Eggs are one of the foods vegans choose to eliminate as part of their diet. As a result, foods such as meringues, angel food cakes and souffles are foods that they must also do without. There has been no way to duplicate the consistency of egg whites until now. Goose Wohlt, a software engineer from Indiana, has developed a meringue made from the liquid within a can of chickpeas. In combination with sugar, it whips up to a consistency similar to egg whites. “Aquafaba”(which is the name of Mr. Wohlt’s company) is derived from the Latin meaning water and beans. The consistency can be used in everything from purees, pancakes, and in the future, mayonnaise. Egg whites are 90% water and about 10% protein. Whipping unfolds the proteins and allows air bubbles to be trapped which gives it height and lightness. Chickpea water is a mixture of protein and starch which also has the ability to trap air and slow down collapse of the mixture. The water from chickpeas which was discarded in the past, has replaced the use of protein powders, starches and gums as an emulsifier. These food items were previously used to replicate the texture of egg whites. Hummus, which is produced from chickpeas, is extremely popular in America. Until recently gallons and gallons of the liquid from the cans was discarded. Now vegan companies are hooking up with companies that produce hummus and are buying this liquid by the gallons.

Bricks? Living Concrete?

Scientists have developed a way of transforming sand and gelatin to useable construction material through the use of microorganisms. This gooey mixture can be transformed to a solid mass by infusing it with living bacteria which can then continue to reproduce copies of itself. These bricks will in turn absorb greenhouse gases as opposed to releasing them. The University of Colorado Boulder’s division The College of Engineering and Applied Science developed this process by working with a type of cyanobacterium. When exposed to daylight, these organisms absorb sunlight and carbon dioxide while releasing calcium chloride. This is the same component found in seashells and cement.  Initially, this structural scaffolding of sand and gelatin is allowed to set in a mold.  The cyanobacterium, after being heated, is allowed to grow and fill in the gaps forming a solid structure. To reproduce the bricks all that is needed is to split a brick, add more gelatin and sand to the mold and allow the bacterium to grow again and fill in the cracks. The process can make it extremely easy to build in areas where resources are scarce such as installations in the desert. The process requires photosynthetic bacteria, sunlight, water and CO2. Producing cement requires burning fossil fuel which increases greenhouse emissions at a rate of 7% worldwide. More work has to be done to improve the resilience of these bricks since they do better in a more humid environment. It is also possible that different strains of bacteria have the power to sense their environments, different pH levels as well as different toxins in the air.

A Farm in My Spare Room

A growing trend has evolved where homeowners are actually making a good living using a spare room or a garage to produce tasty tiny greens. They are known as micro-farmers and they use a system called hydroponics to grow their produce. Greens are grown in vertically stacked trays beneath LED lights in nutrient rich water instead of soil. Micro-greens are the first tiny greens to sprout from plants. Consumer demand for locally grown food is increasing. The greens are ready in two weeks and are 20 to 30% fresher then greens grown outside a particular area. Other benefits include a lot more food can be grown in a lot less space. About 20 times as much per unit area as does conventional farming. This is all done without pesticides.

“Olderbrother Clothing” out of Portland Oregon

Olderbrother Clothing is a company that works their clothing line
environmental impact and social responsibility. The cotton
used in their
clothing is grown by farmers in the US who are all
members of the
Sustainable Cotton Project. Cleaner Cotton Growers,
as they are known,
grow their cotton by being mindful of land, air
and water in their
surrounding regions. In addition to this,
Olderbrother Clothing uses
coloring made from natural sources such
as Turmeric to get a rich yellow
color. They are also experimenting
with fabric made from Japanese rice
paper. All articles are cut,
sewn and dyed in Los Angeles.
Bobby Bonaparte and Max Kingery
have made clothing that is good
enough to be buried in your
backyard when it is no longer wearable.