Frances Moore Lappé and Local Food Policy

My local eating adventures have led me to think about issues such as who has access to local food, how housing developments are eclipsing nearby farmland and if another flood like the one in Lewis County is apt to destroy more farms and dairy herds anytime soon.  I’m certainly not the only one.

lappe.bmpFor decades Francis Moore Lappé has been an advocate for the hungry and has questioned food production politics with scarcity, inequity and sustainability in mind.  Building upon her first best-selling book Diet For a Small Planet (1971) she has written many more including Hope’s Edge: the next diet for a small planet with daughter Anna Lappé and most recently Getting a grip: clarity, creativity, and courage in a world gone mad.  

Francis Moore Lappé will be in Seattle on Friday, April 11 to talk about the importance of local food policy in conjunction with a City of Seattle Local Food Action Initiative that is represented by Resolution 31019.  She will speak at Seattle City Hall at noon and 5:00pm.  She will also be speaking, along with other local and national sustainability advocates, at the Seattle Green Festival on April 13th. 

Poetry Rules!

National Poetry Month poster, courtesy of Academy of American PoetsApril is National Poetry Month, and it’s rhyme time in Seattle. The sponsoring Academy of American Poets suggests 30 Ways to Celebrate the month. And whether you’re in to writing or reading or listening to poetry, there’s lots going on locally to help you do just that.

The Seattle Public Library sponsors many poetry events in April. The North East Branch has a month-long poetry contest, with submissions of an original poem by children, teens, and adults taken from April 1-30, and a gala poetry awards ceremony and open mike on May 20. At the ceremony, someone will walk away with the coveted Wedgie Award trophy, and everyone can grab fortune cookies with custom poetry fortunes. The Green Lake Branch is hosting three events by Poets West: a public forum on April 5, a prose sharing open mike on April 12, and a poetry sharing open mike on April 19. They intend to continue this series at Green Lake on the first three Saturdays of the month from May to September after that. The Southwest Branch is hosting a Continue reading “Poetry Rules!”

Free Books @ the library!

In what some have called a daring and radical departure from the successful business models of Barnes & Noble, Netflix and iTunes, The Seattle Public Library is loaning books, DVDs and music free of charge to anyone with a library card. In a scheme well-calculated to take advantage of the image-of-seattle-library-book-return-courtesy-of-leffcurrent thrift craze (or cheap chic), Seattlites can browse from a vast collection of new, used and even rare materials at over twenty-five neighborhood locations, or via an extensive online catalog. Of course there’s a catch: you’ll have to return the items when you’re done, so that someone else can use them.

What will they think up next? Free coffee?

30,000 Years of Art: The Story of Human Creativity

30,000 Years of Art: The Story of Human Creativity Image source: Battle of San Romano http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Paolo_Uccello_035.jpgAcross Time and Space  inspires readers to think about art in a different way.  Accessible and not stuffy, this work looks chronologically across the centuries of art in a way that avoids the thematic conventions and classifications of the way we typically study art history.

This makes for a freeing and fun way to look at cross-cultural development. When the great painters of the Renaissance were at their peak, what was art like in other parts of the globe? Paolo Uccello’s iconic Battle of San Romano is opposite from representational Afghani art, both created within years of each other. This serendipity of comparison is part of the joy of the book. From a later era is the famous Jacques-Louis David painting of a proud and haughty Napoleon, astride a rearing charger as he crosses the Alps, across from a proud and haughty Persian shah, with scimitar and scepter. They are the same type of domineering personalities, mirroring each other but within their own culture. Similar delightful surprises wait upon each page turn.

This is a great browsing book but also literally a weighty tome, at over 12 pounds.  Pull up a sturdy table and a comfortable chair. Settle in and enjoy the tour.  ~ Carl

Gentrification and the Arts

Beautiful Things That Heaven BearsIf you have picked up this year’s Seattle Reads novel, The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu you’ve had a chance to get one novelist’s take on some of the issues and pressures that can fracture a community changing in the face of gentrification and immigration.

Facing similar issues, particularly those of gentrification pressures, local Capitol Hill artists, arts activists, neighbors and interested citizens are gathering at Seattle City Hall in April to discuss community concerns about rapidly diminishing affordable space for arts uses in the City’s core neighborhoods. Get details at:

Make Room for Art: Cultural Overlay Districts for Seattle
April 2, 5pm-6:30pm, Seattle City Hall

City Councilmembers will hear from Seattle residents, arts and entertainment venues and organizations, property owners, developers, and officials on how the Council might go about establishing an overlay district to offer incentives and controls in a specific area to encourage or preserve particular kinds of activities, spaces, and/or design. How can the city grow in a healthy balanced way that benefits all? This could be an exciting opportunity to add your voice as “A City Makes Herself.”