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Book Review: “Folks, This Ain’t Normal” by Joel Salatin

Darya Pino, Ph.D, Huffington Post
Joel Salatin is one of the most interesting people I have ever met. Self-described as a “Christian-libertarian-environmentalist-capitalist-lunatic-farmer,” you’re probably more familiar with him as the “beyond organic” owner of Polyface Farm featured in Michael Pollan’s landmark book The Omnivore’s Dilemma and the documentary Food, Inc. (note: if you haven’t read/watched those do so immediately).

I sat down with Joel recently to talk about his latest book, Folks, This Ain’t Normal. On the outside, Joel does not appear abnormal in the least. He was well dressed, well spoken, extremely polite and fiercely intelligent — a gentleman in every way. But once you get him talking you quickly see that his ideas make him an anomaly in modern society, not because they are far-fetched, but because they come from so many different sides of the political and societal spectrum. People are rarely this thoughtful and well-rounded, and after finishing the book this is the point I keep coming back to.

… there’s almost certainly something that Joel writes that will offend you. (Yes, he takes more than a few shots at urban farmers market goers with award- winning poodles — Joel, in my defense, I at least use my fancy kitchen and make my own sauerkraut). But I’ll argue that this is precisely why you should read the book. When crafted by a thoughtful, intelligent person, opposing viewpoints are among the most valuable thing in a thinking person’s arsenal. Even if he doesn’t convince you to change your opinion, at least it forces you to question your beliefs, think a little harder and refine your position. There are no worthwhile topics that don’t have valuable insights from both sides of the fence. Thinking is good for you, and it is something that is sadly lacking in our current political environment.

Darya Pino is a Ph.D-trained scientist; Foodie; Advocate of Local, Seasonal Food
(23 December 2011)

This Must Be the Place: Coffer

Ben Wu and David Usui, Lost & Found Films (via Vimeo)

COFFER from thismustbetheplace on Vimeo.

There’s no place like home. It’s where we live, work and dream. It’s our sanctuary and our refuge. We can love them or hate them. It can be just for the night or for the rest of our lives. But whoever we may be, we all have a place we call home.

THIS MUST BE THE PLACE is a series of short films that explore the idea of home; what makes them, how they represent us, why we need them.

We’re always on the lookout for dwellings of all sorts. If you’ve come across any curious or eccentric homes, feel free to send them along.
(August 2011)
Another in the series : Byun.
Suggested by nephew Chris D.


How to Make an S.O.S. Mobile Garden

Urban Gardens
S.O.S. Mobile Garden is a discarded shopping cart, suitcase, baby carriage, even a commode, retrofitted into a mobile edible garden for the purpose of engaging the public in debates about important issues such as recycling, food justice, urban decay, and just about any current socio-economic and environmental issue you can think of.

A “movement” created by New York artist and activist, Tattfoo Tan, the gardens are filled with plants and overflowing with symbolism. The discarded shopping cart in particular, often pushed by individuals who survive through pennies earned by recycling, begs discussion according to Tan, about excess consumption, homelessness, urban decay, and neglect.
(26 December 2011)
Photos of mobile gardens at original article. Also see post at Tattfoo. Suggested by EB contributor Luane Todd. -BA

UPDATE (Dec 28). The Urban Garden website seems to have been suspended. You can learn more about mobile gardens at Tattfoo

The Secret Lives of Our Clothes

Greennovate, Gecko Online
There’s a price tag that’s being hidden from us everyday. Not the one that tells us how much money to pay but the underlying costs of every outfit’s life cycle. Uncover the lives that our clothes led before they got to the store and discover your voting power as a consumer towards a fairer, healthier and more sustainable planet.

(16 December 2011)