Archive for April, 2009

A Food Revolution in the Making

Posted 28 April 2009 | By | Categories: Books, Food, Gardening | Comments Off on A Food Revolution in the Making

Great ideas on relocalizing food production from Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of food, in The Huffington Post:

Today, home gardening is on the rise, but most Americans still know very little about where their food comes from, and even less about how the changes in temperature and precipitation associated with global warming may alter national food production. If you break down the fossil fuel consumption of the American economy by sector, agriculture consumes 19 percent of the total, second only to transportation. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a concentrated effort to mitigate its impact on the climate. If we want to make significant progress in reducing global warming we will need to wean the American food system off its heavy 20th-century diet of fossil fuel and put it back on a diet of contemporary solar energy.

Resolarizing the food economy can support diversified farming and shorten the distance from farm to fork, shrinking the amount of fossil fuel in the American diet. A decentralized food system offers many other significant benefits: Food eaten closer to where it is grown is fresher and requires less processing, making it more nutritious, and whatever may be lost in efficiency by localizing food production is gained in resilience; regional food systems can better withstand all kinds of shocks.

Here are few examples of how we could start:

  • Provide grants to towns and cities to build year-round indoor farmers’ markets.

  • Make food-safety regulations sensitive to scale and marketplace, so that small producers selling direct off the farm or at a farmers’ market are not regulated as onerously as a multinational food manufacturer.

  • Urge The U.S.D.A. to establish a Local Meat-Inspectors Corps to serve and support the local food processors that remain.

  • Establish a Strategic Grain Reserve to prevent huge swings in commodity prices.

  • Create incentives for hospitals and universities receiving federal funds to buy fresh local produce which would vastly expand regional agriculture and improve the diet of the millions of people these institutions feed.

This isn’t just about government reform. Organizations, businesses, and even individuals like you can help advance these key initiatives and support both the revival of food local food economies and the health of our nation.

Pairing Leaves and Letters

Posted 23 April 2009 | By | Categories: Art | Comments Off on Pairing Leaves and Letters

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From a thoughtful “leaflet” on leaves and letters written and designed by Janine Vangool, who looks at a tree and sees typography.

Seed Card Business Card

Posted 22 April 2009 | By | Categories: Technology | Comments Off on Seed Card Business Card

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This inspired business card is part seed paper, part card paper. Tear off seed paper and plant it, then use the remaining part as a flag with plant info on one side and the cardholder’s contact info on the other.

Have previously marveled at the following growing cards:
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Windowfarms NYC

Windowfarms NYC

Posted 19 April 2009 | By | Categories: Art, Container Gardening, Vegetables | Comments Off on Windowfarms NYC


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Britta Riley and Rebecca Bray have set out to start a window farms craze in NYC. They are creating several different designs for suspended, hydroponic, modular, low-energy, high-yield light-augmented window farms using low-impact or recycled local materials. They are calling for participants to build a window farm and grow your own food at home in a collaborative design project.http://windowfarms.org/

This project fits within a larger context of their collaborative work: “crowdsourced R&Diy solutions for environmental issues. Our inspiration for community involvement derives from concepts of local production (think of the coming network of 3D multi-material printers), mass customization, and crowdsourcing. We envision the DIY aspect, not as a nostalgia-inducing hobby or a compromise during hard financial times, but as a futuristic infrastructure-light alternative to big R&D. Instead of waiting for products and services to be developed by industry, local social networks develop solutions for themselves by dividing scientists’ breakthrough findings into actionable local steps.”

Crowdsourcing local solutions to environmental problems. Wikis and instructables aren’t enough – develop tools to help people build on what other have started.

Links for 16 April 2009

Links for 16 April 2009

Posted 17 April 2009 | By | Categories: Links | Comments Off on Links for 16 April 2009

ikeasolarlight

  • Cheap and cheerful shoji-style solar outdoor lighting from IKEA: the SOLIG globe lights and light chain (US$20). Image from a wonderful review of the Ikea Solar Lighting Up Close by Notcot.
  • What materials are best for a school garden bed? Umbra advises on gardens and kids in Grist.
  • Trade, buy or sell local homegrown produce on VeggieTrader, a marketplace for backyard farmers in the USA. (Spotted in Springwise). 
  • OOOOBY store on Waiheke Island, New Zealand and online community for connecting with food growers and locavores to learn and exchange.
  • Exit Art programs in conjunction with their Vertical Gardens exhibition (NYC) of architectural models, renderings, drawings, photographs and ephemera that depict or imagine a vertical farm, urban garden or green roof. It features over 20 projects, both imaginary and real, by artists and architects that envision solutions for building greener urban environments.