A life without plastics?

There was a very good article, A Life Without Plastics?, run on the front page of the Chicago Tribune yesterday (yes, I have the tiniest of mentions in it) about attempting to live plastic free. It is laugh out loud funny and heartwarming in it's sincerity.

The author's struggle, chronicled over seven days to do away with plastic, is easily recognizable for all of us who have given a second thought to plastic. It's not easy. As Beth@FakePlasticFish is quoted as saying, "No one can do the whole thing in a week."

But the author, Trine Tsouderos, mother of two, does try and becomes more aware in the process. "It's like I can smell it," she writes of plastic at the end of the week.

And I felt like I could smell it to.

Is there one thing you've done to reduce the plastic at your house?

Haiku Friday

Organic Marin
wrapped in a big red ribbon
was under our tree.

Turnip Your Radio

I've no idea how the kale took root at the Rock Garden Tour but it is way too good not to share. It's Prairie Home Companion meets the Grateful Dead with a dash of the Car Talk guys at the community garden without the industrial ketchup.

Yeah, you've got to hear it to believe it. A rock and roll plant show. From South Dakota.

The music is good and they really do talk about gardening. And haiku.

We're hooked. It's crazy.

Haiku Friday

Late evening tea
with milk and wildflower
honey keeps us warm.

Broccoli & Meyer Lemon

Have you ever ate a meyer lemon? I mean the entire lemon? Okay, maybe not all of the peel but some of the peel?

I have.

I didn't plan on eating the lemon. It started with a tentative lick to determine the sour factor. It was a scientific lick. But the sour was far away so I licked the lemon again; more information was needed. I took a bite. Skin and all. Another bite and I was ripping away the peel, eating drinking, biting until the lemon was gone. And yes, the sour stayed at a distance even though I kept anticipating it. I could have eaten three but I'd only purchased one.

Broccoli and Meyer Lemon

One Head of Broccoli
Olive Oil
Sea Salt
One Meyer Lemon

Steam the broccoli until it screams green and is still crisp. Dress with olive oil and sea salt to taste. Top with a small squeeze of meyer lemon juice, toss broccoli and sample again. Repeat adding lemon juice as necessary keeping the taste of it faint as a lick.

I promise an empty of bowl of broccoli when the meal is done. And enough lemon left over to eat later.

Put It In The Landfill

The Muse has begun collecting cardboard off the street during our after dinner walks. She carts it like a Tiffany's bag through town. "What's it for," I asked the first time.

"Cardboard mulching," she said. "The kids love it."

The next time I offered to help.

The Muse works with third graders in the garden and helps tend their worm bin. She's one of my sources for what's going on in schools. Her daughter takes lunch in a cloth bag, with no plastic packaging and only cloth napkins. And she's not alone in doing so.

The Muse's school has a green team to set goals for sustainability in the near and far term. As part of the team she visited other schools, one with a living roof and full time employee responsible for implementing sustainability goals. Another, this one a public school, had a first class award winning garden. Each school was an inspiration.

But this bit of school news came from one of the Cute Guy's friends. Her daughter came home from a school visit to the Recycling Center and told her mother, "That's not garbage, it's landfill."

In relaying the story her mother said, "Now we have a recycling bin and a landfill bin. It makes a difference to how we think about what we're throwing away."

I'm not sure who should get the award for that one; the people at the Recycling Center, the teacher, the student or the mother for listening. But I do know I now call the garbage beneath our sink, landfill and not garbage too.

What's going on in the schools you're familiar with?

Or what bit of sage sustainability information have you learned recently from a teacher in a small body disguise?

Haiku Friday

A paper plate moon
and milky white clouds followed
a beet red stained sky.

More Food Democracy Now!

The Ethicurean was the first I saw to post it.

Green Bean explained it beautifully.

Donna and the farmers' daughter signed it.

The Yale Sustainable Food Project posted about what you can do.

Green with Envy, Riddled with Guilt pasted it right on their blog. And Groovy Green is all over it too.

Nebraskans for Peace are supporting it and so is the sustainable farmer.

Slow Food LA is on it as is the Local Food Research Project.

Culinate the food people, wrote about it too.

Now it's your turn.

Sign it.

Send it to friends. Shit, send it to people you don't like. Who cares.

Post about it on your blog.

Talk about it.

Please do it now.

12/14/08 Update: There are currently 40,000 signatures on the petition. Please consider passing the petition on to friends and family, linking it on the bottom of your emails or posting it on your blog if you have one. We have a rare and beautiful window to let our voices for change be heard in the arena of food policy. Let's celebrate it and tell everyone we know.

Food Democracy Now!

In the event you haven't yet read the Ethicurean, The New York Times or received an email from Michael Pollan letting you know about the circulation of a petition regarding Obama's appointment of a new Secretary of Agriculture, let me be the first to point you in its direction. The petition is right here.

I don't pretend to know who a good Ag Secretary would be but I do have trust in many of the original signers of the petition who have endorsed six sustainable choice candidates.

It's a crazy time of the year and who the next Agriculture Secretary is going to be is not on the top of most lists. But it will likely effect what you eat, what your neighbors eat and what the next generation eats. Please take a minute and sign the petition.

There's a chance we can make a difference. Really. We can.

Haiku Friday

Summer has left us
two jalapeno peppers;
firecracker red.

December Farmers' Market

I'm not sure the reason but there's a certain shine to a lot of the produce at the farmers' market right now. As soon as I say that though I remember the summer squash I saw today. It had a greyish quality and the dry farmed tomatoes still being harvested have black spots too. But aside from those there's some pretty produce.

The cauliflowers have been fairytale white. Every perfect head I see I want to buy. And the spinach; the spinach has been gleaming. No dirt, no sand, just pure emerald leaves to be rinsed and barely cooked. There are bunches of rainbow chard that could be enjoyed in a vase as thoroughly as on a plate for dinner. The potatoes are even pretty this December.

Fortunately for me the winter squash are also attractive this year. It's the ugly squash that pinched my heart last winter and fall until I brought so many home I had to bribe friends to relieve me of them. That and I thought there wouldn't be a local thing to eat in December and January but winter squash and I was afraid we would starve.

On Sunday I bought cilantro, I know it's way too late for cilantro, but the smell; it snapped it's fingers and I carried a bunch home with a crisp head of cabbage. I displayed the cabbage on the kitchen table for hours, admiring it before giving it refuge in the fridge. The appreciation made it taste sweeter when it arrived at the table again.

Maybe it's the newness of the winter crops that make them pretty or maybe it's the warm falls days we had. Maybe it's the farmers sincerity, a good year of compost or the lack of rain. I'll likely never know and it's okay. I'm simply enjoying the harvest now because the next one is sure to be different.

What's your farmers' market like this December?

Bill Moyers and Michael Pollan

Yeah, I'm a geek. Instead of blogging I'm watching Bill Moyers conversation with Michael Pollan from last Friday.

As much as I've heard some of the information before it wears off. Being in the world every day I begin to believe that local food doesn't matter, that industrial food is fine. I mean, processed food is everywhere. If there were something wrong with any of it, monocultures and crowded feed lots included, wouldn't someone do something about it?

Michael Pollan is doing something and encouraging all of us to do something too, starting with voting with our forks. It's like Wendell Berry wrote, and this is my paraphrase of it, every act of eating is an act of agriculture.

I don't know about you but I've eaten some bad agriculture and I know we can do better.

Check out the interview. It's inspiring.