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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

First Article Published! \0/

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet

"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

First Article Published! \0/

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dont eat the animals
Quick note before I get to work for the day ...

My first article has been published on Suite101. It is on sustainable vegetarianism (written at the same time as I wrote my post on the same subject the other day.) I will be doing a series on this topic, as well as a series on setting up an online fiction archive and odd articles on Tolkien's mythology. (Of course. ;)

Anyone who cares to read it can find it here:

Sustainable Vegetarianism: Eating Sustainably without Meat

Now back to work! We're seeing Scythian tonight, so I need to finish my articles on time!
  • I think that's a sensible look at the issue. You've rightly pointed out that eating vegetables that've travelled thousands of miles to make it to your plate isn't really helping the environment. I'm making an effort this summer to visit local farmer's markets - helps the local economy in addition to being a little friendlier to the environment. And locally grown fresh vegetables tast far better, too.

    Not a vegetarian, but I stick with reasonably local meats and dairy products when I can - and they taste better, too.
    • From what I've read, flexitarianism with an eye on eating local is the most sustainable choice. I'm not a vegan, so I loves my locally produced eggs, cheese, and yogurts--they do taste so much better! :) What irritates me is the number of vegetarians/vegans who think that their choice means that they don't need to think about sustainability issues ever again. It's not even a conversation that happens in the vegetarian community, at least not that I've seen. I revised my profile on LJ the other day and added "sustainable vegetarianism" and no one else had it listed. Or, I pointed out on a blog once where the author (a vegan) was toting veganism as a panacea to all environmental ills that vegetarians also need to take care to eat sustainably, and I received the reply from one person that, "I eat sustainably! I only buy organic produce!!" Well, if you live in NYC and that organic produce is coming from California. Or Mexico ... I feel like vegetarians have been fed the line for so long that their choice is unequivocally friendly to the environment that they have completely missed out on the conversation about sustainable agriculture. So I'm trying to do my very small part to remedy that. :)
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  • A well-written and well thought-out article! I especially liked the discussion on canning, freezing and otherwise preserving local vegetables and fruits. That was my way of life as a kid on the farm. Starting in spring and winding up in the autumn, I helped my mother with such activities, e.g., freezing spinach, asparagus and string beans, shelling peas and lima beans, picking black raspberries and sweet corn to be frozen, canning cherries and tomatoes, making tomato juice, strawberry jam, pickles, sauerkraut and apple sauce and...well the list goes on. My father buried an old chest freezer in the ground and that's where we kept our harvested potatoes and carrots through the winter. Our chest freezer on "the back porch" (an enclosed but not heated room) contained a full supply of fruits and vegetables from our garden as well as steaks, roasts, and ground beef from a steer or heifer that we raised on our pasture -- grass-fed "natural" beef supplemented with ground corn. Our pork and lamb came from the farm down the road. And we raised our own chickens so there were fresh eegs and fresh free range chicken.

    IIFC, Pollan discussed this kind of farming in one of his books. I didn't think it was anything special when I was a kid and teen. Now I do.

    Here in the gardeny part of the Garden State, we have access to an amazing amount of excellent fresh produce seasonly. Also, there are a lot of boutique farms which provide organic meat. So being a locavore would be easy here. The problem for me is the lack of a big chest freezer! Although that certainly consumes energy, I would imagine in terms of sustainability that it has less impact than hauling kiwifruit in from out of the country.

    Huh. Well, clearly your article unleashed a fit of nostalgia on my part! Congrats on publishing!
    • Thank you! :) Bobby and I have one of those big chest freezers in the basement, and the bags of frozen veggies have slowly overtaken all the junk food we filled it with when we first moved in. ;) We've started canning our own food too; last year, we did blackberry and peach jam, tomato sauce, salsa (omg the best salsa ever! We are in the process of rationing the last jar while waiting the arrival of Maryland tomatoes!), applesauce, apple butter, jalapenos, banana peppers, and hot sauce. We are expanding that list this year; we've already done strawberry jam. It tastes so good, and since we love to cook, we enjoy doing it. And it's a quick gift that just about anyone likes. ;)

      Pollan did talk about sustainable farming in Omnivore's Dilemma as one of two forms of "organic" farming. (I put that in quotes because the farm where he spent a week while researching that section--Joel Salatin's Polyface Farm--is not actually a USDA-certified organic farm, but I think anyone would agree it is far more sustainable and better fits the early philosophy of organic farming than, say, Cascadian Farms' miles of baby greens planted out in California.) The basic idea is that the farm itself acts as a small ecosystem and very little in the way of fertilizer, pesticides, et cetera have to be brought in from the outside. It's a very cool concept--and not at all doable if the world were to become vegetarian! :)
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    • Thank you, Roisin! I hope you enjoy it, if you get a chance to read it (or enjoyed it, if you have already! :)
  • Well done!
  • Fantastic article. You've made me interested in this issue; Kirsty and I have even talked about trying to find a local farmer who sells produce.
    • Thank you, Sharon! Your compliment means a lot to me, coming from someone who has been writing for the web a heckuva lot longer than I have! :D And I'm thrilled that you guys are thinking about trying to find some local producers. I have a directory of local farms but, unfortunately, it only covers the U.S. >:^(
  • Great article! Anyway, I just remember that I've heard of Next2Eden.com which is an online magazine for healthy lifestyle. My vegan friend writes for them and they offer quite good money. Just in case you're interested!
    • I definitely am! :D I'm trying to make this issue more important to vegetarians, and more freelance options are always a good thing. :) Thanks so much!
  • That's a great article! May it be the first of many.

    Eating sustainably, whether vegetarian or flexitarian, is hard work, as you well know. One of my own big regrets is that I currently eat way too many of my meals at my hospital, where I know the food is coming from industrialized agriculture. We have a great Saturday morning farmer's market here, which makes getting locally raised fruits, veggies, eggs, and meat easy to procure (at least during the summer months), but I'm often too time-pressed to make it there, much less to actually cook anything once I do make it home. I need to find a way to change this somehow!
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