local flavour

I've been thinking (for half a year...) about setting up a simple website that contains links to local food sources and other cool businesses in the area. Since Jeremy gave me a kind kick in the butt a while back, it's time to start working on it. He links to a delicious looking b&b in Naramata, whose proprietors are involved in something called the Slow Food movement. I could love a group that praises slowness, rest and hospitality. Preserving us from the homogenization of food and the fast food industry? Thank goodness.

Our first committment to this type of eating - and the start of the web project - will come this weekend. We are throwing a small party for my birthday and have decided that the theme will be along the lines of "local flavour". I'm not usually big on theme parties but this will be fun and challenging.

We already have some tasty ideas that will make for an eclectic table but could use some help in the vegetable department. We didn't preserve/store any ourselves from summer, so we need to track those down. Ideas? We can eat a LOT of squash, those are still around. Then again, I'm not averse to serving large quantities of wine and cheese which are both abundantly available around here!

Stats on why it's important to seek local food (snip from Slow Food Vancouver).

Did you know that food in North America travels on average from four to seven days before it reaches the retailer? Additionally, that it has traveled over 2,400 kilometres? The impact of food production on non-renewable fossil fuel can be immense.


On Board

Nice to see that David Suzuki has gotten on board with the "sustainability" trend. Oh wait, it's me on his coat tails. I love his ideas and Nature Challenge which outlines 10 of the most useful changes he belives we can each make in our daily lives. What amazes me most about Suzuki is his firm belief that change is possible and to not give up on it (and us). He continues to look further ahead than most and actually thinks about longer term planning.

How does one keep up that energy and research without becoming a roaring cynic? It's nice to buy organic instead of sprayed vegetables, but as long as Monsanto can frame a farmer for it's GM seeds that blew into his field what hope is there? I find I deal with this attitude regularly. Once I'm committed to doing something, do I aim to effect local change - things I can see in front of me - or to look at the big picture and take on the big boys? Will nothing change unless we can crack the top ranks? Bottom up or top down?

Grassroots action is where it has to start but when are we going to put the right kind of person in a position of power to really shake things up?


catch up

Almost two weeks since an entry...yikes. Nothing groundbreaking or intellectual to add, but I want to keep something going on here. I suspect the main reason for my lack of interesting ideas has to do with having my nose buried in the Harry Potter series in every moment of spare time. I avoided it for ages because I had some sort of issue with the intense hype, but now that I've started there's no stopping.

Last week the construction crew across the street finally tore down a hundred year old house in a field to make way for a massive new seniors "campus". It was disturbing to see how well built that house was - it wouldn't fall over even when it was left with only one wall. I still haven't gotten over the fact that nobody went in to salvage anything ahead of time. The size of the wooden beams was amazing and the equipement operator went out of his way to break them up into matchstick size pieces before hauling them to the dump. Should have called these guys to salvage it.

We played our first hockey game and yes, it will be sustainable. I got a bit sore but nothing too painful. It was a complete blast. My linemates were great and I even had a few shots on net. A few embarassing incidents too, but I expected that. I'm looking forward to practices even more now that I have some ideas of what I need to work on most.


a bit of social work stuff

I looked back at my initial blog entry and realized that I haven't really gone specifically into social work territory at all. There are a few sites dedicated to environmental social work that have well developed links. Sustainable Social Work Mandala is one of them and it happens to be associated with this program, an MA in Environment and Community (pdf), the type of program I'll be sorely tempted to take after Jeremy finishes his masters.

I came across a site called bagelhole that lists wonders of the sustainable world, including bicycles and ceiling fans, two possessions of mine that make me happy in very different ways. The ladybug also makes the eclectic list.


my two cents

I know everybody and their pet will have something to say about the American election so I'll keep it short and not so sweet. I am flabbergasted (fun word by the way) that slightly over half of Americans chose to stay the course. Does anyone think that this will somehow deter terrorism anywhere? Improve the domestic economy? Improve anyone's life that does not own a major oil/defence/pharmaceutical company? How does the other half continue with any confidence in their country?

In fact, how do we sleep at night with Paul Martin calling the shots? He's great only if you compare him to the variety of other politicians we are more scared of - is that what it's come to? I end up voting for someone that has the best chance of doing the least damage? I'm thankful for a minority government this time, even if it gets messy. I like to think that good debate, problem solving and concessions - whether strategic or genuine - should be a part of every government anyway. It makes for backroom dealings of a different sort and keeps leaders alert.


Menstrual Taboo

There, I said it right in the title. Obviously if you're at all squeamish or incredibly uninterested in matters of the menstrual cycle, you'd better skip this entry. I find it irritating and ridiculous that it's so taboo. Sex, childbirth, even birth control are somehow acceptable topics but not this part of the cycle of life. I read somewhere years ago that if it was men that had periods they'd be constantly comparing notes and bragging about how long or heavy theirs were. Tongue in cheek of course, but why are the majority of women (and most of the men around us) so intent on pretending it doesn't happen at all?

I didn't just bring it up to bang a sociological drum though - I found some good info for anyone who cares about the environmental impact of the hordes of diposable menstrual supplies we go through. (Full of bleach and other chemicals by the way, and we actually place them inside our bodies.) There is a BC company called Lunapads that makes and sells cloth pads and distributes the Diva Cup and a few other items. I really like their tone, style, mission and yes, service. There are a lot of fun and fascinating links off of theirsite and they break them down into essentially menstruation related articles, feminist zines/sites, and envrionmental links.

And who wouldn't be curious about a company called Vinnie's Tampon Case? To read his story go to AdiosBarbie. It's a gutsy business idea, gotta give him credit.