Archives for the month of: June, 2014

Yesterday I read something MARVELOUS in the on-line magazine Soiled and Seeded — a piece by a Canadian artist Nicole Dextras about how her work reflects growth and decay, seasonality, our relationship to nature–in a context of incredible plant knowledge, craftsmanship, beauty and art-historical reference to amazing garments and mobile living structures (ie types of tents, as in yurts and teepees).  She makes these dresses from plants, leaves, foods, and flowers on armatures also woven from botanical materials.  Actors in the dresses interact with passers-by in various settings, teaching, chatting, explaining, and the dresses are breathtaking in their prime yet equally stunning and stimulating in their decay.

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Melon Seed Horchata!  Pea Shoot, Mint Tea, and Yuzu!  Yuzu, Beetroot and Mango Stone! 

My message to you is: Have fun!


Water Kefir grains are a magical substance (“a culture of bacteria and yeasts held in a polysaccharide biofilm matrix created by the bacteria”) that through fermentation transform liquids into beautiful, healthful “sodas” or carbonated bubblies, non (and sometimes just-barely) alcoholic drinks. There is loads written about Water Kefir on the web, many a how-to guide, including this Nourished Kitchen one that has great information even if a little complicated.

And here’s a piece on A Gardener’s Table, a really really beautiful blog.  There’s even the tip in the comments to add (sterilised) eggshell (to be removed) to remineralise your grains.

The basic instruction requires two phases:

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Fermenting in the Kitchen: Probiotics and Permaculture Principles

A Workshop with Elderflower-Tibicos Champagne

Today I am having a great time at home preparing for a workshop tomorrow….
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In five days, a bill will go through Parliament, a wonderful opportunity to get a national conversation growing on changing agricultural practice for the benefit of people and ecology and people as part of ecology.  It may have little chance of passing, but heigh-ho, we’re all in this for the long haul!  I learned about it from the World Development Movement blog.

The bill introduces concepts of animal welfare, food wastage, bio-diverstiy, pollution, good water practices, rural livelihoods and more.  It’s great!  Read the text of the bill here.

And here’s a basic definition of Agro-Ecology:

“Agroecology is the framework which will allow us to scientifically address multiple interrelated objectives of economic viability, social equity, and environmental integrity. An agroecosystem may be a field, a farm, or a larger region such as a river valley.  Implicit in agroecological research and education is the idea that knowledge of ecosystem relationships will allow farmers to manage inputs and processes in agricultural production systems and thereby optimize for productivity, sustainability, stability and social equity.”

Thanks to this really interesting website for the quotation above as well as the graphic at the top.

This is the page from Campaign for Real Farming with explanation and a how-to-be-involved.  If you are reading this in the UK, please contact your MP.  Let’s get this conversation happening!

What a fun animation with the cardboard figures and toilet and and the green vegetables growing from a field of brown, all in waste paper materials reused and later recycled.

I wanted to share this with my readers and tell everyone: Yes! I save my pee! My husband saves his too. How? I wee into a jug then pour the contents through a funnel into a large plastic 5 litre vinegar bottle. (His method is less indirect.) One of us, every day, takes it to our compost bin. We try to integrate lots of brown matter (leaves, waste paper, cardboard, etc.) which absorbs the liquid. A good balance of brown and “gold,” when mixed with our food waste, and stirred with a garden fork regularly, creates a hot mix that decomposes more quickly. In my life of chaos and many projects, composting is something I seem to do well, and stay on top of.

There’s loads you can learn about nitrogen uptake in greens, and phosphorus as a limited and important agricultural resource, and urine as a historical thing of value.

Here you can read about mixing pee and wood-ash from a fireplace to for successful tomato growing.

I wonder if it’s gross or inappropriate to talk about this on a food blog. I am sorry if you think so. Hmmmm. Really I see eating and cooking and food growing and bodies and health and waste and ecology and resources all as part of it.  Feeling my pee as useful gives me hope.

Here’s a food and land issue I feel in my bones, so much so that I just gave a little money towards a Crowdfunder fundraising campaign and am hoping some of you will as well, if you can. Watch the video and learn how a (lower-case “c”) cooperative group is seeking funds to get professional aid in organising and presenting themselves as realistic potential farm buyers.

The Co-operative — (with an uppercase “C”) — for people outside Britain– is a business group, mainly a supermarket chain and bank, that is mutually owned by “members” though managed as big business.  Members vote for issues it wishes the Co-op to honour throughout its practice — community service, fair-trade, good labour standards, environmental awareness, and much more.  The Co-op represents a model of business at a national level that many of us find preferable to other more ruthless versions of marketing in the food field.  (For my American readers, I can think of nothing comparable…)

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