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By Christine St. Pierre          Photo by Linda Wolf

“Don’t like Shell’s ice cold views on global warming?” “How much does a polar bear weigh? Enough to break the ice!” “You seem like you enjoy vacationing on the beach. Save the beaches!” “Does your little one love snacking on fish sticks?” “Ever seen Waterworld? Let’s make sure that doesn’t become our reality.”
Years ago, I used dozens of these catchy, shallow one-liners to draw peoples’ attention to me, the 5’ 3’’ Greenpeace canvasser standing in the pouring rain on 4th and Pike with a clipboard and the determination to get you to join the ranks of others who wish to keep Shell out of the arctic. In a perfect world, I could have looked you in the eyes, reached my hand in your direction, and said, “Shell oil plans to drill for fossil fuels in one of the most wild, hostile environments on Earth,” or, “One isolated oil spill endangers the Indigenous communities and species thriving in the arctic ocean, as well as the entire planet,” or maybe, as actress and activist Jane Fonda recently pleaded at a rally in Seattle, “This is the fight of our lives.”
But the world is not perfect, and, statistically, using corny one-liners provokes you to stop and talk with people like me much more frequently then us shouting, “Did you know 13% of the planet’s undiscovered oil is thought to rest beneath the Arctic Ocean? Seems like a lot! But at our current rate, that’s only three years of consumption! Is that worth irreversible environmental devastation?”
Why? Because you don’t want to be bummed out, confronted, shocked—because you’re on vacation or a quick lunch break or you would rather go home and research this issue on your own. More often than not, you’ll keep walking, shouting an apology that grows fainter with every footstep. And, more often than not, you won’t research more at home. You’ll forget about what I said, why I was standing there. But eventually, inevitably, we’ll find ourselves standing side-by-side on the frontlines of one of the most threatening capitalist schemes in human history.
The movement didn’t start with Greenpeace or me or you; it has been happening for decades: we the people are silenced while fossil fuel lobbyists and greedy politicians shake hands in the crooked corridors of DC, sending fleets of oil rigs into heavily populated, pristine environments, causing massive disasters like the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska or the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Many don’t believe their voices can be heard by the fossil fuel mafia or politicians who are positioned to hear our cries—that one person can’t make a difference. But if everyone believes that, then there is no movement—only surrender.
In 2013, provoked by massive people power, the federal government barred Shell from drilling in the Chukchi Sea following a series of accidents during exploratory drilling in 2012, i.e. Shell’s drilling rig Kulluk running aground off the coast of Alaska. The U.S. Coast Guard blamed this embarrassing uh-oh on “inadequate management and assessment of risks” in icy, storm-tossed waters, according to its final report on the accident. News spread about the operating rig pleading guilty to eight felony offenses and paying $12.2 million over falsifying records that would prove the oil rig outdated and unfit for such demanding conditions. Shell temporarily halted the project, and many of Shell’s executive staff publicly expressed doubts about the low financial reward of such a high-risk operation, which is why many were outraged at the Obama Administration for allowing Shell (of all companies) to drill for oil off of the Alaskan coast this year.
Aside from threatening the food supply and livelihood of the four-million people living in the arctic, many of whom, like the Inupiat, are Indigenous communities, along with the seventeen whale species, thousands of migrating birds, endangered polar bears and stellar sea lions, and other life depending on this delicate ecosystem, here’s why we should all be concerned:

• The area is extremely remote, with manic weather, icy waters, hurricane-force storms, sub-zero temperatures, endless winter darkness, and waves up to 50 feet in height. There are no service roads or deepwater ports for hundreds of miles, delaying rapid rescue and cleanup when (not if) an accident occurs. The closest Coast Guard equipped for responding to oil spills is stationed 1,000 miles away.
• It took BP three months to control its ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico. A cleanup in the drilling areas in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas boasts entirely different obstacles. The aforementioned extreme conditions threaten to prevent rescue access, freeze cranes, and deem oil dispersant chemicals useless.
• And then there’s the ice. A spill, detected or undetected, could spread beneath the surface of the ocean, traveling beneath ice flows hundreds of miles. There is potential for ice to become frozen in the oil within just four hours of exposure, where it could remain until the ice melts, whenever that may be.
• The successful drilling of vital relief wells, necessary for capping a ruptured well, could not be guaranteed in the drilling season’s few summer months before winter ice—and towering icebergs—returns.
• Shell claims it can clean up to 95% of spilled ice, a fantastical statistic considering the relative Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska which cleaned 9% of oil in 1989 and BP’s mere 17% in 2010. According to the US Geological Survey, 1-20% of Beaufort/Chukchi oil could be recovered.

Amidst a global movement to wean off of fossil fuels and redirect our focus on green and clean energy sources, a push to drill in hazardous, fragile waters for a small portion of energy is a giant setback. Recently, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray stood with activists and kayactivists amidst the port city’s positionality in the eye of the storm, “To prevent the full force of climate change, it’s time to turn the pages on things like coal trains, oil trains and oil drilling rigs. Its time to focus the economy on the future: electric cars and transit, green homes and environmentally progressive businesses.” The mayor and many Pacific Northwesterners have held strong in opposition against the presence and portage of Shell’s Arctic Fleet, including the drill rig Polar Pioneer. Folks have climbed it, blockaded it, and created a human flotilla in its path, but the fleet as begun its journey to Alaska.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has received hundreds of thousands of phone calls from people like you and me over many years of persistence opposition. The Obama administration has received letters written by entire nations, unions, organizations, and individuals pleading for a ban on arctic oil drilling. We’ve seen what people power can do: so far, we have succeeded in pushing the Obama administration to block the Keystone XL pipeline and create stronger regulations for coal-fired power plants. It’s not too late to match your voice with the countless others who can no longer sit idle while one of the last remaining frontiers of the Far North is plundered for money. Start by signing one or all of the online petitions linked below.

Save the Arctic—Tell Obama

Stop Shell’s Dangerous Offshore Drilling Exploration in the Arctic

Stop Shell from Drilling in the Arctic!

Save the Arctic—Stop Shell

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Peace and quiet enveloped me as I leaned against the doorframe of Sadie Beauregard and Paul D’Agnolo’s wooden yurt, one leg draped over the balcony’s edge, gazing down at the blueberry, raspberry, thimbleberry, and salmonberry bushes that the three of us had just harvested for the pie we would soon eat with their sweet neighbor Margot, a seventy year-old member of River Farm, an intentional community and cooperative farm located in Van Zandt, Washington. The two moved from farms on Bainbridge Island to the River Farm in December to begin a farm operation of their own, Foothills Flowers Farm—a far-off dream for so many.

Looking east from my perch in their elevated yurt, I took in a view of the Twin Sisters peaking over the forested foothills of the North Cascades, a beautiful backdrop to the resilient permaculture that the stewards of this Evergreen Land Trust have nurtured since a group of anarchists from Capitol Hill began the intentional community decades ago. Various walnut, apple, cherry, and plum trees provided shade for the rambunctious piglets romping around their grassy pasture. In the distance, the north fork of the Nooksack River carved along the property’s edge, encompassing the many small households, garden plots, pastures, trails, and groves within this Van Zandt paradise.

Seeking refuge from the early evening’s thick summer air, the three of us sat indoors, surrounded by textured bouquets of native flowers grown by the couple just a few hundred feet away, to be sold at various farmers markets. A John Prine record spun through the airwaves while we slow-cooked a blueberry and garlic scape-soaked salmon from the nearby rushing river, caught and gifted by a neighbor on the farm. This cooperative “what’s mine is yours” mentality is one of the many progressive concepts that drew Sadie and Paul into the sustainable farming community at various points in their life history.

The couple’s stories converged on Bainbridge Island while working for various farms and transformed into a shared desire to make the dream a reality: start a farming business, live sustainably, strengthen the farming community, and, ultimately, help to heal an ailing food system.

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Paul, a Minnesotan, was turned off by his local farming community’s endless monocrop chemical agriculture that dominated the landscape, eventually farming on an island in Vermont’s Lake Champlain following a summer in Alaska. After an internship at Milwaulkee’s Growing Power, Paul traveled to California to work in the mountains looking for specific plants, eventually finding a home in Washington. Once in the Pacific Northwest, Paul wrote to his siblings in Minnesota, urging them to “quit their jobs, move west, buy a farm, climb mountains, catch fish, and be a family!” Within a year, the siblings were reunited, and five years later they continue to thrive. Paul expanded his farming experience, working at Seattle Tilth Farm Works in Auburn before eventually moving to the island to work with Symbiosis Food Cart and Bainbridge Island Farms, later moving to Butler Green. There, he met his “sweet Sadie beau” who has “been key in keeping [their] wandering way aligned with [their] hopes and aspirations toward owning a farm operation.”

Sweet Sadie, a moniker that so fully encompasses her tender nature, is a Vashon Island native who began this work five years ago after falling in love with farming during a year of urban gardening with AmeriCorps*VISTA in Seattle. After her service, Sadie took an internship at a small vegetable farm on San Juan Island, feeling like she “could farm forever.” She, like Paul, savors “the physical, hands-on nature of farming, as well as the opportunity to be outside and think creatively about growing, harvesting, and marketing.” Following her internship, Sadie was hired on at the island’s Persephone Farm where she “found flowers,” and flowers found her. There, she came to realize the importance and value of local flowers, seeing them akin to local food in that “conventional flowers are often grown with heavy chemicals by workers with poor working conditions and shipped hundreds of miles.” Eventually, her island farming career led her to work with both Heyday Farm and Butler Green, where she met Paul and found her best friend, a partner to build a farm with, to cook, hike, and laugh with “at all of the mistakes and triumphs we make along the way.”

With Paul’s brother operating Small Acres Farm nearby their now budding flower farm, Foothills Flowers, Paul and Sadie were able to partner their CSA operations for broader outreach. They have secured stands at the Fairhaven Farmer’s Market in Bellingham on Wednesdays, the Lynden market on Thursdays, and the Twin Sisters Market, which was created by fewer than ten local farms operated by young sustainable farmers, including Foothills Flowers.

This cooperative attitude is the tie that binds the farming community together. “We’re all broke, tired, struggling—but that’s what needs to change: the competitive attitude between farmers needs to turn into a cooperative one,” explained Paul. “The glimmers of light are where you and your buddies can help each other out—you can have a market where you don’t need to be there every week, or land you don’t need to own, and you can teach each other and share your secrets.”

Leaning against the open doorway across from me, Paul briefly paused, looking out across his garden. “Our food system is broken and we don’t have enough farmers to fix it.” This sharing of knowledge creates an important dialogue and helps strengthen community in a big way. Being at markets and conversing with your community about growing sustainably builds autonomy and excitement, and not just between farmers, causing everyone to care more about their natural surroundings.

Foothills Flowers Farm is built upon this appreciation and sense of place in life. The focus is on what bouquets do to you when you’re around them. “What I like about floriculture is that it really connects you to the season and makes you notice native plants with distinct flowers,” explained Paul, who described the bouquets produced by their farm as native flowers that are appropriate for climate and seasons, incorporating perennials, greenery, vines, and grasses to add texture. “They make you look at every plant and think, ‘How beautiful is that plant? Can we add that to a bouquet? Would we be able to make others see its beauty, too?’”

The answer is yes. Their unique and nontraditional flower arrangements are simple and breathtaking, featuring sweet pea, lupin, millet, wild rose, and thimbleberry blossoms, to name a few. Following a grant from the Bellingham Food Cooperative, which was used for marketing, supplies, insurance, and a rental truck arrangement with Cloud Mountain, another cooperative farm nearby, the two have taken Foothills Flowers to new, bold heights. Their success has stemmed from intense community support and the necessity for a healthier, stronger farming culture. Support your farmers, know your farmers—visit foothillsflowersfarm.com for more information about offers on events, weddings, and Sadie & Paul’s mission.

Contributed by Christine St. Pierre

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Campaign Ends May 28th!

Starvation Alley cranberry farm & juice company is raising funds for a high-volume juice press and bottling line that will help scale its juice production to 6X the current capacity. Over the past three years, Starvation Alley has become the go to source for Organic cranberries in the Northwest. As Washington State’s one-and-only certified organic cranberry farm, Starvation Alley is not only growing sustainable, local fruit, but is making it possible for other Northwest farmers to join them. They buy fruit from two neighboring farms (that are half way through the rigorous 3-year process of converting to organic) to produce a 100% pure unsweetened cranberry juice that is unlike anything else you can find on the market. Recently, Starvation Alley repaid it’s first Community Sourced Capital loan of $12,000 for a hydraulic juice press. This loan helped Starvation Alley grow to add 2 new farmers as suppliers and an additional 5 jobs local to the PNW. With the added production capacity possible from this next stage of funding the farm will be able to continue to increase its positive impact in the farming community.

Starvation Alley’s production kitchen is located on the Long Beach Peninsula in Southwest, WA. and produces about 8,000 gallons of cranberry juice a year. “Starvation Alley” is a historic road on the Peninsula that was home to hard-working oyster and cranberry laborers. They kept the name as an ode to those that came before them.  We hope you’ll consider participating Find the campaign page through Community Sourced Capital here.

Starvation Alley’s mission is to support local farmer livelihood. They do this by paying great prices and aiding in the tough transition from conventional to organic growing. This loan will help them reach their next business milestone of adding an additional local farmer and creating a killer retail product that’s available to Northwest consumers.

Harbour Pub serves Starvation Alley cranberry juice exclusively and adds whole berries to its relishes and salad specials. Help us to help them!

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Holidays are wonderful. They bring a sense of community, anticipation, joy, and creativity into what would otherwise be just another day, week, month, or season. We celebrate birthdays, parents, children, veterans, love, patriotism, leprechauns, ghosts and goblins—wait, what? As credible as most recognized holidays are, we still tend to get a little weird when it comes to what—and how—we celebrate. Seeing as summer is a stretch of the year with fewer nationally recognized holidays, here is an all-encompassing list of bizarre holidays we can all look forward to (and maybe start a new, weird holiday tradition of your own):

May 16: National Sea Monkey Day—fun fact, Sea Monkeys have three eyes and breathe through their feet! Celebrate these strange, playful brine shrimp.

June 6: National Yo-Yo Day—it’s believed that the Yo-Yo was first invented in Ancient Greece. Today is the one day of the year where you’re not a weirdo for “walking the dog” till the sun goes down. Take advantage!

June 18: International Picnic Day—what was once a pastime for the Victorian bourgeoisie is now everyone’s favorite way to celebrate food in the great outdoors. Bon appetit!

June 25: National Catfish Day—President Ronald Reagan designated this holiday in 1987. We are serious about our catfish in this country. Who’s got my cornmeal?


July 2: I Forgot Day
—a chance to make up for forgotten birthdays, anniversaries, or even the days you may forget in the future! Apologize belatedly or in advance on this glorious occasion.

July 7: National Strawberry Sundae Day, Macaroni Day, and Tell the Truth Day—be honest, who ate all of my macaroni and ice cream?

July 22: National Hammock Day—a reminder to slow down, breathe easy, and enjoy life: relaxxx.

August 7: National Lighthouse Day—an act that was approved by Congress in 1789 to gather support for the “establishment of lighthouses, beacons, buoys, and public piers.”

August 13: Left Handers Day—raise awareness of the everyday issues that lefties face in a world designed for right-handers. “I may be left-handed, but I’m always right!”

August 20: National Radio Day—we’ve all got’m, we all use’m. Celebrate them today!

August 31: National Trail Mix Day—also known as National Pacific Northwesterners’ Day. Just kidding. But seriously…

September 5: National Cheese Pizza Day—THERE IS A GOD.

September 15: National “Make A Hat” Day—a beloved holiday recognized by teachers of our little ones. Plus, why not?

September 22: Elephant Appreciation Day—female elephants are pregnant for almost two full years. C’mon.

And, if you’re really into this, the following list has got you covered until the new year! Any reason to celebrate, right?

October 3: Techies Day

October 17: “Wear Something Gaudy” Day

October 25: “Punk For a Day” Day

November 3: National Sandwih Day

November 15: Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day

November 29: Square Dance Day

December 4: “Wear Brown Shoes” Day

December 9: National Pastry Day—ummm, yes? Enough said!

December 18: “Bake Cookies” Day

Contributed by Christine St. Pierre

Contributed By Christine St. Pierre

The day has come, the one we have set aside to express our gratitude and love for our mothers. Of course, every day is Mother’s Day, but, today especially, is when we show her how amazed and inspired and humbled we are by her. Purchasing a gift can do a lot of things, but anyone can buy anything. This year, write her something that expresses her importance. If she’s anything like my mother, she’ll say, “Oh, honey, your love is all I need on Mother’s Day,” which she probably believes—until she reads the incredible poem you wrote.

Many of you talented artists, thinkers, writers, do-ers already have Mother’s Day covered. I get that. You’ve made the breakfast, picked the flowers, planned the picnic, arranged the surprise, wrapped the gifts, called in the reservation. That doesn’t mean you’re done! A poem can be slipped behind her morning coffee mug, under her pillow, placed on her dashboard—are you writing these ideas down?

A poem tomorrow morning, next weekend, or next month will express your gratitude for her life’s work just the same as it will today. So, read the following poems that I wrote to generate some themes or ideas, and, if you’d like, you can use them as a template to which you can add your own memories and connections to the mothers in your life! Happy writing. And Happy Mother’s Day!

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Poem 1:

To Every Mother

Who carried life inside her; who devoted her body to a child she loved unconditionally; who walked slowly, one arm resting on top of her round belly, the other cradling it tenderly: thank you.

To every mother who used her hand to wipe spit-up; who gets out the video camera instead of the cleaning supplies; who marks the door frame inch by inch, every year, as her little one grows into a six foot tall eating and sleeping machine: thank you.

To every mother whose wildest dream in life is to watch her child succeed in their own; who fights back tears when the old family car is loaded to the brim, headed out into the world; who thinks about her child every single moment of every single day: thank you.

To every mother: thank you.

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Poem 2:

Sunflower Mother

I am
moss and mud eyes, depths unseen;
your reflection in the rippling river
beneath the forest canopy.

I am
veins, risen and pulsing
atop earth-soaked hands; the
wild mountain ranges,
fertile valleys,
barren deserts
stretched infinitely between us.

I am
warmth from the night’s fire;
my head pressed into your chest;
walking to the rhythm of your heartbeat
as I venture beyond, unafraid, alone.

But never alone
because

I am
loved and
surrounded by
you.

feng-shui-insert-21by Christine St.Pierre

WEEED is having quite the transformative year—and no, I’m not talking about the recently legalized medicinal herb, although that industry’s not doing too bad, either. I’m following the smoke trails of Bainbridge Island’s homegrown stoner rock band, WEEED, as they blaze through Seattle’s music scene after nearly a decade of grounding their sound in various garages and barns and dimly lit venues along the west coast.

The band’s origin story is like many others: two middle school-aged neighbors (Mitch Fosnaugh and Gabrieal Seaver) develop a deep friendship over their passion for exploring the depths of music. But, unlike most middle school bands that sprout and whither, their story doesn’t end there. Beneath the tall trees and low-lying clouds of Bainbridge Island, a patchwork band of young rockers formed, with the addition of Charlie Powers (former bassist) and John Goodhue (drums), and with it grew the island’s signature music scene, with deep roots that have spread as far north as Bellingham and on south to Portland and San Francisco.

While WEEED is still motivated by original stoner rock gurus like Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard, Ravi Shankar, and Led Zeppelin, they also draw inspiration from the “triple gem” of Buddhism. From the words of bassist/vocalist Gabriel Seaver:
“One who seeks enlightenment can take refuge in three gems of Buddhism and is spiritually fed, inspired and influenced by their qualities. The first gem is the Buddha, the enlightened one, who has attained the perfect state. This can be related to the musicians who inspire us, having attained the heights of mastery.

The second gem is the dhamma, which is the path to enlightenment, the energy that teaches and draws one towards liberation. This can be related to music itself. The act of participating in music is healing, transformational and purifying. In this way it can be seen as a spiritual practice and is self-fulfilling.

The third gem is the sangha, which is the spiritual community. In Buddhism, the sangha is made up of everyone who has attained enlightenment, as well as everyone who is walking the path to enlightenment, especially those walking the path that you have encountered or know personally. The musical community that we have grown with has been huge in keeping us together and dedicated to this journey. We feel infinitely blessed by such a tight, supportive, loving, and truly special community of friends.”

Fostering a “goofy attitude and childlike wonder and play,” WEEED transcends traditional rock by evoking a meditative rhythm laced with experimental guitar, hypnotic drums, and deep, reverberating bass that awakens body, mind, and soul, a sound they identify as “shanghadelic,” seeking to evoke a sense of expansion with the audience as well as within themselves in order to surpass “identification with the mind/body/ego/form/content.” Their mission is well underway; watching WEEED share their live music with others is a meditative experience, where one can simultaneously get lost and found.

“Through the vibrations of music,” Seaver explains, “we hope to fill our audience with love.” And the love is felt, as friends gather to blast-off into an alternate dimension of sound and community, bending and twisting their bodies in a symbiotic emergence while the band thrashes electric onstage beneath rainbow-print suspenders and wild, disheveled hair.

Finding them onstage is about to become a lot easier, too. In the past, magical barn/garage/house shows and small intimate venues hosted a fortunate audience that thrives on community collaboration. More recently, the band signed with Illuminasty Records, a label based out of Portland, San Francisco, and New York, and has plans for a six-week US tour that coincides with the release of their new double LP “Our Guru Brings Us To The Black Master Sabbath,” so pay attention WA, CA, ID, OR, UT, MT, MO, IL, NY, NC, MN—WEEED’s comin’ to town.

Click here to experience some of their jams, or head here to read an entertaining and informative interview by Seattle Weekly.

Where Do We Go From Here?

April 27th, 2015

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Contributed by Christine St. Pierre

We arrived at a place where the Pacific spills over the San Juan Islands, creating a Sound worthy of an orca’s song, a place where the foothills of the Cascades roll into the salty blue bay and the lush forests breathe deeply, the moisture on their breath covering the sky with low-lying clouds. The word “green” loses all meaning, as the one color has turned into hundreds of shades, differing not by name but by setting—green like the mossy carpet blanketing the forest floor, or green like the fiery ferns basking in a glimpse of sunlight? When the sky changes, so does green, into warmer, cooler, wetter, bluer shades. The meaning of “green,” conceived as the color between blue and yellow in the spectrum, has hatched into a choice. A green path has been planted where highways and byways once led the people; tiny seeds sprout in the cracked, hot pavement and ivy creeps across intersections like eerie fog before a storm. We have an option—we, the inhabitants of this cosmic sphere, villagers of this dwelling—to choose from Earth’s palette our shade of green, or be left with the blackish brown of an oil spill, the deep crimson of life-blood, the startlingly yellow sign that reads “Warning: Toxic Waste.”

We see it mirrored in cinema and stories: the depletion of our natural resources to the point of vacating the planet, retreating to the stars in search of our next cosmic victim. Children’s movies beg and plead with parents too busy to teach their child the folklore of the Earth. These pictures—with a penguin sent on a great voyage to rescue his species and his artic home, or an ambitious robot determined to bring our overweight, dehumanized race back from space—were created by enlightened adults who have realized something very sad: it is too late for grown-ups. Reach out to the children, teach them young and accidentally; turn the television screen into their subconscious and tell them the truth. And the truth is, we are killing them, our children and theirs. After you, I, we die, they continue to exist. They grow, fall in love, create life, and the cycle continues. Who will grow their food once the land has been stripped of every last nutrient? Who will bring them water when our oceans have acidified? How will they breathe when the skies are thickened with toxic fumes? How many species will be a myth, forests will lay on their side, cancers will surface before we come to a screeching, screaming halt?

Friends, family, we are one. The same sun warms our backs and makes the flowers bloom. The waves crashing against the jutting Pacific coast traveled hundreds of thousands of miles to become a sound bite in your dreams, washing away the ambivalence that plagued generations before us. This existence, your existence, is not accidental. You exist on the brink of history because you are a rainbow warrior, a keeper of the peace, and an artist given the task of painting our future. Choose your colors wisely.

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Last week if you visited Pegasus and got a cup of Jo to Go, you’ve probably noticed the new cup lid.

Born out of a passion by former Islanders, the Viora offers a coffee sipping experience that does not resemble your kids’ silly sippy cup

Their conviction “that there was a better way unleashed a scientific curiosity and a maniacal focus that  led to years of researching fluid dynamics, evaluating mainstream and alternative plastics, reading research papers on smell and taste, assessing advanced manufacturing technologies, prototyping, and conducting round after round of testing. The result of all this work is the Viora Lid – and a growing collection of patents and patents pending.”

And better yet, it is now being  manufactured in the U.S.A.

Benefits:

  • Drinks Like a Cup - Tip your cup, and a drink well fills. Sip your beverage over a lip—just as you would if you were drinking from a ceramic cup.
  • Unlocks the Aroma - Taste is mostly smell, and the innovative drink well on the Viora Lid ensures a complete taste experience.
  • Catches a Splash - conventional lids—when jostled—shoot out jets of liquid aimed for your clothes or dashboard. With the Viora lid, if your drink does splash, it ends up back in the cup rather than on you.

Take a look at the benefits of the lid http://www.vioralid.com/#top and try it for yourself.

We think you’ll love it.

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A unique time of year is upon us, when the earth’s soil thaws and new life sprouts from the fertile soil; birds chirp all day long beneath the shady trees while the sun moves slowly across the sky; it’s not only light enough, but also warm and dry enough to enjoy dinner and wine on the porch with family and friends. Spring means abundance, spring means life, spring means the opening of the summer farmers’ markets! So, next time you plan a sunset dinner on the front lawn, consider the nutrient-rich, homegrown, made-with-love goods that you can find not only on the island but on the Kitsap Peninsula.

Local farmers and venders producing such specialties as handmade clothing, kombucha, wine, chocolate, and oils didn’t stop when last year’s farmers markets did. While winter harvests have been sold in CSA boxes and at grocery stores, the most exciting part of the year, not only for farmers, but for consumers, too, will begin on Saturday, April 11, from 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM, at the opening of the 2015 summer Bainbridge Island Farmers’ Market at the Town Square/City Hall.

With more than 40 venders offering fresh produce, delicious specialty foods, vibrant flowers and plants, crafts, desserts, and much more beneath what we can hope will be bright blue skies, your Saturdays are about to get a little healthier and more full of community fun! Trade your car for a long walk, near or far, across the beautiful island with a few bags, an empty stomach, and plenty of time to spend getting to know your neighbors, venders, farmers, and listen to the rotating live band while eating lunch on the warm, grassy lawn.

Local food venders featured at the Bainbridge Island Summer Farmers’ Market include but are not limited toe: B.I. Barbeque, Clara’s Wok, Rolling Bagels, Psychedeli, Bainbridge Vineyards, and Emmy’s Veggie House, as well as the abundance of samples from venders such as Iggy’s Foods, peddling the most delicious fermented health food this side of the Sound, as well as Mt. Townsend Creamery, F/V Ocean tuna, artisan peanut butter from Jammin PB, and many more. Crafters such as Gayle Bair Pottery, OHO Clothing & Accessories, Bapa Toms Metal Works, Laura’s Knitting Loft, Fern & Folly, Kuy Glass, and Wood Turning by Design offer a wide variety of goods, from pottery to fibers and blown glass.

Farmers—the reason for the season—present at the farmers’ market include: Bainbridge Island Farms, Butler Green Organics, Central Valley Nursery, Farmhouse Organics, Holly Lane Gardens, Laughing Crow Farm, Leapfrog Farm & Medical Intuitive Massage, Paulson Farms, Persephone Farm, Sol Farm, Sundown Ridge Farm, Sweetlife Farm, Tani Creek Farm, and Terra Bella Farms.

The opening of the island market will be closely followed by the following Kitsap Peninsula Markets that will have you covered from Tuesday to Saturday every week:

  • Port Orchard Farmers’ Market Saturdays: opens April 4, from 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM
  • Poulsbo Farmers’ Market Saturdays: opens April 4, from 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
  • Silverdale Famers’ Market Tuesdays: opens April 28, from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Kingston Farmers’ Market Saturdays: opens May 2, from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
  • Bremerton Farmers’ Market Thursdays: opens May 7, from 4:00 – 7:00 PM
  • Bremerton Farmers’ Market Sundays: opens May 24, from 10:30 AM – 2:30 PM

Contributed by Christine St.Pierre

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Contributed by Christine St.Pierre

On Friday, March 20, the sun will shine directly on the equator, and the length of day and night will be nearly equal. While we in the northern hemisphere celebrate the coming of spring with festivals and holidays, the southern hemisphere experiences the autumnal equinox, parting with the long, warm days of summer. The equinox has long been celebrated by many cultures as a time of rebirth, and nature certainly agrees. An incoming breeze is winter’s yawn rushing over the land and sea as the earth awakens with thawing soil, budding trees, and blooming flowers—but with the buds and the blooms must come pollen, spores, and allergens.

Fortunate are the few who don’t experience seasonal allergies. For the rest of us, it’s easy—and expensive—to wander into the nearest drug store, purchase over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, and spend the next few weeks in a haze until the pollen settles. Time is of the essence, and you just want to feel better—now! But, the secret to enjoying every ounce of beauty and sunshine that spring offers without sneezing your way through the day is to prevent allergy symptoms rather than treat them.

Truth be told, most alternative forms of medicine are as common as the groceries in your refrigerator or the flowers in your garden; food, herbs, and common weeds are among the many variations of natural medicine.

Herbal Remedies

Quercetin has been most historically used as a coloring pigment within the plant kingdom. Abundant in red wine, quercetin is the substance mostly responsible for the myth that people who drink red wine live longer, healthier lives. This substance is also a key factor in reducing the amount of the defense mechanism histamine released by mast cells, causing irritation and inflammation. Along with wine and grapes, citrus fruits, red onions, apples, tomatoes, parsley, broccoli, lettuce, and teas are incredibly high in quercetin. Although these foods are loaded with the substance, supplements are necessary to build up enough of the compound. Begin a suggested dose of 1000 milligrams a day between meals six weeks before allergy season.

Echinacea is an aesthetically pleasing flower with healing properties worthy of universal praise. A calming herb, echinacea is commonly used to treat upper respiratory infections. At first sign of heavy breathing or clogged bronchial tubes, begin consuming echinacea in the form of pills or tea.

Stinging Nettle, a common weed found in most yards, is a trendy super food and also a natural antihistamine that doesn’t have the same side effects of dry mouth and drowsiness as pharmaceutical antihistamines. Freeze dried nettle extract is sold in capsules, but making your own nettle products is incredible easy. If consumed in capsule form, 300 milligrams a day will provide relief for three to five hours.

Nettle can also be consumed as tincture, incorporated into food, or sipped as a tea. To make nettle tea, simple boil the leaves in water. Add peppermint leaves for added allergy relief. If you’re planning on putting nettle into food be sure to boil the nettle first to avoid the small, stinging hairs that cause skin inflammation and feel like you rubbed your hand on fiberglass. I suppose it goes without saying that gloves should be worn if and when handling nettle.

A perennial herb called goldenseal, also known as orange root, is often used to boost the effects of other medicinal herbs used for cancer or digestion treatment. Goldenseal increases secretion of mucous membranes to flush out passageways but also contains astringent factors that counter the flow, which counterbalances to aid in a runny nose. This mucous membrane tonic mixed with freeze-dried stinging nettle and saline solution is a magical elixir to cleanse mucous out of passageways. Drop a few drops of goldenseal underneath your tongue and hold the tincture there for a few minutes.

Food as Medicine

Consumption of the appropriate vitamins and supplements during pollen and mold season can be easily incorporated into your daily meals. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, particularly in conjunction with Vitamin C, such as cold-water fish, walnuts, flaxseed oil, grass-fed meats, and eggs, are natural anti-inflammatory agents that will help to calm skin and other organs that tend to flare up during allergy season. One ounce of walnuts a day, whether drizzled over pancakes in the morning or blended into a veggie burger patty, and one tablespoon of flaxseed oil two to three times a day are adequate servings of the omega-3’s. Vitamin C, in its many forms, is a natural heal-all with tastiness to boot. An additional 1,000 milligrams of Vitamin C has been known to lower the levels of histamine in the blood, so consider consuming more kiwifruit, oranges, broccoli, and bell peppers.

Live cultures called probiotics keep the immune system strong and build resistance to allergic reactions. Found in things like kombucha, plain yogurt, kefir (fermented goat milk and grains), sauerkraut, dark chocolate, microalgae like spirulina or chlorella, miso, pickles, tempeh, and kimchi, probiotics are the live soldiers you send into your immune system to ward off sticky pollens. Local honey is thought to have a similar effect. Although the theory is not scientifically proven, the idea of consuming local pollen collected by bees native to your area acts as an allergy shot, implementing your allergies into your body so that your cells can adjust to the presence of the allergen and build immunity. Similarly, an old wives’ tale boasts that drinking goat’s milk after the herd has grazed on local pollinators (it even works for poison ivy) builds immunity.

Garlic, every meal’s lifesaver, scares off mosquitos, vampires, and a runny nose. Along with extreme heart health, the spicy nasal feel of garlic will surely clean out your tubes after a bite or two. Horseradish, chili peppers, hot mustard, hot ginger, cayenne pepper, onion, and wasabi also keep passageways clear because of their spicy sting. Carotenoids are another key factor to a diet that prevent the inflammation of airways, so a diet filled with things like apricots, pumpkin, carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, butternut squash, and collared greens is sure to keep the airways open.

What to Avoid

As important as it is to consume healthy foods and appropriate vitamins to build immunity to and treat allergy symptoms, refraining from certain foods will also boost your immunity to the season’s nasty allergens. Eliminate foods that cause any stomach upset or mild breakouts.

Those allergic to ragweed should avoid melon, banana, cucumber, sunflower seeds, chamomile, and echinacea. Grass allergies should avoid raw celery, oranges, apples, tomatoes, and peaches, as well as wheat, corn, rice, barley, millet, rye, oats, sugar, and bananas. Beet sugar is fine, but most raw sugars consist of cane, so be cautious that raw or organic does not necessarily mean “beet.” Buckwheat flower, arrowroot, and nutritional yeast are wonderful substitutes for the thickeners and seeds that those with grass allergies must avoid. Reduce foods rich in arachidonic acid, such as egg yolks, shellfish, and some red meats, as a recent study associates these acids with allergies and hay fever.

Also remember that natural remedies can be toxic when consumed in large quantities and absolutely do not mix natural treatments with pharmaceutical drugs. Allegra, an antihistamine, coupled with an antihistaminic product like quercetin could supply too much activity, resulting in significant problems such as glaucoma, ulcers, bladder infections, hyperthyroidism, high blood pressure, deliriousness or hallucinations, and heightened side effects like incredible drowsiness or fatigue.

Inhale Essential Oils, Exhale Relief

Steam inhalation is another quick fix for allergic congestion. Inhaling the steam of essential oils will clear your nasal passages and open your lungs. Simply fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Once the boil begins to roll, turn off the heat and remove the pan. Add three drops of eucalyptus oil, three drops of rosemary extract, two drops of myrtle, and two drops of tea tree oil to the hot water. Tent a bath towel over your head as you lean over the steamy water and inhale deeply for five to ten minutes in the morning and at night. Relief will not be long lasting, so repeat up to three times a day if necessary.

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