Thursday, October 3, 2013

Links for the week

While the U.S. news has been dominated by the government shutdown, I wanted to share some things I've been reading that might be interesting to you:

  • Check out this article about chocolate over at Simple Mom. I'm a chocolate addict, and while in the U.S. it was easy to walk over to Harvest Co-op and feel awesome about buying fair trade, in South Africa it's a little more difficult. I started with a fast from all Nestle products, then all Kraft products, and finally Cadbury's and Beacon. To be honest, Cadbury's is my favorite chocolate and so I was really happy when they began rolling out fair trade plain milk chocolate. I don't think it's enough, Cadbury's, but it's something. If you're in Cape Town, check out Cocoa Fair. It's excellent chocolate- and if you start buying their brand consider asking for them to roll out plastic-free packaging.
  • I'm not a natural at Farmer's Markets. I get confused about what I should buy, feel overwhelmed by the prices and so on. I feel like a fraud, to be honest, and expensive cheeses and R20 cupcakes freak me out. But yesterday I went to the earth fair market in Tokai and was so excited to find I can buy my fruits and vegetables at a small stall: they're affordable and good.
  • Check out this article by Darren on taking his daughter out to enjoy nature, which I took to be the power of just letting the outdoors speak for itself- I also liked the subsequent discussion in the comments section. I wonder how we create a productive vision of "nature"- as something that actually provides for our physical needs and our spiritual and recreational needs. I'm trying to teach Noah and Eli about mushrooms when we go to the forest, but it's slow going because I only know one edible mushroom. They also hug and pray for trees, but that's another story entirely.
  • Here's an article about trying to get eSNAP benefits in the U.S. (in a pretty well-resourced and well-organized state, in a well-resourced country, no less). Social inequality plays out in so many levels and I can find it pretty paralyzing, but I think you might have better insights. Maybe just changing one's opinion on beneficiaries will help to change some of the red tape involved in applying for benefits: it is surely fear (of being taken advantage of?) in part that produces such a dysfunctional system.
  • For the foragers: my dad has been talking about nasturtium pods for ages, and finally I found enough in his garden at one time to try out this recipe. I've become obsessed with preserving stuff in bottles, especially stolen or free stuff. I also found this recipe for nasturtium pesto. Here in Cape Town, nasturtiums are growing everywhere and I know Noah and Eli are going to love doing some picking. Let me know if you try it out!
  • R75 ($7.50) and 5 minutes later in Tokai.

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