Blog is on hiatus until September 3. -KW
Much of what I write about in terms of Adaptation, particularly for people living in densely populated areas, but really for all of us, involves enlisting the people around you.
This is an enormously difficult job for most of us – partly because of the anomie of our culture, partly because we are not accustomed to community, partly simply because we have not had to. For several generations each of us could have a fossil fueled, private solution to needs once met collectively.
The tools we have to get our next door neighbors to work with us are not easy ones – some people do it, others find themselves saying “ok, I’m here, but I’m fundamentally alone, and I can only go so far that way.”
Any hope of staying – and by this I mean in the largest sense of the word – of turning our homes and nations wherever they may be, into places where the dominant narrative is overturned and we are enlisted into the vast project of making here livable, must begin with other people. How do you get them together?…
It’s not that people don’t know or don’t care. It’s that they are in denial — they just don’t want to face it. The problem of melting ice caps, oil wars and economies crashing are overwhelming.
“People feel helpless and we can only do so much,” [psychotherapist Kathy] McMahon says.
The answer? Help people see that this Huge-O-Rama problem can be broken down into a very manageble chunk.
“There are 71,000 communities in the US and Canada. All you have to do is worry about one of them that’s yours,” McMahon advises.
Draw a circle around your home with a five- or ten-mile radius. Then, get busy getting to know your neighbors within that circle. Offer them help. Even better, start asking for help. This is tough for middle class people who are used to being self-reliant. But it’s a skill you’ll need to build a community and a little practice will make it less awkward…
Tim Robinson recently sent along a link to this New York Times article:
I wrote back to ask for his thoughts on the piece – interview below. Reader thoughts welcome, as always.
Do you have an opinion on the practical implications of this article for the State College area?
TR: While we have Millheim, Bellefonte (two markets), State College (four markets) and Boalsburg markets, they do not directly compete with each other. An exception is the two Bellefonte Saturday markets. The market for local produce has barely been scratched so far, and is nowhere near saturation. Saturation here in Centre County is a long ways off.
What’s your view on centralizing the farmers markets into a larger, year-round indoor location, something like a co-op, with more typical business hours and a layout more aligned with supermarket shoppers habits?
TR: The Sozo (Beaver Ave.) indoor winter market ran from November 2009 to May 2010 and a winter market ran from November 2010 to May 2011 in the State College municipal building. Two vendors stuck it out all winter in the Sozo market, and at least two stuck it out at the municipal building: a dairy and a bakery.
The Boalsburg farmers market overwinters in the fire hall with around 14 vendors. Some drop out as they run out of produce, but many have stock year round. There were maybe ten left by May.
In order for an indoor market to work, it would have to have all the charm of an outdoor market. It would have to be a wonderful location, so that, for example, the students who frequent the Locust Lane markets could conveniently visit the others. The same for the folks who frequent the Home Depot/North Atherton market – it would be inconvenient to travel to a downtown location where parking is an issue.
For a winter market to continue and be full, the vendors would be severely tempted to supplement their own produce with bulk purchases from California, etc. for resale. This would violate the ‘producer only’ tenet that makes farmers’ markets different from the produce section of Weis markets.
Maybe de-centralizing and making it less like a supermarket are exactly why farmers’ markets are successful. No carts, individual vendors. One supermarket ‘plus’ is variety and a wide selection – you can find everything you need for a good meal. Our area farmers’ markets have moved in that direction and now offer meats, ready-made food, pastas, desserts, dairy, etc. Customers have more of a one-stop shop.
What do you see as the role of a farmers market consumers’ alliance of some sort, that might be able to coordinate with the farmers market organizers in some way to match supply and demand while growing both?
TR: People have apparently tried to organize local restaurants to match demand and supply, but nothing came of it. The availability of, for example, string beans is an iffy thing. When they’re ripe, they’re available. When they’re done, they’re gone. There’s a supply spike, and then nothing. The glut can be leveled by preserving the food. Typically, at least with produce, the customer does the preserving. There is some room perhaps, for a buy-local online clearinghouse where producers list what products they have available at the moment so that buyers know where to go and when when they want a bushel of pears or ten pounds of string beans.
Seed Saving Tips – Link from PASA:
- Article by John W. Jett of West Virginia University.
Update Aug. 18 – EVENT CANCELLED (due to early arrival of Grandma Way’s newest grand-baby) – Canning Demonstrations at Way Fruit Farm in Port Matilda:
- August 20 – “We will be hosting our 2nd annual Canning Demonstrations on Saturday, August 20th at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Mrs. Sharon Way, the resident expert canner on the farm, will be talking with you and taking questions about canning fresh fruits. If you’ve never canned before, this is a great way to get information to get started and if you’re a veteran but have a few questions or would like a refresher, this will suit you too! The demonstration is free and no registration is necessary, just come with your questions and maybe a notebook & pencil. If you’re inspired and need supplies, we have a full display of canning jars, tools, Ball Canning Blue books, spices & more. See you there!”
”Men in the Wilds” at Black Moshannon State Park:
- August 20 - Register now for Black Moshannon’s Men in the Wilds program - Saturday Aug. 20. This event is open to men beginning at the age of 14. The classes available to choose from for this event include fly fishing, fly tying, kayaking, canoeing, animal calling, terrain navigation, edible plants, archery, tanning hides, trapping, bluebird habitat, ax throwing, snake id and hang gliding. (more info.)
Centre County Buy Fresh Buy Local - Calendar Highlights:
- Need an excuse to come out to Partner IngleBean Coffee House? Friday night is game night! Starting at 6 p.m., and bring your favorite game if you have one.
- Partner Tait Farm has fall vegetable seedlings and while they last, it’s 50% off summer perennials, backyard fruits, herbs and more! Upcoming Workshops: August 20 - Delicious Fun with Fresh Tomatoes (Centre Hall); August 27 - Fall Flower & Container Gardening (Centre Hall)
Next Transition Town State College Meeting joins Pizza & Movie Night at Greenmoore Gardens:
- August 24 – 5:30 p.m. at Greenmoore Gardens in Port Matilda. Agenda includes planning for participation at Crickfest in Penns Valley on Sept. 4 and the Marcellus Shale Forum in October in State College. Greenmoore Gardens’ Pizza & Movie night at 6:30 p.m.
Growing Greener Action Alert from David Masur, Director at PennEnvironment:
- “For months the Legislature has continued to support Gov. Corbett’s anti-environmental agenda, with little care for the impact on our rivers and streams. Throughout the early summer months, Gov. Corbett has fought efforts to renew Growing Greener, which has already restored 500 miles of streams and rivers throughout Pennsylvania in the last decade. They need to know they can’t get away with that any longer. Click here to stand up for Pennsylvania’s waters by sending your legislators a message.“
Fracking Bans – Conference for Municipal Officials
- Sept. 17 – The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund and the Lehigh Valley Community Rights Network are co-sponsoring a free conference for municipal officals and community members titled: Ban Fracking at the Municipal Level. Presenters include CELDF Staff; Pittsburgh Councilman Doug Shields; Dr. Tom Jiunta, Gas Drilling Awareness CoalitionThe conference will be held at the Genetti Hotel in Williamsport on September 17, 2011 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This conference is intended primarily for municipal officials, for a discussion about what they can do to prohibit gas drilling in your community. The conference is free, but all attendees must RSVP by September 2. For more information contact: email@example.com or call 717-498-0054.
Food Film at State Theatre:
- Sept. 21 - Forks Over Knives (2011/PG) (Sponsored by Hildebrand Chiropractic) Forks Over Knives examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the so-called “diseases of affluence” that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods. Shows Wed, Sep 21 at 4 p.m. & 7 p.m. $8*, $6* Students & Seniors. Tickets Available Online
Clearwater Conservancy – Wild & Scenic Film Festival
- Sept. 22 – ClearWater Conservancy will once again bring the Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival to State College. Hosted by Appalachian Outdoors, the event will be held at 7 p.m. Sept. 22 at the State Theatre in State College. Festival-goers will see one feature length film and several shorts selected locally from more than 50 award-winning films about nature, community activism, adventure, conservation, water, energy and climate change, wildlife, environmental justice, agriculture and indigenous cultures. Advance purchase tickets are $14, $12 with student I.D. and will be be available on the State Theatre website and at the theatre box office. On the evening of the show, tickets will be $16 at the door….In 2004, environmental groups started asking if they could bring the festival to their community, and gradually a touring version of the Wild and Scenic Film Festival developed from outside interest. Seven years later, the tour now visits more than 110 communities nationwide. For more info Click Here.
Penn State Environmental Forum 2011
- Sept. 27 – “The Business Case for Sustainability” - This event will help Penn Staters understand the value of sustainable practices for improving efficiency, reducing costs, engaging employees, and bolstering revenues. Following a presentation by keynote speaker David Haft of Frito-Lay, a panel of Penn State experts will discuss how our university is realizing the business case for sustainability at our campuses. The event will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the HUB-Robeson Center Alumni Hall. Here is the event page and info on how to register. Registration is free.
News from WPSU’s Local Food Journey Blog:
- Erin McKinney of Tait Farm recommends you pick tomatoes from the vine just as they start to ripen. Get her notes from the field.
- Tony Ricci of Green Heron Farm describes the differences between Cherokee Reds and Green Zebras. Read more about heirloom tomatoes.
- Find out what Greenmore Gardens CSA has available at the market this month — from kale and cabbage to hummingbird cakes — in this video interview.