When her mother Jane Fonda sent her an e-mail last year about the formation of the Atlanta-based Mother Nature Network, Grant Park environmentalist Vanessa Vadim quickly noticed one thing — there wasn’t a single female on Mother Nature’s board of directors.
After she pointed this out to the founders of the fledgling environmental news and information Website, Atlanta ad man Joel Babbit and Georgia tree farmer/Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell, Vadim suddenly had a new career — environmental advice columnist.
Since January, via “Ask Vanessa,” her weekly column on MotherNatureNetwork.com, Vadim has fielded consumer questions on everything from head lice (she advocates nitpicking and smothering them with olive oil rather than a chemical solution) to recycling your electronics (she advises upgrading or refurbishing over tossing them).
In this week’s edition, after doing a little research with her mother’s Prius, Vadim explains to readers how they can increase their gas mileage.
Writes Vadim: “My mom drives … let’s just say, not so smoothly. She has a habit of pumping the gas pedal. A minor, but constant, lurching. Her Prius tracks how many miles per gallon (mpg) it is getting at any given time, so I did a little experiment. That slight, unconscious tapping on the gas pedal gets her an average 30 mpg. Driving the same distance on the same roads, but driving smoothly, I was able to get 70 mpg.”
Over a vegetarian lunch at La Pietra Cucina in Midtown on Tuesday, Vadim, 40, told us: “I was so busy writing the column this week, I haven’t even called to tell her about that yet. I probably need to do that!”
In addition to insights into Jane Fonda’s driving habits, the single mother of two, documentary filmmaker, organic farmer and edible landscape architect does a lot of research for each week’s column. She also relays lessons from her life.
On Tuesday as news broke about Georgia’s drought being over, Vadim discussed how she’s been able to keep a sustainable home garden without breaking out the gardening hose. Shade and re-purposing bath water helps, she explains.
“I call myself the Green Monster,” she joked. “At school, my son [Malcolm] was asked if I was a professional environmentalist. He replied, ‘She’s not a professional. She’s a fanatic.’ That’s my boy!”
A new edition of “Ask Vanessa” is posted each Tuesday on mothernaturenetwork.com
Fragrant mind meld
When Brian Richardson of Loganville heard the news that a company will launch a line of “Star Trek” colognes soon (as reported in the AJC on March 26), his reaction was, “Wait a minute. Didn’t we already do that?” Indeed, Richardson and his friends did a hilarious video and showed it at Dragon*Con, the massive Atlanta sci-fi convention, back in 2005. They even used the exact name of one of the real colognes: Pon Farr, the Vulcan mating ritual. Whereas the new Pon Farr is real and costs $30 a bottle, Richardson came up with the same idea while “sitting around drinking and talking about ridiculous ideas with friends.” The fake ad, a spoof of Calvin Klein Obsession ads of years past, stars Jason Wyatt and Michele Levin as the sexy Vulcans. It’s online here: http://web.dragoncontv.com/general/289/
Buzz central just got word that Rachael Ray is expected to give a shout-out on the 500th episode of her syndicated daytime chat show today (WXIA-TV, 3 p.m.) to
Atlanta-based, family owned Cherries Divine, which makes hand-dipped chocolate-covered
cherries (somehow keeping the stems intact). Andy and Stacey Freeman have been making the family recipe of sweet butter cream-wrapped maraschino cherries (which are then dipped in milk, white or dark chocolate) for several years. They started the business three years ago.
The chocolates are slated to be featured as part of Ray’s on-air 500 snack giveaway.
Actress Debbie Reynolds is 77. Actor Don Hastings (”As The World Turns”) is 75. Actress Ali MacGraw is 71. Reggae singer Jimmy Cliff is 61. Jazz keyboardist Gil Scott-Heron is 60. MSNBC host Rachel Maddow is 36.
Contributing: Phil Kloer, Helena Oliviero and news services.
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