Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Farm Fresh to You: Cheap Local Eats!

I've been receiving boxes from Farm Fresh To You for a couple of weeks now and it's great stuff! I had a CSA with Full Belly Farms, but canceled it when I decided I wanted some more flexibility in what I bought. Farm Fresh To You allows me to do some customization of their box and still get good prices on the produce. My brother gave me a promo code that shaved 20% off the sticker price for my first box, which saved me about $10. If you're looking for a farm that's doing an innovative CSA, try getting a box from Farm Fresh To You.

(P.S: That promo code is 3034, if you want to save on your first box too)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bamboo "Paper"

Well, kind of. The sheaves from younger bamboo shoots provide an interesting surface, but because they are brittle, I don't think they are the ideal textile in terms of durability and ease of use. However, the ancient Chinese method of using bamboo slips (long slices of bamboo tied together, almost like a modern bamboo mat) as scrolls is interesting. I'm guessing that bamboo slips, unlike bamboo paper (which apparently has put a great deal of pressure on some tropical bamboo forests), could be made from bamboo varieties that can be grown locally in North America. No one is going to be turning in their college thesis on bamboo slips soon (try to adapt printer settings to that!), but it is a beautiful textile.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Whose Permaculture?

Ever since I flipped through Bill Mollison's original Permaculture I/II books, oggling the illustrations as if they were Penthouse fold-outs, the ideal of permaculture has captivated me. Granted, I have always been dubious about some of the more grandiose claims made by Mollison and others. The utopia of self-sufficient homesteads with perfect south-facing exposures sketched out in the Permaculture books always seemed to hide the dirty realities of eco-pioneering.

Recently, I've been checking out the accounts of different self-proclaimed "permaculturists," attempting to set up eco-villages in Central America. Reading about their experiences has challenged me to re-think the concept of permaculture as a living movement. After all, permaculturists do adhere to a (now global) label, creating a community that seems to share distinct characteristics (I'd insert a jab about dirty hippies, but I'd be an armpit-hypocrite).

A topic for further inquiry: how can we understand the permaculture movement in the context of globalization? It was very gratifying to read the account of a family of California transplants establishing an eco-village in Costa Rica. Clearly, these were people who had put their environmental/social beliefs into practice, constructing a physical manifestation of their ideals. However, these are still Western people bringing what are presumably Western concepts to a very different, "Other" place. What distinguishes them from a California conglomerate or Western media?

Obviously my questions are blunt. They ignore the subtleties that truly define this situation. Nonetheless, it's a realm of inquiry I'd like to delve deeper into.

Haiti Aid: Perma-aid or Perma-imperialism?
Costa Rica Settlers: Green Globalization?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lean, Green, Editing Machine?

After graduating from college several months ago, I've been doing an assortment of odd-jobs to make rent. Between brief panic attacks (the next check...where's the next check coming from!) I've had a considerable amount of thinking time to ponder...well, just about anything. One of the subjects I find myself returning to is the future of American labor. What will the average job look like in a decade or two? At the risk of setting my ego afire and parading it before the two people that (when they're bored) read this site, I would like to invite you along for a ride in my silver DeLorean of the future.

Most of my insights will not come as any revelation to you. For example, in my humble opinion (and that of every byline printed in Wired) the Internet will be instrumental in cutting overhead costs to provide a hyper-flexible workplace. The field of tutoring/editing is one place where this is already happening. I have long been employed by an English PhD who makes his living as an editor. Aside from being a delightfully cantankerous gentleman who issues me a 1099 form for mowing his lawn, he has been remarkably successful in marketing his services to people in remote locations like Houston, Seattle, Los Angeles, and anywhere else with a high-speed connection (sorry Iowa Hill).

The moral of this story? The Internet is already providing a workplace free from time/place constraints. In the past, these limitations have required us to build expansive highway systems, lose innumerable hours in transit, and confined us within the nine-to-five cage. Putting aside the potential environmental benefits, the possibilities for social change are immense.

A summary of this post: That AT&T ride at Epcot was actually correct. Aside from the part about AT&T logos being on everything...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Forget the Tandem...

My girlfriend and I are selling our beloved tandem. Tandem bicycles are a load of fund, but using them in conjunction with public transportation (or even fitting them in smaller cars) is difficult. While it's hard to let all the good times go, we can use the money to buy a more flexible transportation option.

I don't think the Human Car is the ideal replacement, but it's an interesting alternative to the neighborhood golf cart. Green Planet claims that the Human Car can travel in excess of 60 MPH. Looks like the most bad-ass surrey you're likely to find.