Journalist Kate Bolick recently wrote about her experience in visiting artist Andrea Zittel in the Californian desert. Zittel has spent the past 20 years of her career exploring solitude and this path has led her to create her “Experimental Living Cabins” at A-Z West near Joshua Tree National Park.
“Zittel sees herself as part of the 20th-century tradition of American artists leaving cities for the open spaces of the Southwest, but she is aware of her deviations. O’Keeffe and Martin chose the desert as a form of retreat, but Zittel saw it as liberation. As for the parallels often drawn between her and the largely male artists who came to make their massive, macho marks on the desert, she gently notes that she is not interested in “grand interventions,” only in finding meaning in intimate, everyday gestures.”
In 1854 a fellow by the name of Henry David Thoreau published a book entitled Walden, named after a small pond just outside Concord, MA. Part love letter to nature, part treatise on simplicity, Walden took the whole religion of modernity to task, from rail roads, to the media. The book mixes every day observations on simple living (cutting wood, growing beans) along with some pretty heavy philosophizing on the nature being and the joys of independence and self sufficiency. (more…)
On the morning of July 13, like most mornings, Stephen Jones’s laboratory in Mount Vernon, Wash., was suffused with the thick warm smell of baking bread. Jones walked me around the floor, explaining the layout. A long counter split the space down the middle. To the right was what Jones called ‘‘the science part,’’ a cluster of high-tech equipment designed to evaluate grain, flour and dough. Jones, who is 58 and stands a daunting 6 foot 5, calls to mind a lovably geeky high-school teacher. He wore dungarees, a plaid shirt, a baseball cap and a warm, slightly goofy smile. Two pairs of eyeglasses dangling from his neck jostled gently as he gesticulated, describing the esoteric gadgetry surrounding us. The 600-square-foot room, known as the Bread Lab, serves as a headquarters for Jones’s project to reinvent the most important food in history. Click HERE to read more!
There are four basic ways to change the food system. I talk about three of them a lot: The first is to eat differently, focusing on good food and especially plants; the second is to bring change to your work, whether that means becoming a farmer or helping other people eat better through your role as a teacher, doctor, artist, techie, lawyer or journalist. The third is to work locally to effect change in, for example, school systems or municipal politics.
The fourth is the toughest: Change the system that governs everything, including food. This means changing dominant economic theories and practices, and indeed the nature of capitalism itself. That isn’t happening anytime soon.
But incremental changes are possible within that system. Click HERE to read more of this fantastic article! (more…)
Last month, the New York Times staff photographer Todd Heisler and a reporter, Damien Cave, set off on an ambitious journey to travel up Interstate 35, chronicling how the middle of America is being changed by immigration.