stomach flu

I like to think of my stomach as a fairy princess: she whines and fusses for no apparent reason. What happened to my stomach this weekend was not a princess, it was an invader. Anyway, that’s enough on that. I’ve eaten a lot of white flour in the past few days, and it’s about all I can eat. Check out this gourmet dish:

mizunaspinach

Mizuna greens and spinach from Windy City Harvest, one of Chicago’s larger urban farms. Just because all I can stomach is pasta and rice doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy some local springtime produce.. with a little bit of butter!

greening the home beautiful

I just moved into my new apartment in the city! After a long winter and a lot of work, I found a great place in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago. This neighborhood is kind of the Northampton of Chicago, which is perfect. It’s a small apartment with two bedrooms (one is the office/guest room), a small but very adequate kitchen, bath and living room (no separate dining area) with a tiny, sunless porch. It’s on the third (top!) floor of an early 1900s building that underwent renovations a bit over ten years ago. It has great basic elements and some fun details, like the cloud ceiling in the office.

It’s been three weeks and now I’m unpacked and starting to feel a bit like the the space is my own. I’m still looking for full time work, though I’m doing a few part time things to keep some money in my wallet and sanity in my brain. I have a bit more time on my hands than I’d like. But what a perfect time to think about what I want to be doing in this world and just do it!

On this blog, I’ve mostly written about my love for the local foods movement. That interest came from studying public health and working in the community to get food stamps to families who needed them. Food stamps are, in my opinion, part of holistic community wellness – along with affordable health care and safe housing. From there, I entered the food and health movement, and learned way more about it in the process. I’ve become passionate about how food and agriculture relate to the environment – the health of our world, and thus, of all of us humans who live here.

I want to be an actor in the move towards sustainability, and I want to start at home. I used to think that you weren’t going to make a difference unless you had political change and popular support, but now I believe we are at the point where we just can’t wait for that to happen. Politics is all well and good, but until we change the way we live our lives as consumers, we aren’t going to help the environment at all. So I’m starting here – in my new apartment. I don’t think that you need to live in a high-tech green building with solar panels and net-zero energy to live sustainably.

Here are some of the goals/projects that I am undertaking:
-Use less plastic. (An upcoming project will be making ‘plastic’ wrap with cloth and beeswax)
-Buy fewer items. But when things need buying, buy well made items that will last a long time (furniture, etc).
-Use less water. Run the dishwasher only once a week (saving water on daily handwashing) and be efficient with laundry.
-Compost and make soil for houseplants. The City of Chicago offers 50% rebates for compost materials!
-Bike everywhere.
-Try my hardest to grow food, even though my apartment gets very little direct sunlight.

I hope to add more projects and share what I’m doing to meet these goals. By sharing my work, I hope to teach others how to live sustainably – even in a city apartment with no backyard!

climate change and the future of food

I have to admit it: sometimes I get a little tired of the food movement. Don’t get me wrong, I find it incredibly inspiring and energizing to talk to people about their work with gardens, local food procurement, healthy schools, and so on and so on. I love it and can talk about this passion for hours. But sometimes, especially after getting a sample of a cracker (or anything, at this point) at Whole Foods and being told that it’s ‘not GMO, organic, local, gluten free..’ et cetera – it seems like the meaning of these terms is getting bogged down in marketing and fashion.

It’s as if this movement has turned a corner from being a radical, hippy subculture and made it onto MTV. Another bougie fermentation workshop and I’m rolling my eyes at something I actually care strongly about.

I was feeling this way – just a little bit – until I read this and other articles about the UN’s new report on climate change. Widespread displacement, increased food insecurity, and devastation in coastal regions – and that’s just within the next few decades. The immediacy of climate change, and the complete disaster it will bring, reinforces the importance of a strong local foods movement. Sure, it can get a bit trendy at times. But it’s now more than ever that we need the general public aware of the destructive powers of big ag – and that there are alternatives, such as growing your own vegetables and making compost from food scraps instead of adding to our massive landfills.

I would love to see the people of this world come together in a positive way to heal the earth from the wounds of industrial agriculture and fossil fuel production. Bougie foodies, too.

(In other news, I’m in Florida! Hello sunshine, my limbs haven’t seen you in awhile!)