Glee Gum Blog

Keep up with all the goings-on in the world of Glee.

Go, Mike Stemple, Go!

Ah, spring! Here at last. That glorious season in which birds chirp, trees bud, and nearly all New Year’s resolutions (like, say, exercise more) are officially, cheerfully forgotten. 

Unless, of course, you’re Mike Stemple. This Glee Gum-chewer will be celebrating spring with a 155-mile footrace across a desert.

That’s right, gum chews. 155 MILES! Across a DESERT! 

In addition to being an artist, technologist, inventor, entrepreneur, and enthusiastic Glee Gum fan, Mike Stemple is an adventure runner. This Sunday, March 29 he begins the Atacama Crossing, a seven-day race across the Atacama Desert in Chile. 

The Atacama Crossing is considered one of the top endurance competitions in the world and takes place on some of its toughest terrain. For starters, the Atacama Desert is 50 times more arid than California’s Death Valley. Temperatures can exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, then dip dramatically in the evening. Though provided with water and a communal tent for sleeping, competitors like Mike must carry all their own equipment and food. In his case, that includes 3 packs of Glee Gum!

Mike Stemple, raring to go in his race gear!
Mike Stemple, raring to go in his race gear!

We first became acquainted with Mike a few months ago, when he emailed us to share a story about Glee Gum and dentistry. One of his molars had broken while biting into trail mix (there was a pebble in it!) When his dentist couldn’t see him right away, he tried to reduce the discomfort with dental wax– but to no avail. Then he thought of Glee Gum! He chewed it up, pulled off a chunk, and molded it into his broken tooth.

Mike claims his quick fix worked like a charm, stayed in for two full days, and even impressed his dentist! “Regular gum does not work, only Glee Gum,” he adds. Since then, Mike buys Glee Gum for both chewing and first aid kits! 

To learn more about Mike, check out his website at IAmNotAfraid.com. You can also see an interactive picture of his race pack here, track his progress once the race starts here, and follow general race news here

Stay tuned later this week for an exclusive Q & A with Mike about adventure running. Maybe he’ll inspire you to give it a go!

In the meantime… good luck, Mike! Here’s hoping you go safely, speedily, and Glee-fully!
 

Fun with Gum at Port Discovery

Port Discovery Children’s Museum is a magical place in Baltimore, MD. Both the young and the young-at-heart always have a ball there!

Of course, as the humble mascot of Glee Gum, I’m also tickled pink to learn that folks at Port Discovery have fun making their own chewing gum! 

A lovely lady named Lauren Bishop, Visual Arts Specialist in the Education & Community Enrichment department, has been kind enough to share information and pictures from one of the museum’s recent gum-making activities.

Just this past fall, Port Discovery used gum base purchased by the pound from Verve, inc., makers of Glee Gum. It was part of the “How to Wow” program, which Lauren says “focuses on exactly that, how something is made and where it is from. Guests then make a sample of their own!”

In this case, the something was gum. Yum!

“We had used the activity before in a community event. It was so popular that we chose the bring it back as a full-blown program!” Lauren recalls. “The program took place in our Studio Workshop, or art studio. For three months, guests from two to a hundred and two shared in a guided lesson from a program associate. Each guest participated in making gum of their own following the instruction.”

Okay, gum chums, I know what you’re thinking. But don’t worry! The process didn’t take three months. That’s just how long the programming was presented!

As Lauren explains, “A Program Associate led groups of thirty guests for thirty-minute sessions. A book was read about the how chicle is collected, where it is found, who collects it, how it becomes the gum we know today, and so on. Following a question-and-answer session, guests were guided through the steps to make their own gum!”

Remember, sharing is caring!
Remember, sharing is caring!

Sounds great! But since gum can create a sticky situation, I had to ask: any problems??

“It was a pretty messy program, but the kiddos loved it!” Lauren reports. “As with any food product, one has to be careful of allergies or certain diets. One obstacle we faced was serving our guests with Kosher diets. We took every step to provide Kosher gelatin and sugar products, however were not able to obtain Kosher certification for the chicle. We made guests aware of our efforts and they were very understanding.”

And the results?

Well, Lauren says that main question program participants asked afterwards was where to get more!

port-discovery-11
Looks fun, huh?

If YOU are interested in making your own gum, check out our handy dandy Gum Kit! If you prefer to supply the other ingredients yourself – and maybe even try an experiment or two (Science Fair Project, anyone?) – you might like the super duper Refill Kit, which contains just the chicle gum base. OR, if you’re keen to follow Port Discovery’s example and buy gum base by the pound, just shoot an email over to info@gleegum.com! 

Thanks to Lauren and the entire staff of Port Discovery Children’s Museum. You guys are the cat’s pajamas!

NTFPs Are the Bee's Knees! Plus, News on a New Newsletter

Hiya, gum chums!

Did you know that I’m just wild about non-timber forest products? It’s true.

What the heck are non-timber forest products, you say? I thought you’d never ask!

When you think about forests, you think of trees, right? Furniture, lumber, etc. But there are lots of non-timber forest products (or NTFPs for short) that don’t depend on cutting down the trees for people to make a living.  Harvesting berries, mushrooms, and other plants provides a means of long-term income for folks. On the other hand, chopping down the trees can destroy eco-systems and, ultimately, communities.

So NTFPs are loosely defined as all non-timber forest vegetation with the potential for commercial value. NTFPs can help to preserve fragile eco-systems, restore biodiversity in damaged forests, and foster greater economic stability in neighboring communities. Pretty swell stuff!

My beloved Glee Gum is made with a NTFP from the rainforest region of Mexico: chicle! Other nifty NTFPs can be found closer to home. Presenting (drum roll, please)… marvelous, magnificent maple syrup!

www.PiecesofVermont.com

Nothing tastes sweeter than maple syrup poured on pancakes or drizzled over French toast. And while you probably know that maple syrup comes from the sap of the maple tree, the actual process from tree to table is pretty neat!

Over a six week period between March and April, seasonal shifts in temperature alternately freeze and thaw the maple tree, causing its sap to flow. Once flowing, the sap can be harvested. The process of making maple syrup is known as “sugaring” with maple producers called “sugarmakers” and a grove of tapped trees referred to as a “sugarbush.” Sounds Willy-Wonka-wonderful, doesn’t it?

www.PiecesofVermont.com

It takes forty years for a maple tree to grow large enough to tap for sap. To collect the sap, a small hole is drilled into the trunk of the tree. (Fear not, tree huggers! Careful guidelines are followed so the tree is not harmed.) It takes approximately forty gallons of sap to produce one gallon of syrup. That’s a lot of sap!

Vermont is the largest producer of maple syrup in the U.S., with an estimated two thousand sugarmakers in the state producing a third of the country’s crop — about four hundred and sixty thousand gallons of maple syrup! Vermont maple syrup is produced by boiling the water off the sap to achieve a density of 66.7% sugar. The resultant syrup is essentially organic, with a natural sweetness that needs nothing added!

Sap from the maple tree is used in more than syrup. It can also be made into granulated maple sugar, maple cream, maple fudge, maple sugar cakes, and hard maple sugar. Now that’s one seriously sweet NTFP! Agree?  

www.PiecesofVermont.com

For a special promotional offer from a super syrup vendor called Pieces of Vermont, you gotta check out the new Glee Newsletter! The bi-monthly bulletin debuts this month, so you can get the latest scoop on upcoming events, take a sneak peek at forthcoming products, find exclusive discounts on all things Glee, and even enter a unique contest to test your green artistry!  Sign up today!

And if you’re interested in learning more about NTFPs in general, click here

See ya later, chums!

 

 

Gum Galore!

Howdy do, gum chews!

While wandering aimlessly in Internet Land (off the clock, of course), I came across the website of the International Chewing Gum Association. This is an association of big-time chewing gum manufacturers and ingredient suppliers to which I, a small fry, do not actually belong.  Indeed, I would go so far as to call them the big guns. Or, in this case, the big gums!

Not being the competitive sort, I set upon their website with Glee and found all sorts of information that was interesting to me!

Naturally, I thought it only fair that I share. So here are some sections I think you will particularly enjoy. Just a little light reading on the subject of gum… Hey, it ain’t Tolstoy!

How Gum Is Made

You’ve probably seen our spiffy slide show about the process from Tree to Glee. The ICGA has a similar chart, novel for featuring drawings of all the machinery!

The Story of Gum

The ICGA offers another fun version of the familiar tale, including mention of the spruce gum that Native Americans once traded with Early American settlers.  

FAQs

Not all of the items on the ICGA’s list of frequently asked questions apply to Glee Gum. But  you’ll find some nifty tidbits in there nonetheless, such as how to get gum off hair (hint: citrus peel solvents) and what really happens when you swallow gum (tip: it doesn’t stay there for seven years!)

The Benefits of Gum

This winter, you may find holiday pounds proving hard to shed, seasonal blues playing tricks with the head, and financial anxiety adding to an overall sense of dread. But it seems that chewing gum can provide a surprising way to reduce stress, shed weight, and bring cheer to an otherwise gloomy time of year! 

And so, in closing, I must implore you to chew Glee Gum galore, you!

 

All the hedgehogs agree: chew with Glee, naturally!
All the hedgehogs agree: chew with Glee, naturally!

 

 

 

 

Maryland May Ban Artificial Food Colors!

Good day, gum chums! 

You know how I’m always full of Glee, naturally? Well, more and more research is revealing that’s the best way to be!

I’ve told you how some studies link food additives to hyperactivity and other behavioral problems in kids. Now Maryland may be the first state to take a stand! This week  the state government is considering two bills that propose bans on certain artificial food colorings. 

Both bills are backed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. One calls for a warning label followed by a ban, while the other suggests prohibiting the use of the food colors in school cafeterias.

Which artificial colors are we talking about? Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Orange B, and Red 3. Turns out they’re in an awful lot of food products marketed to children!

 

But they look so cute!
But they look so cute!

To read more, check out the related articles at Food Navigator-usa.com and Natural Food Network.

To learn more about the issue in general, you may enjoy this Oct. ’08 piece by Melinda Fulmer in the Los Angeles Times

The bills are currently scheduled to be considered tomorrow, Wed. Feb. 18, in Annapolis. While MD will be the first state to vote on the issue in the US, similar legislation has already passed in Europe. So stay tuned!

In closing, I hope you all enjoyed a restful and romantical weekend… Gee whiz! Speaking of romance, I clean forgot to mention that my heart’s all a’ flutter thanks to two lovely recent blog posts!

Thanks oodles to All Green Info‘s The Green Blog for including Glee in your V-Day “Sweets for Your Sweetheart” article: what a treat! 

And thanks heaps to Inspiring Mama  for the great pictures and tips involving the Make Your Own Candy Kits! What a rave product review, woo hoo! 

Okay, now I’m really signing off. Over and out, dear fans devout!

Meet GLEE in St. Louis, Louis… Plus Some History

Don’t you just love that old MGM musical “Meet Me in St. Louis”? Such a charming picture, and such a catchy theme song! 

Meet Me In St. Louis - 1944

Guess what? Next weekend, you can find Glee in St. Louis by attending the 17th Annual Healthy Planet Natural Living Expo

Sponsored by The Healthy Planet Magazine, the Natural Living Expo is taking place on Sunday, February 22, from 10 am to 4 pm at the Webster Groves Recreation Complex (Elm Avenue & Glendale Rd just off I-44).

With live music, healthy samples (like Glee Gum!), exciting giveaways, free chair massages (*sigh*), and over 70 exhibitors including Whole Foods, Schlafly Beer, and Sappington Farmers’ Market, it’s sure to be a heck of a good time! 

Admission to the Natural Living Expo is $8.00 for adults and free for kids under 16. Back at Verve HQ, I’ve got five pairs of free tickets up for grabs! So if you live in the St. Louis area and would like a pair, comment on this post with your best tip for living green on a budget. Five best tips win the tickets! 

In other news, I just found a super swell photographic history of chewing gum on the Mint Industry Research Council‘s website. Presented by MIRC Executive Director Rocky Lundy, it’s filled with fun facts* and zippy pics of old-fashioned packaging. You can check it out right here

* Note that there’s just one fact that appears to be slightly off the mark. The (otherwise perfectly spiffy) presentation lists seventy years as the age a sapodilla tree must reach before it can be tapped for chicle. Actually, sapodilla trees are capable of being tapped for chicle between the ages of eight and ten years old! 

Before I go, I just want to show you a beautiful envelope I received in the mail this week. What was inside? Fan mail for Glee, naturally! Thanks, Jane! You are tops with me!

fanmail-17-28-07

Feeling the Love

Valentine’s Day is on its way. And you know what that means for me. Time to cozy up to a nice, big pack of Glee! 

For those of you who prefer chocolate on V-Day (cuckoo! cuckoo!), I suppose I’ll allow it. But only if you consider making your own this year!

It’s the sweetest time to try this treat, since Verve, inc. is offering an exclusive special on the Make Your Own Chocolate Kits this very week! You can get a whopping 30% off the Chocolate Kit when you enter the secret code (well, not so secret anymore!) valentine on our promotions page.

Present the finished product to your sweetie and prepare for compliments, cuddles, and kisses in return. At least, that’s what I give myself when I make my own chocolate!

Speaking of love, I’ve got a few new friends to thank for some recent press.  

Thanks heaps to Gluten-free.tv for a rave review of Glee Gum. What a neat video! 

And I’m all kinds of grateful to Mom Fuse for their in-depth review of Glee Gum and the Make Your Own Candy Kits.

Mom Fuse was even kind enough to include the Candy Kits in their guide to Valentine’s Day gifts for daughters and sons. As a site that’s for moms, by moms, Mom Fuse really does have a lot of great ideas!

It was also nifty to see “Mommy Reviewer” Gina’s great pictures of the Kits in action on her site,  The Clan McLeod. Thanks, Gina!

And speaking of moms, belated thanks are due to The Green Mom Review, a blog about “eco-fabulous living” which featured Glee Gum last month. 

In conclusion, I shall leave you with a wee poem in honor of the holiday.  

Roses are red,

Violets are blue.

I’m full of Glee,

And I hope you are too!

XOXO, gum chums!

gleeman

 

 

 

 


Casting a Green Spotlight on… ForesTrade!

Greetings, gum chums!

You’ve probably heard me gab about gum plenty. Specifically, GLEE GUM! In fact, I tell you about Glee Gum so often, betcha I’ve made you an expert on the subject! Chances are that you know all about chicle, the special tree sap that gives Glee good chew. And you’ve read all about how chicle is sustainably harvested from the sapodilla tree and how that process helps to conserve the rainforest.

But did you know there are lots of OTHER products that are sustainably harvested from rainforest regions? It’s true! And I’ve got a great, green company to introduce to you.

Meet ForesTrade!

ForesTrade, Inc.

ForesTrade, inc. is an international supplier of all sorts of swell organic and sustainably harvested products. ForesTrade sells cardamom from Guatemala, nutmeg from Grenada, vanilla beans from India, and ginger oil from Indonesia, just to name a few.

The company works with community groups to farm the products in such a way that the local ecology is preserved. Then they market the products around the world, providing continued economic incentive for sustainable agriculture. How nifty is that!

Ian Diamondstone, ForesTrade’s Sales and Operations Manager, has been kind enough to tell us more.

According to Ian, ForesTrade established relationships with grower groups in Indonesia and Guatemala about ten years ago. They’ve maintained those relationships while simultaneously helping the groups with organic certifications, training, documentation, and product sales to the international market. 

Ian jokes that consumers of ForesTrade products can expect “good karma,” but he adds that they can count on “good quality and traceability all the way back to the piece of land from which it came.”

The most surprising lessons Ian has learned from his involvement with ForesTrade are “that companies can make a lot of mistakes, and that passion and commitment are stronger than any business skills a person can have.”

And when asked about the best part of his job, Ian can’t name just one thing. “[It’s] knowing that I’m trying to help create a business model that helps the earth and it’s inhabitants. The promotion of a healthier planet… the connection to the other side of the world… the exotic part of working with tropical spices and coffee… the people I work with…”

Sounds like he really likes it, huh!

To learn more about ForesTrade, go to their website at www.ForesTrade.com.

To see some of the amazing places where they source their products, check out Ian Diamondstone’s beautiful pictures from two recent trips:

Coban, Guatemala

Girls Selling Flowers In Coban, Guatemala

and

Northern Sumatra, Indonesia

 Jamur Ujung Village, Northern Sumatra, Indonesia

Let’s move THERE, shall we?

Thanks for sharing, Ian, and keep up the good work!

 

 


Hey La La Land, Look What I've Got Planned!

Did ya hear? Tinsel Town is going from glam to green! 

Of course, these days, glam IS green… 

But more importantly, this weekend the GO GREEN EXPO hits the scene! 

Where? 

The Los Angeles Convention Center – South Hall J 
1201 South Figueroa Street 
Los Angeles, CA 90015 

When? 

Business-to-Business Expo 
Friday, January 23rd • 10 am – 5 pm 

Open to Public 
Saturday, January 24th • 10 am – 6 pm 
Sunday, January 25th • 10 am – 5 pm 

How much? 

Friday: Complimentary to Business Buyers (bring your business card for admission) 

Saturday & Sunday: $10 for a full weekend pass. Open to both business buyers & consumers. 

Why? 

It´s a great opportunity to learn about, try out, and talk about eco-friendly products and services for your business, family, home, school, and more! 

There will also be lots of neat panel discussions on everything from green building to electric cars, as well as keynote speakers like gorgeous actor/ author Mariel Hemingway! 

Why else? 

GLEE GUM will be there! 

Suitcase Guy

Come by booth # 639 for a chat with one of my Glee-ful ambassadors or a chew of delicious Glee Gum! 

Hooray for Hollywood!

Neat News from Green America

Did you know that Verve, inc., the manufacturer of Glee Gum, is a proud member of Green America?

It´s TRUE!

But what IS Green America?

I´ll tell ya!

Green America is a not-for-profit membership organization founded in the early ´eighties. If you don´t recognize the name, perhaps that´s because up until this month they were known as Co-op America! 

Green America´s mission is to harness economic power—the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace—to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society. Wow! 

In the midst of all the inauguration excitement, Green America recently shared their Clean Energy Victory Bonds proposal with the Obama transition team. Pretty neat-o! 

And that´s not all! They´ve got lots of swell ideas about healing the country´s ailing economy in a great green way.

For example, check out the winter issue of Real Green, their bimonthly newsletter about green living, purchasing, and investing. 

The both-guns-blazing feature article by executive director Alisa Gravitz is entitled 7 Fixes from the Green Economy and is all about moving “from greed to green.” If you don´t have time to read all the details, you can find a shortened version of the same piece in the Green America 
Newsroom.

While you´re reading, learn about Green and Climate-Friendly Televisions in a great article on the subject by Tracy Fernandez Rysavy. It´s sure to help you find the greenest way to weather the upcoming transition from analog to digital.

Green America has also got a spiffy website called Responsible Shopper. It´s full of fun facts like what well-known company is getting sued (and why), how you can help to promote corporate responsibility, and why it´s easier than you thought to make your own corner of the world cleaner and greener. 

Gee whiz! They sure do keep busy. 

Thanks, Green America! Keep up the good work!

In the meantime, gum chums, if you know of a nifty organization that you´d like to see featured in my blog, please let me know! Just send an email to gleeguy@gleegum.com.

Wonder whether the Obama transition team could use some Glee? If so, they know who to see!

Lounging in the Library

Brrr! I don´t know how the temperature is where you are, gum chums, but here in Rhode Island it is FREEZING! 

This wintry weather is perfect for curling up with a good book or three. So bundle up and trundle down to your local library. I´ve got a *hot* reading list for you and yours that´s sure to keep the chill outdoors! (Gee, did I just use the word “hot” correctly? These new-fangled, trendy adjectives always snow me!)

CHEWING GUM CURRICULUM

– Chewing Gum: The Fortunes of Taste by Michael Redclift – Routledge (2004). 
An exciting social and environmental history of chewing gum from ancient Mayan civilization to current pop culture. 

– The Chewing Gum Book by Robert Young – Dillon Press (1989).
A synopsis of the chewing gum story for kids, including pictures, timelines, and fun facts “to stick in your mind.”

– Bubblemania by Lee Wardlaw – Aladdin (1997). 
A kids´ book that the whole family can enjoy, filled with answers to everything you´ve ever wondered about chewing gum – including how to make it (Gum Kit, anyone?) and how to get it off things!

– The Great American Chewing Gum Book by Robert Henrickson – Chilton (1976).
Hard to find but worth the hunt! One of the first books on chewing gum and one of the best, filled with fascinating tidbits.

And keep your eyes peeled for
– Chicle: The Chewing Gum of the Americas, From the Ancient Maya to William Wrigley – University of Arizona Press (2009). 
This brand new book by Jennifer P. Mathews, associate professor of anthropology at Trinity University, is an in-depth study of the origins and history of chewing gum– including Glee! 

Woo wee! You´re an expert in gum now, yippee! Maybe you´d like to join a book club with me?

P.S. Thanks to Green on the Rock, a blog about green living in Ontario, for a bang-up review of Glee Gum. You´re the best!

Congratulations to Our Scholarship Winners!

The new year is finally here! And to my mind, 2009 is already lookin’ fine. 

Maybe that’s because I just received Glee-ful news, yippee! Glee Gum scholarship winners have been chosen, times three!

Presented by Verve, inc., the Glee Gum scholarship is intended to support the studies of the sons and daughters of Mexican chicleros. As you may recall, chicleros are the skilled laborers who harvest the key ingredient in Glee Gum: chicle! 

In order to be eligible for consideration, scholarship applicants must be the children of chicleros. The nature of their studies can range from biology to forestry, from sustainable development to eco-tourism, and beyond. All applicants must also commit to working in the community after completing their degrees.

Thanks to the help and dedication of the Executive Committee of the Consortium of Chicleros in Mexico, Verve, inc. is pleased to announce this year’s round of winners!

CONGRATULATIONS, José de Jesús Chan Coh!
José is in his fifth semester at the University of Quintana Roo studying civil engineering. José reports that in times of economic difficulty, students often have to leave their studies behind to find work. He says that the scholarship will provide him with the opportunity to focus on his studies, reach his goal of finishing his education, and make his family proud.

 

Jose de Jesus Chan Coh
Jose de Jesus Chan Coh

 

 

CONGRATULATIONS, C. Selmi Leticia Varela Coba!
Selmi is a sixth semester student at the Felipe Carrillo Puerto Superior Technological Intitute with a focus on tourism administration. She too reports that because she and her family have few economic resources, the scholarship will help her to finish her studies.

 

C. Selmi Leticia Varela Coba
C. Selmi Leticia Varela Coba

 

 

CONTRATULATIONS, Sandy Amara Matías Chan! 
Sandy also studies administration at the Felipe Carrillo Puerto Superior Technological Intitute, where she is in her third semester. She believes the scholarship will allow her to continue her education so that she will be able to give back to her community in the ejido of Noh-Bec.

 

Sandy Amara Matias Chan
Sandy Amara Matias Chan

 

 

CONGRATULATIONS to the next generation of leaders in the chiclero communities! Best of luck, keep up the good work, and don’t forget to study!

And speaking of studying, did you know chewing gum is rumored to help your concentration? Just a Glee-ful reminder!

Happy New Year, gum chums!

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