Conscious Giving and Our Holiday Celebrations
By Prof. Johanna Sophia
There is such a wide range of ‘green’ product out there by now that we can rejoice in the many choices! When we ad the criterion “locally made” to our selection process, we become even more conscious of our picks. There are products small and large. We can give each other homegrown herbs from our kitchen windowsill or homegrown energy from solar systems installed on our rooftops – and everything in-between. However, when thinking about ‘consciousness,’ and ‘conscious giving,’ I find myself reviewing the different aspects of giving and the different ways we can be conscious of the entire process of giving. I want to redefine ‘gifts’ beyond products. When not giving a product, we have long had vouchers and gift certificates but they too have a dollar value attached to them and I’m thinking of including gifts that are definable by categories other than a dollar value. These are gifts recognizing the other peoples’ needs and supporting them in their process of meeting those needs.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 23 November 2010 22:56)
The Cambridge Valley Chamber of Commerce is encouraging area residents to think before you run off to the mall or the big box stores. Consider supporting your local businesses, which are members of your community, your neighbors and friends.
The CVCC is offering a little more incentive to shop locally. With every purchase you make at a CVCC member business you can enter to win a holiday gift basket of local goods, gift certificates and assorted goodies. The chamber relies on the generosity of its member businesses to donate to the gift basket, so buy locally, look for the raffle bag and enter to win. Every time you shop at a local business you can enter to win a gift basket full of cheer and simultaneously make your local business community happy, a definite Win–Win! The raffle begins Black Friday November 26 and continues until 12:00 pm December 23. Names will be drawn and winners called the afternoon of December 23.
Good luck to all and remember to shop locally this holiday season.
Please join the Cambridge Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Village of Cambridge in welcoming this holiday season. For more information contact the Chamber, 518-677-0887 or by e-mail:
. Visit the website and facebook pages for the most up-to-date schedule of events. www.cambridgenychamber.com
What will it take to live sustainably --- as if the future matters*?
*because our actions impact what the future will look like...
From a conversation with Albany County writer Sharon Astyk
When we try to wrap our minds around the enormous threat of our impending ecological disasters -- peak oil and climate change --- far too many thinking Americans simply throw up their hands and give in to paralysis and hopelessness.
Regardless of whether or not one believes that these crises will materialize soon (or even ever), across the board the most common reaction seems to be denial. Often we push our fears out of consciousness because we're overwhelmed. As lone individuals it's easy to feel that there's nothing meaningful we can do. On the other hand, waiting for solutions from government or the corporation sector also leaves us with little reason for hope.
Author and farmer Sharon Astyk, an Albany County hill town resident, believes that, rather than waiting for big institutions to save the day or giving in to utter despair, there's an empowering middle way for each of us to pursue. With three published books and several blogs that have an active following, she adds an articulate voice to the dialogue about our future.
I first became acquainted with Sharon's contribution at her provocative State Museum lecture last year. For this piece I interviewed her by phone this fall.
After becoming conscious about peak oil, Sharon and her husband set out to reduce their family consumption and live a good, rich life with a lot less. She went on to use her books and blogs to "make a coherent intellectual case about why people should live more sustainably" while demonstrating that it's both "viable and plausible."
By modeling a more simple life and persuading others to follow her lead, Sharon believes she can contribute to "a viral solution."
"I'm really impressed with what can be done from the bottom up," she said.
by, Shannon Hayes of Sap Bush Hollow Farm
Shannon Hayes is the host of grassfedcooking.com and the author of The Farmer and the Grill and The Grassfed Gourmet. She works with her family on Sap Bush Hollow Farm in Upstate New York. Her newest book, Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture, is due out really really really soon….
- Please be flexible. If you are buying your pasture-raised turkey from a small, local, sustainable farmer, thank you VERY much for supporting us. That said, please remember that pasture-raised turkeys are not like factory-farmed birds. Outside of conscientious animal husbandry, we are unable to control the size of our Thanksgiving turkeys. Please be forgiving if the bird we have for you is a little larger or a little smaller than you anticipated. Cook a sizeable quantity of sausage stuffing if it is too small (a recipe appears below), or enjoy the leftovers if it is too large. If the bird is so large that it cannot fit in your oven, simply remove the legs before roasting it.
- Know what you are buying. If you don’t personally know the farmer who is growing your turkey, take the time to know what you are buying! “Pastured” is not necessarily the same as “free-range.” Some grass-based farmers use the word “free-range” to describe their pasture-raised birds, but any conventional factory farm can also label their birds “free-range” if they are not in individual cages, and if they have “access” to the outdoors – even if the “outdoors” happens to be feces-laden penned-in concrete pads outside the barn door, with no access to grass. “Pastured” implies that the bird was out on grass for most of its life, where it ate grass and foraged for bugs, in addition to receiving some grain.
- Brining optional. If tradition dictates that you season your meat by brining your bird, by all means, do so. However, many people brine in order to keep the bird from drying out. This is not at all necessary. Pastured birds are significantly juicier and more flavorful than factory farmed birds. You can spare yourself this extra step as a reward for making the sustainable holiday choice!