Monthly Archives: March 2010

CALLING ALL WISCONSINITES!

Wisconsin needs your help.
The Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) is coming down to the wire. This very important piece of legislation, if passed, would have important implications for Wisconsin’s economy, the well-being of farmers, environment, and leadership on renewable energy policy (25% renewable by 2025!!!).

Individuals, organizations, clubs, campus student groups… anyone… can get involved to make sure a strong bill gets passed that includes a significant renewable and efficiency resource standards.

After discussing with Sam Weis (communications) and Ryan Schryver (grassroots organizer) at Clean Wisconsin, we determined the most important role we as can have is:

a. Call/email legislators! Area representatives can be found here:
http://www.legis.wisconsin.gov/w3asp/waml/waml.aspx

b. Write letters to the editor, guest columns, and op-eds to any WI paper. Be it in Madison, your hometown, or just a place that published a negative article, any press supporting CEJA is helpful.

It would be awesome if people around the state could organize some sort of “CEJA day” to write a few letters and make some calls and emails, or start a campaign urging friends/coworkers/etc to do so as well (Also, I’d be more than happy to help out with this… email me!).

Second, it’s just as important that we make sure to collaborate with other friends and groups around the state to make sure that it’s not just the Dane County voice that’s vocal about CEJA.

Specific areas to target are: *Eau Claire, Green Bay and Milwaukee*. SO if you have any contacts at those schools or an idea of how to collaborate, that would be awesome. If you don’t have time to contact them, could you hook me up?

I’ll organize a list of talking points (both with benefits and disputing criticisms) soon, and will happily make that available to anyone who is interested.
Please let me know if I can be of any assistance in organizing or if you have any questions.

Thanks and I’m excited to see what we can do with this exciting and important opportunity.
-Jenny

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Review- Nathan Winters Ch. 3

A while back, a friendly eco-tweeter shared this on twitter:

Since I consider myself an organic farming advocate, it was mere minutes before I had this chapter sitting in my Inbox. Then, I looked into Nathan Winters’ website and twitter a little more, and found out that he’s a little more than “some random eco-tweeter.” You can read his bio here, but long story short, Winters set out in May 2009 to bike from Maine to Washington (yes, Washington state) in order to explore “complex food movements” and to get to know his fellow Americans. And he did it. (*Insert expressions of awe and jealousy here*)

Deciding at that point to save this for a day when I could give it the attention it needed, I filed the chapter under “Blog” on my computer, and there it sat… for about a month.

I’ll get into the specifics in a minute, but let’s just say I’m happy to have reopened it! Somebody find this guy a publisher!!

As I write this now, I’m trying to decide what it is about this chapter that I really like the most.

Perhaps it was the uncanny connection I have with Winters’ story. The chapter is about his stop at an organic dairy and produce farm in rural Maine, near a town near Skowhegan. Curiously, I’ve been in Skowhegan on my days off while working at Ol’ Ways Farm in nearby Solon, and his description of this family brought back fond memories of my time with “my” farmers, Scott and Gemma.

People in Maine are pretty awesome, it seems.

His description of the farmer’s gentle control of the cows while bringing them in to the barn or the way that everything stops (including eating) until milking chores are done were so familiar, careful, and respectful of the skill and dedication it takes to be a farmer – something that makes you wonder how many other qualities of farmers us city folks take for granted or are completely oblivious to. Winters depicted, as best you can in words, the beauty of Maine in the summer and feelings of inferiority to these people with such an unfamiliar but vitally important profession. Additionally, I saw eye to eye on his feelings of slight stupidity….  all those questions you have for farmers, but when they come out they just sound idiotic because they’re so obvious. Ohh righttt, bulls are required for making more calves! …etc, etc, until soon you feel like your entire education is useless when it comes to hands-on progress. But that’s a whole different matter.

So that part was definitely fun- the way in which his alienation with the daily goings-on at Dairyland Organic were juxtaposed to the description of the all-knowing (or close to it), gentle, rugged, and wise farmers.

Aside from the Maine-connection, I am also excited about this chapter because of the way Winters explains his experience as it relates to the larger political and social situation in the United States. He links his brief experience on the farm with some difficult topics and makes it not only enjoyable to read, but also important to read.

Winters painted the ironic picture of this family who is so dedicated to the organic and local so-called, “trendy” food choices, and yet can’t afford to buy those products (that they don’t grow themselves) for their own home.

Here is a quote from his host, Sarah, that particularly struck me:

“The reality of the situation is this: If everyone here in Skowhegan wanted to buy from us at the farmer’s market there wouldn’t be enough food to go around. We need to get more people to farm. Farming is extremely empowering. There haven’t been very many generations of Americans who have put their hands in the soil. In order to change our food system, we need to get to a point where one in three people are growing food. Not one in a thousand. We cannot get away from industrial agriculture until more people are growing food on a small scale. If people are concerned with where their food comes from, they should not only support their local farmers but they should simply grow their own food.”’

How true and simple, yet challenging, is this statement? Is it challenging? (I hope I soon find out.)

I could go on and on about this piece that I read from Winters. But,

a. I don’t want to give away the whole thing and,

b. I’ll do it no justice and,

c. bottom line: get to know a farmer!

I can’t wait to read the rest of his stories and I hope that I can do something so valuable in my lifetime. I can’t wait to see what he does with this knowledge he’s gained.

Well done, Nathan!

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Keeping things in perspective

Guess what?

Today I found out that I FAILED MY FIRST EXAM OF COLLEGE. 36 out of 78. Officially. Failing.

It was in econ. There are no excuses for this poor display of academic ability and dedication, but after 4 years of humanities and social science-type learning, my brain doesn’t do too well in econ language.

But I know, no excuses.

On one hand, this was very saddening news that made me question my intelligence and commitment.

Ok that’s a lie. It really only made me freak out, because if I fail econ this semester I don’t graduate this semester!!

But I’m not gonna fail econ.

So, on the other hand (the better hand), I’ll just be a little happy that I waited until the second semester of my senior year to fail an exam. Maybe it’s because of all this —->

No, it’s not.

It was because lately, I am really focused on post-graduation and the exciting life I have ahead of me instead of studying for silly things like econ exams.

So, in order to get all this non-studying excitement out of my system, I’ve decided to make a list of exciting things that I hope happen in my life.

It’ll just be right here on the Internet me to check back on anytime I need to, and THEN maybe I can concentrate on school a little better.

K. here goes:

1. Graduate college

2. Attend my sister’s graduation and wedding (!!!) in LA this summer (**Edit** and Go to Vegas for the Bach party!)

3. Train for and run a 1/2 marathon with my Dad and my sister

4. Go to Ecuador (hopefully with my friend Andrea) doing some sort of conservation volunteering

5. Bike from Minneapolis to Duluth and back with my friend Allegra (and meet cool people in the process)

6. …buy a bike?

7. Apply for jobs and don’t accept one I’m not excited about

8. Continue to develop my blog and online “brand” (and do interesting things with my life so I have something worthwhile to share)

9. Go to Asia for spring break

10. Live life without owning a car until I have children

Tonight's creation

11. Cook a lot, and become a wonderful culinarian like my MOM!

Ok that’s good for now.

Homework time.

oh, one more thing, would you mind logging on to http://www.facebook.com/cleanwisconsin and click “become a fan.” This is where I’m interning this semester, and trust me, Clean Wisconsin is up to a lot of cool stuff you wanna know about!!

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