Recently Jamie Oliver gave his prize winning TED Talk, in which he shared his wish:
“I wish for your help to create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity.”
For those of you not familiar with TED, don’t waste another second and please go to their website! TED talks are a new wave of education and enlightenment through one of the oldest methods: speech. Their slogan is: “Ideas Worth Spreading”. Next time you find yourself surfing channels on the TV, turn it off and turn on TED.
Back to Jamie Oliver, the loveably self-depricating English chap who truly cares about food, and the impact it has on our lives. In his speech, Jamie said:
“I profoundly believe that the power of food has a primal place in our homes that binds us to the best bits of life.”
That quote has stuck with me because it embodies everything I’ve been trying to say in many ways through my own blog, After the Harvest, although I haven’t been able to word it so well and with so much power. Food connects us all, and in a lot of ways, we truly are what we eat. I have such respect for Jamie and his message.
Chef Jamie then goes on to talk about kids and their disconnection from food, so much so that they cannot even identify common fruits and vegetables. “If the kids don’t know what stuff is, then they will never eat it”, he says, and I agree that food education does need to be a part of our school systems. This is an aspect of Jamie’s wish that I’d like to help with, and I’m formulating ideas as you read this! I’ll keep you posted on my progress in the future.
As he goes on to declare his wish, Jamie admits he recently thought to himself, “If I had a magic wand, what would I do?”, and shortly after this question was posed, TED came calling. Now that’s an example of someone asking God, The Universe, whoever/whatever he or she believes in for what he/she truly wants, and being rewarded. His wish will require a community of people all over the world to come together to make it a reality, but I believe we can do it. Jamie said himself, “every one of your individual efforts makes a difference”, and I truly believe that statement, whether we’re talking about a food revolution, or some other sort of social change in the world. Composting, recycling, Haiti relief efforts. Name your cause, when individuals have worked together with that cause in mind, change has been made and continues to be made.
Before I go off on an even larger tangent, I will let you take in Jamie’s TED Talk yourself. Enjoy it, and answer this question: If you had a magic wand, what would YOU do?
Isn’t it amazing how connected our world really is sometimes? How things or people you are reading about or following in some way come together? For me this happened in the last 24 hours. About a week ago I started reading a book I’ve been wanting to read for a while called Me to We: Finding Meaning in a Material World by Marc & Craig Kielburger. This book has been inspiring, emotional, thought-provoking and revolutionary and I can’t wait to finish it. All while I have been reading it, I have been thinking that it is a perfect book and concept to discuss on SuperForest: changing our approach to life so that we live “we” and not “me” oriented, which I think many of us are trying to do already, or there probably wouldn’t even be a SuperForest! One person really can make a difference and that is what We Day is all about.
Photo Credit: fernando from flickr Also in the last year, like many of you, my ears have been taking in as much Mraz music as they can possibly hold. Not only is Jason Mraz a talented singer/songwriter but I believe many of us have responded to him because he is one of many faces and voices that we can identify with as socially conscious individuals. We want to change the world in our own little way, and we get inspired by people like Mraz who have the ability to use his public platform to discuss issues that mean something to us.
Last night I learned that Jason Mraz is participating in We Day this year, and this morning I read his blog post regarding his involvement. This partnership just makes so much sense! Craig and Marc are unbelievably inspiring people and they have worked hard to make change in the world, and they are not stopping anytime soon! I guess it was only a matter of time that all of these inspiring activists would band together.
Photo Credit: BenedictW from Flickr As a Canadian, I’ve been reading and hearing about Craig Kielburger for many years in newspapers and on television. It all started when he was only a child himself, and he actively responded to the issue of child labour. Since then he and his brother Marc have started Free the Children, an organization run by youth that is striving to free children all over the world from poverty; and after writing the book, they created We Day. Held over 3 different days in the next month in Toronto, Vancouver and Hamilton (near Toronto), this year’s We Day speakers include: Jason Mraz, Mia Farrow, Craig & Marc, Jane Goodall, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Robert Kennedy Jr. and Michel Chickwanine, a former child soldier.
Photo Credit: Craig’s Facebook Profile For anyone who has ever watched Oprah, you might also know Craig and Marc through her Angel Network, where together with Free the Children they opened over 58 schools in Africa and created the “O Ambassadors” program for students. Once I am actually finished the book I will do another post on it, and of course I will post on this evening’s live televised event broadcast from Vancouver. Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend We Day this year but I am heading to Toronto mid October and I am going to try to track down someone from Free the Children to see if we can get an interview on SuperForest! Wish me luck! You can see Jason’s post about Me to We here, and listen to him talk about it in this video (he even references the SuperForest Humanifesto!)
So on this We Day, check out the website at www.metowe.com and raise those 3 fingers up high! Yours in social change, Superforester Heather
Hello Superforesters! The sun is out and I’m in a happy mood, I hope you are too! Yesterday I posted a Q & A on my blog featuring Canadian songstresses, Dala, and I thought I’d share it with Superforest! These girls have mad talent, if you haven’t heard them yet, get over to MySpace or better yet, check them out on tour — they’ll be touring all over the U.S. and Canada this fall and winter. Talk about people we love…I give you Dala:
All photos courtesy of Dala
An emerging sound on the Canadian music scene, Dala is one of the most talented singer/songwriter teams I’ve seen perform live. Otherwise known as Sheila Carabine and Amanda Walther, Dala had me hooked right away with their beautiful harmonies, so I wondered how they stay healthy and performance-ready while essentially living on the road. The women of Dala agreed to answer 5 questions about their relationship to food as touring musicians:
Superforester Heather (SH): Have you found it difficult to eat whole, nutritious foods while on the road? How do you avoid fast food?
Dala: It is definitely a challenge to maintain a balanced diet when you’re touring. Meal times are all pushed back. The schedule on the road is such that your day starts at noon, sound check is later in the afternoon, and the show itself usually interferes with dinner. A lot of the time we are too nervous to eat before we go on stage, but the adrenaline rush of performing leaves us ravenously hungry after the show.
That’s the moment of truth for most performers I think, where your will-power is tested. On our first tour opening for Tom Cochrane it took a while before we realized that we were filling up on salty snacks after almost every show. It was part of the post-show celebrations, but that starts to adds up on a three week tour. We have learned to ‘just say no’ to junk food whenever we can, and to eat lots of fruits and vegetables when we feel like snacking.
Amanda with some very large fruit
SH: Do you have any special beverages that serve as “Dala magic elixirs” to keep those beautiful voices fresh?
Dala: We drink a lot of tea and honey on the road. My personal favourite is TAZO Green Ginger tea. Amanda starts drinking hot water an hour before the show. We both drink twice as much water as we would when we’re not on tour, and we also bring mini-humidifiers with us for the hotel. That makes a difference, as hotel rooms tend to be pretty dry.
SH: What is the one food you could not go without on the road?
Dala: I love soup. It is so cozy and comforting and light on your stomach. Amanda likes fruit, granola and yogurt in the morning. That’s her staple. We both love to sample local cuisine. Amanda usually dives into the less-healthy department (ie. Halifax’s ‘Donairs’ and Memphis’ ‘Rendez-Vous Ribs’)
Sheila and her cappuccino, dreaming of soup
SH: Do you have time to check out farmers’ markets or local foods in the different cities you visit while on tour? If not, do you have any favourite restaurants in any specific cities?
Dala: When we were in Fredericton on the Matthew Good tour we were staying across the road from a great Saturday farmer’s market. It was amazing to wander through the stalls and see all the fresh fruit and veggies. You also get a sense of the community, which is a treat when you’re on a whirlwind tour.
SH: Any favourite recipes you wish to share with the readers?
Amanda’s Homemade Almond Granola
-3 cups of rolled oats (preferably not instant oats)
-1 cup coarsely chopped raw almonds (or whole, according to preference)
-3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
-1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
-1/4 cup flax meal
-1 cup of hot, melted honey
* Feel free to be creative with the ingredients. Every batch can be different. Add any other nuts, seeds or grains to taste. For raisins, cranberries and other fruits, add after the granola has baked and cooled.
1. Preheat oven at 350 degrees
2. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients
3. Slowly add hot honey while mixing thoroughly 4. Spread thinly ( 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick) onto a lightly greased (with olive oil) cookie sheet
5. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown
6. Remove from oven:
a)For crunchy granola, allow to cool completely before removing from pan
b) For soft granola, remove while still warm
Makes two batches
If you haven’t yet heard the singing/songwriting talents of Dala, take a listen here, or you can check them out on video here. My current favourite song is their heartbreakingly sad and hauntingly beautiful ballad, Horses.
Many thanks to Sheila and Amanda for sharing their talents, their time and their thoughts on food!
Hope you enjoyed my little chat with Dala — these girls are an inspiring example of women who support each other and work together to create beautiful harmonies. If that’s not Superforest-y I don’t know what is.
(SuperForest is beginning a series of interviews with inspiring young cats and kittens from around the world, from all walks of life.
The first one is with Miss Jamaica Walden, program associate for Op USA!)
They provided humanitarian relief after the 2005 Tsunami, organized a women’s conference for extraordinary Sri Lankan women:
Firstly, thank you Jamaica for taking the time to do this interview, we hope that it helps spread the word about the wonderfully uplifting work Op USA does.
SuperForest: When did you first feel the call of working toward the common good?
Jamaica Walden: My father started Operation USA, an international relief and development agency, almost 30 years ago, so I’ve been exposed to the idea of helping people and making the world a better place for as long as I can remember.
SF: How did you end up working for OpUSA?
JW: By the end of college, I had come to realize that I wanted to follow a path similar to my father’s and start doing relief work. I started working at Operation USA following graduation.
SF: What do you do within the OpUSA organization and what does it require of you?
JW: As a program associate for OpUSA, I basically assist our program officers, who oversee the all the projects we support. My responsibilities include, but are not limited to, writing grant proposals, tracking the progress of projects through site visits, and event planning/fundraising. In the last few months, I’ve started specifically working on our projects in Southeast Asia and China. Currently, we are rebuilding a school that was damaged in the Sichuan earthquake, and we are supporting a number of micro credit, livelihood and health programs in Vietnam, Cambodia, and on the Thai/Burma border.
SF: Do you get to travel to the places that you’re providing aid to? (If so, do you have any highlights?)
JW: I have had the opportunity to visit all the projects I am currently working on. Visiting a project is a necessary component to the whole process; by seeing everything first hand, you get a better understanding of how the project runs, and whether it is fulfilling its purpose. The highlight is talking to the people who benefit from the project itself. Hearing their stories, dreams, and aspirations keeps me going.
SF: Along with food and medical supplies, does OP USA distribute technology that would allow folks to interconnect? (Laptops, sat phones? etc?)
JW: Operation USA has built several computer centers to give people in remote areas access to computer training and the internet. We are also in the process of creating programs that can allow children in one community where we work to connect with children in another community using different forms of technology (computers, cameras, etc). We hope that by starting a dialogue between children of different cultures and ethnic groups, we can break down barriers and show that even though we seem different, we are in fact very much alike.
JW: We are hoping to include laptops from the One Laptop per Child project in future educational projects, as they are an extremely useful and extremely affordable educational tool.
SF: What has your work at OP USA taught you about conflict, specifically about conflict resolution?
JW: Working in areas recently affected by war, I have witnessed first hand the difficult and long-lasting affects conflict has on both the individual and the community. My experience working at this organization as well as the mediation and conflict resolution training I received separately have taught me that diplomacy is the best way and the only way to resolve issues without sacrificing the well-being of innocent civilians and the country as a whole.
SF: With so many in need, how does Op USA decide who to help?
JW: When a disaster strikes anywhere (natural or manmade), Operation USA does everything it can to help those affected. After assessing the damages, we work with other organizations and try to fill the gaps by providing the materials and funding they may not have access to. For our long term development projects, we work with partners who have a longstanding history of good practices, good reporting, and overall success with the projects they have carried out in the past. We also tend to choose projects in areas where OpUSA has longstanding relationships with community-based organizations and/or government agencies.
SF: What tools do you use to do what you do? (A computer? Ichat? Final Cut Pro? A phone? A shovel? Twitter?)
JW: The majority of my work takes place on the computer through email, as almost all the partner organizations I work with are abroad. Of course, I do use the phone as well, particularly for talking with programming staff and donors. We also actively update our website, www.opusa.org, as it is the best and easiest way for people to learn more about the agency.
SF: What steps do you take personally to maximize your efficiency? (biking, composting, hybrid car, etc.)
JW: I try to carpool whenever possible (with friends, co-workers, etc). I also keep my electricity usage to a minimum, and avoid the air conditioner by just opening windows (even during unbearable LA summers).
SF: Is there a way to ensure that everyone everywhere has access to the basic necessities of life? Is that what Op USA is working towards?
JW: There is no way to really ensure that everyone everywhere has access to basic necessities. Our goal at Operation USA is to not only provide basic necessities to as many people as we can, but also try to maximize our own impact by advocating for governments to do the same.
SF: If President Obama could grant you or Op USA one wish, what would it be?
JW: I wish that Pres. Obama would do what none of his predecessors has ever done—not use trade and aid embargoes against governments and dictators we don’t like. That has never worked and has caused literally millions of premature deaths, especially among children. The people in power, moreover, use these embargoes to justify further deprivations of human rights and the redirecting of scarce funds to military and security pursuits.
On a lighter note, I’d also love to stay a night in the Lincoln bedroom and hang out with the Obama family, especially Sasha and Malia!!
SF: Do you have an immediate goal you are working towards? Is there any way SuperForest could work with you to help accomplish those goals?
JW: My goal is to raise funds on behalf of the organization, so that we can continue to support our projects in this current, uncertain economic climate. There are many benefits to being a small, grassroots organization as we are not slowed down by a large bureaucratic system. However, the drawback to being small is that we are overshadowed by large organizations that have the funds to maintain a presence in the public eye. Superforest is a medium through which OpUSA can inform the public about who we are and the work we do.
SF: What do you use to help yourself through hard times and challenges? Who, what inspires you?
JW: I look for guidance from my family and friends to get through hard times and challenges. My father is my inspiration. He opened my eyes to the world around me, and his drive and compassion motivates me to be a better person.
Thank you very much, Miss Jamaica Walden!
What a comforting thought to think that when disaster or war strike, there are capable and passionate people who have dedicated their lives to helping those in need. Op USA is a great organization and we wholeheartedly encourage anyone sympathetic to their mission to contact them and ask where one can be of assistance.
For more information about Op USA and the noble work they do, check out OpUSA.org.
And if anyone has follow up questions for Jamaica, leave them in the comments and we will forward them along for a later post.
I just got done watching a mind-blowing TED talk by Alex Steffen about mankind’s transition to sustainability. It’s very, very hopeful.
To distill: The Earth is too small and there are too many folks for us all to live as we currently do.
The solutions are many faceted, but boil down to two things: Bright Green Cities- We in the developed nations must work to make our cities as efficient, people-dense, and easy to get around as possible. Invest in infrastructure, low energy buildings, green roofs and a “sharing economy.”
AND we must help the billions around the world leapfrog all old technologies and modernize with cheap and robust tech as quickly as possible. Set up community centers to teach computer literacy and programming.
Efficient at home and efficient abroad, everyone sharing and playing nicely together.
He spells it out well, I think.
It turns out that Mr. Steffen runs a site called WorldChanging.com which is like SuperForest’s big, serious, older brother. You’ve got to see it.
Says Alex Steffen about his site: “(It’s) a news service for the unimaginable future.”
And yet, everything he proposes is very imaginable. What is totally unimaginable is the sort of societal transformation that would occur were everyone’s basic necessities provided for using technology.
With everyone interconnected via the net, who can foretell the amazing hybrids and trends to come. As
We shall check in often with WorldChanging. And keeps our looky-balls peeled for Mr Steffen.
It’s like a fever dream… The sweltering wastelands of endless youtube videos… searching for an instructional video… Who will clearly illustrate how to play “Please Please Me” on guitar?… So many dead ends… So much that is unhelpful… and then… Buddy Clontz.
Stumbling onto the many instructional videos that Buddy Clontz has uploaded is like wandering out of a dessert and finding a Pinkberry.
Let us begin…
Firstly, Mr. Clontz’s masterly take on “Please Please Me”:
After watching many people fumble through sketchy versions of “Please Please Me,” Finding Mr Clontz’s video was a revelation.
(Mr. Clontz, may I refer to you as Buddy? Buddy is just too friendly to resist.)
Next, Buddy puts his skilled fingers to the task of George Harrison’s track “Beware of Darkness” off of 1970′s All Things Must Pass.
Buddy can do more than just Beatles. Watch him tear up “Wind Cries Mary”:
I think it’s the mix of the deadpan expression, unforgettable name, high skill level, and sensitive attention to detail that really makes Buddy work for me.
Plus, he lists every guitar he’s playing on at he beginning of each vid!
As you watch Buddy’s videos, which I have for many hours now, you slowly get to know this interesting man. Because he seems to shoot only in his “music room” but in many directions, you eventually get a feel for the room, and the little details begin to stick out.
Buddy’s Beatle memorabilia. His classic rock poster collection. His Marshall stack. His good luck strap.
Thank you for uploading these to youtube, Buddy.
Of all the videos, one stands out, because it is the only one with a light show, and one of the few when Buddy is standing.
Here’s Buddy’s take on Cream’s “White Room”:
Take us out, Buddy. Do that voodoo that you do so well.
So now we know the name of the quick thinking and steel tempered man who so gently set US Airways Flight 1549 down in the Hudson, saving the lives of all hands on board.
Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger III!
Man, how he did it, I do not know.
Here is the video we shot yesterday:
(At around 1:28 you can see the tail of the plane.)
I left the video unedited so you can better get a feel for the scene on the streets.
Standing on the shore of the Hudson, watching all these little rescue craft tend to the struggling airliner like dolphins keeping a humpback afloat, and then turning around and seeing all of the people lined up at windows and on rooftoops, seeing just what I was seeing, the realization of the sheer scale of the event we were all sharing in was pretty heavy.
Captain Chesley, I hope you fly every plane I ever get on.
You don’t need us to tell you, but you are a SuperForest Hero.
We think ebay should have you covered and provide a significant discount, however, it’s not everyday that you purchase what is essentially a potential explosive, especially one that is lovingly cradled between your legs.
Maybe you wanna go with the full warranty on this item and scrimp on everything else. Think of the future.
Even more interesting are the anti-love potions being developed to help protect you (the voles) from the love potions.
Says Dr. Larry Young, a scientist developing this technology at Emory University:
“It would be completely unethical to give the drug to someone else,” he said, “but if you’re in a marriage and want to maintain that relationship, you might take a little booster shot yourself every now and then. Even now it’s not such a far-out possibility that you could use drugs in conjunction with marital therapy.”
I wanna rap in y’all’s ears for a second about a truly amazing man: Mr. Casey T. Brooks.
Casey is a Brooklyn musician and longtime friend of SuperForest. He’s got a project called Balene and is about to release his first album.
Take a gander at this:
A very nice promo, no?
What I really like about Casey is that he wrote and recorded the songs, shot and edited the promo, and is now on the verge of enacting his plans for releasing said album, which he is doing in a very modern way.
Instead of printing the usual couple hundred cd’s, Casey is selling vinyl records, and each record coming with a code that allows you to download the album as mp3′s. Smartilocks and the three bears.
He’s a one man DefJam!
SuperForest recently scored an interview with Mr. Brooks. Let’s hear what he has to say:
Nicey nice, Mr. Brooks!
Phantom Sea is set to drop in a month or so. We’ll keep you posted.