Transition to a world made by hand

ACity bees2

Peak oil commentator of Archdruid fame John Michael Greer, who foresees an inevitable if gradual collapse for industrial society, advises the equally doomstruck to "collapse now and avoid the rush." It's good advice and I've taken it to heart. Transition girl About six years ago I moved to the small (but widely-hailed) city of Staunton, Virginia. Shortly afterwards, I helped start our … [Read more...]

Secrets of the trait

No GMOs

Picture this:  You’re an organic farmer in – well, pick a place. Your neighbor also farms, but not organically. As neighbors go, he’s a pretty good one; the two of you talk about the weather at the feed store, and he’s been interested in your agro-forestry sideline. By the same token, Monsanto’s visited your county multiple times, and your gut tells you he’s one of their hot prospects. … [Read more...]

The heart of my home

kitchenshape

The kitchen is the heart of my home. It’s the hub of the domestic wheel. Since it’s where the woodstove is, this time of year, it’s where everyone gathers. And, everything of any importance takes place there: meals get prepared, recipes shared, bills paid, horse grains mixed, tinctures made, messages exchanged; kombucha brewed, coffee sipped and books read. Sometimes I take for granted that the … [Read more...]

Four things that were better in 1899

Gibson print

It's no accident that the 1960 film adaptation of The Time Machine opens with host HG Wells welcoming four friends to a dinner party in London on January 5, 1900 to recount events that had occurred since he last met them, on New Year's Eve, 1899. What year could be more symbolic of the end of an era, for good or ill, than 1899? Since Americans worship at the altar of progress, we hardly need … [Read more...]

100 days of real food

Lisa Leake's breakfast for her guests included whole-wheat crepes, "Ranier" cherries, blueberries, raspberries, and melon. Photo: 100 Days of Real Food

I can't help but be impressed and inspired by the family behind the 100 Days of Real Food blog. After considering the extent to which our country (and to a lesser but still appreciable extent the rest of the world) is dependent on highly processed food, Lisa and Jason Leake, along with their then 3 and 5-year old daughters, vowed to go 100 days without those processed foods, eating "real food" … [Read more...]

Soil, soul, and society

Farm store

On July 30, 2012, Hawthorne Valley Association marked the 40th anniversary of working the soil of agriculture on its land in the Hudson Valley of New York. In all that time it has been Hawthorne Valley’s mission to inspire by example social and cultural renewal through the integration of education, agriculture, and the arts. The significance of place and the ability to connect intimately to and … [Read more...]

Yes, you can brew kombucha

Kombucha brewing

I live a pretty spartan existence. Our family doesn't live high on the hog, always out shopping or dining at the most expensive places. We don't vacation much, and when we do, it's all about going local — Virginia inns, wineries, and natural and historic sites. Basically, I'm pretty frugal, do many things DIY style, and otherwise am so into conservation that I don't want to buy much … [Read more...]

A GMO is a GMO is a GMO

Image: David Dees Illustration.

Quick: name the one issue about which Democrats, Republicans and even Independents all agree.  No, not alpaca farms. Yes, I know everyone would like to have one, and yes, baby alpacas are cuter than the dickens.  Try again. What’s that? Everybody agrees  genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that food processing companies put on our kitchen tables should be labeled? Is that your answer? Well, … [Read more...]

Fruit pickin’

Peaches

The idea of eating locally and in-season just makes sense. Foods that grow locally are produced in the very same environment in which we're nested. Thus it’s quite likely that they contain the essential micro-nutrients which, quite naturally, work well for us. The “in-season” concept, in fact, makes more and more sense when we start to really study nature. Think about it: in the spring, … [Read more...]

Junk food for Jesus

Jesus at Chick-fil-A

I'm a Christian. But I wouldn't eat at Chick-fil-A even if the company's CEO were St. Francis of Assisi, Mother Theresa or Dietrich Bonhoeffer. And it's not really because I disagree with the views of the company's actual CEO about gay marriage. It's because I think that Chick-fil-A's whole business model is itself basically un-Christian, despoiling God's creation in all too many ways. All that … [Read more...]