S U S T A I N A B L Y

"Life creates conditions conducive to life,” part 2*

Welcome to another installment of “10 Words or Less,” in which I ask brief questions of interesting people, and request brief answers in return. Today’s participant is listed eighth on GreenBiz’s Twitter Index, which is testament to his formidable combination of smarts and charisma. I once went to a networking group on his suggestion. When I sat down at a table with others and they asked how I’d learned of the group, I said simply, “Asheen,” to which the whole table chorused, “Of course!” Please remember: “10 words” is an ethic, not a limit, so please, no counting! Besides, if you think it’s so easy, let’s see you do it.

Asheen Phansey of Dassault SystemesName Asheen Phansey
Fahn-SAY? I’ve been saying it wrong. Yes, it means “One who farms jackfruit.” And my first name means “tireless.”
In what languages? "Phansey is Marathi. Asheen is Sanskrit."
Born when, where: "Oct. 15, 1980, 12:23 a.m., Charleston, S.C."
Anything unusual about the circumstances? “The most unusual thing, if you know me at all, was that I was born on time. I think it was the last time."
Resides: Burlington, Mass.
Family situation: "Married, with two kids that I chase around. 1 1/2 and 4."
First world event you recall being aware of The first event that I really understood and affected me was the Exxon Valdez spill. [March 24, 1989] I can’t remember if that was before or after the first Persian Gulf War. [Aug. 2, 1990]


"Nature abhors a monoculture"

I’ve said many times, probably more than a couple of times in this blog, “Who is this guy?” referring to myself. For the first third (?) of my life, I was a sullen, cynical couch animal, whose only blazed trail was the triangle connecting refrigerator, television, and misshapen seat on the sofa.

That guy could never have envisioned this one, the one who glowingly quotes the Georgian farmer featured in a film by Maryn McKenna on The Plate, National Geographic’s food-focused website:

“In my mind, monocultures are the hallmark of what’s wrong in agriculture today. I learned in college physics that nature abhors a vacuum. I learned out here that what nature really abhors is a monoculture. Nature loves the symbiosis of many different species — microbial, plant, animal — all living together, one benefitting from the other.” ~ Farmer Will Harris, White Oak Pastures

Exactly! (Just to be clear, he knew it first, and I’m celebrating his words.)

I would add just a little perspective implied in his comments: Harris implies that what nature “thinks” is important, which is a point I make at the podium. By what evidence? Nature has been sustaining life on earth for 3.8 billion years. Humans arose out of nature, and are a subset of nature, just live all the other lives, and as such, should be trying to fit in, instead of trying to subvert the realm we sprang from.


"The healthcare system doesn’t benefit from our being healthy."

Welcome to another installment of “10 Words or Less,” in which I ask brief questions of interesting people and request brief answers from them in return. Today’s participant is the co-producer, co-director, and writer of “Carb Loaded: A Culture Dying to Eat,”  a film that came out Oct. 1. We spoke on Oct. 3, and you can find a video version of our conversation here. Please remember: “10 words” is an intention, not a limit, so please, no counting. If you think it’s easy, let’s see you do it.

Lathe Poland, co-creator  of "Carb Loaded."Name Lathe Poland
Born when, where Carson City Nev., winter 1973
Where do yo live now? Fairfield County, Conn.
Occupation Filmmaker
Family composition "Married 17 years with amazing wife, just the two of us."
An early formative experience “Learning [in junior high school] that food could trigger migraines for me had a pretty big impact on my view on nutrition.”
Your first paying job “You’re going to love this one. I dotted chocolates at a chocolate factory [pause] which actually connects to the previous answer I gave you."
Wisdom you retain from that experience "Find work that you actually love to do."


AmpleHarvest.org signs up 7000th pantry

This is straight from the press release:

Newfoundland NJ - (October 15, 2014) - AmpleHarvest.org, the nationwide program that enables tens of millions of home and community gardeners to donate excess garden produce to a nearby food pantry announces that more than 7,000 food pantries, food banks, soup kitchens, food closets, food shelves and food cupboards are now "visible" to nearby growers eager to donate their excess harvest.


Restoring Ecosystems to Reverse Global Warming

One of the tenets of this blog is that nature is, or should be, the unquestioned authority for life on earth — 3.8 billion years of survival street cred! — and I’m always seeking to highlight individuals and groups whose actions seem to agree.

The results of holistic land management are clear on the left half of the photo, datelined Karoo, South AfricaHence, my delight to share news of Restoring Ecosystems to Reverse Global Warming, a high-level conference being conducted by the group Biodiversity for a Livable Climate over three days next month at Tufts University near Boston.

The conference lists over two dozen speakers, including Seth Itzkan, William Moomaw, and Hugh McLaughlin, as well as Jim Laurie and John E. Carroll, both of whom I’ve featured previously in these pages (here and here, respectively).

It’s difficult (or brave, or foolhardy), therefore, to generalize what their outlook is, but with that acknowledgement, here goes: An ideal place for sequestering carbon is in our soils, which not only removes it from the upper atmosphere but dramatically restores or enriches ecosystems while improving agriculture on those soils where it is practiced.


10 Words or Less with Darin Detwiler, food safety advocate

Darin Detwiler, food safety authority and advocateWelcome to another text installment of “10 Words or Less,” in which I ask brief questions of interesting people and request brief answers in return. (Previously, I posted the video of our chat; this is the edited transcript, for those who prefer text.) Today’s participant is a food-safety advocate and college instructor in regulatory affairs who formerly operated a nuclear reactor. (I can’t count how many of my friends can say that!) Please remember that “10 Words” is an ethic, not a rule, so please, no counting. If you think it’s easy, let’s see you do it.
 
Name Darin Detwiler (right)
Born when, where May 19, 1968, San Francisco
Resides "Salem, Mass., known for the Salem Witch Trials, which are allegedly tied to food-borne illness, as the source of the deliria that was perceived as witchcraft."
Job "I have two jobs: Adjunct professor at Northeastern University, where I teach in regulatory affairs of food and food industry. Also, I’m the senior policy coordinator at Stop Foodborne Illness, a national nonprofit that supports victims and their families."
What you wanted to be when you grew up "Actually, two things. I wanted to be a musician, and I wanted to be a seismologist. I really wanted to shake, rattle, and roll."
Your first paying job "When I was in high school, I played a Santa Claus at a mall. [Pause.] It wasn’t that paying."
Wisdom you retain from that experience "Never say to a kid, or ask a kid, about their parents, Mom or Dad. Always say ‘folks,’ because folks is generic, and can apply to adopted or grandparents or foster parents. We go through life thinking everyone had to fit into a cookie cutter, but there are many children who have different family situations."


10 Words or Less with Lathe Poland of the film "Carb Loaded: A Culture Dying to Eat"

We recorded this interview Friday, Oct. 3, two days after the film's release. Poland and his partner, Eric Carlsen, financed the film, which looks at how America feeds itself and the effects thereof, through Kickstarter. As regular readers know, I'll be following up this post with an edited text version of the interview sometime in the next week. But for now, our conversation just as it happened...


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