Saturday, December 6, 2008

Oldies, but goodies.



Both in Somerville, MA(my most coveted place).

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Bountiful Harvest. My first History of Farming post.


Something I have been thinking about starting was regular posts on The History of Farming. The early 20th century American farm, seems like a good, but also a weird place to start. In a time when local/organic/urban farms are on the rise, and agribusiness is still a big factor in how food is produced, it seems real fitting. But, yes, people, for thousands of years have cultivated plants for food. And maybe, if I become dedicated enough, I will someday learn more about that.
But, as an American, and a photographer this seems like the place to begin. While in art school, learning the great masters of photography, the Farm Security Administration photographers were a huge part of my education. Walker Evans, Dorthea Lange and Gordon Parks are like gods to me. In a time when farming is a hot topic(for both the health of humans, and of the earth) it seems fitting to return to the time right before agribusiness, subsidies and genetically modified were words we used when we spoke about food. To a time, when we grew things so people could eat, and the people who grew them were paid for what they grew. It seemed simple enough...but it's not anymore. So while trying to find books on farming at the Somerville Library, I came across a book called, Bountiful Harvest. A collection of photographs compiled by Leslie A. Loveless; the photographer is Pete Wettach, who lived in Iowa and worked(among many things) as an FSA worker. Born in New Jersey, he longed to be a farmer, and moved to Iowa. His farming dream failed, but he ended up working to help the ones whose profession he longed for. He helped farmers displaced by the Great Depression, to purchase farmland. During that time he photographed. He knew these people, and was able to document them for about four decades. He shows us, not only the hardships of the Great Depression, but the farms that survived, but the many different facets of a farm life and community.
... maybe there needs to be a new class of FSA photographers, but we could substitute the word farm, for food. We could document people who grow healthy food, in ecological ways and to those who are teaching future generations to appreciate growing and preparing food.
what do you all say?

photograph by Pete Wettach

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Nature Walk 11/16/08


View Larger Map

I walk this route a few times a week, and I tried to look at trees, plants, et al. that I haven't.
On an entirely different note, My head keeps chanting, "yes, we can."
It's a good mantra for artists too.

Michael Pollan for Secretary of Agriculture

Go here, and you can sign a petition to ask Barack Obama to make Michael Pollan his Secretary of Agriculture. Even if he wouldn't do it, I think it's a pretty great message to send to President Elect Obama.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Only you can prevent...Wildfires?


As I was forcing my eyes to remain open while watching the TV show Bones on my computer, the obligatory commercial breaks every ten minutes or so, this time featured our friend, Smokey Bear. After he chastised a smoker who throws his cigarette so carelessly in clearly extremely dry brush, Smokey says, "Only you can prevent Wildfires." A change(which was done in 2002, go me for just now becoming aware) which substituted the word forest for wild. Even with the word change, after I see one of those commercials I automatically envision myself carrying a bucket of water with me, everywhere and always. Yet, again, we see fires jumping from roof to roof, pushed by Santa Ana winds in California, and they suspect arson.
So where's the power in the name change? Is forest to far away for us to care? Does wild imply a recklessness that could come from the middle of a forest right to out doorstep? Apparently adults were not convinced that we were, or could be responsible for devastating fires, so the word wildfires was supplanted. Smokey still leaves me afraid for our forests, or wilds, but what's even more frightening is a counter that on the website showing how many of acres have burned this year... we've passed 5 Billion. Maybe they should have commercials of Smokey ripping potential wild/forest fire starters limb from limb to get the point across a little clearer.

For more info go to SmokeyBear.com

Nature Walk Portland, ME

Last weekend, I went to Portland, ME to see a cousin I haven't seen for about 6 years. I arrived at 8 AM and didn't leave until 5, so there was lots of time to walk around. We were in Downtown Portland for most of my visit. One of my favorite moments was finding a giant Copper Beech Tree in the front of this beautiful(and also a little intimidating) Episcopal Church. We did so much walking, I really don't remember exactly where these were taken. But enjoy anyhow.




Monday, November 3, 2008

Nature Walking for Reals.


View Larger Map

Okay, so I finally did it! I made a virtual nature walk!!! It's the first one, so it is still has a lot of work that needs doing, but it is pretty exciting. So yeah, glad I finally did this, because it's not become winter or anything...

ENJOY!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ugly Overload.

So for those of you who have heard of Cute Overload, here is its counterpart, Ugly Overload. They blog about the animals that get less press because well they ain't that cute.
I learned last night while listening to the Living on Earth Podcast that 1 in 4 mammals are endangered, and 1 in 2 primates are. For more info go the Red List.

UPDATE: There was some really shoddy English before; I've corrected that. Pays to proof read!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Redressing with Pigeons

I've been trying to figure out what I want to do with this blog. It started as a school project, and now, oh shit, I care about it. Or at least I care about what's in it. Which is why i put a video of pigeons on my blog, to convince you of my sincerity. There is so much I need to know from our food systems to farming to carbon capture. I want this to be a space where I can learn, and share with others. I invite people to add comments and start a discourse. And also let me know how this thing sucks, and ways you might want to improve it.

video

A Plant's Life



This was sent to me by dear friend Katie. It's from the Telegraph about a plant in a cafe that is hooked up to detectors and what the plants feelings gets "translated" into text.
Pretty cool.

I heart PBS.

Last night, there was a really good Frontline concerning Global Warming. It talks a lot about where we are still getting our electricity(pretty much coal) and the measures taken, or not to start using renewable sources. Frontline did a really good job I think in explaining some of the more difficult aspects fom Clean Coal(we've all heard Obama and McCain use that phrase)to just how we are still the most polluting industrial nation when it comes to automobiles. It's pretty great, AND! you can watch it from the website.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Re: High-Fructose Corn Syrup Ad 2

This is a response ad to the high fructose corn syrup ones I just posted about.
I think this one is a little more accurate, and it's funnier.

NY Times Magazine: Food Issue

Tomorrow the NY TIMES will devote it's magazine to the new food culture happening in America. There is also a pretty sweet picture of an exploding corn on the cover. It's reminded my of all those awesome commercials promoting High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Nature Walk Manhattan



You betcha, it's Manhattan! It's not all a concrete jungle.

Monday, October 6, 2008

New Links.














Title kind of says it all, but yes, there are new links to look at.
I have been way into Living on Earth radio, which is made in Somerville!
Also, Orion Magazine is pretty great (it's only been a few weeks, but I am in love). There is a book compiled of essay from the magazine called, The Future of Nature, which so far has been really informative, at times, disheartening, but altogether amazing.
The Charles River Conservancy, Drumlin Farm and The Growing Center have all been places that I've volunteered at, and really respect what they are doing for the community.

Okay that's it. Check out the sites! Please leave more in the links(not that I expect many people to be reading this...)
Thanks, Andrea for all the new sites to look at!

Vines, in Union Sq

Feminism, Sustainablity AND Dessert. word.

Tomorrow night Feminism and Dessert at the Center for New Words, will host a talk about Urban Sustainabilty. Laura from the Riles Institute and Jolie from reVision Farm. It starts at 7pm.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Morning Glories in the AM


I see these every morning as I walk/most of the time run, to the bus stop. It's funny to think that this little flower holds hallucinogenic powers. And it's legal!
And speaking of hallucinogens, there is an article on Salvia in the NY Times.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Garden Cycles

Bless parties! Without them, I would not have been told about this great project done by three great women. Garden Cycles, which was a bicycle tour of urban gardens and farms from D.C. to Montreal and back! I am totally hooked to this website, and this project. They documented this wonderful trip(you can see the trailer on there website) and view/read all the great places they went too.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Plant Database

I added this to the Links list, but I wanted to shine a little more spotlight on The United States Department of Agriculture's and the Natural Resources Conservation Service have a Plant Database! There is a plant of the week, you can figure out what species are growing in your state and much more. It's pretty fabulous. So much information on these great internets (yes, all of them.)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Makeshift garden near Inman Square in Cambridge, MA


So lovely.

Queen Anne's Lace.


One of my favorite local singers in Somerville, Rose Polanzani has a song called, "Queen Anne's Lace," and it wasn't until recently this plant was pointed out to me by a friend. Now I pretty much see it everywhere, and always get the song in my head when I do(which is fine with me!).
It's Latin name, Daucus Carota was brought from Europe to America probably in the 1700's. This invasive species is apt for growing in open spaces, which includes city spaces! It's a biennial that's got a little more than a month of blooming time left, so observe while you can!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Environmental Bond Bill.

Help Pass the Environmental Bond Bill by contacting your local Representatives today!
Last day before the Legislature goes home for the summer is July, 31st. This bill will help give more funding to, "protecting open spaces, ensuring water quality, maintaining our parks"(Coalition for the Environmental Bond).
For more information go here.
To figure out who your elected officials are, go here.
To see a picture of an Ulmus minor tree in Denmark, go here!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Plants in Cambridge Naturals.




I felt a little smarmy taking this picture. I really need to remove the sound from my camera...huh, how funny you can just turn off the sound. Beat that Leica!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Greenwash

Greenwash is a term to describe how companies can deceive consumers into thinking their products are better for the environment, when in fact they are not. Greenwash of the Week is a great duo that helps remove the wool.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Green Houston website.

My beautiful hometown of Houston, Texas unveiled it's new website on what citizens can do to be more environmental.

Yes, Halliburton can still go to hell, but I love this city.

I don't think even Boston has something this comprehensive.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Tree hanging out of a window in NYC.




Doesn't get any better than that!

Guerilla Gardening!



Boston Handmade , a great fair full of artists with all handmade goodies, was in Union Square this weekend. And that is where I found this awesome piece of art. Madelyn Macedo(I tried to find a link to her, not much luck) made these little seed bombs(as she calls them!)out of clay and seeds. Be a revolutionary with the power of flowers! She suggests throwing them in "desolate and neglected areas" and wait for pretty flowers to arrive.

Madelyn Macedo's art can be found here.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Trees.



Little plants, and growing soil.





For a mere $1, you too can be the owner of a starter pot from Target. Buzzy Seeds has a slew of seeds. Looking on their website, you can even grow grass in little square shaped pots. I must say that I got pretty excited picking out petunias, oregano and sunflowers(my favorite) from the dollar bin a Target. I am hoping I can parlay these little seedlings into a window box come spring(if it does.)



The most interesting part for me was growing the soil. Yes, I got to grow soil! The dirt is compacted into these little pellets and when I poured water on them, they expanded. It was really fun to watch.



The asylum flower has already started to sprout, so I am hopeful.

Thanks to Leslie K. Brown for the tip on the dollar plants!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Growing Flowers in Ceramic Eggs.



So my roommate and I are trying to grow Snap Dragons and Impatiens in these little ceramic eggs. Egg Plants! It reminds me of those shrunken dinosaurs you put into water and they enlarge, or mixing baking soda and vinegar in the paper mache volcano everyone made for some science project. As I carefully hit away the ceramic on the top and applied a generous amount of water, my roommate and I stood in somewhat skeptical awe, we thought, "will something really grow out of this?"
My sister's herbs made by Chia Pet didn't fair so well. I fear that this kind of gimmicky stuff rarely yields anything to write home about(however, blogging about it, different story). These little "grow your owns" seem to take the reality out of gardening. Even if gardening means growing herbs in old coke bottles(my method). It further implores the idea that gardening is not feasible in a city, or city dwelling cannot be integrated with nature.
But who can say, maybe we will yield a bounty of snap dragons and impatiens!