All The Farm That Is Fit To Print

Thursday, June 30, 2011

What Does A Sustainable Community Actually Look Like?

By Kaid Benfield

One thing that I have learned in six months in my new position as director of sustainable communities at NRDC is even a lot of environmentalists don't quite know what to make of the phrase. This may be particularly true for my fellow travelers in the legal profession, who tend to think in terms of statutory mandates and causes of action and have little patience with the fuzzy stuff.

So in this post I am returning to the basics, which bear repeating. Let's begin by borrowing from a definition I found in a planning document from the state of Maryland. It packs a lot into one paragraph:

Sustainable communities share a common purpose: places where people thrive to enjoy good health and create a high quality of life. A sustainable community reflects the interdependence of economic, environmental, and social issues by acknowledging that regions, cities, towns and rural lands must continue into the future without diminishing the land, water, air, natural and cultural resources that support them. Housing, transportation and resource conservation are managed in ways that retain the economic, ecological and scenic values of the environment. And they are communities where the consumption of fossil fuels, emissions of greenhouse gases, water resources and pollution are minimized.

Note the emphasis on places; to a great extent, this is about what many of us have come to call "placemaking." It starts with the built environment, but doesn't end there.

Utopian? Maybe so, but since when has the environmental community not been idealistic?More specifically to an environmental group such as NRDC, where I work, we use the phrase to describe places where per capita use of resources and per capita emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants are going down, not up; where the air and waterways are accessible and clean; where land is used efficiently, and shared parks and public spaces are plentiful and easily visited; where people of different ages, income levels, and cultural backgrounds share environmental, social, and cultural benefits equally; where many needs of daily life can be met within a 20-minute walk, and all may be met within a 20-minute transit ride; where industry and economic opportunity emphasize healthy, environmentally sound practices.

For a feel of what this looks like on the ground, let's take a short journey together. On the way to our destination on the high-speed train, we pass through a rolling rural landscape dotted with farms, forests, and windmills, until we come to the urban growth boundary of the Sustainaville metro region. The landscape abruptly changes to well-ordered development.

At the first stop inside the developed area, we can tell that we are in a suburb, but it doesn't look like suburbs built in the 1960s and 1970s. For one thing, there is a lot more green space, not so much in private yards, but in neighborhood-sized green squares around which are clustered different types of homes—apartments, townhomes, and single-family, offered at different price points and mixed together, not separated. Some of the squares also have neighborhood shops, including in one instance a dry cleaner's, a café, a convenience store, and a pharmacy on the first floor of a five-story apartment or condo building. A light rail line runs down the center of the main commercial street. (We may be in a place similar in some respects to Orenco Station, Portland's iconic transit-oriented suburb.)

We disembark and transfer to the light rail, which runs to Sustainaville's downtown. We get off in an older, revitalizing neighborhood, largely abandoned in the 1960s and 1970s but now healthy again after a grassroots-led restoration. (We might now be in a place like Old North Saint Louis is rapidly becoming; or Melrose Commons in the South Bronx, whose plan has been certified gold under LEED-ND; or Oakland's Fruitvale Village, whose grassroots-led rebirth was financed in part by NRDC's development partner, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation.) At the rail stop, we see carshare and bikeshare stations, cafés, shops, and services.

Venturing into the residential area, we notice kids walking home from school, the little ones with their parents, the big ones with their friends, because they can; their homes are all within a 15-minute walk on well-connected, slow-speed streets with porous-pavement sidewalks on both sides, native street trees, and parking spaces for cars and bikes by the curb, which buffers the street from the pedestrians. Walking farther, we see that there is an elementary school beside a small park, and we can see another in the distance. The school has solar panels and a green roof, as does a condo building on the park. Both have small parking lots in the rear shaded by mature trees and surfaced with porous pavers to filter stormwater.

Then we notice that the park has a small space in one of the corners devoted to a neighborhood vegetable garden, which is being tended by some elderly residents. One of them adds some tomatoes to her wheeled cart, which already has reusable canvas bags bearing the name of the supermarket where she just shopped two blocks away; she then continues walking to her restored townhouse, with native vegetation in the small front and rear yards. We pass a barber taking a break outside his shop.

There are other small, local businesses mixed in with homes and places of worship. Several of the small neighborhood restaurants are advertising that they serve only local food. On a basketball court beside one of the schools, a team of African-American and Asian teenagers is absolutely crushing one composed of whites and Latinos, but everyone seems to be joking and having a good time; one of the Latinos drains a three-pointer and suddenly his team has hope after all.

This does not describe every aspect of a sustainable community, or every type. To be complete, we would also discuss, for example, clean industry and waterways; universal access by people of varying abilities; and more.

But it's not a bad start, in my opinion. It basically describes the vision of a sustainable community created jointly by some 25 attendees at NRDC's recent sustainable communities planning retreat. Utopian? Maybe so, but since when has the environmental community not been idealistic? We must know where we would like to go in order to choose our steps along the way.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Endeavour Prepares to Fly Home from Final Mission

By David Byrd

Astronauts on board the Space Shuttle Endeavour are making preparations to return to Earth on the spacecraft’s final flight. One of the astronauts says being in space has shown him the fragility of the Earth’s environment.

Air Force Colonel Gregory Johnson is the shuttle pilot. This is his second mission on Endeavour, and it will be his last space shuttle flight. But he says it has been memorable, especially looking at Earth from the multi-windowed cupola of the International Space Station.

“It’s a wonderful experience to look at our Earth. One of my favorite places on the planet is a place in northern Michigan, Long Lake in Traverse City. And - it chokes me up thinking about it - I flew right over it yesterday and got some great photos of a wonderful place on our planet," he said.

This has been a landmark shuttle mission for Endeavour’s crew. It completed four spacewalks - including the last spacewalk from a U.S. shuttle; It completed the U.S. section of the space station, and astronaut Mike Fincke broke NASA's all-time record for the most time spent in space by an American late Friday (May 27) when he passed the 377-day mark.

The crew also deployed the $2 billion Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, a sophisticated instrument that will yield insights into the composition and origins of the universe. On a personal level, Johnson said the mission helped him realize how fragile Earth’s environment is.

“When you look at the Earth’s horizon and see the thickness of the atmosphere, it’s not even the thickness of an orange peel. And so that fragile atmosphere makes me think greener [environmentally conscious] and do greener things and makes me better understand why it is so important to take care of our planet," he said.

The 49-year-old Johnson says the thing he will miss the most when the mission is over is the chance to fly a space shuttle. The pilot and mission Commander Mark Kelly will undock Endeavour from the Space Station and point it towards Earth on Sunday.

The shuttle is scheduled for a night landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida early Wednesday. It will later be retired to a museum in California. The final U.S. space shuttle flight - by Atlantis - is scheduled for liftoff July 8.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Farm Markets and Roadside Stands.

by Traverse City Convention and Visitors Bureau

What could be more fun than buying a quart of deep red, sweet cherries at a roadside market? What could awaken your senses more quickly than tasting a golden, crisp and jucy apple just off the tree? What could be more delicious than either? The cherries are still cool from the spring water in which they were plunged right after being picked, and the bright sun reflects off of the droplets. The apples have a tart-sweet taste, and a full, clean fragrance new to you.

For cherries, apples and many other fruits and vegetables, you can also choose between picking them yourself and buying them after the farmer has picked them. Either way, you'll be eating truly fresh fruit that has been allowed to ripen completely, becoming firm and flavorful.

Approximate Harvest Times:
Early July: Sweet Cherries
Mid to Late July: Sweet Cherries, Tart Cherries, Peaches, Apricots
Early August: Sweet Cherries, Tart Cherries, Peaches, Apricots, Nectarines, Apples, Raspberries
Mid August: Peaches, Nectarines, Apples, Raspberries, Blackberries
Late August: Peaches, Nectarines, Apples, Raspberries, Blackberries
Early September: Nectarines, Apples, Plums, Grapes
Mid September: Grapes, Apples
Mid October: Apples, Pumpkins
Acme Farm Market
Next to the Stained Glass Cabinet Company, 4160 M-72 East. Uncle Kenn's Kettle Corn (watch it made), homemade baked goods, plants and hanging baskets, eco-friendly soils/fertilizers, Hypertufa planters, wildflower suncatchers, fruits and vegi’s (in season), and more. Saturdays during the Summer 9am - 1pm. Interested vendors call 231-938-2007.

Buchan's Blueberry Hill
U-Pick or Picked Blueberries, Peaches & Apples. Seasonal vegetables - call for picking info. Homemade ice cream. Monday-Sunday
1472 Nelson Road
Old Mission Peninsula, Traverse City
(231) 223-4846

Cedar Hedge Gardens
HOSTA! Over 500 varieties of hostas to purchase. Four acres of walking gardens on a quiet lake setting. No credit cards accepted.
9948 Harmony Drive
Interlochen, MI 49643
(231) 275-5468

Cherry Connection/Edmondson Orchards
Farm market, fruit stand, u-pick. Cherries, peaches, raspberries, pumpkins, corn, honey, dried cherries, juice.
12414 Center Road
Traverse City, MI 49686
(231) 223-7130

Covered Wagon Farm Market & Bakery
Local fruit, garden produce, sweet corn, home baked goods (made on site), handcrafted baskets. 8996 M-204
(also known as E. Duck Lake Road)
Suttons Bay, MI 49682
(231) 271-6658
Visa , MasterCard

Downtown Farmers Market (Sara Hardy Farm Market)
Between Cass and Union Streets, parking lot off Grandview Parkway (across from Clinch Park). Fruit, vegetables, plants, flowers and baked goods. Every Saturday, mid-May thru October. Wednesdays, mid-June thru September.
Traverse City, MI>

Friske's Farm Market
Fruit stand (seasonal fruits, etc. - some u-pick. Great variety of fruit products); Bakery; Cafe; Country Haus Gift Shop; Playground; Barnyard animals. Open Mon.-Sat. Year 'Round!
10743 N. US 31
Ellsworth, MI 49729
(231) 599-2604

Gallagher's Farm Market
Fresh fruits and vegetables in season. Strawberries, cherries, raspberries, blueberries, apricots, peaches, blackberries & apples. Home baked goods, homemade jams and jellies, local wines & cherry products, Petting farm. Corn maze. Open daily June - October.
7237 M 72 West (3 1/2 miles west of TC on M 72)
Traverse City, MI 49684
(231) 947-1689

Hoxsie's Farm Market
Cherries, apples, pumpkins, pies, breads, cookies, and other baked goods, jams, salsas, dried cherries & cherry products, ice cream. Corn maze. Wagon rides to the U-pick apple orchard & pumpkin patch. Open July - Oct, 7 days a week.
6620 M-72 E
Williamsburg, MI 49690
(231) 267-9087
(231) 267-5264
Visa, MasterCard

King Orchards
Two markets - US 31, 9 miles north of Elk Rapids and M 88, 3 miles north of Central Lake. U-pick fruit and market. Open 7 days a week June - November.
4620 N. M 88 Highway
Central Lake, MI 49622
(877) 937-5464
Visa, MasterCard

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Cherry Festival Looms

It's 2011 and Traverse City, Michigan is hosting the National Cherry Festival. You can find a schedule of events here. I am having a hard time deciding where to spend my time: Polka Festing or Cherry Festing. I don't have to choose between them which is one of the lovely rewards of living in this area.

Polka Festival Begins!!!!

Annual Cedar Polka Festival

Leelanau.comBlog Filed under: Leelanau,calendar,cedar,food,fun,michigan,music,summer — Andrew McFarlane @ 2:55 pm

The annual Cedar Polka Festival runs Thursday through Sunday, June 30 - July 3, 2011. Highlights include a parade on Saturday at noon, softball tournament, a polka mass and (of course) polka under the big, big tent with the big names of polka. More details as we have them!

Thursday, June 30, 2011
The 29th annual Cedar Polka Festival begins with the flag raising ceremony at 5:00 p.m. Music and dancing begins immediately after the ceremony. Music TBA.

Friday, July 1, 2011
Sidewalk Chalk Art at 10 am, meet at the Town Hall. Music and dancing beings at 2 pm.
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Face painting at 10:30am, at the Town Hall. Polka Fest Parade beings at noon at the Solon Twp. Hall. All participants should be at the Solon Twp. Hall by 11:30 am sharp.

Music and dancing begins at 2 pm and runs until 1 am.

Sunday, July 4, 2010
Polka Mass celebrated with Bishop Cooney begins at 11 am under the tent. Music and dancing resumes at 1 pm .

Admissions (per person)
Thursday - $5.00
Fri. & Sat. - $10.00
Sunday - $5.00
3 Day Pass - $20.00
Ages 13-20 - 1/2 price when accompanied by parent
Ages 12 & Under - Free when accompanied by parent

Bands subject to change. Space available for rent on the tennis court.

For Info Phone: (231) 228-3378 or (231) 228-5562

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Poverty and a simple thanks to Fresh Foods Organic Foodstores

As I ponder the benefits of local food, I realized how long I'd been benefitting from the organic, natural food movement. When I was broke, in school, and living in a huge city that shall remain nameless, I lived close to a store called Fresh Fields. This store specialized in organic and naturally raised foods. Of course, at that time the food there was really too expensive for me to buy. However, on the weekends, they used to make samples of different products for the various shoppers.

Often, these healthy snacks were my only meal of the day.

Of course, now, I try to practice eating locally by visiting farmers markets and by eating naturally raised meats from The Hubbell Farm.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Farm Happenings

This week the new Shire foal was introduced to some of the other horses for the purposes of socialization. Young horses still startle at the slightest provocation--a falling leaf, a car engine, a human being. It takes time for them to become used to human interaction.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mother Earth.....consorts with whom?

....and Father Sky? Or is it Father Time?

It's interesting that mother nature's consort seems to have a slippery identity.

"Bolivia is set to pass the world's first laws granting all nature equal rights to humans.The Law of Mother Earth, now agreed by politicians and grassroots social groups, redefines the country's rich mineral deposits as "blessings" and is expected to lead to radical new conservation and social measures to reduce pollution and control industry."

Friday, June 17, 2011

Natural Pain Killers---Pass the Brownies

Now that Michigan has made medicinal marijuana legal, some folks are scrambling to see if they have the appropriate symptoms to qualify for the card. This is possibly the only time in the history of the world that someone would be really psyched for a diagnosis of, say, glaucoma. Not life threatening, treatable, and, hey, fill out that medical marijuana form.

Personally, I'm wondering how this kind of new business will affect the local economy. Can one really make hundreds of thousands of dollars as a medical marijuana provider? How the heck does that work? How can I do it, too?

Of course, there's still the pesky DEA and federal laws to deal with. I wonder how the folks in California walk that particular tightrope.

I wonder if I could get a prescription for chafing, extreme psychotic behavior, or even delusions of grandeur?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Star Trek Quotes

By Donna Sundblad

"Beam me up, Scotty," is considered one of the funny Star Trek quotes by Trekkies, but for a different reason. Those words were never said on the iconic original series, yet the often quoted phrase became part of pop culture.

I'm a Doctor Not a ... Quotes
Star Trek humor ranges from corny to subtle. Fans grew accustom to the "I'm a doctor not a…." one liners made famous by DeForest Kelley who played Dr. Leonard McCoy in the original series. This character affectingly known as Bones by Captain Kirk uttered this phrase often enough that it became a catch phrase in parodies and jokes making sport of the show. Here are a few examples of "I'm a doctor" humor:

"I'm a doctor not an escalator," as Dr. McCoy attempts to helps a young a pregnant woman up a steep rocky landscape of a foreign planet while on an away mission. McCoy's "I'm a doctor" statement added an element of levity to a tense chase scene.

In the episode "The Devil in the Dark" Dr. McCoy is ordered to the planet's surface once again, this time to treat an alien known as a Horta. McCoy examines the multi-legged creature to find it is made of stone. He looks at Spock and says, "I'm a doctor not a bricklayer."

Funny Star Trek Quotes from The Next Generation
The Next Generationcast members got along well on and off the set, which translates into the chemistry that made this Star Trek series so successful. But without good writing, even the best actors cannot pull off a hit series that remains popular 20 years later.

Worf, played by actor Michael Dorn, is a Klingon with no sense of humor. His intense warrior-like personality living among a mostly human crew added regular humor to The Next Generation series. One such example is found in the episode titled "Qpid".

In this episode, the crew of the Enterprise find themselves deposited on a planet resembling Earth. This unexpected trip is the handiwork of the mischievous Q. Picard's Starfleet uniform is replaced by a Robin Hood costume. He explains to the others that they are in Sherwood Forest and that the crew members with him are supposed to be his Merry Men. Worf replies, "I protest. I am not a merry man." It's a perfect one liner delivered by the straight man.

One of the things that make these quotes funny is to know the character. Regular viewers saw the humor while casual watchers might have missed it. Worf's stoic personality often led to funny Star Trek quotes such as this one as he interacts with Counselor Deanna Troi in the episode titled "Parallels". Worf comments on "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow," the song his friends sing for him at his surprise birthday party. Worf says, "That is not a Klingon song."

Troi replies, "It wasn't easy to translate. There doesn't seem to be a Klingon word for jolly."

The android Data, played by Brent Spiner, also provided plenty of opportunities for humor in TNG. Some of this emerged from his attempts to be human by mimicking their behavior. In one episode where Data tries to understand humor, he decides to talk with Guinan for advice. She tells him, "You spoiled the joke. It could have been your timing."Data's reply: "My timing is digital." His literal interpretation adds a light hearted moment that leaves viewers chuckling.

Star Trek and Humor
Humor abounds throughout the Star Trek universe. If you missed it, it's probably because you don't know the characters or history well enough. Start your journey over with a set of DVDs from your favorite series. As you become familiar with the shows, you'll enjoy the jokes and funny quotes that have entertained for years. If you start at the begining with the original series, you're sure not to miss a thing.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Eat it to Save it: An Interview with Gary Nabhan

Originally posted at UpNorthFoodies.com

From roasted tomato hornworm larvae, to pit-roasted cactus flowers, Gary Paul Nabhan has sampled his share of foods unfamiliar to most of us in northern Michigan.

A renowned ethnobiologist, conservationist, MacArthur "genius grant" recipient and author, Nabhan has traveled the globe, searching out the stories and tastes of many a region's traditional foods. But his efforts aren't about saving these foods for the museum shelves; instead, he aims to get these foods back on our plates to savor and enjoy. "Eat it to save it" sums up the approach.

And now his wanderings and his research bring him to northern Michigan, where he'll meet with local farmers, chefs, and others to identify foods in need of recovery and to offer assistance to those who wish to return these foods to the table.

He'll also appear at Horizon Books in Traverse City on Friday, October 10, with local author and longtime friend Stephanie Mills, where each will read from their works and sign books following a local foods tasting.

In 2004, Nabhan joined the collective forces of seven likeminded organizations, including Slow Food USA, to form the Renewing America's Food Traditions collaborative. RAFT's goal is to help conserve and restore food traditions unique to the continent, and one of its tasks has been to create the first-ever inventory of North American food species and varieties.

That list is included in Renewing America's Food Traditions: Saving and Savoring the Continent's Most Endangered Foods, a book edited by Nabhan and released earlier this year. RAFT slices North America into "food nations," each identified by a local traditional food. We live in the "Wild Rice Nation," which encompasses the upper Great Lakes states and part of Ontario. RAFT founders expect those designations will evolve over time, but for now, they get people to think about the connection between food, place and culture.

The book profiles 93 traditional foods, sharing their histories along with recipes and photos. Just three are included from our own food nation: hand-harvested wild rice (Manoomin to the Anishnabe), Chantecler chicken and American eels. But Nabhan is working his way around the country, and the Wild Rice Nation is now one of his focuses. As a result, our local list has grown considerably. Nabhan currently estimates there may be as many as 50 wild foods and more than 300 historically cultivated foods at risk in Michigan.

When he's not touring the country, Nabhan raises desert crops, Navajo-Churro sheep and heritage turkeys in the Southwest, where he teaches at the University of Arizona in Tucson. We caught up with him to ask about his work. Here's our interview:

UNF: You're known for your connections to desert cultures, a far cry from northern Michigan and the Great Lakes. Do you have any connection to this area?

Nabhan: My Lebanese family arrived on the Lake Michigan shores in the 1920s, after a few years in Detroit among the Arab community there. My grandfather set up a fruit-peddling business in northern Indiana, with my uncles and father often helping him pick fruit from Saugatuck north toward Traverse. As a teenager, I had the blessing of spending several summers up around Lake Leelanau. But I grew up in sand dunes, not Midwestern farmland. My family's roots are in the Arabian desert. When I first backpacked and foraged in the Desert Southwest I had dreams I was home. I was. Except for a year working in the Upper Great Lakes on environmental impacts of shoreline developments, I've been employed in the stinkin' hot desert. My joy is seeing my friend Stephanie Mills do the reverse: move from Arizona to Lake Michigan and take root in your dryness-deficient landscape.

UNF: How did you get interested in ethnobotany?

Nabhan: My family always fished and gathered grape leaves, wild fruit and berries along the shores of Lake Michigan, so I thought everyone did such things and ate their own culture's heritage foods. But I was wrong; when I first went on cafeteria food at age 17, I lost 15 pounds in four months. And so I became curious about how to keep place-based heritage foods from falling off our tables. By the time I was 30, I founded Native Seeds/SEARCH.

UNF: You took on that task in the early '80s, and the organization focuses on the conservation of seeds important to the cultures of the American Southwest and northwest Mexico. Twenty-five years later, here we are with RAFT, where you've really expanded your work beyond seeds and the Southwest. What prompted you to create RAFT?

Nabhan: I realized that not just genes and species were being lost from the American landscape and its waters, but culinary and cultural traditions as well. There had never been a comprehensive inventory of foods unique to North America, and little on their conservation status. So I brought together seven of the most effective organizations in the U.S. to see if we could forge an "eater-based conservation strategy" where sustainable market demand helps recover foods and their habitats rather than depleting them.

UNF: Have you met with any resistance to RAFT?

Nabhan: At first, some market farmers, orchardists and gardeners think we're trying to discourage them from trying out varieties new to their areas; instead, we're trying to encourage food biodiversity that incorporates the old and the new. Farmers have always been innovators, trying out new things; we just don't want to abandon or neglect any time-tried, taste-worthy heirloom seeds or heritage breeds. We also want to respect tribal food sovereignty rather than seeing traditional foods commoditized, genetically engineered or outsourced. Many traditional wild foods have a special role to play in preventing diabetes.

UNF: I've read your comments about how these foods are so effective in controlling blood sugar, and have protected Native people for centuries. It really adds depth to eating locally, which some people may view as just another trend. RAFT's approach goes beyond the "eating local" mantra too.

Nabhan: RAFT is deepening our sense of local by focusing on the heritage foods unique to a place and its resident cultures. They are key to post-fossil fuel agriculture, since most of them are adapted to the soils, climate and biota of a particular foodshed and don't need as much pampering. However, some of these, like maple syrup or heirloom fruits, may also need an extra-local, fair trade market in order to survive.

UNF: Can you explain that a bit more?

Nabhan: Let's imagine trade for regionally unique products between foodsheds; like cherries from Michigan being exchanged for prickly pear fruits and pads from the Southwest. In addition to local sales of direct-marketed items, we need direct marketing or barter between regions. This approach would get more of each consumer dollar back to the producers, and ultimately, back to their communities, rather than to middlemen.

UNF: Speaking of the post-fossil fuel economy, author and climate-change expert Bill McKibben was recently in Traverse City, and talked about how eating locally is part of the solution to move past our dependence on cheap fossil fuel. Have you worked together?

Nabhan: Bill and I have taught local foods systems together in Vermont in a climate like Traverse City. He emphasizes the stick: the collapse of the fossil fuel economy. I emphasize the heirloom carrot: more pleasure, flavor, fragrance and stories in our lives.

UNF: Is there another community that has been motivated by that heirloom carrot and embraced the ideas set forth by RAFT, successfully putting these ideas into practice?

Nabhan: Portland, Oregon, is an amazing example. Downtown restaurants there annually source more than five million dollars of locally harvested vegetables, mushrooms, fruits and fish. They get more than 300 chefs, farmers and ranchers to their annual Farmer-Chef Connection event, and are really promoting the heritage foods unique to their area. One Slow Food event I went to there had seventy folks at a potluck, and each family brought a rare RAFT food that had been sustainably harvested or cultivated. When you visit Portland, you are now offered the unique taste of that place. That appears to be happening more and more in northern Michigan as well.

UNF: You paid a visit here in June. What are some of your impressions of the northern Michigan foodshed? Nabhan: The Grand Traverse foodshed has so many interesting initiatives happening within it, as well as some great historic traditions. It's not everywhere you can get smoked cisco, superb cherries and wild leeks, or "ramps," at roadside stands. You have great restaurants like Trattoria Stella that literally sources dozens of foods and drinks from local venues. It seems that a lot of food for-profit and non-profit activities are reinforcing one another. It's an exciting and delicious time to be eating Up North!

UNF: What would a successful end result to this project look like in northern Michigan?

Nabhan: One goal is for Michigan communities to re-adopt one of their neglected traditional foods, help recover it and bring it back onto their tables at American Traditions Picnics in the fall or at other seasonal events. Restaurants and festivals should emphasize the foods unique to your traditions, and tell their stories to the uninitiated. And orchardkeepers should collaborate with the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Station to identify abandoned orchards with unique historic fruit varieties in them, to propagate, conserve and promote.

UNF: What's after the Great Lakes?

Nabhan: My great joy lately has been moving from one foodshed to the next, from Alaska to Texas, helping to reinforce existing efforts that will conserve the unique flavors, fragrances and textures of each region on the continent. What is called "local food" in Vermont is altogether different than what I eat at home in Arizona. By re-localizing food systems, revitalizing historic foodways and providing producers with high-value niche markets that truly pay them what they're worth, we can rescue America's imperiled agriculture and food economy. I just returned from the largest food event in American history: 60,000 folks attended Slow Food Nation in San Francisco. There's incredible momentum to democratize and rediversify our food system.

Monday, June 13, 2011

It's Michigan...Wait Five Minutes

I was convinced it was going to be a crappy summer weatherwise because of the dust and pollutants entering the atmosphere as a result of the earthquake, etc., in Japan. I forgot, of course, about the magic of Michigan.

If you don't like the weather in Michigan, wait five minutes and it will change. No, really. Last week we had four extremely hot days followed by rainstorms and our current chilly 60-ish degrees. I'm considering lighting my summer reading list on fire for some warmth--but my sources are convinced that warmer weather is on the way.

Pure Michigan. Send me a sweater.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Local Organic Cooking at Oryana

What's for Dinner? at Oryana

Tired of the same old recipes for dinner? Stumped as to what you can make? Oryana's popular "What's for Dinner" Demos will be offered 3 times a week. Stop by the store, sample some delicious dishes that are economical, seasonal, and easy to prepare, and take the recipe home with you. Deciding what's for dinner was never easier!

Demo Schedule:
Monday: 4-6 pm
Wednesday: 12-2 pm
Friday: 12-2 pm

What's Cooking for the Week of May 30 - June 3
Monday - Asparagus Shiitake Quiche
Wednesday - Warm Spinach Salad with Fried Eggs
Friday - Wild Rice Split Pea Salad

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Conspiracy Theorist

Write your own crazy theories about Conspiracy Theorist here.

Yeah, right. That's just what they want me to do. They want you to think I'm schizophrenic, but that's part of The Schizophrenia Conspiracy. And while I'm here explaining to you what a Conspiracy Theorist is, their MIBs show up in their silent black helicopters. I'm not stupid enough to reveal that I know the truth about Conspiracy Theorists.

Alright, I'll tell you what. I'll give you the official line about Conspiracy Theorist; what they want you to think. And you can think about that. And, if you decide that it doesn't really make any sense, then you can go out do some digging of your own. Maybe, just maybe, you'll learn the real truth.

A Conspiracy Theorist attributes the ultimate cause of an event or chain of events (usually political, social or historical events), or the concealment of such causes from public knowledge, to a secret and often deceptive plot by a group of powerful or influential people or organizations. Many conspiracy theories state that major events in history have been dominated by conspirators who manipulate political happenings from behind the scenes. The Conspiracy is generally evil beyond evil. And yet despite how evil they are, they never betray each other, so the conspiracy stays together for thousands of years. How they accomplish this is unexplained. It is something beyond the wisdom of our puny minds.

Conspiracy theorists in the media may be associated with Right Wing Militia Fanatics, and always seem to come off as somewhat mentally unhinged (though you and I know better, right?). This seems to be the case even when one of them catches the trail of a genuine Ancient Conspiracy or Government Conspiracy. Of course, said conspiracies have a tendency to try to silence the "kook" once they learn he's on to them, despite the fact that no one would actually believe he's telling the truth. This has the effect of:

1.If the attempt fails, it gives the theorist the Heroic Resolve he needs to unravel the conspiracy.
2.If it succeeds, whoever investigates the murder is bound to stumble upon the conspiracy, particularly if higher-ups try to hush it up.

Okay. That's the official line. The rest is up to you. I've left a few clues below to follow up if you want to find the real story. Be careful. The reptilians are watching you.

Oh, and if you ever get the urge to buy a copy of The Catcher in the Rye, for God's sake, resist!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

5 cheap ways to save 1,000 gallons of water

Water is humanity's most valuable resource. Want to green your usage? These ideas cost next to nothing and can each save 1,000 gallons a year.

By Chris Baskindon

It's been said so many times, it has become a bit of a cliche: water is our most precious resource. The world's population tripled during the 20th century — and water use increased at twice that rate. The general trend toward urbanization has stressed groundwater supplies to the breaking point.

Closer to home, municipalities from the Southeastern United States to East Africa to Australia are dealing with unprecedented drought conditions. Whether you chalk it up to global warming or a run of bad luck, water shortages are becoming a vexing and increasingly familiar fact of life.

There is some good news. Most of us are so wasteful with our everyday water use that basic conservation methods can really make a difference. And they needn't mean replacing your appliances or undergoing expensive home renovations.

We've rounded up five free (or very inexpensive) ways to save water. Each should save at least a thousand gallons of water per year. That's a little bit more change in your pocket — and water in the tap.

1) Reduce your current shower time by one minute. The average non-conserving shower head has a flow rate of five to eight gallons per minute, and a water-saving unit uses about 2.5 gallons. For several days, use a cooking timer and log how long it currently takes you to shower. Average these times — then subtract a minute. If you shower every day, you'll easily save 1,000 gallons a year by cutting the time you run the water by just 60 seconds. You can probably make up this time simply by making sure everything you need is close at hand before you turn the water on.

2) Locate and repair silent toilet leaks. Worn hardware can easily — and quietly — leak several gallons per day. Drip by drip, it all adds up. Put some dark food coloring in your tank. If you notice color in the bowl within 15 minutes, you've got a leak worth fixing. Head to your local home building supply store and pick up a repair kit.

3) Water lawns on demand, not on schedule. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 30 percent of all household water consumption is used outdoors. Of this, up to 50 percent is simply wasted due to wind, evaporation, broken irrigation systems and overwatering. The last one is something over which you have full control. Check your lawn on a schedule instead of automatically watering. Here's a quick test: step on a patch of grass. If it springs back, it doesn't need watering. And consider hardy native plants and low-water garden design the next time you landscape.

4) Turn off the tap while you brush your teeth. It's one of those hard-to-break habits, but it's surprisingly wasteful. Running the tap while you scrub sends five to eight gallons of fresh water straight down the drain. Double that for morning and bedtime scrubbing, and we're talking several thousand gallons a year. All you really need is a few ounces to wet and clean the brush.

5) Be smart about dishwashing. If you're doing dishes by hand, don't rinse under an open faucet. Buy an in-sink rack, load your soapy dishes, and rinse by pouring hot water over the top or using a handheld spray nozzle. Have a dishwasher? Use the short cycle for all but the dirtiest dishes. EnergyStar suggests skipping a pre-rinse before loading your dishwasher: it can use up to 20 extra gallons per load. Just scrape and go.

What's next?
It should probably go without saying that obvious plumbing problems should be fixed immediately. At a drop a second, a worn tap or outdoor faucet is losing about 20 gallons a day — more than 7,000 gallons per year. If you're going to be away from home all day, shut down anything which would use water and make note of your utility meter. This is a great way to spot sneaky leaks.

Beyond this cheap, low-hanging fruit is the pricier process of replacing inefficient appliances with EnergyStar-rated models. The washing machine is probably your best bet, followed by the dishwasher. Both will save energy and water when compared to models more than a few years old.

In the realm of home improvement, water-saving shower and faucet attachments are clearly the first priority. A trigger-operated spray nozzle on kitchen sinks is a real saver, particularly if your home isn't equipped with a dishwasher. Next up is making sure pipes are insulated properly, a move which will reduce waste caused by waiting for the water to get to the right temperature. Water-saving toilets are within the budget reach of most homeowners, particularly as older units wear out. If rainwater collection is legal where you live, consider setting up a modest system to handle your gardening needs.

Do you have a favorite water-saving tip?

Copyright Lighter Footstep 2008

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Shire horses extinct?

Shire horses on the 'brink of extinction' experts warn.Daily Telegraph

Britain's shire horses could be extinct within a generation following a drastic drop in the number of breeders, experts have warned.

Certain breeds such as the Suffolk Punch are listed as 'critical' with only 100 pairs left in the UK - making them rarer than the giant panda.

Others including the Clydesdale are listed as 'vulnerable' with just several hundred breeding pairs remaining.

Meanwhile, Shires - Britain's best known working horse breed - are said to be 'at risk'.

Experts say the animals are dying out before they can be replaced because of a reduction in the number of UK breeders.

The 'heavy horses' have traditionally been used for farm work, pulling wagons and even in warfare where they hauled huge artillery around the battlefield.

But after the Second World War the increasing use of machinery spelled the end of their widespread use on the farm and their numbers began to drop.

The warning about their decline was issued by animal charities, and by Harry Gotts, 80, one of Britain's last heavy horse breeders.

Mr Gotts, of Redruth, Cornwall, says unless drastic action is taken to increase their numbers they could soon become extinct.

He said: "It is very sad. The numbers are not increasing. More Suffolk Punch horses die now than are born.

"They are rarer than Giant Pandas. It would be a great shame if this carries on."

He added: "We have accept these beautiful animals could be extinct one day."

Harry has run the Shire Horse Farm and Carriage Museum in Redruth for 35 years after coming into contact with them on a farm where he was evacuated during the Second World War.

According to the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST), numbers of Suffolk horses are categorised as 'Critical', Clydesdales are 'Vulnerable' and Shires are 'At Risk.'

Experts say a number of factors have led to the decline, including the sheer time, resources and costs required to care for the creatures.

The horses can be over 18 hands (180cm) tall and weigh up to 176 stone (1,120 kg or 2,460 lb) - costing hundreds of pounds each month in feed alone.

They can eat a round hay bale in two days and up to three bags of oats, a bag of sugar beets and six bags of carrots in a week.

In addition there are vets' and blacksmiths' fees, leading to annual keeping costs in their thousands.

Dawn Teverson, Head of Conservation at the RBST, said: "Heavy horses are so large that most normal people with normal levels of resources cannot look after them.

"They have to be really committed and it is a big responsibility. The Suffolk Punch is the rarest of all the breeds, there are just over 100 breeding mares left which is a tiny figure.

"A lot of the mares are used as show animals which means they aren't breeding, and you also can't guarantee that a mare will produce a foal every year.

"All of these factors and many more have contributed to their current plight."

Save a shire! Visit Rice Creek Shires.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Strange, Yet True: Home Health Remedies

Matt Bean for CBS News

(CBS) Looking for some home remedies to stop a cut from bleeding or lower a fever?

Matt Bean, senior editor at Men's Health magazine, has a few you might find strange - but they're true - and known to help.

For instance, Bean said on "The Early Show" Friday, a great disinfectant can be found in the kitchen -- not the medicine cabinet.

"Honey has been shown to beat every type of wound infection," he pointed out. "Pooh Bear had it right when he was digging for that stuff."

Bean said if you put a little dab underneath the Band-aid, honey will have a similar effect as the popular wound disinfectant Neosporin.

Another helpful ingredient in the kitchen is fresh-ground black pepper.
Right after you rinse out a wound, Bean said, sprinkle a little pepper on the wound to stop the pain, and staunch the bleeding with pressure.

"You think pepper might sting because pepper is hot. It's spicy. It doesn't," Bean said. "It actually has analgesics."

Still another helpful item in your kitchen is green apples. They can actually help if you're feeling claustrophobic. Bean suggested that, if you're selling your home, you may want to add a basket of green apples to the room to make it look bigger.

"It might just help!" he said.

Another remedy for a fever, according to Bean, is to place an ice pack in your armpit or groin area. Bean said that will lower the fever faster because the body has temperature sensors in those areas.

Bean said you should also drink a lot of fluid for fevers up to 102 degrees, but a fever over 102 degrees is cause to see a doctor.

While he was at, Bean shared a bathroom secret that you may find handy: The first stall in the bathroom has the fewest germs, based on a study of 51 public restrooms.

What about the dirtiest stall?

Bean said the study found the middle stall to be the most germ-ridden.


Bean said the study cited alone time in the bathroom as the biggest germ factor.

"They think people want more privacy," he said, "so they go to the middle stall."

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Desktop Archaelogy

I've been searching through the geologic layers of deitrus on my desk. Each layer takes me back to a different time period in my life. There's the book I was reading when I was pregnant with my daughter. Here are notes from writing my dissertation. Old photographs of an aunt's visit north when I was barely three. An outdated package of hardened gum makes a sound like dead leaves when I crush it in my fingernails.

How would the future archaeologist read my clutter? What inferences will be drawn from the Sean Cassidy Poster from sixth grade? How will they read my later love for Klimt, Escher, and Dali? Is there an inevitable pathway from teeny bopper love to more reserved affections?

How would time travelers read the archaology of the twentieth century? Old wagon wheels supplanted by Model-T's? A million water bottles? What story could these travelers piece together if we were no longer here to decode things?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

U.S. and the Five Stages of Collapse

First you have financial collapse, which is basically the volume of debt that has to be taken on in order for the economy to continue functioning, cannot continue. We’re seeing that right now in Greece, we’re probably going to see that in Japan, we’re definitely at a point now in the United States where even if you raised the income tax to 100 percent, there’s absolutely no way of covering the liabilities of the U.S. federal government. So, we’re at that point now but the workout of the financial collapse is not all quite there. We don’t quite have a worthless currency but that’s in the works.

That, of course, is followed by commercial collapse especially in a country like the United States that imports two thirds of its oil. A lot of that is on credit and if a little bit of that oil goes missing then the economy starts to fall apart because nothing moves unless you burn oil in the United States and, of course, a lot of goods that are sold everywhere are imported again, on credit. And then commercial collapse is generally followed by political collapse because the Congress no longer has the ability to spend money in the fashion to which they have become accustomed. Governments at every level start failing. We’re seeing the beginnings of that where fire and police departments around the country are being cut. Right now there’s a big fight over the retirement of retired municipal workers. Retirements are, basically, being looted in order to paper over these giant gaping holes in the finance scheme.

Then the last two stages are I think generally avoidable in most places which is social and cultural collapse. Unfortunately to my thinking these two stages have largely run their course in many places in the United States where people really don’t know their neighbors and also they don’t really do very much for themselves. They expect to be fed at fast food establishments, they don’t know how to cook from scratch, and things like that. So, those are the five stages and a lot of people have found this sort of way of thinking useful in terms of understanding what’s happening.

What do you see the United States looking like for Americans in the next 5 to 10 to 20 years?

I think the country will be unrecognizable in 10 years, I don’t know about 5, but I don’t think it will look like a country in 10 years. I think it will be largely dismembered by it’s creditors.

Do you think that we’re going to be going quickly or slowly into these different stages of collapse?

I think certain stages like the onset of fuel, transportation, fuel shortages will be very sudden. American society tends to be very fragile. People tend to bring shotguns and baseball bats to gas stations and then every thing goes down hill from there. I expect certain parts of the country to go through this cataclysm where suddenly everything that they depend on, which is basically their car, no longer works and everybody’s stranded and very angry. It would be a lot of mayhem. We’ve already seen that, for instance, during Hurricane Katrina and afterward because of all the refinery problems the ‘..’ pipeline that goes up from the Gulf, I think it ends up in New Jersey somewhere, it couldn’t be filled so gas stations in places like North Carolina ran dry and I’ve heard from people in that area that basically civilization ceased to exist. And then, when gasoline supplies were restored civilizaton sort of came back. That should be the pattern in a lot of places in this country.

There’s been some limited coverage of peak oil in the press recently, do you think it’s enough to raise the level of awareness for people in this country about the things that you predict are going to happen?

Unfortunately a lot of people simply cannot be reached because they refuse to hear what we have to say. It’s not that they can’t understand it, it’s that they refuse to listen. The media, in general, in the United States makes it very easy because there is this fictional reality that they perpetuate and foist on people that contradicts what we’re saying. We’re saying that ‘this will not continue for very much longer, people’. And then the media says that ‘everything is fine, everything is normal’, and even the President is now in the game where he says completely nonsensical things like drilling in Alaska for oil will actually make a difference. He recently said that. It contradicts what his own government says about the amount of oil left there. Some of these just fictional feel good messages just saturating the media and so the reality based people really don’t stand a chance.

posted originally by ClubOrlov and reprinted in Peak Oil News and Message Boards