From Slow Food to Slow Building: Bringing the Principles of the Slow Movement to Our Housing Choices
Monday, 04 August 2014 13:30
By Maria Klemperer-Johnson
Are you familiar with Slow Food? As a member of GreenStar, you likely know something about the movement that advocates a food system working at a more traditional pace: from production to distribution to consumption. In contrast to fast food, where industrialized processes deplete our environment, disempower workers, and produce unwholesome food, Slow Food creates a richer culture that nourishes consumers, the environment, and the people within the food production and distribution system.
As a builder and educator, I've been contemplating bringing the principles of Slow Food to residential building: Slow Building. What can we achieve by slowing down the process of design and construction, rooting our buildings in local traditions, and considering the impacts of our building choices on us, our environment, and the people working in the system?
Think of the ways that our building choices impact our community. Do they fulfill us personally? Do they sustain or deplete our physical environment? Do they contribute to a socially just economic system?
When making building choices that are nourishing to us personally, we usually think aesthetically. Most of us have made a self-indulgent choice to spend more for the granite countertop, or the extra dormer, or the flat-screen TV. Other less conspicuous, health-oriented choices are also worth making to promote our well-being in the home. We might consider the toxicity of materials, indoor air quality, and the relationship of our homes to our outdoor environment. Taking time to account for both aesthetics and the healthfulness of our homes is one aspect of Slow Building.
Friday, 01 August 2014 17:20
By Holly Payne,
GreenStar Community Projects Coordinator
What can a very small non-profit do to address the looming problem of food injustice, in which the current industrialized food system disempowers people — especially those living in poverty — from regularly accessing healthy food grown nearby? GreenStar Community Projects is a small organization with modest means, but it is strategically positioned within a cooperative framework to connect players to the emerging sustainable food system, with the goal of making healthy food accessible to all.
GreenStar Community Projects (GSCP) has just received $20,000 — its largest ever grant — from the Park Foundation to help bring food justice to Tompkins County. We are grateful for this vote of confidence! GSCP will use the money to strategically link diverse players across mainstream boundaries of race and class and across professional sectors, empowering everyone interested to participate in the emerging sustainable food system.
In 2012 and 2013, with start-up support from the Park Foundation, GSCP initiated the work of linking players together by holding regular networking sessions — free and open to all — to strengthen voices less heard and build collaborative efforts for a fair, sustainable food system. Requests for many more sessions have catalyzed continued networking. This year GSCP has already held three sessions, each addressing a different component of the food system: a "Communications Action" session was held in February; a "Business to Business Action" session was held in April; and a "Food Policy Action" session was held in June.
Monday, 02 June 2014 15:26
By Joe Romano,
Don't eat anything advertised on TV.
— Michael Pollan
In late November of 1953, the executives at C.A. Swanson & Sons had the biggest Thanksgiving leftover problem in history. The Omaha, Neb., frozen food company had overestimated the demand for its 1953 Thanksgiving turkey supply, to the tune of over half a million pounds of fresh turkey. With nowhere to store such an amount, the Swanson brothers, Gilbert and Clark, loaded the turkeys into ten refrigerated railroad cars, which had to keep rolling to stay cold.
As the turkeys rode the rails from Omaha to the East Coast and back again, the two brothers gave their staff a challenge — figure out what to do with the birds before they got back.
One of their salesmen, Gerry Thomas, had just returned from the Pan Am kitchens, where he had been given one of their new silver, multi-compartment, airline meal trays as a souvenir. He figured it might be just what the Swansons needed to sell off that turkey. Thomas mocked up a turkey dinner-filled tray and suggested marketing the meals by linking them to the national obsession, television. The box would look like a TV screen, complete with knobs and dials. By the time the turkeys arrived back in Omaha, the TV dinner, a meal that needed no preparation or cleanup, had been born. More important, home-cooked food had successfully been typecast in the role it plays across America today, the inconvenient, annoying, and unimportant sidekick who only earns his keep when he amuses us.
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By Laura Buttenbaum,
What is a co-op? This seemingly straightforward question can elicit a wide range of responses, from visceral and intrinsic to completely organizational and economic. According to the International Cooperative Association, "A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons unite...