Archives for the month of: August, 2014

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http://www.thepsychologist.org.uk/archive/archive_home.cfm?volumeID=23&editionID=192&ArticleID=1720

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for some recipes:

http://www.eattheweeds.com/cattails-a-survival-dinner/

for information of ditch bank diversity:

https://openaccess.leidenuniv.nl/bitstream/handle/1887/4336/Chapter%20%206.pdf?sequence=19

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http://zone2source.net/nl/home/

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At some points in your life your larger concern confluences with your personal situation. Metaphorically, I have lost ground beneath my feet, sure, I run everyday on different grounds around the globe to stay connected, and running induces feelings of lightness and freedom. In other words, it feels good to realize that you really don’t need much to stay healthy and happy and that minimizing your ecological footprint supports your larger concerns for sustaining human life on this planet. But rootlessness also begs questions.

Like some great men and women who gave up their material possessions to dedicate their lives to a social cause, I come from a privileged background. But, unlike those men and women, I lack their wisdom and focus; I have a hard time feeding my (scientific) beliefs. In this process of increasing lightness, there is also hope of attaining greater insight, especially if you can metaphorically match your situation to your cause. However, along with it is an increasing nagging question: is it just a process of emptying. Am I just becoming a depleted soul?

What is the route to replenishment for soils and souls?

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This afternoon I went with one of the millers to the farmer who cultivates the spelt. On his farm, spelt started as marginal crop, in an effort to create a unique local product, based on collaboration between farmer, mills, and bakeries. The spelt is good, the mills are doing their work, however, the bakeries may be the weak link, according to the miller. Spelt requires a different way of making bread; it contains less gluten, and needs experimenting. The consumer so far is enthusiastic and this may be due to the potential health benefits and the fact that ‘local’ sells. It is nice to know your farmer, your miller, and your baker and their dedication to the product.

For anyone who wishes to experiment making spelt bread, here is a recipe from Pompeii,

Watch the video at:

http://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/past_exhibitions/2013/pompeii_and_herculaneum/pompeii_live/live_event/bread_recipe.aspx

 

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I recommend:  The Cloud Collector’s Handbook, written by Gavin Pretor-Pinney, enjoyable in rural and urban settings.

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http://www.molendevalk.nl/

http://www.oergezondlekker.nl

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http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/events/dairy-conference-2013_en.htm

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http://agritrade.cta.int/Agriculture/Commodities/Dairy/USDA-assessment-of-the-impact-of-quota-abolition-on-the-French-dairy-sector (impact of aboltion global scale)

http://agritrade.cta.int/Agriculture/Commodities/Dairy/Expanding-Dutch-corporate-involvement-in-local-milk-procurement-in-Nigeria

 

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http://www.fao.org/ag/agp/AGPC/doc/Counprof/nigeria/nigeria.htm

https://ilri.org/InfoServ/Webpub/fulldocs/South_South/Ch19.htm

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I moved into the windmill, located within the Ruige Weide polder. From this perspective I hope to gain better understanding of the Dutch planning mind and the dynamic relationships between rural and urban areas that are played out in this process. Is it about food, landscape, recreation, and/or else?

To get your feet wet, you can read about the Delta metropolis:

http://www.deltametropool.nl/nl/association

http://www.deltametropool.nl/nl/veenweidegebieden (report in Dutch)

http://www.deltametropool.nl/v1/pages/english/Deltametropolis.php

http://www.oma.eu/projects/2002/delta-metropool/

 

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Today I move into “the green heart” of the Netherlands

http://www.groenehart.nl/over-het-groene-hart/nationaal-landschap

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During this year, declared by the United Nations as the International Year of Family Farming, in recognition of the importance of family farming in global food security, the goal is to “promote new development policies…that will help smallholder and family farmers eradicate hunger, reduce rural poverty and continue to play a major role in global food security through small-scale, sustainable agricultural production.” It sounds fantastic, but in this moment it is still hard for small farmers to make ends meet, even to apply for subsidies because they are…too small! If one outcome of this declared year of FF is that farmers are given a voice, it will be is a step in the right direction. One such voice was heard last weekend in the New York Times, with the title: “Don’t Let Your Children Grow Up to Be Farmers” (Aug 9, 2014) arguing that while local food is celebrated widely, those who do the work of growing this food are not making any money. This is not the first and only voice expressing this concern, and more so, my own experience has given me a clearer idea of the challenges in sustainable farming, where many farming families have to tap into supporting income sources to make ends meet.

http://www.ifad.org/events/iyff/

http://www.fao.org/docrep/004/y1669e/y1669e0c.htm

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So what is the importance of smallholders and family farming in global food security and should we care? If I have learned one thing by spending time and energy at organic farms is that you enter a DIFFERENT DIMENSION OF TASTE, inspiring of something bigger. The incredible intensity and variety of flavors is something experienced close to the source, and many of the products cannot be entered into the market because of local, regional and international food policies and guidelines. It is this we should be concerned about, the imminent loss of the FLAVOR of this world, now associated with the care and dedication of small scale and family farming, will be gone if this is no longer possible. Food makes the [human] world go round, great tasting food exalts us. Now that is BIG.

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http://www.punpunthailand.org

see also post July 24

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No this is not about some exotic way to unearth precious mushrooms in the Dutch polder land. It is a translation of the names of the two dogs I am currently looking after, Truffel & Bliksem. They are super sweet and funny, and each has a distinct but very different character, behaving together like an old, odd couple.

Animals (and plants) can teach us valuable lessons, at least that is the idea of the fable, in which anthropomorphized animals, plants, and inanimate objects take on human qualities to reflect something back to us. Living with Truffel and Bliksem has been very enjoyable, but also confronting. Like living in an animated fable, they have shown me, and taught me something about myself, especially regarding my recently ended long-time relationship.

When it is time to move on, I will remember Truffel and Bliksem, they will guide me on the road ahead.

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Visit this website

http://www.kookhistorie.nl/

maintained by Marleen Willebrands,  some enjoyable reading and recipes, from De Verstandige Kock (1669), Een notabel boecxken van cokeryen (ca. 1514) and much more…

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This is a very nice historic village, the main village of what used to be Shermereiland (Schermer island). situated between two lakes, De Schermer and De Beemster. Before it was pumped dry this area used to thrive on whaling. What I learned today is that there is a difference between a polder and a droogmakerij. Given that this region was marshland below sea level, a polder is created when this land is pumped dry. A droogmakerij on the other hand is a lake that is pumped dry, and in this case the land that was thus created by pumping De Schermer and De Beemster, was lower than the surrounding land. All designed and supervised by Leeghwater.

I pick up some maps and information at the local tourist information and plan to run the walking route that circles the former Schermer eiland, renamed as Eilands polder. Running in this land is not the most exciting, but it is green and because very few people are walking, the trails over the dykes are quite nice. When I get FIVE windmills within my Field of View, I start to warm up to Leeghwater’s land, also helped by warmth of the sun.

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The Dutch are very proud of the geometric design of this land and this is also mentioned as outstanding universal value in the UNESCO description. From an engineering perspective this system of windmills and canals is impressive, however, in the back of my mind I think the Mesoamerican cities served as prototypes or at least inspiration. The Dutch however seem to have appropriated the geometric STIJL as part of their character.

What may be more innovative about this project is how it was funded. Wealthy merchants from Amsterdam invested in this project and after completion each of them received a piece of agricultural lands based on the proportion of their investment, based on proto- crowd funding.

When I get to Schermerhorn I really want some food, but there is no grocery store, no other choice than to keep running. It is not that far, less than 10, but when I get to De Rijp I’m thinking food and fail to watch the uneven bricks in the road, I trip and make a slider. This is not even downhill! Where such thing usually happen. Oh well, story of my life, you fall, get back up, check your wounds, and keep running…. The bike ride back was sunny and dry, with fluffy clouds in the sky.

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http://whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/NL/

http://www.landvanleeghwater.nl/

http://www.molendatabase.nl/nederland/

 

 

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In this day and age, the Digital Age, many believe that new technologies are instrumental in breaking boundaries, forge different partnerships, and establish new democracies. Although the way we now communicate with each other is revolutionary and changes the way we maintain social relationships, it is not unprecedented. The developments during 16 and 17th centuries were also supported by a revolutionary communication tool, namely the printing press. Beside books and maps, it was also used to print and disseminate propaganda material and pamphlets at scales never possible before.

Benjamin Schmidt, in his book Innocence Abroad: the Dutch Imagination and the New World, 1570-1670, presents an interesting idea regarding the use of such propaganda material. It goes something like this: In these pamphlets, the Dutch appropriate the position of the underdog – namely by identifying with Native Americans – in an effort to stand up to the Spanish (Catholic) domination, the Protestant could act as allies. In doing so, they paved the way for justifying dominance in trade relations with peoples in the Americas, whether peaceful or NOT.

It is time for me to delve deeper in the polder mentality…

 

 

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Maybe I feel this way because I am putting of my long run in the polder for a few days, my calves felt a little tight, and since my goal is to keep running and not run myself into the ground, I thought it be wiser to stick to regular daily doses. This morning however everything was running smoothly, taking some soggy pasture paths for variation.

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Stop every now and then to take your share of wild vegetables. I am also feasting on the sage in the garden. Great for making tea in support of the respiratory system!

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To learn about mills in the Netherlands:

http://www.molendatabase.nl/nederland/

To read some heritage recipes from even before the time of the windmills visit:

http://landentuinbouw.spinazieacademie.nl/

 

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Mmmm, the fruit is the garden is ripening and is getting some color.

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Last year in Hungary, picking my daily apple from the trees.

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Long ago, we always had a crate with apples from the nearby orchards,

and could eat as many as we liked.  Now the local tree is a luxury.

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