New Roots

I’m loving the IRC’s New Roots program. It plays on the the not-so-revolutionary idea that refugees miss the food from their homelands and often arrive with significant experience in gardening and even full-scale farming. New Roots helps refugees establish gardens from Iowa to the Bronx. The program has a simple action plan with complex goals. … Continue reading

Victoria’s Secret and the Fairness of Fair Trade

If there’s anything in this world that grosses me out, it’s slavery and the word “panties.” Maybe that’s why I’ve avoided discussing the recent news that a Fairtrade-certified cotton distributor allegedly sold products tainted with forced child labor to the lingerie retailer Victoria’s Secret. (Oh yeah, I also hate the word “tainted.”) No one has … Continue reading

Good News Friday

Those are real Texas Rangers in the picture. They look down on us from Heaven (obviously, since they’re Texans), wishing they could come back down here to take out the Cardinals themselves with those rifles of theirs. Check that tiny tie. So hipster. Last night’s game 6 was painful here in Castle Miller land. But … Continue reading

Going Local to Stop Displacement

Yet another reason to go to the farmers’ market! Around the world, federal governments and corporations have entered a new “global gold rush” – for agricultural land. They buy up property to use in the coming food crisis and cross national borders for the cheapest and most underused plots. But while purchasing these huge chunks … Continue reading

Warehousing All the Young Men

[Warehousing = The long-term encampment of refugees in violation of their rights according to the UN Refugee Convention of 1951. Also known as protraction.] When I first started studying the refugee experience I assumed that young men had it easiest. After all, young men typically incite a lot of the violence that causes refugee crises. … Continue reading

Banana-Lover Options

If you’ve been following along this week, you’re probably wondering what, if any, options there are for eating bananas without feeling like a jerk or worse. Like certain other activities, the only safe option might be abstinence. A potato has the same calories as a banana and is easier to grow. Consider potato pudding, potato … Continue reading

Come, Mister Tally Man

A few years ago, I was walking through the fruit section of my local co-op. I was in upstate New York, so it was no surprise that to my left I saw apples and berries. But set out on a little table in the middle I also saw some bananas, hailed as local grub from … Continue reading

The Power of Locavores to Stop Slavery

CSA Week 11 – from thebittenword.com Each year, as many as 5% of farm workers are forced laborers. These are not slave-like conditions – this number refers to actual slavery, in which the worker is not allowed to leave. It does not include the many severe abuses carried out against normal farm workers in America … Continue reading

Eat Refugee Food

One of the best ways to support the refugees in your community is to eat adventurously. And no, I don’t mean snacking on Cheetos from between the couch cushions. Find a restaurant serving authentic international cuisine. Ethiopian, Thai, Eastern European, etc. Eat! If you want, ask your server about the region the of food they’re … Continue reading

A World Cup with Less Injuries

On Sunday, the Netherlands took on Spain in the final World Cup match. Spain is obviously a tremendous team, and to fight them it seemed clear that Holland was forced to use some violent tactics, even deserving of red cards. The game will be remembered, among other things, as the most penalty-ridden World Cup final … Continue reading

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