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I’ve been following  @lizhoover on Instagram; she posts amazing photographs and stories from the Water Protectors. It’s her blog I’ve reblogged below.  If you’d like to contribute some money to this amazing effort of bodies and spirits, Liz recommends this Pueblo Food Drive:

“Help us take a Load of Pueblo Food for the Water Protectors in Standing Rock, ND. Many of our water protectors have been there for many weeks, some months, and a little taste from home can do wonders for our spirit. We will be collecting traditional Pueblo Food Items to take to the Pueblo Camp and to share with our relatives at Oceti Sakwowin in the ALL RELATIONS Kitchen!”

Though the site as of this posting doesn’t seem completely updated at the moment, I’m reassured me it’s still active so give give give if you can, and share too.  Cheers!

Chills of love and respect kept going down my spine reading this account of the kitchens at Standing Rock, from activist-anthropologist-writer Liz Hoover, on an ever interesting and insightful blog.

From Garden Warriors to Good Seeds: Indigenizing the Local Food Movement

img_3950 Meal line up outside the mess hall of the Main Kitchen. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover

Since April, thousands of Indigenous people and their allies have converged on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation and treaty lands, to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), slated to cross under the Missouri River directly upstream from the reservation. People have come from around the world to pray; to stand in opposition to Energy Transfer Partners and the Morton County Sheriff’s Department as well as 71 other law enforcement agencies; and to form community. Some people come for the weekend, others have quit their jobs and made resisting this pipeline their full time work. They spend their days building infrastructure at the camp, chopping wood, sorting donations, praying and singing at the main fire, and putting their bodies on the line between the land and an…

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Thank you for all the amazing support you have shown the Medic & Healer Council! *** We also need a transport vehicle and snow-ready ATVs URGENTLY – if you have a reliable vehicle you are…

Source: Donate

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Ah, the long stretches of yellow fields that have come to seem normal in springtime in the British countryside.  When I posted this picture on Instagram, I got lots of likes that I sensed might be approving of beauty, and an idea of pastoral, productive bloom.  Me, I see monoculture and pesticides and the economic restructuring of landscape and our relationship to it. I think about the battles between farmers (as represented by the NFU) and environmentalists about many issues, and neonicotinoids in particular, and just how complicated everything is.

To be fair, I also see Oil Seed Rape (OSR) for Rapeseed Oil as a rural, agricultural industry that has marketed its product very appealingly as local, gourmet, and of a terroir– as British “olive oil” in a foodscape in which most dietary fats are problematic in some (social, environmental, nutritional) way, and in which “British” and “local” represent virtues. Read the rest of this entry »

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 01.33.24.jpgIf you are interested in the culture, politics, ecology and economy of food in Palestine, may I recommend FoodJusticePalestine, a quite remarkable website curating diverse articles and voices from around the web on many aspects of eating and growing there.

Had I been following this site earlier, I might have been aware, for example, of the neoliberal trade context that makes Nutella a normal part of life in occupied territories, despite an initial dismay, elucidated for me by Aisha Mansour in this article. I’ve also come to question my own assumed unequivocal support of fairtrade products from Palestine, a movement that is well intentioned (and so much about solidarity) but needs to be examined in terms of issues of food sovereignty at the broadest levels.

“International fair-trade companies have also decreased Palestinian self-sufficiency. These companies offer local farmers a slightly higher price for their products than the price in the local market, but the real price of this practice is that high-quality local (baladi) produce is removed from the local market and sold to the global market at much higher prices. This has increased inequalities in Palestinian society, creating a minority of wealthy businesspeople, and leaving an entire population with low quality, imported food.”

There’s much more on this Tumblr site – articles about foodways, Permaculture, trade deals, land rights and more.  In fact it brings together so many aspects of how and why food is interesting to me.  So I wanted to share it on my blog.  Have a look and fall into a rabbit hole of fascination…  You don’t need to join Tumblr to view, but joining means you can follow people and ‘scapbook’ your own posts.

I’m so excited about this new book Radical Mycology, the literary embodiment of an inspiring website.

Here’s a fantastic and quite tantalising glimpse into the book from the great teachers at Milkwood Permaculture . I really appreciate all the photos of pages inside the book, especially the ones of the impressive Table of Contents.

Have a listen to Peter McCoy and get yourself inspired.  I certainly am.  I don’t know how to have the time to take on a major new interest, but if I find it, this will be it.

“Two years ago, a group of grandmothers occupied Cuadrilla’s fracking site in Lancashire. They gave out cake and talked to people passing by about the dangers of shale gas drilling. Inspired by what they did, we’re back at the same site. Follow our live blog and don’t forget to sign the petition!”  Emma and Sophie Thompson

Thompson sisters, go, go, go!  Thank you for putting yourselves out there, responding to the climate emergency!

(I love how the practice and popularity of baking has created great moments for activism and self-expression, hence the hashtag #politicakes (credit goes to my daughter).  Please if you see cakes like this, let me know so we can add it to Pinterest here.)

And on the theme of fracking… this is my all time favourite creative response:

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“How do making dumplings help people learn English?” Here’s a link to a great project in Manchester, Heart and Parcel. I wanted to RE-BLOG this practical piece about the methodology of teaching ESOL through cooking, and to share the website in general with its fantastic dumpling recipes as well as interesting articles, particularly this one I felt, on Policy, Pierogi and the Perceptions of Women.

“The dumplings and wrapped foods that we make during our sessions are a vehicle. We are not making dumplings as a means to an end, nor do we expect that all women can make, or immensely enjoy, making dumplings. We are making dumplings as a distraction; to create the process by which our participants can explore their minds, their talent, their potential, either through the task at hand (maybe we will get fantastic dumpling makers!) or through conversations had between those women, through information and knowledge being shared and transferred from one woman to another, from one community to another.”

Heart & Parcel

There are currently many women living in Britain who have a wealth of pre-existing skills and resources to offer, but do not have the required English language level to do so. These are the women that Heart & Parcel aims to support.

What is ESOL and why is it in trouble?

The government offers ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) provision which is free English classes for migrant workers, refugees and asylum seekers who come to Britain and need help learning the language. Due to media sensationalist coverage on ‘migrants’ and a highly politicized discourse, the general public have been ill-informed about who comes to this country, for what reasons and the amount of provision or hand-outs they receive.  This misinformation perpetuates a negative view surrounding those who require these classes. A combination of all these factors lead to funding for ESOL being insecure and unstable (Hamilton & Hiller…

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A medieval garden – from British Library MS Royal 6 E IX f. 15v

The Healing Power of a Garden – A Medieval View.  Came across this article this morning and felt a surge of springtime joy, reading about Henry of Huntingdon’s Anglicanus Ortus, a Verse Herbal of the Twelfth Century.

“This is no ordinary herbal: the work is staged first as a discussion between a master and a student walking around a garden, inspecting the plants in their separate beds, and then as an awkward performance by the same master before Apollo and a critical audience, seated in a theatre at the garden’s centre. Beyond its didactic and performative aspects, the entire work is framed as a prayer to God’s generative capacity and the rational order of nature.” –http://pims.ca/pdf/st180.pdf 

Check out this link for enticing excerpts pertaining to oregano, strawberry, dill, horseradish, and more.  Am a bit sad it’s a $175 book — doesn’t it feel like historical cultural production like this should somehow exist in the commons, for all of us to learn from and enjoy? Maybe this is a book Google might buy and put up on the web…

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I’m pleased to be on the shortlist for a BOOM Award in the category of Best Food Blog.

Here’s the list!

[POSTDATE: Guess what, I made top 3!!!!!]

We’ll find out the results on 11th May.  I’m more committed to writing about a wider social-cultural-political vision of food than what we think of as standard food blogging, though of course I am honoured to be recognised by the Soil Association because I admire so much of the work it does.

Organic as “lifestyle” might seem a choice of privilege or taste, but if you take a look at the range of issues encompassed in Soil Association campaigns, it’s clear that the dominance of chemical agriculture has critical, wide-ranging implications.

Some of their current campaigns: Read the rest of this entry »

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