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The Communal Oven

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Michael Pollan experiences the magnetic social power of the cob oven.

In some Mediterranean towns, communal "cob" ovens — primitive, domed cooking devices made of mud, clay, stucco, and straw — act as centers of social gravity where friends and family meet, greet, and eat. Last summer, a group of culinary enthusiasts gathered in a shady backyard in Napa, CA to give the traditional cooking method a try. The case included bestselling food......read more

Does Eating Local Matter?

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Yes, but maybe not as much as you think

Eating local is one of the inviolable tenets of the environmental movement. Ask any greenie, they'll tell you: To help the planet, eat locally grown food. But just how important is eating local food? Maybe not as important as one might think, according to a growing number of studies. Writing in The Huffington Post, Tom Zeller Jr. says that recent analyses "suggest that the economic......read more

Creating Drought Tolerant Plants by Hacking Their Natural Responses

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Which new technique will help plants survive with less water?

By Erin Blakemore for Smithsonian Rainless skies. Dwindling water supplies. Dried-out plants. Droughts and water shortages threaten economies, food supplies and even lives. And with droughts unprecendented in the last 1,200 years underway and likely more to come, scientists have long been pushing to help farmers by making their crops more drought tolerant. In a new study,......read more

Bucket Seat in Scrapwood, Low

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Reclaimed wood seating from the inimitable Piet Hein Eek $769.00

Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek has been transforming waste materials into distinctive furniture since long before sustainability became the zeitgeist it is today. But while the reduce-reuse-recycle approach is central to his practice, Hein Eek's work is more nuanced than that. "It’s not just about recycling, it’s about a respect for the materials," he says. This low bucket......read more

Caroline Keating "Silver Heart"

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Canadian singer-songwriter offers up beautiful, enigmatic music video

Montreal-based singer-songwriter Caroline Keating worked with Sebastien Landry & Guillaume Beaudoin of La Guérilla to create this heartfelt and enigmatic music video. Steeped in striking imagery and wistful verse, "Silver Heart" comes as what we hope to be the first of many videos from Keating's debut album of the same name (released last October and......read more

Recycled Plastic Adirondack Chair by Vermont Wood Studios

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Colorful 'Polywood' seating made from over 90 percent recycled content $270.00

With spring around the corner, we're starting to envision mellow sunny afternoons by the water, ensconced in a chair with a drink in hand. Vermont Wood Studios' classic folding Adirondack Chair is the perfect outdoor seating for warm weather inactivity. Made of recycled plastic Polywood, the maintenance-free chairs have the look and durability of wood minus the headache of refinishing and upkeep.......read more

Katharine O'Brien's Heat Beating Tip

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Healthy, cool juice pops

Mercy, can you feel the climate change? I saw a friend with two ice packs in her bra. LA is so hot, it's lead people to invent self-cooling underwear. While everyone is trying to figure out how to do the cold version of everything, we've done it with green juice - making popsicles! Juice your favorite mix of veggies or fruit and pour it into popsicle holders to freeze. Tastes clean and refreshing......read more

SBW Stool by Miles & May

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American-made seating in reclaimed heart pine and black steel $815.00

Led by designer Brandon Phillips, upstate NY furniture maker Miles & May finds inspiration in the idiosyncrasies of salvaged wood to create warm, functional pieces for the home. The SBW Stool is a good example of Phillips' well-considered approach to material and form. The stool's seat is made from reclaimed "heart pine" -- the non-living center of the pine tree trunk, which woodworkers love......read more

Marine Preserves by Executive Order: Finally something to write home about.

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Obama's creating the Largest Marine Protected Area Ever.

Say what you will about the U.S., when we do something, we do it supersized. So when Obama decides to make a marine reserve, he doesn’t just put your average patch of ocean off-limits to commercial fishing, energy exploration, and other shenanigans. No. It’s a massive portion of the Pacific that more than doubles the total amount of protected ocean. In the world.......read more

Small Victories for Healthy Eating

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Falling obesity rates, curbs on food marketing, and transparency on packaged food give reason for hope

For those of us on the progressive side of eating and health in America, there have been several bits of recent news for which to be thankful. To start, a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that obesity rates in young children have declined sharply. Next, First Lady Michelle Obama announced plans to eliminate junk food marketing in public schools.......read more

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