Thursday, December 17, 2009

Vetiver makes the News!

Oh, what fun it is featured by veteran KHON TV news anchor Kirk Matthews on his Go Green2 segment. This week marks the anniversary of the December 11 '08 flood that submerged huge swathes of the Windward and Leeward coasts. That fact was not lost on Kirk, who masterfully added flood footage to our interview. Thank you, Kirk and KHON TV2, for your role in educating the Hawaii community about this remarkable plant!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday wishes to vineyards, in backyards, and everywhere!

Dick Grimshaw, the executive director of The Vetiver Network International (TVNI), shares his wishes for the new year and a note of appreciation for Vetiver-enhanced wine:

"Just thought I would send you all an email of good cheer for 2010. In doing so I add this image of Vetiver and grape growing in Robertson, Western Cape of South Africa. Anelia Marais, who sent it to me, tells us that it is cut four times a year for mulching and has done a terrific job in weed suppression. She says, 'To my (very uneducated) personal taste the Vetiver wines are wonderful, with a subtle flavour. I find that the normal triticale/wheat cover crop's wine has a sharp taste.' Sounds as though Roberston might be a suitable site for a Vetiver conference!!

Dubbed the 'valley of vines and roses', the Robertson district's lime-rich soils make it eminently suitable for racehorse stud farming, and of course, for good wine. The construction of a major dam at the beginning of the century brought reliable and inexpensive irrigation which led to the proliferation of Robertson's many wine estates and cooperatives.

Situated in the Breede River Valley region, the average annual rainfall is around 400 mm. Although summer temperatures can be high, cooling coastal winds - less than 100km away - channel moisture-laden air into the valley. Today, Robertson wine is renowned. While traditionally considered white wine territory and known for its Chardonnays, Robertson is also the source of distinctive fortified dessert wines and some of the Cape's most revered Shiraz.'

If Vetiver does this for grapes, imagine what it can do for other perennial cash crops!

I am really pleased with the progress that the Vetiver System has made in the past year, starting with an exceptionally good visit to Kenya, and Ethiopia where the Vetiver System is strongly moving forward. I'm pleased to report expanded use of Vetiver in India, China, Philippines, and Madagascar, among other countries, and a lot of new interest in Central and South America, USA, Italy and southern Africa. The internet offers many more references to Vetiver Systems and this unique plant.

Although I normally don't select special people for attention, this year I want to recognize the efforts of: Jack Bertel and Warren Sullivan, who are working hard to employ Vetiver in the coastal areas of the southern United States; Alberto Rodriguez for his dissemination of Vetiver information in Puerto Rico and throughout his region; Don Miller in the Pacific, who has captured the imagination of the Coral Reef folks; Fernando Costa Pinto and Paulo Rogerio of Brazil, Carolina Rivas of Chile, Yooleny Cruz of Costa Rica; Shantanoo Bhattacharya in India; Debela Dinka in Ethiopia; Elise Pinners in Kenya, and Liyu Xu in China; and Yoann Coppin in Madagascar.

Of course I thank all the old Vetiver stalwarts - Paul Truong, John Greenfield, Roley Noffke, Mark Dafforn, Criss Juliard, Narong Chomchalow, and Jim Smyle - along with many others who continue to provide feedback and support. Thank you to all of you for your support and for sharing information about Vetiver.

The use of forums and discussion boards has allowed us to share our ideas and feelings with many others, and the feedback on their usefulness has been positive.

The Vetiver System is now accepted by many people looking for appropriate technologies that can address the problems at hand. We are lucky that Vetiver has many applications, is low cost and relatively simple to understand; and meets some of the challenges of the changing and more extreme climatic conditions that we face today.

As our gift, you will, by Christmas day, be able to buy from the Spanish version of the Vetiver System Technical Manual that Oscar Rodriguez - coordinator of the Latin America Vetiver Network - was so kind to translate, or get a free download from Esnips.

On that note I wish you all well."

I join Dick in wishing you a peaceful holiday season, and a prosperous, healthy New Year!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Just cruisin' with....Vetiver??!!

Alarmed that people are diving off cruise ships to meet their demise? Horrified that some are tossing others overboard? Sleepless because of the worry?? It's time for Vetiver to step in!

Although alarm and horror haven't been cited as (prime) motivators, it seems that our Oil of Tranquility is due for subtle introduction into the otherwise stressful avocation of --- you guessed it, luxury lining!

"We've heard of cruise ships that smell like bunker oil and suntan lotion, but figs and almonds--and Vetiver?

These are some of the essences that will comprose a signature fragrance that MSC Cruises plans to infuse into its newest ship, the five-month-old MSC Splendida, according to a report today by industry watcher Seatrade Insider.

The news outlet says the fragrance, which will feature overtones of Vetiver, a perennial grass, was designed to enhance passengers’ sense of well-being and luxury by evoking the Mediterranean.

'Fragranced hotels are becoming a big thing and research proves that holiday memories are composed of a myriad of sensory experiences, with scent playing a key role. Seatrade Insider says the fragrance, dubbed MED by MSC, will be subtly dispersed in select areas aboard the ship via the air conditioning system and infused into cabin toiletries, table linens, bedding and towels.

MSC's fragrance announcement comes two months after luxury line Silversea said its next ship, the Silver Spirit, would have a menu of scents that can be infused through cabins upon request.

Renowned Italian perfumer Laura Tonatto has developed three options for Silversea passengers: Oltre, designed to evoke the boundless sea; Albi, made with lavender and touted as a de-stresser; and the orange-infused Fiori d'Arancio, billed as calming."

ALSO ONLINE: Sexually-charged 'cougar cruise' sets sail; Facing complaints, a cruise line no longer will add tips to bills; Recent attacks on tourists in Nassau have some passengers on edge

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Vetiver...sweet (er, savory)!

Always attuned to the use of Vetiver as or in fragrance and food, today I noted Veronique's post concerning "The Best Chocolate in the World." If you can swallow her initial, immodest premise that French chocolate is the best (she's tossing the gauntlet, Hawaii chocolatiers!!), then consider that Christian Constant is using botanicals in his chocolate.
"Christian Constant adds a touch of essential flower oil and spice to enhance the taste. I loved the cinnamon and jasmine green tea chocolate, and the Yemen flavor. If you dare, try Vetiver, neroli, frangipani, ylang-ylang or lemongrass," she writes. Christian Constant 37 rue d’Assas Paris 6e 01 53 63 15 15
I love learning the ways that chefs employ Vetiver in their culinary creations. Those of us who delight in its fragrance appreciate Vetiver's addition to a crisp gin and tonic, and ice cream (not necessarily together!). It also makes a lovely, savory martini. Bon appetit!

Friday, December 4, 2009's not just for the birds.

This feed by G. Mahadevan of The Hindu just in from Kerala, India, the birthplace of Vetiver. Our favorite plant will take a lead role in stabilizing a lake and creating a forest-like environment for birds:

Polluted and stagnant water, crumbling banks and dwindling fauna may soon be a thing of the past at the lakes inside the Thiruvananthapuram zoo. The old-world charm of the 3.5-acre lake is being recreated as part of a substantial cleaning and beautification project being implemented by the Centre for Science and Technology for Rural Development (COSTFORD).

The de-silting of the small lake at the zoo has already started. The silt from the small lake and the large, 3.5-acre one, will be deposited at the island in the middle of the latter. Clumping bamboo and Vetiver (Raamacham) will be planted along the perimeter to prevent soil erosion. In addition to purifying the air, Vetiver plants also soak up heavy metals present in the lake’s water, COSTFORD director P.B. Sajan told The Hindu.

Varieties of fish endemic to the State, and quickly reproducing, will be introduced in the water body to ensure an adequate supply of food for the large number of birds, including migratory ones, that visit the lake every day. The 1.5-acre patch of land that straddles the lake and the zoo’s boundary wall will be densely planted with trees, creepers and climbers.

The idea is to create a forest-like environment for the birds to rest and nest. Visitors will not be permitted to access this part of the lake.

An observation deck and a tower will allow visitors to see the birds at their natural best. While the deck will jut out into the lake to allow visitors to see the fish, the tower will be tall enough to allow a clear view of the lake’s island. The designs of the deck and the tower will complement the lake’s ambience.

As part of the project, rainwater that now drains from the zoo compound will be directed to a settling pond near the small lake, and then flow to the small lake. Water will enter the city’s drainage system only when the large lake overflows. Intermittent flow of rainwater through the two lakes will keep their waters fresh. A spring that feeds the small lake has temporarily been diverted to facilitate de-silting activities.

Once the lakes are cleaned and beautified a fishpond—with a fountain—encircled by benches and seats, will be created on the lawns near the Museum’s Corporation gate. This will replace the present visitor center, which is the bandstand opposite the Museum compound. March 2010 is the targeted completion deadline, Mr. Sajan adds.