Category Archives: eco tips

@freshthemovie FREE online til 2/1…spread the word!

aptly named, “fresh” takes a fresh approach to talking about sustainable food systems. like documentaries before it, it discusses the horrors and damages caused by factory farming. but more than the others, “fresh” gives voice to the farmers caught in the monsanto/foster farms/KFC/industrial agriculture web. you meet farmers who got out and others who want to. you meet activists and average folks who just want to eat better and are willing to work for it. most importantly, you find out what you can do.

the first thing you can do is watch this amazing film for FREE until february 1st. tell everyone you know to do the same. buy the dvd. make a donation. have a fundraiser. spread the word.

watching the film made me think, i can establish a co-op wherever we land. even though whole foods market supports a lot of local producers, many americans live in a food wasteland where access to produce is nearly impossible. for the farmers, getting a fair rate for their efforts means the difference between survival and bankruptcy. so i’m adding this to our idea jar.

the bottom line, organic farming is sustainable and it can feed the world. and the first step is for us to step up and support local farmers.

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thank you, @marthastewart for lending your voice to the voiceless. end #factoryfarming

i’ve said it a million times, i don’t eat meat and i don’t judge those who do. but it’s crucial that people know how their meat is raised. under what conditions. what it’s fed.

a few things you can do:

  • support farm sanctuary (whose mission is to “protect farm animals from cruelty, inspire change in the way society views and treats farm animals, and promote compassionate vegan living”)
  • check out whole foods market’s global animal partnership program – creating transparency in the meat industry and hopefully, encouraging other grocers to follow suit
  • sign this petition to raise awareness and help stop the brutality of factory farming

your spirit, your body, your children and your planet will thank you!

…and so will i!

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the day it all changed…

via treehugger

have you ever had a moment when everything changed? a moment of such clarity that it shook you to your core and upended your life path? well, i’m happy/grateful/excited to say that happened to me last friday. i went to a class for work. i felt i didn’t have time to devote a whole day to this class, little did i know the earthshaking lesson i would learn that day…

the chef who lead the class was an amazing man. with an amazing story. a story that was filled with the ups and downs many of us face (and one, that broke his heart and his spirit).  but with time and meditation, what he came away with was a realization that he was meant to be of service. and everything shifted for him. i sat there, mesmerized by his tale. and i started to wonder about my life. and the lives of my friends. all of us, working so hard. and for what? to pay the rent. to pay the mortgage. to dream of the day when we are retired (and old!) so that we can live some life of simplicity.

why not now?

why not sell everything? why not say, to hell with it and get off the grid? for the first time in a long time, life seemed full of possibilities. and these possibilities made total sense. i called the irishman to see if i was crazy. was this something we could do? could we grow our all own food? could we build our own tiny house? could we have a workshop where we could get serious about creating? could we have loads of dogs and toil over soil? he was all in. i started googling “homesteading” like a mad woman. there were many things to consider. as eco as i am, there are certain things i cannot live without:  a bathtub. wifi. a washer. i definitely could live smaller. but i need access to a city. museums. a job.

i started looking at all our possessions as assets to freedom. we’ve been collecting a lot of stuff for a lot of time. and now that stuff would help us get to a place where we could actually live our lives. i started calculating:  those sofas + that diner = a solar panel system. i opened closets, filled with clothes and shoes and more stuff. kitchen cabinets filled with plates and bowls and appliances. our garage…oh, our garage…

so. the plan is to plan an exit plan. to figure out how to get from here to there. the first step is to liberate ourselves from and with all this stuff. to pick maybe the top 5 places we would like to own land. maybe there’s an interim step where we are still city dwellers, but we reduce our environmental impact. we grow a serious garden. we start to barter more, and spend less…maybe we raise some chickens for eggs? i’m not going to overthink things. i have to remember that moment in that class where everything felt so clear…it wasn’t rational, it was emotional. i figure 2012 will be all about squirreling away money. about research and learning and meeting like-minded people.

but all of that could change in a moment. and we’re completely open to that change.

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meatless monday (really, new year’s) recipe: ozoni…

image from kitchensinkzen

our christmas celebrations were lovely. the night before was spent with the irishman’s mom and christmas day, i drove to san diego for a scrumptious japanese lunch with my parents, then back to the irishman’s mom’s house for evening festivities. i was tired, no doubt, but filled with the joy of the season…

i have to say, out of all the holidays, new year’s day is my absolute favorite. so this year, with delicious memories of my japanese lunch fresh in my mind, i am going to try this recipe from kitchen sink zen’s blog and make a vegetarian version of an all-time favorite: ozoni.

since no dish will ever be as good as my mom’s cooking, i am curious to see how this traditional mochi soup holds up without the dashi. ozoni features a simple broth, usually made with dashi (dried bonito flakes), soy sauce and sugar. my mom always adds mizuno (a delicious green) and fish cakes. the mochi is toasted on the outside and gooey and chewy on the inside – it is beyond!

new year’s day is huge in japanese culture and growing up, we always looked forward to reflecting on the year that has passed and thinking of all the upcoming year would bring. we always had to clean the house from top to bottom so we wouldn’t bring old dirt into the new year (don’t know if that is tradition in other japanese households or a genius move on my mom’s part to get us to clean?!). since this year was especially brutal for my friends and me, i can think of no better way to ring in 2011 than enjoying what is true comfort food for me. how funny (and sad) to go back one year to the beginnings of this blog and read how optimistic i was way back in january of 2010

but i may have to cheat on my meatless monday because the other dish i make for myself each new year’s day is buckwheat noodles (for longevity)…i’m wondering if a kombu or mushroom broth would work? it isn’t a soup you drink, it is meant to be super concentrated and you dip the noodles in quickly and then slurp, slurp, slurp! i have a few days to experiment, but in the meantime, feast your eyes on (and see the recipe for)  the little foodie’s recipe for happy new year soba.

image from the little foodie

and finally, here is good news on food trends for the new year…according to an article by epicurious, meatless mondays and tofu tuesdays are really taking hold!

While it’s hip to go whole hog, with butchers gaining star power and roasts as the focus of many a dinner party, there is a concurrent trend of eating less meat. As we recently pointed out in Back to the Future: 10 Food Trends to Watch Over the Next Decade, the proportion of people eating no meat or less meat is growing, and the nonprofit Meatless Monday initiative no doubt has been one motivator. Meatless Monday’s goal is to encourage U.S. consumers to cut their meat consumption by 15 percent for the betterment of our health and the planet. School districts from Baltimore to New Haven, Santa Barbara to Syracuse, have embraced the cause, as have more than 20 public health organizations, not to mention prominent chefs such as Marcus Samuelsson. We’re forecasting that eating meat-free will be on the calendar more than once a week.

so, here’s to 2011!

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l.a. bans the bag sale! exclusively @supermarket!

check out our sale! just in time for the holidays!

* while quantities last…sale ends 01.01.11, so hurry!

** and no, we couldn’t figure out how to lower the prices on the website…any smart programmers out there who can help me?

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l.a. bans the bag…

image from

fantastic news in this morning’s l.a. times!

on tuesday, the l.a. county board of supervisors passed a sweeping ban on single use plastic bags that hopefully, will become a statewide model. the largest in the nation, the ordinance will effect cities outside of l.a.’s incorporated areas (about 1.1 million residents). it is a complete ban on plastic shopping bags and imposes a 10 cent surcharge on the use of paper bags. phase one will begin in july 2011 and by january 2012, will be in full force. it’s an incredible first step.

according to the article:

In Los Angeles County alone, 6 billion plastic bags are used each year, an average of 1,600 bags per household a year. Government figures show that only about 5% are recycled.

the vote (of course) was partisan. the lone republican in dissent stated concern for poor people who would now have to buy poo bags because of the ban. maybe he should look at images like these:

images from

image from

all that plastic isn’t going anywhere. it is breaking down into tiny particles that are then eaten by wildlife (and eventually by us). as you may know a portion of our profits go to both the surfrider foundation and 5 gyres. if you have a moment, check out the 5 gyres photo album, i’m sure you will be as incensed as we are when you see what we are doing to our oceans and our planet.

on a more positive note, as soon as the irishman figures out the techy-tech stuff on the website, modernest will be having a

big sale

to celebrate! so please stay tuned!

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yay, she’s baaaaack! annie leonard’s “the story of electronics”…

the story of electronics came out yesterday.  it talks about all those gadgets and “iStuff” (believe me, we own a lot of it) that’s so fantastic and convenient and cool…but what about the relatively short lives they live in our pads, purses or pockets? all those electronics that are cheaper to toss than to repair…annie leonard calls this “design for the dump” and it refers to the 18 months that we usually keep our electronics – whether it’s because the latest and greatest just came out or because things are’t built as well as they used to be…and what about all those toxins to make them and the risk to the workers who make them? each year, we create 25 million tons of e-waste, very little of it actually recycled.

so she’s calling for us to sign a petition sponsored by the electronics takeback coalition, urging ceo’s of electronics companies to “make ’em safe. make ’em last. take ’em back.” i hope you’ll take the time to watch the piece (i love the john cusack-like cameo) and if you can, sign the petition!

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