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COP21 and Concerns about “Climate Smart Agriculture”

25 November 2015

M-A Djeribi:

this is important. very important.

Originally posted on Kitchen Counter Culture:

Drought in El Salvador. Photo ©Sean Hawkey

I’m linking to an important response to some of the greenwash that takes place around the discussion of agriculture and climate change. The big United Nation Conference of Parties on climate change is about to take place in Paris, yet extremely significant greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture are not even on the agenda (!!!). (And this.)  Nonetheless there will certainly be a lot of conversation and media attention to issues of food and climate, and “Climate Smart Agriculture” with all its public-relations backing might get lots of airplay in the discussions that surround the central negotiations.

So many of us hope against cynicism that the urgency of the climate crisis can see a joining together of people and concerns.  When you scroll down to the list of signatories to this letter, you get an idea how vast our social movements can be.  We need people…

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there is another way

17 November 2015

haymaking 2

holy waterWet and windy Autumnal days in the not-very-populated Northwest of Ireland : I have just started tucking into my half of the 88 bales of hay L and I managed to save this year : in the long warm days of August, in the shorter days of September and—by the skin of our teeth—in the pretty short days of early October. I hope this will be enough, along with the saved dried branches and nettles and the fresh green briars (ronces) that I will cut every day, to see us—the goats and I—through to the other side of the Winter. Worrying would not help.

So many problems, however infinitely varied they first appear, turn out to be matters of money. I can’t tell you how much this offends me. The value of money is a scam perpetrated by those who have it over those who don’t ; it’s the Emperor’s New Clothes gone global. If chimps used money and we didn’t, we would not admire it. We’d find it irrational and primitive. Delusional. And why gold ? Chimps barter with meat. The value of meat is self-evident.

A quote from Karen Joy Fowler’s We are all completely beside ourselves that I have just finished reading. I have found it really wonderful, it moved me and made me think. I was reading it on Friday when I was alerted to what was then happening in Paris, the city of my birth.

Violent deaths. Violent deaths every single day in one place of the world or another. Precious lives all. I trust there is another way. This crazed misguided quest for power—fuelled by what ? fear ? greed ? desperation?—takes varied forms in places of human settlement and in domestic settings. We are not often given such an unavoidable crude spectacle of violence in our safe (?) Western world. But how did the Western world come about if not in that very same manner that we are able to find unjust, distasteful and barbaric?

We all carry pain, fear and trauma in our bodies and sometimes—if given the power—we transfer it to others. How much violence is dealt out everyday—for instance—to people at the lower end of the social spectrum in our “civilized” “Western” world. How much violence in the exclusion of the many for the benefit of the few ? How much violence for our “limitless” supply of goods plucked and produced out of our sight ? The very “comfort” and “safety” of our Western existence that we are able to take for granted, comes at a price that we choose to ignore. Until we no longer can. This is a great opportunity to ponder and change.

There is another way. I will always choose to be optimistic.

skills for living softly but with good intent

29 September 2015


haymaking 3On the countertop in the kitchen I have a pile of the strange small bowls I have made to date as I learn to throw clay on the wheel. I have not eaten from all of them yet : is that the reason why I still resist putting them away with the other everyday vessels made by people I have never met? Or is it because I am as proud as a head lice (as we say in French) with my hand-painted production to date and it is a vibrant source of joy that should not be hidden away ?

Learning new skills, slow but determined progress.

haymaking 1

haymaking 4We are heading into leaf-collecting time to make good growing soil, but there are still a good few days left to cut branches to dry with leaves attached to feed to the goats this Winter. We have made hay by hand this year in the quietness of the fields, keeping ahead of the weather thanks to the Norwegian Meteorologisk Institutt.

A few years ago P had told me that I would not be able to use a scythe, that it was too tough on the back. It felt like a caring pronouncement that I basked in for a while, but I have since learned not to be limited by (other people’s) fears so I took to scything this year keeping my knees slightly bent in a most unphotogenic manner. What a wonderful tool and what a wonderful skill I will be working on as long as I stand. I think that my shortish frame is actually a real bonus for that work ! As I farm alone, with occasional help from my friendly children, embracing the fact that fossil fuel will not last forever, it is good to be able to—weather permitting—have all the skills to turn (free) (locally grown) (plentiful) grass into nutritious Winter fodder. Hay-ing is a job to do in company if possible : L came to share the work (cutting, turning, turning, turning, turning, turning, gathering) and share the proceeds : 52 bales moulded in the wooden hay press he built last year.

Living softly as I may, at peace with myself (took work to get there, good place to be). There are a lot of things that are happening farther from my reach, without my consent. I have hope in the future, faith in humanity and in our ability to learn what we need.

human, thus pretty (darn) visible, mending

10 September 2015

visible mending 4

visible mending

visible mending 3

visible mending 2

I prefer imperfection and honesty : time frays edges, moths have to eat too, usage wears things down. Visible mending, made by hand, is to me a work of art, see Tom of Holland, see Katrina Rodabaugh. In Japanese tradition it is definitely done by hand using Sashiko stitching, but I do it freestyle by machine mostly (when I can get away with it) onto everything around me, better than throwing away, losing memories, having to buy new.

To me the same principle applies to life’s wear and tear : patch and learn, sometimes slow, but do remember (visible mending) that you have suffered, that you are human and fragile.

Culture of Waste: Skipchen response to French supermarket law

6 August 2015
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M-A Djeribi:

Great post from The Bristol Skipchen (whose heart is in the right place…) who do great work.

Originally posted on :

Culture of Waste: Skipchen response to French supermarket ban on food waste.

In May France made headline news for taking the lead in the battle against food waste.

The legislation bans supermarkets over 1000 m2 from deliberately spoiling unsold edible food with chemicals and bans any edible food from going to landfill.

Instead, unsold edible food must be donated to local charities and redirected back into the human food chain or composted, fed to pigs or anaerobically digested to produce biogas.

The new law has been celebrated by many as an historic turning point in the fight against global food waste.

In a similar move, Tesco announced in June that they are trialling a scheme where charities can pick up unsold edible food for ‘free’ using an app.

However, we feel it is important to look beyond the click bait headlines and ask some important questions.

Does the legislation address…

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Live long. See or Make beautiful things.

4 August 2015

a ray of sun

I have recently enough started to slowly learn step-by-step how to “throw” clay on a potter’s wheel : so far for me the magic of making weird and wonderful useful things to eat from. I have a lovely (male) teacher, but I am discovering inspiring women working at pottery into their later years, what a lovely thought. I did mention here my firm intention to live long.

So I’d like to salute here three beautiful women-potters, Lucie Rie, Beatrice Wood and Toshiko Takaezu in the order that I happened upon them and their work, they came forth to meet me. Lucie Rie lived until the age of 93 and made vessels that would truly speak to me : they may be photographed as museum pieces but I hear them say “be grateful to be alive, for the food that you have as you eat from me”.

Do watch this heart-warming film showing Beatrice Wood in action : her beautiful spirit kept her alive until she was 105, you can understand when you see and listen to her.

This portrait of Toshiko Takaezu (1922-2011) starts with her talking about the magic of growing vegetables so we do inhabit the same planet.

current soundtrack to my rather rural existence

3 June 2015


hair sticks

the excellent Kitchen counter-culture or Kitchen-counter culture blog where I usually find inspiration of another ilk, led me to Zoe Boekbinder, and I am grateful. Love this great song (and many more too) and also love the stop-action animation video, her world looks pretty good to me.

Sufjan Stevens, Carrie and Lowell, the whole album (a masterpiece, no less) in a loop on deezer (a great music streaming site), not every day, but most (got a nudge from canal ways for this one).

It is true that I listen to Richard Hell and the Voidoids in the car but I like my music more mellow too, like, at this minute, Sea Wolf, start perhaps with Black Leaf Falls below, which I discovered here, but also try some Bavarian Porcelain with your tea next.

and you may yet jump up and down with Marseille-based collective Chinese Man feat. Tumi, “bring on the marching band…”.

And there is also Benjamin Clementine… and Hollie Cook’s new album…


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