Local Harvest

The holiday season is one filled with home-cooking, and eating with friends and family. This is perhaps the time of year when we cook and eat the most, and what better time then now to find a local grower to supplement the needs of the season. In doing so you can help ensure the continued operation of a local farmer, but also improve the quality of food that you and your family consume. Better taste, nutrition, environmental health, and sense of community can all result if we make this effort. I linked these folks a bit ago, but if you haven't already, check out the site, Local Harvest, to help you find the growers and retailers closest to you. Sustainable Table offers a similar service, and can further explain the importance of bringing locally produced food to your home. Help make a difference this holiday season.

cheers to our 200th post!!


Just for fun, I thought I would pass on the link to FOUND Magazine. From the website: "We collect found stuff: love letters, birthday cards, kids' homework, to-do lists, ticket stubs, poetry on napkins, doodles-- anything that gives a glimpse into someone else's life. Anything goes." It's fun, funny, and a good way to procrastinate for a little while.

Thoughts on Movement

How we move through the daily: our thoughts (from the immediate to the delayed to the future). …will the commute run smoothly today? Will the kids be nice today? Will I make it through the motions of the day?

But not just these banal movements. The movement of the social: communicating, interacting, emotion and physical … the momentary, the fleeting, the monotonous, and the new. The transfer of energy: eye contact and connection, averted heads and mumblings.

The meaning in movement: walking toward something (and walking away), class movement, activism, change.

THE POTENTIAL in movement.

And the static.

The stationary.

Sitting. at. a. computer.

the Avocado Tree Project

Here's something a bit different to get involved with. The Avocado Tree Project is a combination of participatory art, activism, environmental awareness, and public food production. The goals of the project in the founder's (Victor Pacheco) own words:
My goal is to provide a green tree environment in an urban setting. The trees will be exhibited in a series of places; for example in a building lobby as a group or a section of someone’s office. Maybe the trees will be installed in a school or they may travel in a portable green house and be placed next to bus stops or in front of businesses. The exhibition spaces will be specifically chosen to accommodate several project needs:
• To create an environment that can positively enliven or positively influence the mood of a place (enliven the space and how people feel about it)
• To create a place for conversation and discussion between people that don’t usually talk to each other
• To connect the arts with people who don’t usually visit art museums or art galleries
• To involve people in the process of growing a tree from a seed and parting with it to create a positive environment.

No matter your location, you can participate in the project, grow an avocado tree, and be a part of the project. Check out the website to get involved, contact the artist, and even find support on how to sprout an avocado seed, and further be a part of this interesting experiment...

Searching for a Country of We

I know this is old news, but having been out of the country when it was in the theater, and having finally seen the film this weekend, I plead with readers to go and watch the Micheal Moore film Sicko. While the film is obviously about the various pitfalls of having or not having health insurance in the US, it also has some underlying stories. Primarily I see the message as being a critique of what it means to be a US citizen in this day and age of corporate influence and the drive to make as much money as each of us can as individuals. It makes it obvious that the US is in need of some serious soul searching and some major changes.
Here's an interview of Moore on the Bill Maher show in which they talk about the film and the experiences resulting from the whole endeavor of making it. They also get into how important diet is in maintaining a healthy body and healthy life. Watch...

the War on Democracy - film trailer

The War on Democracy is a film by John Pilger that examines the U.S. role in the internal affairs of Venezuela and other countries around the world. It's an illuminating and disturbing piece. Here's the trailer:

You can also watch the entire film, hosted on googlevideo, here.
read an interview with Pilger here.

Maya Land Rights

Maybe there is some hope to be had for this world. In a surprising and exciting ruling, the Belize Supreme Court gave recognition of land ownership to Maya communities in the southern-most district of Toledo. These communities have been living for generations on what has been public land since the days of colonial British rule, and now that oil has been discovered in the area, there has been great fear that they would be forcibly removed. That crisis seems to have been averted. The added bonus is that indigenous rights seem to be making some headway after lifetimes of oppression and marginalization. From Survival International:
‘It is evident that the Maya claimants rely on agriculture, hunting, fishing and gathering for their physical survival. It is also clear that the land they traditionally use and occupy plays a central role in their physical, cultural and spiritual existence and vitality,’ said Chief Justice Abdulai Conteh.
He ordered that the government of Belize must, ‘determine, demarcate and provide official documentation of Santa Cruz’s and Conejo’s [two Mayan villages] title and rights in accordance with Maya customary law and practices’. He also ordered the government not to carry out any logging, mining or other resource exploitation projects on the Mayans’ land.
Read the rest of the article...

Check out the Belize Reports for another take on this story from someone who is there on the ground, working in Toledo as a teacher for the U.S. Peace Corps. It's also an interesting blog that offers a peek into life with the Maya in the "forgotten district."

Plant Intelligence

The science of plant intelligence...why do things of the same classification system seem so at odds? On the one hand, studying the behavior and communication patterns of plants seems so enlightened -- in the non-Enlightenment sort of way. As plant neurobiologist Stefano Mancuso has said,"If you define intelligence as the capacity to solve problems, plants have a lot to teach us. ...Not only are they 'smart' in how they grow, adapt and thrive, they do it without neuroses. Intelligence isn't only about having a brain." Sounds great, right? Except the fine print reads as a brave new world manifesto of conquer and dominate in the name of progress and science. Maybe that's exaggerating...but among the objectives of plant neurobiology are efforts to create a "plant inspired robot" that mimics the use of pods and stems to transmit information from space (read article here). They wouldn't be sending the plants out to space, per se, yet the idea of studying the intelligence of something for something else's benefit (without concern for the first something's benefit) smacks of exploitation to me. Plant rights, anyone?