Monthly Archives: November 2013

10 Ways to Defeat Post-Project Blues

Top 10 winnerPost-project blues today, as the intensity of the last weeks on Symphony of the Soil begins to retreat from my body mind.   Cheer up strategy: Top Ten things I want to appreciate and remember:

  1.  Deborah Koons Garcia is a true visionary, and as un-Hollywood-ish, unassuming and nice as the girl next door.  No assistant; no entourage; no problem.  Even accepted a congratulatory kiss on her cheek from my spouse.
  2. So far, I’ve done no postmortems re: what could have gone better (maybe I’m done with that for good).  Better, some thoughts about where to go from here: Sow It Forward How to fund your garden. Maybe an herb and butterfly garden for my congregation.
  3. A couple of dozen friends attended or bought tickets even if they couldn’t (thank you!), and everyone who saw it was moved by the film.  May its message lodge in their hearts and minds.
  4. Kindness of strangers, e.g. the Muvico staff are helpful and very nice, especially the manager named Minty.
  5. Teaching myself how to use Twitter effectively (even about hash tags) and connecting with some journalists I hadn’t known before.  Fun!
  6. Walking the mile from the parking lot behind Clematis up to City Place, confirmed that West Palm Beach is a very likable, liveable city, and even has a hill (well, for Florida).
  7. The margaritas at Longboards (upper Clematis) are world class!  Especially when you are thirsty for one and indulge infrequently.
  8. But Malpeque oysters at $3 a pop?  Not even for this foodie.  Great blackened Mahi tacos, though.
  9. Crowded into a booth with some interesting new people at the post-event reception.  Laughter non-stop.  Food-sharing.  My scene.
  10. This has made me ultra-ready for a Slow Thanksgiving.  Slow Everything.  Next event I’m planning, a ‘memory potluck’ for Slow Food Gold and Treasure Coast.  Everyone brings a dish with a story behind it, and shares both.  Tweet me if you want to come @MarikaStone1

Image credit: http://www.mariaandtom.com/agent_files/top-ten-blue.jpg

Food Politics Can Be Funny!

Rain, yay!  My two little vegetable plots will be so happy.  Perfect day to prepare for the first meeting of the North Palm Beach Slow Food Book Club this week, courtesy of Slow Food Gold and Treasure Coast and Books-a-Million in Jupiter, November 13, 6-8 pm.  Our first book, Marion Nestle’s latest title, Eat Drink Vote, is not only a wry nod to the earlier best seller on a completely different Eat-Drink-Vote-Cover-Imagesubject, it is also wry on its own account, which is a good stance to take in the world of food politics.  By that I — and the book, mostly — mean the disconnect between what is known to be healthy for humans and what provides the most profits to those who grow and process food, and the role government plays (huge!).  Food politics, of course, also plays out in more personal ways when people who have every right to seek out what is best for their own health, turn it into a food fight.  But that’s a topic for another time, maybe.

It seems especially poignant to be reading Eat Drink Vote a day after the banning of trans fat, which gives me hope that eliminating HFCS and GMO seeds from American food production may also be possible in my life time.  And it’s probably no accident that I’m reading this book during a period of concentrated work on Symphony of the Soil, which comes to a close November 17 with the local screening.  Healthy soil = healthy crops = healthy food.  Thank you, Deborah Koons Garcia!

How we feed ourselves and the impact on the environment (soil, water, air) and other creatures have been inseparable concerns since the summer day I found, in a Cape Cod vacation rental, a little book called The Higher Taste compiled by The International Society of Krishna Consciousness based on the teachings of its guru.  I won’t say everything in that small volume resonated with me, but it did make me quit eating red meat.  And if that wasn’t enough, my work in public relations took me to a meat packing plant in the Midwest around the same time.  Frances Moore Lappe’s Diet for a Small Planet followed and more recently the work of Mark Bittman and Michael Pollan.

So, what do you do with a book that is almost 50 percent cartoons?  Exactly.  So I already know I’m not going to learn a whole lot from Eat Drink Vote about how we got into this mess.   The very first cartoon is on the cover — an upended pizza slice labeled New Congressional School Lunch Food Pyramid — will tell you where Nestle is going.  And I also realize that Fixing the Food System: The Food Movement (Chapter 10) depends upon “participants in this movement [voting] with their forks every time they make a food choice.”  This is the only way to get something done in our democracy, it bears repeating.  So, even though Eat Drink Vote is preaching to a convert, I love a good argument, especially when it tickles my funny bone.

The Dark Side of Stockpiling

foodstorage copyIf you’ve visited your local hardware store (yes, a few still exist), you may have noticed that the canning section is much larger and better stocked than it used to be a few years ago.  A larder like the one pictured here would be familiar to member of The Greatest Generation (that of my parents) who understood what it meant to preserve, conserve, repair, and maintain.  These skills about preparing for anticipated shortages or disruption in supply are slowly coming back into fashion, like vegetable plots and backyard chickens.

Usually, the only time serious stocking up enters my mind is during  hurricane season, an annual ritual for Floridians and blessedly unnecessary in recent memory.  But I started to thinking about stockpiling a little differently after a conversation the other night with someone who used to work for one of the largest retail conglomerates in the country.  He and I agreed that the public response to global warming lacks appropriate urgency, but as a businessman, he had a novel — to me — idea as to one possible cause.  At least some of it had to do with stockpiling, he said, and he offered the following example.  His cable provider (and ours) has the technology to greatly improve its service to customers, but is apparently hampered by the fact that a lot of money is tied up in hardware dedicated to the existing system.  Until that was used up, the logic apparently goes, upgrades don’t make economic sense.  It’s like my friend who understands why she needs to switch ASAP to energy-efficient CFLs, but wants to use up her current supply of conventional light bulbs first.

Setting urgency aside for a moment, this seems a crippling form of scarcity mentality (vs. abundance, see Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) and I began to wonder how pervasive it really is.  I didn’t have to look too far to find out.  Banks?  Definitely, hoarding cash during the recent government shutdown, on the premiss that there would be a run by depositors a la the Depression.  But, more weirdly, also after the TARP bailout, despite the understanding (unregulated) that they would put the cash into the economy.  In 2012, U.S. Corporations broke records for stockpiled  cash — $147 trillion.  Might  not some of that wealth have helped alleviate unemployment?  Even Apple Computer is reportedly hoarding cash at an unprecedented rate, 70% of it overseas. And then there are all those spare auto parts tucked away in dealerships and repair shops all over the country, standing in the way of a more robust adoption of the EV.  Remember the EV1?   Could it be deja vu all over again?

I think my adopted state is in for some difficult times ahead as sea level rise and salinization of the water supply begin to impact the most vulnerable communities.  We are going to need an abundance mindset to get through it, not the zero-sum game of scarcity or mattresses stuffed with cash or coin.