Welcome guest poster, mystery author Deirdre Vern:
Here’s what I love about Anna of Green Talk. Anna is a thinker and a doer. No small task when it comes to living green. As for me, I’m a thinker. I aspire to be green, but I leave the heavy lifting to my alter-ego, CeCe Prentice, the main character in my mystery book, “Drawing Conclusions (A Sketch in Crime Mystery).”
That is, until I got caught on a self-sustaining, hydroponic barge floating along the Hudson River during a hail storm.
I’m a mystery writer and about ten years ago I decided I wanted to learn through my writing. So, I wrote myself an off-beat, off-the-grid, eco-friendly sleuth. With one published book and two more in the works, CeCe and I have come to be the best of pals.
I do the research and she gets her hands dirty composting, farming and diving in the occasional Dumpster. Along the way, I learn a whole lot about green living and CeCe gets to send the bad to guys to jail while keeping the ecosphere in balance.
Back to the hydroponic barge. To further my green research, I made an appointment with GroundWork Hudson Valley, a wonderful organization dedicated to improving neglected neighborhoods through sustainable projects. Their Science Barge, located in downtown Yonkers, is a floating greenhouse, open to the public. I was lucky enough to get a personalized tour during a summer hurricane that only a mystery writer would appreciate as an ominous backdrop to something sinister.
How disappointed was I to find that only good things happened on this barge? Despite being tossed around like a ping pong ball in a clothing dryer, I was amazed at the barge’s production capacity. I was even more amazed that Bob Walters, the Science Barge Director, was dedicated enough to continue the tour through a lightning storm.
Of course Bob was eager to show me the plentiful supply of vegetables and fruits produced in bins of water. Yes, hydroponics really does work. Unlike the ground, where nutrients are diffused through the soil, these floating, edible plants receive exactly the right amount of nutrients to ensure maximum growth. Bucket after bucket of hydroponic plants revealed tomatoes, melons, greens, and lettuce in full bloom.
And as the barge produces its own solar and wind power and collects its own rain, the system works at “zero net carbon emissions, zero pesticides and zero runoff.”
Now that’s impressive.
I couldn’t end this discussion without mentioning the fish swimming in the bins underneath. My first thought was a decorative flourish, but as Bob explained, the fish provide natural fertilizer for the self-contained, hydroponic system.
Could this get any better?
If you love a good mystery story, be sure to check out Deirdre’s book. Here is a short summary of the plot:
“While she never saw eye to eye with her father—the ambitious director of a renowned genetics research center—CeCe Prentice always remained close to her brother, Teddy. When Teddy is found dead at the lab where he worked for their father, CeCe’s efforts to mourn the tragic loss are interrupted by several attempts on her own life.
CeCe is naturally drawn in to the investigation, teaming up with Detective Frank DeRosa, the officer assigned to protect her. Together, they begin looking into the circumstances surrounding Teddy’s death, only to discover the truth may be found closer to home than they think—in CeCe’s own paintings.”
It has received many favorable reviews on Amazon! So, go find out how Teddy died.
Disclaimer: There are affiliate links in the article. Thanks for supporting both Deirdre and Green Talk’s work.
Photo courtesy of GroundWork Hudson Valley
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