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New report says Baltimore's bike population is growing

Baltimore isn't as big of a biking city as, say, Portland, Ore., or Minneapolis.

Those are the top two cities for bikers. But the percentage of Baltimoreans who enjoy commuting by bike is growing, according to the League of American Bicyclists.

Baltimore ranked No. 26 on its list of top cities for bikers. Washington, D.C., Seattle and San Francisco rounded out the top five.

Just 1 percent of Baltimore residents commuted by bike last year. But that's a long way up from the .2 percent of city residents who did so in 1990, a 321 percent increase. The report also showed that 27 percent of the city's residents commute by either foot, bike or public transit.

See the entire report here

Baltimore named the 12th most energy efficient city

Baltimore was ranked No. 12 on a list of cities that make the best use of their resources and use less energy.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy ranks 34 of the most populous U.S. cities and ranks them according to how well their policies and actions advance energy efficiency. Baltimore was cited for its low transportation energy consumption per capita, shipping freight via rail and sea, and the city's goal to reduce energy consumption by 15 percent by 2015. 

Boston came in at No. 1, followed by Portland, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Austin.

Real Food Farm takes its farmers market on the road with a food truck

Farmers' markets have become popular across Baltimore, but according to Inhabitat.com, Real Food Farm is taking the farmers' market idea one step further.

The design and sustaintability weblog reports that Real Food Farm has established a "mobile market" food truck that brings fresh produce to the area surrounding Clifton Park in northeast Baltimore. This area is a food desert, a place where residents may not have access to a supermarket.

Designed by students at the Maryland Institute College of Art, the truck delivers fresh produce from the Real Food Farm's location in Clifton Park and makes scheduled stops at farmers' markets, private houses and schools.

Read the full story here.

And see BmoreMedia's feature on "Green Masterminds" like Real Food Farm. 

Baltimore named one the best cities to live without a car

A recent study published in CreditDonkey, a financial education website, ranked Baltimore among the best cities to live practically car free.

The website used three factors to determine the rankings: the percentage of people who commute to work using public transit, gas prices and commute time. 

Baltimore ranked ninth, ranking higher than Portland, Ore., but preceded by Los Angeles, Calif. According to CreditDonkey, Baltimore’s public transit system, including subway, light rail and buses, makes it easy for residents to get around the city and to and from the suburbs.

The top three cities to live car free were New York, N.Y., San Francisco, Calif., and Washington, D.C.

See the full list here.

Md. oyster population up for the second year in a row

Maryland's oyster population is growing again, thanks to Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts, writes the Daily Times of Salisbury, which ran an Associated Press story.

An oyster survey from the Department of Natural Resources showed population increases and that two oyster diseases are below long-term averages.

"DNR Fisheries Service Director Tom O’Connell said oysters may be developing a resistance to the diseases, helped by the establishment of sanctuaries that provide adult oysters 'with a safe place where they can handle the stresses of disease and the ups and downs of reproduction,'" writes the Daily Times.

You can read the entire story here.

Maryland unveils database of the state's 131 farmers' markets

Wanna know where to find all the farmers' markets in your area? The Maryland Department of Agriculture has released a database of the state's 131 farmers' markets, MDBizNews writes

"The Maryland’s Best website now includes extensive, searchable information on market locations, hours, producers, vendors and product listings. A paper version of the 2013 Maryland Farmers’ Market Directory will also available in mid-May from MDA’s Marketing Division in Annapolis," MDBizNews says.

To find your local farmer's market, go on the Maryland's Best website and enter "farmer's market" in the search category. 

New York Times food writers are reading the Baltimore City Paper

Writers for the New York Times Diner's Journal rounded up their list of favorite food stories. 

Along with stories in Esquire and Business Week, Times dining bloggers are reading a Baltimore City Paper feature on a Maryland father-and-son team who are making artisanal cider and mead.

"Just a few weeks ago, I was at some holiday party of the not-very-interesting variety. Then a guest opened a bottle of cider they’d brought—Millstone Cellars’ Ciderberry blend—and things suddenly got very interesting," Baltimore City Paper writes. 

TripAdvisor names Inn at the Black Olive a top 10 small hotel

Two Baltimore travel properties have received national recognition.

Travelers have named the Inn at the Black Olive as one of top-rated small hotels in the country, according to TripAdvisor, which unveiled its Travelers' Choice 2013 awards.

The Fells Point property scored an impressive No. 3 ranking on the list of small hotels, behind Inn of the Five Graces in Santa Fe., N.M., and Wentworth Mansion in Charleston, S.C. Billing itself as a "premiere boutique organic hotel," it is owned by the Spiliadis family, who also operate the Black Olive and Olive Room restaurants. 

The award also recognized Rachael Dowry's Bed and Breakfast in its list of top bed and breakfasts and inns. The Ridgely's Delight property came in at No. 6. Point Clear Cottages in Fairhope, Ala., the Welsh Hills Inn in Granville, Ohio and Stony Point Bed & Breakfast in Tyrone, Pa. were the top three. 

New York Times: Woodberry Kitchen Stocks Up for the Winter

How do restaurants serve up the freshest produce in the winter? They can, store and preserve, says the New York Times, which prominently features Woodberry Kitchen in its feature on how restaurants are saving up for the winter. 

"At Woodberry Kitchen, the chef Spike Gjerde collaborates with local growers to stock an abundant pantry, serving diners at his 162-seat restaurant," the Times writes. 

" 'We got in the kitchen and froze 10 cases of tomatoes and roasted, peeled and seeded 10 cases of peppers,'” Gjerde tells the Times.

The story also mentions Carroll County's Black Ankle Vineyards, which supplies grapes to Woodberry.

You can read the entire story here

Science Study: Baltimore and Minneapolis Look Alike

If you think a lot of cities are starting to look the same, you may be onto something.

The National Science Foundation is undertaking a massive, four-year study to examine the urban ecology of six cities: Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, Phoenix and Baltimore. And researchers have found so far that the ecosystems in each are starting to resemble one another, the New York Times writes. 

"Scientists studying the function of urban ecosystems are developing theories of what they refer to as ecological homogenization," the Times writes. "Places like Baltimore, Minneapolis and Phoenix appear to be becoming more like one another ecologically than they are like the wild environments around them."

You can read the entire story here

Johns Hopkins Gets $6M for Wind Farm Design

Johns Hopkins University says it received $6 million from the National Science Foundation to improve wind farm design, writes the Associated Press in a story carried in BloombergBusinessweek. 

"The researchers will study how to match the varying output of wind farms with power grids that provide a constant flow of electricity to customers," BloombergBusinessweek writes. "Johns Hopkins says researchers from Texas Tech, Smith College and the University of Puerto Rico along with European researchers from Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium and Spain will also participate in the studies."

You can read the rest of the story here

BloombergBusinessweek Features Baltimore's Solution to Food Deserts

BloombergBusinessweek recognizes the expansion of Baltimarket, a virtual grocery shopping solution for the one out of five Baltimore residents who live in food deserts.
Baltimarket originally took food orders in public libraries when it opened in March 2010 but now targets the 16 public housing developments located in food deserts, especially senior centers, BloombergBusinessweek says.

The project allows residents with low incomes and no vehicles, to order groceries, including healthy meal options, without paying a hefty taxi fee to travel to grocery stores across the city.
Read more here.

Rodgers Forge Native Walks 400 Miles to Yale

Complaining about your commute? Rodgers Forge native Gabe Acheson puts you to shame.
The Park School of Baltimore graduate traveled roughly 400 miles on foot to Yale University where he was accepted, in order to follow through the promise he made in his admissions essay, according to the Baltimore Sun. "As I was writing essays, I thought about how I'd always wanted to do something like this," Acheson says.

"I figured if I put it in an essay, that would force me to follow through on my plan.” Acheson took on the Appalachian Trail, propelled by carbohydrate snacks and Google Maps.
Read more about his journey here.

Ancient Water Found Under Maryland

Maryland is sitting on ancient water.  

Some of the groundwater in the upper Patapsco aquifer is more than a million years old, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. 

"Groundwater age indicates the length of time that a sample of water has been in the ground since infiltrating from the land surface," the U.S. Geological Survey says in a news release. "This study reveals that modern pumping in southern Maryland west of the Chesapeake Bay and on the Eastern Shore is tapping groundwater resources that have accumulated in the aquifer over multiple cycles of climate change and are not quickly recharging." 

There are few aquifers in the world containing million-year-old groundwater, according to the USGS. They include the Nubian aquifer in the Sahara Desert, Canada's Alberta Basin and the Great Artesian Basin in Australia. 

Baltimore Ranks No. 15 Among Cities With Plentiful Parks

Baltimore has a decent amount of green space, according to ParkScore.

The rating system for city parks analyzed 40 largest U.S. cities and used mapping technology and demographic data to determine how well each city is meeting the need for parks. 

Baltimore ranked No. 15 on its list, ahead of Phoenix, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Mo., and Long Beach, Calif. 

San Francisco, Sacramento, Calif., Boston, New York and Washington, D.C. rounded out the top five. 

Baltimore got a ParkScore of 54 out of 100 and found that approximately 10 percent of the city is dedicated to park land. You can read more of ParkScore's analysis of Baltimore parks here. To see the whole ranking, click here

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