ICYMI, basically *everyone* is obsessing over Marie Kondo and her KonMari method. ✨ (via House Beautiful)
January 16, 2019
Turkey is now seeking an arrest warrant for New York Knicks center Enes Kanter, accusing him of membership in a terror organization.
In 2017, we spoke to him on why he isn’t backing down from criticizing Erdoğan.
Turkey is now seeking an arrest warrant for New York Knicks center Enes Kanter, accusing him of membership in a terror organization.In 2017, we spoke to him on why he isn't backing down from criticizing Erdoğan.
Posted by VICE News on Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Edible Landscapes Are Un-Lawning America
These 12 businesses are among many nationwide ready to turn sterile, water- and chemical-intensive lawns into food forests.
By Stephanie Parker, Local Eats, Urban Agriculture January 15, 2019
Lawns are ubiquitous in the United States and according to a 2015 NASA study, they take up three times as much space as the next largest irrigated crop, corn. These familiar patches of green require 9 billion gallons of water per day, around 90 million pounds of fertilizers and 75 million pounds of pesticides per year. Plus, the lawnmowers that maintain them largely use gas and emit pollutants. All for a crop we can’t eat.
A growing group of people and businesses are trying to change that. For over a decade, “unlawning,” or the act of turning sterile lawns into fertile, edible landscapes, has been gaining popularity in the United States. These edible yards aren’t just backyard garden plots with a few squash and tomato plants, rather they are landscapes that incorporate edible native plants, like paw paw trees or bush cherries, along with fruit trees, pollinator habitats, medicinal herbs and water features.
One well-known proponent of edible landscapes is Fritz Haeg, an artist who in 2005 began a years-long project called “Edible Estates,” during which time he traveled the country and turned ordinary yards into edible masterpieces. In the years since Haeg’s project, there has been a steady growth in awareness of edible landscapes in the U.S.
“When we began, there was very little ecological literacy,” says Sarah Kelsen, an ecological engineer and co-owner of Land Beyond the Sea, an edible design firm founded in 2010 in Ithaca, New York. But now, she says of ecological awareness and her own business, “It feels like there’s been a completely exponential increase.”
Ben Barkan, an edible landscaper who started HomeHarvest LLC 10 years ago in Boston, has also seen the difference. “Not a lot of people were used to the idea of replacing parts of their lawn or ornamental landscapes with edible landscapes,” Barkan says about the first years of his business. Now, he says, there is more interest and his business has grown a lot.
“The trend toward planting food is on the rise again,” says Fred Meyer, who started his edible landscaping organization, Backyard Abundance, back in 2006. Meyer believes that the chaos and insecurity that the U.S. has been experiencing since the 2008 recession contributed to unlawning’s rising popularity, since people tend to fall back on growing food in times of insecurity.
He likens the trend to that of the Victory Gardens during World War II, which grew an estimated 40 percent of produce consumed in the United States. Today, America grows less than half of its own fruit and just over two-thirds of its fresh vegetables. But home gardening is becoming more popular, with a 2014 study showing that one-third of Americans currently grow food at home, an increase of 17 percent from 2008. “I see it continuing as long as things continue to be unpredictable,” Meyer says.
The trend toward turning yards into gardens is a win for biodiversity as well. A recent study published in Landscape and Urban Planning found that lawn maintenance was responsible for a lack of biodiversity in sites around major cities like Baltimore, Boston, Miami, and Phoenix. It also found that “well-maintained” lawns were strikingly similar nationwide: A person’s maintained lawn in Baltimore would have more in common ecologically with a maintained lawn in Miami than it would with their neighbor’s unmanaged yard.
Edible landscapes, on the other hand, increase the diversity of insect populations, create habitat for birds and other wildlife, and provide ideal conditions for the millions of microbes that make up healthy soil, which is critically important for their ability to store carbon and slow climate change.
All that being said, lawns are still as American as apple pie, and not everyone is rushing to turn theirs into a productive landscape. “Houston is a tough market,” says Josh Reynolds, owner of the Houston-based Texas Edible Landscapes. “I am trying to educate Texans through the use of workshops, but interest remains low.”
And sometimes there can be resistance even from local government and rule makers. Homeowners associations (HOAs) are known for being sticklers about the appearance of one’s yard in a neighborhood. Successful edible designers take this into account, however, creating landscapes that are not just productive, but pretty as well.
Whether you want a consultation, a small raised bed, a full overhaul to turn your yard into an edible forest, or just to chat with someone about ecology, below are 12 businesses and groups around the country that can help.
Located: Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Serving: Pennsylvania’s Berks, Chester, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, and York counties
Details: Earthbound Artisan was founded in 2014 by Garrett Book and Tim Seifarth after Seifarth, who has been a landscaper now for over 20 years, became disillusioned with “conventional” landscaping that included installing lawns and ornamental trees as status symbols. Earthbound offers traditional native gardens and designs based on permaculture, or what they call “design with a purpose.”
Located: Frederick, Maryland
Serving: Maryland, northern Virginia, and the Washington, D.C. area
Details: Owner Michael Judd started Ecologia Design in 2010 after working for 18 years in Nicaragua on tropical and edible landscapes and food security. Ecologia offers services from consultations to full-service installations. Judd also has a nursery and a permaculture site at his home in Frederick, where he leads talks and demonstrations. He also wrote a book, Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist, to help people create these edible landscapes on their own.
Located: Boston, Massachusetts
Serving: Boston and the Greater Boston Area
Details: Founded by Ben Barkan a decade ago when he was 18 years old, this business has grown from a kid on a bike towing a trailer and a shovel to a full-service edible landscaping company with five employees and a truck. Barkan is a licensed landscaper offering full-service edible landscaping with features including custom stonework, pollinator gardens, and medicinal herbs.
Land Beyond the Sea Ecological Design
Located: Ithaca, New York
Serving: New York’s Finger Lakes region
Details: Founded in 2010, Land Beyond the Sea offers planning and implementation for a number of services including site planning, landscape design, arborist consultation, and forestry and urban forestry. The eight-year-old design firm is owned by Miguel Berrios, the lead landscape designer, and Sarah Kelsen, the ecological engineer. Berrios is New York State’s only technical service provider certified to write Pollinator Habitat Plans for the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), which allow clients to install pollinator habitats fully funded by the NRCS.
Located: Durham, North Carolina
Serving: The Triangle area
Bountiful Backyard founders Kate DeMayo and Keith Shaljian in front of their peach tree.
Details: Owners Kate DeMayo and Keith Shaljian began Bountiful Backyards in 2007 as an alternative to starting farm, which they say was out of reach due to the cost of land. They offer design and installation services of low-maintenance gardens that use permaculture principles and comply with HOA requirements. Some of the installations they provide include vegetable gardens, fruit trees, herbal and tea gardens, pest management, water catchment and rain gardens. They also teach classes and give workshops in the community.
Located: Orlando, Florida
Details: Fleet Farming is a nonprofit urban agriculture program that also offers edible landscaping services. After an initial consultation, the Fleet Farming team will install raised beds fitted with timed drip irrigation. They provide soil, seeds, plants, and a gardening guide. In addition, they offer edible forests that include perennial vegetables and fruiting trees that include such tropical plants as bananas, mangos, and avocados. The non-profit also has educational events and demonstration plants in a number of Orlando neighborhoods.
Texas Edible Landscapes
Located: Houston, Texas
Serving: Southeast Texas
Details: Started in 2016 by Josh Reynolds, who says his specialty is suburban landscapes where Homeowner Associations (HOAs) discourage the planting of anything besides pretty, ornamental lawns. “I like to design food-producing ecosystems that disguise themselves as typical ornamental plants that fit in with the neighborhood,” he says. The company is a design and consultation firm that contracts out to trusted associates if a client wants an installation.
Located: Iowa City, Iowa
Serving: Iowa City and surrounding areas including parts of Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Wisconsin
Details: Started by Fred Meyer in 2006, Backyard Abundance creates edible landscapes to meet their clients’ lifestyles and habits. Before he designs a landscape, Meyer does an in-depth consultation to understand what his client is looking for. “We want to create a positive beneficial relationship between the homeowner and their landscape,” he says. Meyer also focuses on aesthetics so that none of his clients will face problems from their HOA. In addition, Backyard Abundance has established edible classrooms, forests, and parks in Iowa City.
Located: St. Louis, Missouri
Serving: St. Louis and the surrounding area
Details: This two-year-old company creates custom edible landscapes. “I was inspired to start the business because I hope to help communities reimagine the places in which we grow food,” says owner Matthew Lebon. In the last year, he’s done around 40 consultations, five designs, and 10 installations. He also is a “garden coach” for a handful of clients. His focus is on planting perennial food crops—pears, chestnuts, asparagus, and others—in the hopes of creating a regenerative system based on perennial food crops.
Located: Honolulu, Hawaii
Serving: Honolulu and the rest of Oahu
Details: Foodscapes Hawaii offers a number of products and services to easily turn a patch of yard into a productive garden. After an extended site visit, owner Fran Butera and her Foodscapes Hawaii team designs a garden based on the client’s budget and builds it. Once the garden is planted, Foodscapes Hawaii offers other services, like a monthly subscription plan to weed and maintain the garden a few times a month. They also offer other services like gardening workshops, compost station or worm bin set-ups, and green home consulting.
Portland Edible Gardens
Located: Portland, Oregon
Serving: Portland metro area and surrounding suburbs
Details: Portland Edible Gardens was founded in 2013 by Ian Wilson to help people who wanted to grow their own food but don’t know how. “Portland has always had a reputation for valuing sustainability and fresh, local and organic food,” Wilson says. “But even in such a ‘green’ city I became aware that people had very few resources for actually learning how to grow their own food at home.” The business offers consultations and installations of raised garden beds, fruit trees, and berry bushes. They also do garden maintenance and one-on-one garden mentorship, bringing everything a client needs to start a garden.
Located: San Diego, California
Serving: San Diego County and Orange County, California
Details: Karen Contreras began Urban Plantations in 2008 at the height of the Great Recession. However, her risk paid off as San Diego families turned to growing their own food as a way to cut costs. Contreras stepped down in 2016 and the company is now run by Paige Hailey and Mat Roman. The business has around 20 employees and install roughly 50 new gardens and orchards each year.
Don’t worry if you don’t see a business near you on this list, there are many more out there that you can find online.
This article was updated to correct the spelling of Mat Roman’s name, and the area that Urban Plantations serves.
All across the world, young people are mobilizing to take their futures into their own hands.
On Tuesday morning, Desmond Meade went down to the the Orange County elections office in Orlando, Florida, and registered to vote for the first time in decades. Since being released from prison, where he was held on a gun possession charge, in 2005, Meade had been unable to vote because of a Florida law preventing ex-felons from casting a ballot even after they’d paid their debt to society.
In 2018, Meade—now president of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC)—led the effort to pass a ballot initiative overturning the felon disenfranchisement law. It passed on November 6 with 64 percent of the vote. The initiative, known as Amendment 4, went into effect Tuesday morning.
“It was a very, very emotional moment,” Meade said on Facebook after he submitted his voter registration form, his eyes welling up with tears. He was surrounded by his wife and kids and wore a “Let My People Vote” t-shirt. “Across the state of Florida, our democracy is being expanded. That’s a great thing.”
Amendment 4 automatically restores voting rights to people with felony records who have completed their full sentences, except those convicted of murder or a sexual offense. Before it passed, Florida was one of only four states that prevented ex-felons from voting, which blocked 10 percent of Floridians from casting a ballot, including 1 in 5 African Americans. The enactment of Amendment 4 could lead to the largest increase in new voters in the state since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The passage of Amendment 4 was particularly remarkable given that Florida elected a Republican senator and a Republican governor in 2018 who both opposed restoring voting rights to ex-felons. Amendment 4 attracted significant support from Republicans in Florida, even as their party invested heavily in making it harder to vote nationwide. In a huge expansion for voting rights, eight states approved ballot initiatives in 2018 to make it easier to vote and harder to gerrymander.
A huge and improbable coalition supported Amendment 4, ranging from the American Civil Liberties Union to the Christian Coalition to the Koch brothers’ political network. “We are fighting just as hard for that person that wishes he could vote for Donald Trump as that person who wanted to vote for Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton,” Meade told me when I visited Florida in August. “We don’t care about how a person may vote. What we care about is that they have the ability to vote. That is our compass.”
Meade’s own story was equally remarkable, as I reported for Mother Jones:
On a muggy August day in 2005, Desmond Meade stood in front of the railroad tracks north of downtown Miami and prepared to take his life. He’d been released from prison early after a 15-year sentence for gun possession was reduced to three years, but he was addicted to crack, without a job, and homeless. “The only thing going through my mind was how much pain I’d feel when I jumped in front of the oncoming train,” Meade said. “I was a broken man.”
But the train never came, and eventually Meade walked two blocks to a drug treatment center and checked himself in. He got clean, enrolled in school, and received a law degree from Florida International University in 2014. Meade should have been the archetypal recovery success story—“[God] took a crackhead and made a lawyer out of him,” as he put it. But he’s not allowed to practice law. And when his wife ran for the Florida House of Representatives in 2016, he couldn’t vote for her. “My story still doesn’t have a happy ending,” he said. “Because despite the fact that I’ve dedicated my life to being an asset to my community, I still can’t vote.”
Meade’s unlikely partner in the felon restoration effort was Neil Volz, a former chief of staff for Republican Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio and a top lobbyist for onetime superlobbyist Jack Abramoff. Volz was a GOP power broker in Washington until Abramoff’s pay-for-play lobbying scheme unraveled and Volz pled guilty in 2006 to conspiring to corrupt public officials. He lost the right to vote when he moved to Florida afterward, and registered for the first time in over a decade on Tuesday.
“Year by year, when you don’t have the vote, you really take on an appreciation for having the ability to vote,” Volz, who’s now the political director for FRRC, told me after he registered at the Lee County elections office in Fort Myers. Similar stories of ex-felons registering across the state circulated widely on social media.
“Thousands of people are registering to vote today,” Volz said. “It’s a real acknowledgement of the sacredness of democracy that’s happening in front of our eyes.”
Some top Republican officials in Florida, however, have sought to delay the implementation of Amendment 4. New GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, who officially took office on Tuesday, said in December that the Florida Legislature, which does not convene until March, should pass “implementing language” before Amendment 4 took effect. Voting rights groups countered that the amendment was “self-executing” and “the Legislature does not need to pass implementing legislation in order for the amendment to go into effect.” Though new registrants are being processed today, the Legislature could still make the implementation of the law more restrictive when it convenes in the spring.
Paul Lux, president of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections, told me that election officials in Florida had received no guidance from the state on how to comply with Amendment 4. “What we’ve heard is nothing,” he said. He said county supervisors, who oversee voter registration, would register new voters as required by the new law. “I am not aware of any supervisors who have said they won’t take registration forms,” Lux said. Meade and Volz said they were not aware of anyone being turned away from registering. “They were letting people register and celebrating with us,” Meade said of election officials.
Zac Anderson: North Port resident Alan Rhyelle is the first convicted felon to register to vote under Amendment 4 in Sarasota County. He was waiting in the parking lot by 7:15 a.m.. Busted for growing pot to help his daughter struggling with prescription meds after car accident.
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders
January 13, 2019
A mother should never have to bury her son because of the hideous greed of pharmaceutical companies. This has got to stop.
January 14, 2019
She’s back! (Mike Pence, I mean.)
***NEW VIDEO***She's back! (Mike Pence, I mean.) 💖🎶🇺🇸🌈
Posted by Randy Rainbow on Monday, January 14, 2019