Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sustainability is a Relationship


To me sustainability is a relationship and any working, thriving relationship relies on communication.  Whether it's a friend, girlfriend, tree, family member, carrot, employer etc the strength and vitality of that relationship will rely on some form of communication.   To clarify, this does not necessarily mean verbal communication.  Taking from the old saying, "it's not what you say it's how you say it,"  I can remember visiting Venezuela, as an insecure 6 or 7 year old that felt so confused and disconnected because I did not speak a word of Spanish, but yet found friends and laughed harder than ever.  There was something outside of the language and it doesn't seem to be any different than the communication we need to have with our land and food, in order to have a strong sustainable relationship.  I think it has become very obvious that our nation's agricultural system has dismissed this idea of communication.  Instead we've replaced a continuous, complex, conversation with "we know best" and stopped listening.  This concept of definitive and exact understanding of something as dynamic and fickle as nature is becoming counterintuitive, the more I learn about farming.  I've heard a lot of people associate sustainability with having to give up something in order to have a more sustainable relationship with our food i.e. lower yields, more pest problems, more people without access to affordable food, but I think it's just the opposite because when you really love and want something to work for the long term, we don't give anything up, we are actually gaining something much more valuable and long lasting.  A few months ago I posted a TED talk from Dan Barber, Executive Chef and Co-owner of Blue Hill restaurant which is located on the property of Stone Barns, the farm I currently work on.  His talk was about a sustainable fish farm in Spain.  A great storyteller, this time he uses another interesting and unique example from his personal experience to show the incentives and beauty of sustainability.  

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Holy Shiite: A more in depth look at an ancient Indian tea


  While volunteering on a weekly basis, I was constantly missing huge pieces of the farming puzzle including many stages of plant development from seed to harvest which left me with an incomplete feeling.  I could read and talk about what was happening while I was sitting behind my desk Cubing in Rockefeller Plaza, but to me theorizing never feels as good as the real thing...experiencing something for myself.  Similar to a classroom, without real world application, it's all just an idea and not a reality.  So after a year of thinking, reading, listening and dreaming, I'm finally getting my first taste of what it's like to care for these plants through each stage of growth.  Holy basil (AKA Sacred Basil or Tulsi) is a plant that caught my palette from first steep.  Difficult to walk past without stopping to stare at it's beauty and stature.  Although attention grabbing, it wasn't until I finally got to work hands on with this ancient Indian panacea that I learned that the real power was actually found...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pic of the Week


In life, sometimes your hat will also be your salad bowl

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

When Will Then Be Now?...Soon


What's wrong with now?  When a good idea sprouts in my head, sometimes I think "I can't wait to get started" yet I just go back to what I was doing and leave it for the ominous later, but so much happens between now and later that nothing ever gets done.  If I truly wanted that idea to turn into something real, wouldn't I want to start that process now?  But now is a beginning, a transition, a first step of many and that can be extremely intimidating.  Acting now requires sacrificing something in the short term for something better in the future, but it's a trade without guarantees.  There is also fear of making a mistake, or following the wrong path too far and wasting your time.  The truth is acting now and failing is not failing at all, it's taking a step in the direction of your ultimate goal even if...