talking walmart + food hubs.

My dear, smart-as-a-whip-and-passionate-about-sustainability friend, Clare, recently sent me this article from ASAP (aka the Asheville, NC-based Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project) that talks about Walmart’s involvement in food hubs — wanting to create new ones, scale existing ones, and otherwise work with “small- and medium-sized farmers” here in the U.S. and globally — and how that’s probably not a good thing. Clare asked my opinion of the piece, and because I can never seem to be succinct when asked a question like this, below is a version of my rambling response.

locally grown DC-area produce

Dupont Circle Farmer’s Market, summer 2012

Before I go on, a little background. I do not think Walmart is perfect — far from it — though a) I worked at the company after business school (if you go back far enough in blog time you’ll see there are some Arkansas posts; maybe I’ll do a #tbt AR post…) and b) I do not think all of the issues Walmart gets criticized for are exclusive to it, but because it’s such a big target it ends up in the crosshairs (I was going to say bullseye but I suppose Target should get to keep it) more often than not. Continue reading

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it’s (FINALLY) spring.

spring in BostonHappy spring. Winter was a long one, no? I for one not only went into a bit of a hibernation with respect to the blog (oops) but also with life in general…but it’s hard not to burrow a little deeper under the covers when winter persists as it has this year. In my defense, I *did* do my fair share of braving the cold and experiencing the great outdoors (I like my sanity, and cabin fever is a disease best kept at a distance), though I’m quite happy to see green things pushing their way out of the ground today. This year more than others I feel like I really earned my spring and summer sunshine; now let’s just hope it’s a banner year in the good weather department and we’ll ride out 2014 a-OK.

The seasonal change to spring brings yet another feeling of new beginnings, but this is different than the fresh start vibes that accompany back-to-school time or January 1. Spring calls for new life more than other points in the year, and even though it’s my least favorite season I’ll be happy for this moment to think about things not starting anew, but starting from ground zero.

In the spirit of new things, here are some previously not-in-my-feedly-feed blogs I found over the past few months that are worth sharing (and if they really prove their mettle, maybe they’ll make it to my blogroll if they haven’t already? I know, I know, The anticipation is really killing you.):

  • Grace Atwood of Stripes & Sequins – who is also coincidentally from Cape Cod, so she gets extra gold stars – lives in NYC but went on a short but relaxing (and WARM) trip to the Papaya Playa Project in Tulum, Mexico. I want to go (see aforementioned commentary on this year’s all-too-recent Siberian winter) asap.
  • Lindsay Souza of The Pursuit of Style reminds me of my past life in DC with her regular ‘Doors of DC‘ features (don’t put away those gold stars yet – she’s from Cape Cod, too) and other nation’s capital comings and goings.
  • Sarah Dussault of Sarah Fit (not from Cape Cod but definitely logs some serious time there) gives me great ideas about what’s going on in the fitness world in Boston, but also shares healthy recipe ideas, including her take on the delicious ginger sauce from Cambridge’s Life Alive Cafe. Thank you x1000.
  • Serena Wolf of Domesticate Me serves up solid recipe ideas – including this root vegetable salad that my dear friend, Amo, made for a girls’ dinner – but I sometimes wonder if Serena’s way of writing is the real reason I read this hilarious blog that also includes a ‘Dude Diet‘ (and for the record, she goes to Maine and not the Cape, lest you think I’m totally biased to my stomping grounds).

Spring has sprung! Get your read on, shake off the dust, scrape off the rust, and be happy you can feel your toes again.

 

labor day: sponsored by andy goldsworthy.

woven_branch_arch

We’re on the front end of the Labor Day long weekend. How did that happen? The nature of summer in New England is such that we’re all a little more weekend warrior-ish than normal this time of year, but I think I’ve felt that accelerated summer feeling even more this year since it’s my first year spending a summer – easing into it from spring, existing in the full of it (and its humidity…ug), and drifting out of it as the days get shorter – in this part of the world in nearly 10 (!) years. And it feels so good. Fall is upon us, which this year brings Andy Goldsworthy into my head.

Am I also thinking about things dying and the ephemera of it all? Maybe a little bit, becausesand_edged_to_catch_early_light of the season as well as some recent events. Cheerful, I know. But rest assured, I’m still an optimist. And while I’m thinking about the height of the growing season winding down, I’ve also got that back-to-school feeling where I want to buy new pencils, dust off my backpack and reinvent myself a little bit for the year to come. Be a little bit better than last year’s version. The year starts in January, yes, but there’s a 12-month clock that starts at Labor Day for me, too (there’s also a State of the Robin Union I also take at my birthday in July…not sure what it means but it is what it is).

If you’ve never heard of Andy Goldsworthy, take a peek at his work and see if it does anything for you. It’s in and of nature and natural elements and I find it more interesting and meaningful to me as I get older.

I’ll once again be roving New England (destination: Cape Cod) this weekend. Hope you’re getting out of Dodge (or Boston, or DC, or NYC…), too.

contemporary art report.

Let’s interrupt our regularly scheduled blog programming (whatever that is ) for an religious_experienceart moment.

*dramatic pause*

In that spell of silence, I rustled up for you Mr. Adam Belt. I believe it was Amy Meier’s Instagram that pointed me to this creative wonder, and I’m so thankful for the injection of inspiration.

convergenceAbove, I like the title almost as much as the work itself: “A Religious Experience.”

And to the left – “Convergence” – makes me think first about beach erosion, and second about how sad it’d be if the beach included concrete blocks. I find it beautiful in a way that surprises me, because I don’t tend to gravitate toward imagery that is at all industrial (which I know is an oversimplification here but I’ll let it stand. It’s my blog and I do what I want.)

Last, “A Hole is a Thing in a Hole it is Not.” Looks like quite a setup and vaguely reminiscenta_thing_is_a_hole_it_is_not of some nocturnal shots from this art star I blogged about for her poetry selection skills.

this is your brain on vegetables.

walter_willett

The Boston Globe Magazine published a profile of this guy. Aside from sporting a rockin’ mustache Angus King would be jealous of, Walter Willett is a nutrition crusader of the first degree — so of course I’m buying what he’s selling. Mr. Willett is the Frederick John Stare Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition Chair, Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health. Oh, and he’s Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Your classic underachiever.

He’s a little more Puritan than I’d like to live — but his wife, though similarly health-minded, lets loose a bit more, which is refreshing. Everyone needs a little chocolate now and then, even if your diet is 95% green juice (and mine certainly is not).

I bring WW into the blog picture because I like his no-nonsense approach. He’s not about quick fixes or fads but about keeping it simple. Unprocessed. Unfiltered. Think he has good rules to live by from a nutrition standpoint, but also from a general life POV, too. So read up on Walter Willett, the most-often-cited nutritionist in the world. Yes, the world.

love + salt water.

Image

My adventurous friends, Clare and Drew, got married over the weekend in Calistoga, CA, up in the Napa hills. To say it was enchanting is an understatement. One of the highlights for me (aside from the wine and food, let’s be honest) was learning of the poem below, found and later read by Gillian Bostock during the ceremony.

Voyage

by Denise Levertov

Fluttering strips of paper strung on cord
tied to the ship’s rail.
Each inscribed.
Read them:
‘How deep the waves’ blue!’
‘How bright the foam!’
‘Wind and light
sparkle together!’
‘How the sea’s plumage
preens itself!’
These are prayers.
To celebrate,
not to beseech.
Among them, leaning
toward the water, we voyage
are voyaged, seeing.
We share among us
the depth of day, are borne
through it
swiftly as arcs of spray.
Salt glitters
on our lips,
on ruffled paper. Soon
the words will fly on their torn strips
beyond vision.
       Silent, smiling, receiving
joyfully what we are given
we utter
each to each
our absolute presence.
 

if you’re going to san francisco.

Image

And you may ask yourself, Well, how did I get here?…

And you may tell yourself,

This is not my beautiful house.

And you may tell yourself,

This is not my beautiful wife.

–Talking Heads

I’m reading The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides. “Intellectual hedonism” is the phrase that comes to mind. That, and I’m thinking a lot about what it felt like to be a new college graduate and how I comparatively feel now (is this where I say YOLO? If so…keep waiting). 

It’s time to restore the balance in my life so I don’t wake up one day and wonder where the rat race took me. Note that I fully acknowledge that much of this self-reflectivity stems from a recent trip to San Francisco and Napa. My at-least-once-a-year trips in that direction seem to be good for my soul, bleeding-heartish as that sounds. But it’s true. And I’m OK with it…especially since this time I literally went to San Francisco…and had flowers in my hair. Yet again, walking cliché: that’s me.