Tag: permaculture

Death by label

I originally submitted this as a sample blog post to become a blogger on change.org, but they rejected me, so here goes.  I have two other posts like this up my sleeve, too.

I don’t know about you, but when I go to the supermarket it’s a chore.  With every single item there are thousands of things that could potentially go wrong.  Is it USDA organic?  Is it fair trade?  It doesn’t have palm oil in it, does it?  And if you’re like most people, the supermarket is unfortunately your best choice for a wide variety of food.

If those are the kinds of thoughts that run through your head while you’re wandering through the aisles, then I have some good news.  There is an easy way to break free from the grip of the agricultural-industrial complex that’s much easier than continually checking labels – and as usual, it will improve your budget, your health, and your life.  I’m talking about raising chickens.

Raising chickens may seem like a daunting task when you first hear about it, but in reality it’s very easy.  After the initial effort of getting them and setting up their living arrangements, chickens are nice animals and easy to take care of (and they don’t even smell!).  I’ve heard people say that their temperament is similar to that of cats.

Last year, I decided that I wanted chickens.  My family and I put a lot of research into it, and we finally found a farm and a carpenter (to build the coop) that we were happy with.  If you live in eastern Pennsylvania, I’d be more than happy to give you the name of both.  After about a year of delays, and with the help of Chicken Owners of Philadelphia, we finally got ourselves three beautiful heritage chicks in April.

This past week the last of the three started laying eggs.  I really encourage everyone to get a few chickens for themselves.  They are cheap – the chicks were five dollars each and the coop was a steal at seventy bucks – and entail little responsibility.  They provide fresh eggs that you know are grass-fed and humanely raised.  They give you local and possibly biodynamic food for next to nothing, without the hassle of reading labels.  They’re great for any garden, with their manure and taste for bugs and weeds and seeds.  And they’re great pets.

If you’re interested in getting some chickens of your own, I’ve got a wealth of information and advice from websites, books, and my own experience.  Just email me at RossMLevin at gmail.com if you’re curious.

Utopia 8: CSA

“In nature’s economy the currency is not money, it is life.”  

“You are not Atlas carrying the world on your shoulder. It is good to remember that the planet is carrying you”  

Vandana Shiva

Meltdown Message for City Folk: Get Green or Go Hungry

I just got back from an early morning harvesting trek in Harlem and Morningside Heights, bringing home a couple of pounds of ginkgo seeds, or ginkgo kernels to be more exact.

I was turned on to these little pistachio-looking treats years ago by my friend Iz, who recommends toasting and eating four or five of the innermost nutmeats a day–far better than the health food store ginkgo preparations which are made from the leaves of the gingko tree, says she. Better for what? Memory, it seems, though it’s kinda hard to tell how well they work since most years I forget to go collect some before the late autumn season is over.