JuJu Harris is the author of “The Arcadia Mobile Market Seasonal Cookbook" [available for free to those on food assistance in the United States, and available to everyone else for $20 a copy]. A former recipient of government food assistance, she now teaches healthy eating skills to low-income families in Washington, D.C.

Advice For Eating Well On A Tight Budget, From A Mom Who’s Been There

"JuJu is one part fairy godmother, one part good witch. Her garden is incredible — great tangles of flowers and honeybees and roses and vegetables climbing trellises, and always another bed being laid. Her food bears the same stamp of wild and whimsy and fundamental integrity." 

BiodiverSeed.com/tagged/food politics

today i learned...

…that “multiculturalism links to a state-centered management of difference,” whereas “polyculturalism is a category that not only encourages the inherent complexity of cultures but that also states its claim to political, and delimited, claims rather than the pretense of universal, and nonembodied, values.”

Thank you, Avi and Vijay Prashad (author of Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting: Afro-Asian Connections and the Myth of Cultural Purity).

One of the things I’ve tried to do in my work is to reconfigure the traditional relationship between a narrative piece, whether it’s documentary or fiction, and the sound. The traditional relationship is that you put your thing together and then at some point you score it. The assumption always is that the sound component either confirms or establishes something that’s already in place.

I’ve tried to seek a more dialogue-driven relationship between sound and image. The impulse for that comes from two distinct but interrelated sources. One is an abiding passion for the improvisatory gesture in jazz; the second is non-western musical forms, particularly Indian classical music. I’ve tried to see what happens if you bring those two together in some way; what kind of film making aesthetic that might suggest

On Saturday’s installment of Practically Speaking, host Audra Wilson talks to Dr. Pancho McFarland about Polyculturalism, the Black presence in Mexican Culture, and more. We also hear music from Afro-Mexican vocalist Toña la Negra and others that reflect the give and take of Latin and African Cultures.

Later in the show, we’ll hear from Todd Belcore, a young attorney fighting to help people with convictions on their criminal record to truly start fresh.

Speaking of fresh, catch all new episodes of Practically Speaking Saturdays at 1pm on Vocalo.org, 89.5fm (NWI) and 90.7fm (CHI).

The Importance Of Polyculturalism

The concept of polyculturalism is defined as the idea that each culture is influenced by many other cultures. Now, that doesn’t sound like a strange concept, given that many ancient cultures(Greek, Egyptian, etc.) branched out and influenced newer cultures but in modern society, that idea is an unacknowledged way of thinking of the world. Multiculturalism, the idea that there are separate cultures in a society, is instead of the norm. What’s the difference? Polyculturalism accepts the idea that no culture is isolated from another, where as multiculturalism does isolate different cultures. This manifests in the isolation of certain ethnic groups from other groups, making it harder for the individual to see past artificial boundaries (i.e. Skin color, clothes, food, religion, even architecture and use of resources). This is an important realization for anyone wanting to start a movement for equity and social change because if one were able to install the concept in society that each of our neighbors, no matter how different, influences our culture, that one’s culture could encompass other ethnic groups, not just our own, it brings with it the idea of empathy. Why is empathy important to a revolution? Empathy opens a window for a random outsider to see into the problem at hand and feel emotions towards it. Sympathy. But also they will be more willing to understand the needs of a different ethnic group. A Caucasian person can be more empathetic to an African American person and vice versa. This widens the target range for people sympathetic to a cause, more people in support of the movement.

            How can we instill this concept in the minds of millions? Pure acknowledgement. Increased amount of literature and discussion on the subject opens people to the possibility of it. Not everyone will change, but I guarantee more people seeing similarities between themselves and the people that surround them will increase empathy towards minority populations. After that begins to manifest, it will only be a matter of time before people begin to change their way of thinking about their neighbors.

Once we were invited to play at the Palladium. Tito Puente and Tito Rodriguez — or maybe Perez Prado — were there; Celia Cruz was dancing; Mongo Santamaria and Guataca, the percussionist, were playing; and we played something I wrote called ‘The Midget Mambo,’ meaning the small mambo, a toy mambo. I wasn’t trying to encroach on ‘I came from Puerto Rico myself’ and so on. But I liked it. We knew Dizzy and Chano Pozo got their stuff from Africa and mixed it. And when we grew up, mambo and cha-cha were big. You couldn’t get a date if you couldn’t dance the cha-cha. No girl would go to the movies with you. They said, ‘Can you dance?

I just got back from a 10-day trip, and the companion-planted polyculture beds have exploded! I am harvesting peas, potatoes, brassicas, beets, salads, and herbs like mad, but even with four of us eating, we can’t keep up. I’m letting the weeds roam free and the cool weather-lovers bolt until I have time to make space for and plant my late-summer crops.

You can see all manner of things crammed in there: from kales, runner beans, carrots, tomatoes, pumpkins, artichokes, sunchokes… the list goes on and on

#biodiverseed veggie beds #polyculture


06.08.2014 Turntable, Pasila Helsinki

Kale, marigold, New Zealand spinach polyculture churning out the production at the Turntable project. And lastly I’ve had to bump the lens out to 18mm to capture the tomatoes- they have grown so large. Unfortunately, some are experiencing a form of bottom rot: a severe sign of calcium deficiency. I’ll have to work with them to address this issue next year.

2014 @BuckyFullerInst Challenge Semi-Finalists Include:
  • Algal Turf Scrubbing generates a fast growing, easily harvested, filamentous polyculture of hundreds of natural, locally adapted algae species over a new, highly efficient 3D screen surface beneath a shallow flow of water to oxygenate and purify water, produce biomass for biofuel and organic fertilizer, mitigate pollution from agricultural run-off, improve freshwater and coastal habitats, and sequester carbon and reduce fossil fuel dependency.
  • AskNature is an immense, web-based interactive database, learning tool, and living Biomimicry encyclopedia, which seeks to catalog and propagate solutions to the most pressing human challenges by drawing from time-tested strategies evolved by nature. AskNature aspires to make biomimetic solutions widely accessible for educational and industrial applications.
  • Bonobo Peace Forest is growing a network of community-managed and protected forests in remote, immense swaths of rainforest in the Congo Basin, using a “viral” conservation strategy that partners with local indigenous peoples and the government to engender sustainable prosperity while preserving the habitat of our closest genetic relative, the endangered Bonobo.
  • Earth Roofs for the Sahel trains members of impoverished communities in Africa’s semi-arid Sahel region to build long-lasting, passively cooled earth buildings. The codified, traditional Egyptian Nubian Vault design creates an affordable, locally sourced, environmentally sustainable built environment; the construction training generates a self-replicating cadre of skilled masons throughout the region and engenders entrepreneurship. A self-sustaining, virally expanding market results, transforming the quality of life and economic capacity of communities.
  • Ecosoftt is an emerging Singapore and India-based social enterprise that is the first to develop decentralized, adaptable, chemical-free, cost-effective water systems that combine rainwater harvesting, wastewater recycling, groundwater replenishment and other technological innovations in Asia. Their systems are adaptable to both poor rural and prosperous urban contexts. They aim to revolutionize water systems throughout Asia and beyond, bring clean water to underserved communities and offer an inspiring model of social enterprise as an alternative to government or privately run water systems.
  • Finance Innovation Lab is a UK-based non-profit that aims to strategically shift the existing financial paradigm to one that values sustainability and resilience. The Lab works on the system from the bottom up by convening gatherings of innovators, nurturing entrepreneurs, encouraging alternative business models, and seeking to influence economic policies and financial regulation.
  • The Food Commons aims to transform local and regional food systems by creating larger, more highly organized and coordinated physical, financial, and organizational infrastructures for specific regions and connecting them to the global economy in order to boost and facilitate investments, encourage partnerships and cooperative ownership, and create a genuinely sustainable model of a local and global food economy.
  • The Force Majeure, a bold, large-scale vision of the deeply beloved and respected, world-renowned artists Helen and Newton Harrison, aims to reduce the entropy of planetary ecosystems in the face of human-induced climate change. Four sites have been proposed in which the Harrisons and scientists will experiment with methods to assist nature in its response to massive system disturbance.
  • Fuego Del Sol Haiti is a social enterprise that confronts Haiti’s deadly charcoal addiction through development, introduction and adoption of innovative ecological fuel briquettes, presses, stoves, and the training and empowerment of women. Fuego Del Sol, the largest upcycler in Haiti, also collects and separates a wide range of waste materials into sustainable products and plans to include farming, green building, and land reclamation.
  • Gardens for Health International, an NGO pioneering the integration of nutrition-based agriculture into the clinical care of malnutrition, partners with rural Rwandan health clinics to implement healthcare strategies that include nutritional education and the nurturing of home gardens of nutrient rich foods for each family. They are seeking to expand this program throughout Rwanda and into Uganda, Burundi, and beyond. This elegant model could be replicated globally to address malnutrition.
  • Health Promoter Practitioners seeks to transform conventional healthcare by training and empowering community members in the most remote, disrupted and underserved locales to take prevention and healing into their own hands and virally spread training in their regions. Disrupting the hegemonic concept of institutionally recognized healthcare, the organization has built local capacity, demonstrating that HPP-trained practitioners can treat 80% of primary medical cases. HPP is finalizing training manuals of best practices developed over four decades to disseminate their model.
  • International Bridges to Justice works tirelessly to abolish torture and assure fair judicial processes by strengthening existing legal systems worldwide. They offer in person and web-based trainings in international and local best practices and legal skills for attorneys, judges, and law enforcement officials, seek to nurture a global legal community that can be supportive and protective of lawyers and officials working in difficult contexts, and develop training modules in many languages to help propagate solid human rights-based legal knowledge.
  • International Youth Network for Food Security and Sovereignty trains rural youth in Mexico and Central America in a highly participatory process to develop sustainable food systems in their communities through social, ecological and technological innovation. With a broader goal of agro-ecological transformation across Central America and beyond, the network seeks to re-imbue communities with traditional ecological values while drawing from modern best practices. Trained and empowered youth leaders are the ideal vectors to propagate genuine sustainability.
  • Lake Tanganyika Floating Health Clinic seeks to address the logistical problems of providing healthcare to communities in the highly underserved, infrastructure-poor Lake Tanganyika Basin region by building and deploying a floating medical and research facility. Through the growth of a radio network, collaboration with local partners, healthcare training, ecological education and more, the clinic will serve as a mobile hub of communication and cooperation between remote, vulnerable communities in one of the earth’s richest freshwater ecosystems.
  • Living Breakwaters is a comprehensive design for coastal resiliency along the Northeastern Seaboard of the United States and beyond. This approach to climate change adaptation and flood mitigation includes the deployment of innovative, layered ecologically-engineered concrete underwater breakwaters, the strengthening of biodiversity and coastal habitats, the nurturing and resuscitation of fisheries, and deep community engagement through diverse partnerships and innovative educational programs.
  • Makoko/Iwaya Waterfront Restoration Plan, a comprehensive, detailed regeneration plan for the Makoko/Iwaya community in Lagos, Nigeria, which was threatened with being razed, seeks to preserve local culture and social relationships, revitalize the built environment, increase economic opportunities, and ensure disaster resilience for over 40,000 residents. Its implementation revolves around community inclusion and local leadership and the empowering of women and youth. The plan holds the preservation of traditional lagoon-front culture as a core value, presenting a compelling vision of a floating economy based on sustainable aquaculture and tourism.
  • Multifunctional Membrane: Self-Active Building Cells, Not Building Blocks are the centerpieces of a technology that could potentially provide inexpensive, biodegradable, living, breathing “skins” for buildings that would auto-regulate in response to heat, light and humidity and provide climate control, ventilation and lighting without mechanical systems, thereby radically reducing energy use and costs, especially in tropical regions under critical environmental and socio-economic stresses.
  • Sistema Biobolsa provides farmers in Mexico, Central America and Haiti with an on-site waste-to-nutrient ecosystem: a biomimetic, modular advanced geo-membrane anaerobic biodigester that converts organic waste into biogas and fertilizer, increasing local capacity and resiliency and boosting health and livelihoods as it provides safe, non-toxic thermal, mechanical, and electrical generation not previously affordable to small farmers. Distributed through innovative micro-financing mechanisms and entrepreneurial capacity building, this project has great potential to boost sustainable farming globally.
  • Slow Money catalyzes the flow of investment capital into local food economies and place-based enterprises in North America and Europe, seeking to “bring money back down to earth” through communications, education, convenings, investment clubs, liaison services, and shared learning networks. This integrated effort to restore fiduciary responsibility and nurture sustainable enterprises aims for a systemic transformation of food systems and local economies.
  • Thunder Valley Regenerative Community Plan, born of a collective vision, has created a comprehensive plan to build a locally owned and operated development in the geographic center of the Oglala Lakota Nation, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, one of the poorest and most disenfranchised parts of the country. The goal is to resuscitate the local economy and traditional culture and provide attractive, culturally appropriate affordable housing in the context of a deeply sustainable community with a net-zero built environment that could serve as a compelling, dynamic model for the rest of Indian country and the world.

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Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World

Mycelium Running is a manual for the mycological rescue of the planet. That’s right: growing more mushrooms may be the best thing we can do to save the environment, and in this groundbreaking text from mushroom expert Paul Stamets, you’ll find out how.
The basic science goes like this: Microscopic cells called “mycelium”—the fruit of which are mushrooms—recycle carbon, nitrogen, and other essential elements as they break down plant and animal debris in the creation of rich new soil. What Stamets has discovered is that we can capitalize on mycelium’s digestive power and target it to decompose toxic wastes and pollutants (mycoremediation), catch and reduce silt from streambeds and pathogens from agricultural watersheds (mycofiltration), control insect populations (mycopesticides), and generally enhance the health of our forests and gardens (mycoforestry and myco-gardening). 
In this comprehensive guide, you’ll find chapters detailing each of these four exciting branches of what Stamets has coined “mycorestoration,” as well as chapters on the medicinal and nutritional properties of mushrooms, inoculation methods, log and stump culture, and species selection for various environmental purposes. Heavily referenced and beautifully illustrated, this book is destined to be a classic reference for bemushroomed generations to come.

Find it: Canada / USA / UK & Europe

#books #mushrooms #permaculture #ecology #soil #mulch #polyculture #garden science

Banana Circle update: the heavy rains and sweet potato vines have pulled down 2 of the 3 Jerusalem artichoke plantings in the circle, but they’re hardy and I think will be back upright soon enough. Three BIG borage plants I don’t remember planting have really taken off producing beautiful, tiny flowers the bees love. The banana plant (center right) is growing! It’s totally unlikely that this variety will overwinter here, but this has been a fun experiment and I am sold on sweet potato as a ground cover. Going to start propagating some vines later this week—they’re hardy, grow fast with a neat texture, and there are purple blossoms hidden in there, too. #permaculture #polyculture #gardening #urbangardener #bananacircle


#Edible Forest Gardening 101

Gourds can go anywhere. Right now, I have huge pumpkins growing up my husband’s ham radio tower.

They can climb trees, buildings, trellises, playground equipment, and much more. They can also trail along a well-mulched garden bed. Beautiful and edible, most of them also provide cover that will smother weeds.

Gourds have numerous practical purposes as well: a number of hard-shelled varieties can be used to make containers.

Candle-holders made from dried Crown of Thorns gourds

They are a great late-season source of nutrition, making excellent soups in particular.


Related: Who says you have to keep vegetables in the vegetable garden?, Saving seed from members of the Cucurbitaceae family, Plans for an edible forest garden (Zone 3, and Zone 8), Edible Forest Gardens

#cucurbits #flowers #squash #polyculture #permaculture #edible landscape #forest gardening #gourds


#Edible Forest Gardening 101

Pictured: Blueberries in the edible landscape / food forest I am building (Berkeley, Northblue, Julia, Augusta, Septa, Goldtraube, and Bluecrop cultivars)

Diversity is key to a successful food forest garden. Cross-pollinated fruit is usually bigger and more vigorous, and genetic diversity makes your garden more resistant to climate change, harsh seasons, disease, and pests.

In the case of these blueberries, they also show significant variations in harvest time. The Julia / Augusta / Septa series corresponds to harvest times of July, August, and September, respectively. You can prolong your seasonal access to a particular food crop by taking advantage of staggered harvest times between different cultivars.

Related: Plans for an edible forest garden (Zone 3, and Zone 8), Edible Forest Gardens

#forest gardening #polyculture #permaculture #edible landscaping

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