Thursday, October 23, 2008

Walking without buying

An article in The New York times really struck me tonight, after a walk with my favorite man and the passing-by of a wine bar I've been wanting to try. The night is beautiful here in San Francisco—warm and cozy and a good presage to the chill that is coming. We walked by the bar because only one of us wanted to go in tonight, and now I am glad for a couple of reasons. I think I need to tuck in for the long haul on the money thing. I mean, I need to be more serious about saving money than I have ever been before.

And then for the planet it is also necessary to reduce. Maybe the wine bar will have to be saved for the really Special Occasion rather than the Passing Fancy. As Margaret Atwood said in her op-ed, now that the economy seems to be in the tank (at least for the time being) the bright side is that, "Perhaps we’ll have some breathing room — a chance to re-evaluate our goals and to take stock of our relationship to the living planet from which we derive all our nourishment, and without which debt finally won’t matter."

And finally I am glad because we have just made a good feast instead of drinking wine! Freshly shelled beans (cranberry beans and Italian butter beans both from Iacopi) were laced with olive oil and rice vinegar and sea salt, and then we kept adding more things! Carrots of all colors, a radish, golden cayenne chili (from Tierra Vegetables!!) and two kinds of green onions from two different growers (Heirloom Organics and Marin Roots Farm). And I thank also for the daily bread, which is from Full Circle in Penngrove and couldn't be more delicious.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Review of REI Camp Cup with Clip Grip

Originally submitted at REI

Clip this mug on your backpack and you're ready for an outdoor adventure accompanied by your favorite tasty beverage.

replaceable lid?

By seedlingproject from San Francisco, CA on 10/21/2008


2out of 5

Gift: No

Pros: Easy To Clean

Cons: Not durable

Best Uses: Regular living, Car Camping

Describe Yourself: Avid Adventurer

What Is Your Gear Style: Minimalist

I bought this to reduce the amount of paper cups I use for coffee, and I had big plans to use this for ten years. After a month, however, I dropped the cup and the lid broke. I would be psyched even to pay another $18 to just buy a lid, but is that an option? I don't want the energy/carbon footprint of an indestructible steel insulated cup on my conscience!

just a little crack! Please just sell me a lid!


Tags: Picture of Product


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Shooting again

I shot something for this project again. It is a tradition in the highlands that the people who help a farmer with their planting are given any leftover seeds, and in this way I received some. Lee James of Tierra Vegetables is willing to plant the seeds I was given in Perú. Mine looked a little dry and aged when I gave them to her, but she thinks a few of them look likely to sprout. They are planting them soon and they are going to call me to come film when they do.

I got a secondary story today while I was filming. A man came to visit Lee James; he had given her seeds three or four years ago, and she has been growing them for several seasons. They are called Paradiso, after his ancestor who brought the seeds over from Italy in the early 1900s; all his family recipes include this pepper. Now he only has one plant of his own, but Lee is keeping the seeds going.

Glory in genetic diversity. Hurrah for heirloom plants.

Monday, September 29, 2008


I have been trolling the internet, trying to get a sense of the difference between McCain and Obama in terms of food policy, since it's the issue I feel I know the most about to begin with. It turns out this isn't so easy to find out... From Marion Nestle's blog I was directed to a posting by a graduate student at Cornell, Alexandra Lewin. I was surprised at what I learned, for instance that Clinton was the top recipient of food industry donations, Obama was fourth, and McCain was ninth. It seems to me from looking at the differences between McCain and Obama's vote that Obama is only slightly more in line with my foodie values. I still want to vote for him, because I like his tax policy and his restraint from hyperbole.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Hilarious article in the New York Times wherein the author seems consistently surprised yet well informed at all the locavore fuss... "A National Restaurant Association survey this year of more than 1,200 chefs, many of whom work for chain restaurants or large food companies, found locally grown produce to be the second-hottest American food trend, just behind bite-size desserts."


Totally in love with Santogold at the moment... I'm wondering if her song Creator is about the DIY movement and buying less stuff (as we all must consider doing if we are to recover from our global warming nosedive). I'm thinking more about how to make the seedling project a propaganda piece about living simply, and this song struck me as saying the same thing. Likely I'm on crack and seeing exactly what I want to see in this song!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Advertising for Andamarca

I still love my handmade hat from the knitters of Andamarca, Peru.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Global food crisis and subsistence farming

Two days running I've read articles about people reverting to traditional methods of farming because of the tough food/ oil price situation. The New York Times has a wonderful article about Mexican farmers reclaiming barren land with traditional methods (including terracing!!). And Treehugger had an article about farmers in India trading tractors for camels which is in turn improving the breeding stock of animals that used to be used to transport royalty.

While neither of these things solve the global problem, they do secure the food supply of each person who is now farming in a sustainable way. This is something I like hearing about when most of the news is about how the people in Myanmar have no access to food or fresh water, and many thousands in China are trapped beneath rubble. I can't think that traditional farming methods shouldn't comprise at least a little bit of a solution to our global environmental emergency.

One thing that might help everyone is to put a price premium on hand-grown food. It's hard for anyone to compete with subsidized American corn.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Mysterious cities of gold

A somewhat dated documentary on the Andes. Brief and inaccurate information on Peru, and some very wonderful theme music.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Trying to raise local

Interesting article by a Minnesota farmer about his dilemma with the FSA and trying to meet demand for local produce. It turns out that because of the way subsidies are regulated he owes his landlords nearly 9K for growing watermelon and tomato instead of corn...

Friday, February 29, 2008

Naturally Raised

The USDA is considering a new label for meat: Naturally Raised. Sounds nice, but all it means is that the meat was raised without hormones or antibiotics: not exactly the grassy green pastures kind of a thing, plus it overlaps with the 'organic' label. The Ethicurean has more about this. "USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service had previously proposed the development of "no antibiotics used" and "no supplemental hormones used" labels, both of which would provide clear and reliable signals to consumers."

I just filled in the USDA's comment form, which was very quick, and my comment is pasted below if you'd rather have something semi-personal than the talking points provided by The Ethicurean. The USDA is accepting comments from the public until March 3.

Comment: The definition of 'raised naturally' seems meaningless and appears to overlap with the definition of 'organic'. I'm not sure why you would want to confuse consumers. It seems to me that a 'raised hormone and antibiotic free' label would be more to the point.