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...]

We must be the change

chopping competition

As I observe people around me, I’ve been noticing a trend – most everybody, in theory -- wants to save the Earth.   The problem, however, is that far too few people are willing to make the lifestyle changes necessary to ensure a livable future. Comforts and conveniences The appeal of constant financial progress, of fast food and perfectly temperature-controlled rooms is too great.  The ease of … [Read more...]

Is it organic?

USDA organic sign

  Making healthy food choices is important. But, sometimes it’s really tough to be sure that you are getting what you intended to get. Let’s say, for example, that you have made a decision to eat primarily organic foods. Well, how do you know it’s organic? The obvious answer is that it is labeled by the USDA, whose National Organic Program regulates the standards for any farm, wild crop … [Read more...]

Convinced that food can save America

Student drinking yogurt

It's hard to overestimate the importance of food. Yet, sometimes it appears just as hard for food writers to avoid hype. It's all too easy for people who love food enough to write about food to lose themselves in breathless raptures over the deliciousness of forest foraged mushrooms or the power of artisanal pork to cure diabetes, resurrect rural economies and provide meaningful careers to … [Read more...]

For health, smarts and resilience, drink your beer

beer inforgraphic cropped

Anybody interested in buying more food from local farmers and learning how to cook and preserve it at home knows that taking control of what goes in your mouth is a powerful way to get healthier. But if you're trying to eat more organic kale, more free-range eggs and more pastured beef, you may also be trying to cut back on booze to stiffen up that beer belly or shrink those love … [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...]

Tempted by the fruit of another

plums

Have you ever noticed unharvested fruit rotting in people's yards and thought, “What a waste. Someone could have used that.” Well, you're not alone. Katie Kolker, in Portland Oregon, this episode's guest on Peak Moment TV, had the same thought and decided to do something about it. She formed the Portland Fruit Tree Project (PFTP) a small non-profit organization which coordinates and carries out … [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...]