This week I'd like to follow Noam Chomsky's advice and subscribe to the Monthly Review. It's not specifically a donation, but they've lured me with a free copy of Eduardo Galeano's Open Veins of Latin America. I've been meaning to read it, and would like to start a discussion group around it this summer, if anyone's interested. Noam promises that the MR delivers "reliable, searching, stimulating thought and debate, without the debilitating factionalism that has been such a painful internal barrier to progress." Can I just say, "Amen to that, bro."
A subscription is $39 if anyone would like to get their own magazine and books. For an associate membership of $85, you get two books and 50% off all of their publications for the year. I'll have the list at Food in the Hood if you'd like to get a book for your donation – a double win! We definitely want to get our money's worth for the neighborhood library. Speaking of which, I have a roomful of double-stacked bookshelves, and I don't charge overdue fees. As our public library is cutting hours, come check out Books in the Hood.
And check out the photos Mike added on your left: chickens, fruit trees, our strawberry shortcake hearts, and Cassandra with Beth Regardz' granddaughter Fatima with a baby chick in her cloud-hair.
For the last year I've been cooking from Molly Wizenberg's A Homemade Life, and have loved her writing and the recipes. Now that I'm finishing the book, it's time to go to the source – which means that you'll have the recipes and photos that might even match. What a concept! This week I compared both waffle recipes from the reader-submitted contest (raised and non-). Today I plan to make her flour tortillas with my own pure leaf-lard. I'll let you know how they are.
If you'd like to order any quantities ahead, let me know and I'll make up enough. I'm always happy to make more when I know they have a good home.
I then went off to the Understanding Deep Politics conference, where I heard Michael Parenti, Ellen Brown, Annie Machon, David Ray Griffin, Peter Dale Scott, and others. I spent an intense weekend learning about economics and false flag operations, and then was invited to a retreat with some of the organizers and speakers. This time, Persephone definitely went willingly, and helped write up a manifesto to demand the return of Constitutional rights from Hades. We'll see.
This week, we're again sponsoring Rights Action. Grahame Russell has written a diary of his years in Latin America, which he calls "Code Z59.5: There Is Only One People Here." It begins by defining radical as meaning literally, "going to the root," and with this quote:
At our last FitH, we raised $200 for Witness for Peace, bringing the total to $6200 raised so far.
Thank you to my wonderful sister-in-law Joan, who took these great photos of our soup jars and our strawberry heartcakes!
We have some catching up to do on our check mailing, in case you've written a check that hasn't been cashed yet. This week we're raising funds for S!Paz, which Caitlin and Christine have kicked off with a $54 donation for my birthday. However, I cheated them - I did the calculations and I'm only 53. A spring chicken! My friend Meg says that if you're going to lie about your age, always lie up, so people say, "Why you look fabulous for..."
Our friend Phil McManus has been instrumental in both Witness for Peace and S!Paz. This is what they write:
We would like to use our funds this week to support S!Paz, but to also give our moral support to the Zapatistas. In our opinion, both are needed to create a just world - those in the developed world who refuse to take up arms and defenders of the oppressed who have the courage to do so.
All people have the right to protect themselves, their communities, and their resources, through whatever means are available to them. We, who have the luxury of peaceful means - free speech, economic power, and politics - are obligated to use them. That's the end of diatribe, now on to the food:
Thanks to everyone who helped us raise $200 for Green America last week, bringing our total to $6000! This gives us the ability to give free Green America memberships to nine people. If you'd like one, please email us your address, whether or not you came last week. They'll send you the national green pages, which lists fair-trade products from around the country. They also send out a quarterly newsletter, which has been a great source of info for me on how toys, carpets, or chocolate are made, or eco-tips on dry-cleaning and laundry. While they don't gloss over the ugly truths, what I like about them is that they always have a positive action to take. It's inspiring to know so many people are actively pursuing fair alternatives.
FitH's birthday and Veronica's are the same on June 16th, so we have five more FitH's before the summer NOT including next week. We won't have a FitH then because we'll be hosting prom-prep festivities in our back garage. Look out for some traffic-stopping dresses! If anyone's especially good at photography, we'd love to have some help around 4:00, when it should be glam-city around here.
To celebrate my 54th birthday this week, I want to support those who voluntarily go into the heart of darkness - Witness for Peace. They write, "From the provocative placement of seven new US military bases in Colombia to an irresponsible response to the military coup in Honduras, the Obama administration so far has given us more of the same disastrous policies. We see a retrenchment in failed trade agreements like NAFTA and CAFTA, and an expansion of ineffective drug wars with the Merida Initiative in Mexico. The devastating earthquake in Haiti underscored the truly disastrous effects of economic violence and poverty."
While the People's Summit on Climate Change in Bolivia shows a resilient shift towards independence and progress, WFP keeps the focus on the dark side of US partnerships - important and necessary work, although not as easy to swallow as our food. And speaking of which, here's...
Then at 5:00, Tom and I went up to John and Betty Devalcourt's house for the potluck to bring a virtual library to a high school in Nigeria. I was worried because I'd only gotten a couple of responses, but I vastly underestimated John and Betty's network, especially their Cuba Caravan connections. Shannon, the Voices of Angels instigator, gave an informative presentation on how the virtual library works and how the high school they're bringing it to got started. It's an impressive project, and you read more by clicking the blue "Sunday April 18th" heading below.
Best of all, $700 and several used laptops were donated to this project. Although this is overwhelmingly due to Betty, John, and Shannon, we're going to take credit for it anyway, bringing our FitH total to $5800 so far!
What's up for this week? We're back to our regular Friday 4-6 schedule. In honor of Earth Day, we're going to be renewing our membership to Green America, formerly known as Co-op America. One of the many things I like about Green America is that they oppose unfair labor practices in the supply chain, and aren't afraid to name names. At the same time, I've found them to be one of the most positive forces around, whether it's helping you move your money back home or getting airlines to recycle.
For a $20 membership, you'll receive the National Green Pages – a directory of fair-trade businesses around the country. You'll also get the quarterly Green American and Real Green, a popular green-living newsletter. You can join by writing a check at tomorrow's event or donating online (and letting us know.) Or you can donate cash and we'll add it to our donation without signing you up.
I'll be representing the Grow Food Party Crew and Food in the Hood at the Design Renaissance this Sunday, April 18th from 9 to 4 at the Dream Inn. Speakers include Bonnie DeVarco and Ralph Abraham , organic architect Eric Corey Freed, Ryan Duke of the humanitarian design group Project H, and Helen and Newton Harrison on watersheds. Tickets are $40 if bought before tax day. Website: http://designrenaissance.net/
This week we have a very special Food in the Hood potluck at 5:00 on Sunday, April 18th. It's being held at Betty and John Devalcourt's house at 634 Walnut. On June 18th, Betty will be traveling to Jos, Nigeria, with Shannon Frediani and her husband. They'll be delivering used laptops for a fascinating project. It's the first computer lab ever installed in a Nigerian high school with an eGranary hard drive. Shannon, who you might know as the voice behind Voices of Angels, will be there to tell us about it. In the meantime, you can watch her inspiring 4 min. video about the project:
What Shannon and Betty need are donations of used laptops – which only need to turn on with the power cords! The software will be stripped and reinstalled, so don't worry about whether they work. If anyone has a corporate connection for Laptops of Last Resort, that would be great!
They can also use cash or checks made out to Shannon's nonprofit, Voices of Angels. These funds would be used to buy more eGranary units and networking equipment, or for additional shipping costs. Everyone is traveling at their own expense. This is one of the most efficient uses of money and out-of-date computers I've ever seen.
The eGranary idea is a brilliant idea. This 1 min. video tells how it works:
Here are a couple more very short videos that show how this idea is applied in developing countries and in their universities.
As mentioned in the email, there's no Food in the Hood this Friday. But on Saturday the 10th from 10-5, I'm cooking lunch for the Grow Food Party Crew at 508 Olive Street and you're all invited!
If you missed the Grow Food Party we had at our house last spring, there's a fun short video of it here.
The concept is that a horde of helpful people converges on a house and plants an edible garden in one day. Music and dancing encouraged – bring instruments and garden tools, but don't get them mixed up!
I'm willing to do the cooking for anyone in the 'hood who wants to have the next Grow Food Party. I'll put out the donation jar and we'll do a FitH-mobile. Come dig a little, plant a little on Sunday, and make sure you're there at 1:00 for lunch. Bruce Sawhill, whose party it is, has billed me as a vegetarian Italian chef, so I've been scouring my cookbooks to live up to it. It seems only fitting to continue to raise funds for Grassroots International, who supports Via Campesina, the largest coalition of peasant farmers in the world.
In case of rain (a 50% chance) we'll eat indoors: the food must go on!
I just heard from Elise at KONPAY, one of the Haitian charities we supported. A woman in SF did a tent drive, and received more tents from Palo Alto. Altogether, she ended up with 101 new or nearly new tents when the charity told her she'd need to pay for transport. As a single mom, she couldn't do this, and so contacted KONPAY to see if they could help. They have a warehouse in Hialeah FL waiting for cargo to ship. The only problem is how to get them from here to there.
If anyone has any ideas, or knows anyone going from the Bay Area to Florida soon, let us know. Elise's address is at the top of this message. We'll dedicate this FitH towards KONPAY to help fund this wonderful gesture. Thank you also to Lisa Segnitz and Mike Scirocco, who donated tents through Minor-San. Our own tent has gone towards keeping the chicks dry in their new outdoor condo, since we just couldn't bring them back inside!
We're getting low on soup jars, and the stores haven't restocked for canning season, if you have any extras hanging around the house...
Next week, we'll take a spring break. But on Sunday the 11th, I'll be preparing a lunchtime feast for a Grow Food Party on Olive Street. You're all invited to help transform Graydon Livingston's Farm and Garden into Bruce Sawhill's Garden Farm! More details will be sent next week.
This week, we'll be raising money for one of my favorite groups, Grassroots International. They exemplify my criterion of charities that pass along the vast majority of donations to grassroots organizations run by locals. They have a wealth of clear-sighted analysis on issues of food and economics, including an article I just read in Dollars and Sense on Haiti. It's also one of the most beautiful websites I've seen – maybe we should steal the colors for our Food in the 'Hood page!