status of the plan.

Click here to download the DRAFT Local Food Action Plan

The meeting will be held at:

Time:           4:00 p.m.
Date:           Thursday, November 3rd, 2016
Location:               Columbus Neighborhood Health Center
Medical Clinic
2300 W Broad St
(614) 645-2300

Public Testimony: Public testimony will be accepted. Comments will be limited to three (3) minutes. Individuals wishing to offer testimony must fill out a speaker slip at turn it in between 3:45p.m. to  4:00 p.m., on site, before the hearing convenes.


Columbus Neighborhood Health Center
Medical Clinic
2300 W Broad St
(614) 645-2300

David Hooie

Carl Williams
(614)645-0854 Mobile

Cheryl  Graffagnino

Leanne Brown releases Good and Cheap cookbook to eat better for $4 a day

As her final project for a master’s degree in food studies at New York University, Leanne Brown created a practical cookbook, titled Good and Cheap, which includes over 130 pages of recipes that fit into a $4 a day food budget. Originally written with the intent to help poor families, who may receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, to eat better, the cookbook is a great reference for anyone trying to stretch their grocery budget.

Brown is giving away her cookbook as a free PDF download from her website.

We also have it available for download here. (in case the link above goes away)

green beans recipe good and cheap food


Gringo Loco Taco Cart brings locally grown, gourmet to the street

el gringo loco taco cart columbus ohio organic locally sourcedGringo Loco Taco had it’s soft launch on Friday June 13th at ECDI to a long line of eager customers looking to taste the locally sourced grass-fed beef and free range chicken and other organic ingredients.

Certified executive chef, Will Sheats is the founder of Gringo Loco Taco, a “farm-to-table taqueria” .




Swiss Chard with Local Cream


Separate the stems and leaves of 2 bunches rainbow chard; coarsely chop. Cook the stems, 1 sliced garlic clove and a pinch of salt in olive oil, covered but stirring occasionally, 6 minutes; transfer to a bowl. Cook the leaves, stirring, 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup cream; simmer 3 minutes. Stir in the stems, lemon juice, salt and pepper.