Scott Mallory farms worms for a living. "We need to save the planet," he says, and promotes worms’ work as a way to help. According to Scott, the humble earthworm drives nature's system of fertilization, pest resistance, and turf regeneration by infusing soil with powerful microorganisms. Through Fertilelives, he produces compost tea that can bolster anything from home gardens to full-scale farming operations. After feeding his worms organic matter from vegetable scraps to sawdust, he brews the resulting compost and extracts the microorganisms into a solution. He then triggers their rapid growth by feeding them plentiful oxygen and food, such as blue-green algae and philly cheesesteaks. The resulting mix is so powerful that when sprayed onto plants, it neutralizes pest larvae and fungi, but is harmless to kids and pets. As the solution works its way into the soil, it also promotes turf regeneration, keeping soil nutrient rich.
In addition to producing compost teas for home gardens, Scott also produces it on a scale for commercial farms, freeing them of the need for industrial chemicals that, while keeping away insects, can also harm turf-regenerating bacteria and damage long-term soil health. Through his spray service, he also helps farmers spray their crops with it. One of his proudest moments came in 2011 when he delivered compost tea to Northern Lights Christmas Tree Farm. That season, its pumpkin patch was one of the few in the area untouched by an outbreak of powdery mildew fungus.
Beyond his compost-tea production, Scott helps hobby and professional farmers maintain organic, sustainable practices through services such as soil testing, classes, and consulting drawn from the methods he uses to grow his own food. He also appears frequently at local farmers' markets, such as the Springfield Farmers' Market on Fridays and the Cottage Grove Growers Market.
Emerald Art Center carves out a community for local artists of all skill levels, showcasing and selling masterworks from neighborhood virtuosos at their gallery and workspace. Contribute time alongside money with a Participating membership, which unlocks the perks of patronage in exchange for one day of gallery hosting per month, or five hours of equivalent service. When not running the show, members pick their way through a variety of rotating and permanent exhibits or introduce their own work to artful eyes during frequent EAC-sponsored member shows. Monthly meetings foster networking opportunities, cultivate creativity, and encourage spontaneous conga lines. Artist biographies, featured on the Emerald website and in the gallery's Artist Bio Book, delightedly divulge factoids and sample images from each member.
Within The Nautilus Tropical Fish's aquariums, vibrant salt- and freshwater fish fan their fins while they await deliverance. Cockatoo cichlids and guinea puffers spend their time happily flitting behind coral rocks to look for food and debate the existence of snorklers. When their saviors’ eyes finally appear through the glass, fish ascend from their tanks and enter into a world of bright lights, spacious tanks, and all the food they can eat—all of which are stocked on The Nautilus Tropical Fish's shelves.
Arrows whiz across 20 to 40 yards at an indoor archery range before impaling a lineup of bull’s-eyes and animal dummies. Since 1971, archers of all skill levels have calibrated their aim and perused the inventory of archery products that adorn the 5,000-square-foot space at The Bow Rack. The shop houses a TechnoHunt virtual archery system, which allows participants to hunt game in a variety of simulated environments without the hassle of traveling or notifying all those poor bull's-eyes' next of kin.
La Boutique Upscale Resale houses new and gently used clothes from brands such as Coach and White House Black Market. Distract a building inspector from your tenement’s lack of traditional “ceiling” with stylish jeans ($18 or less) or a smart strapless dress ($15), each neatly paired with bold footwear such as apple-green stilettos ($14) or brown-fringe boots ($15). Money-savvy fashionistas can add flare to their new ensembles with sets of Newell’s Jewels accessories ($8–$28) or a pair of gem-drop earrings from La Boutique's exclusive line of jewelry ($7). The shop’s artful array of shoes, bags, and jewelry contrast with funky antique clocks, tall candles, and orchid plants, creating the most eye-pleasing place to shop outside of a strip mall designed by M.C. Escher.
Urban Lumber Company’s woodworkers snatch still-viable wood from the mouth of the landfill and repurpose it into signature slabs of lumber or vibrant, handcrafted furniture. Operating an onsite sawmill and dry kiln, they shape pieces inspired by the natural colors and size proportions of each storm-damaged, dead, and chopped tree they use, blending different grains and edges into distinctive final products. Urban Lumber Company can equip builders with cabinet- and furniture-grade woods for their own projects, as well as instrument-grade tone woods for guitars, mandolins, or mannequin replicas of Duran Duran.