The corporate book review

A review of

Stirring It Up: How to Make Money and Save the World
To fully confess my sins, I did not but read through the introduction of this book, 30 minutes before the library closed in the small town where I was staying the night before I put it down. Partially by choice, partially by the fact that the library was about to close. But it piqued my curoiusity enough to keep reading while the library was open while hundreds of thousand of other books lay dormant so it was interesting to me. It seems to touch upon the same lines that "Let My People go Surfing" by Patagonia's founder. Preaching the eco-liberals the values and virtues of Natural Capitalism and how it will save the world and make money. This sounds like music to my ears, and I'm sure to many others. That's the American dream, live long and prosper, oh, wai, that was Spocks Vulcan Dreams. So is this a Utopian dream of a modern day Adam Smith, or a realistic view of globalisation and how we can all live better. The first few pages struck me, as Gary explained how he grew all this food for him and his friends at a New Alchemy Institute in a magical green house, but then was moved by the horrors of a Kraft Foods pavilion in Disneyworld and decided to try to compete, and infact, was able to outsell Kraft eventually. Now I am not one to judge at this point, my point is to raise a few questions about this type of approach, and it's consequences on the environment and society. A triple bottom line is great, but is it really a tripple bottom line if shareholders and economic growth trumps the latter two (social and environmental growth)? I do believe that one can make money, and heal the wounds of the people and the land, but my question is how much, and for long? What of the negative consequences of the some of the less desirable aspects of functioning and competing with the business as ussual crowd. Can you tip the scale, and from there are you just puting band aids on flesh woulds ?

Some of the main issues with global capitalism that concern me:

*using gasoline as the only means of trasporting the product

*lowering workers wages to save the company in times of crisis

*using plastics to store the food even if it can be recycled

*having the food pasteurized so it can be kept on shelves longer

*creating a product that can make more money than a biz as usual, but is not affordable to the masses

Wild and Feral Southern California


Blackberries (Rubus ursinus) Perennial Cane - Rose Family
Cycles : Greenish red foilage hibernates over winter with it's leaves intact, although possibly redish or purple brown. New green growth in spring, small white flowers emerge, from which the greenish blackberries protrude. They turn red, then black and are tart to sweet as they age.
Habitats: Close to creeks, shaded areas, swampy areas, bottoms of canyons, edges of meadows from Canada south into Mexico
Uses: Berries can be made into baked goods or eaten fresh, or dried, leaves and vines made into varoius concoctions for ailments from stomach ache to diariaha. Roots also used medicinally by Native Americans of the west coast from Canada to Mexico

California Bay (Umbellularia californica) Perennial Tree - Laurel Family
Cycles : Loses a few leaves in fall, slow growth in winter and faster in spring as flowers growth in winter,
Habitats: Bottom of slopes, near streams, chaparral, open areas and shaded canyons from coastal Oregon south to San Diego.
Uses: The leaf is very similar to store bought bay leaves (Lauris noblis), but the California Bay is much more potent. It's leaves can cure headaches and toothaches an relieve mild stomach pain, but if used in excess can also cause them. The leaves are used as a tea, flavoring for foods, as a flea repellent for animals and to repel pests in storage areas. The nuts or fruits can also be harvested. They are green and turn purplish black like olives. They are dried, roasted, then cracked open and eaten, they possess a coffee like flavor.

Oak Tree (Quercus agrifolia) Perennial Tree - Oak Family
Cycles : Acorns are brown in fall and litter the ground, some branches die and turn yellow gold, in spring new leaf growth and flowering turn the colors to light green and yellow
Habitats : Areas below the pinyon juniper forests, below 4,000 feet, canyons, hillsides, creeks, ravines, streams
Uses : As a wood, one of the most important to humans, the nut, acorn can be made into meals, soups, breads and flour, but must be boiled or leached well

Prickly Pear (Opuntia spp.) Succulent Perennial - Cactus Family
Cycles : Tunas or fruits of the cactusappear in summer and fall, with new pads growing in late winter, early spring that can be eaten raw, in salsas or fried with other veggies.
Habitats : Rocky hillsides, ravines, sunny slopes, desery canyons, gardens, farms, sandy soils, clay soils, requires good drainage,
Uses : many of the feral vareites have been improved to have less spines, the fruit, young pad are edible and prepared in many ways

Walnut (Juglans californica) Perennial Tree - Walnut Family
Cycles : Leaves and fruit are shed in early winter and new growth begins in late winter, with flower clusters, and green walnut fruits by early summer, turns brown in fall
Habitats: Creeks, lower canyon areas, hillsides, foothills, coastal areas, oak forest edges
Uses: the nuts are very nutritious, like miniature store bought walnuts, but smaller and harder


Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) Herbaceous Perennial - Sunflower Family
Cycles : In the fall and winter dandelions (tooth of lion in french) slow their growth, during spring and summer, they flower and seed, but many dandelions in the same location may be at different stages of growth.
Habitats: in lawns, on roadsides, on disturbed banks and shores of water ways, and other areas with moist soils
Uses: The flowers have are used to make dandelion wine, the greens can be eaten raw or braised, and the root makes a tea with a earthy taste similar taste to coffee, reportedly good for the liver.

Fennel (Foniculum vulgare) Perennial Herbacous Shrub - Parsley Family
Cycles : Dies back to root in late fall and winter. New growth in late winter early spring, producing yellow flowers in spring and seeds in the summer and early fall.
Habitats : Disturbed hillsides, canyons, chaparral, creeks, roadsides, sidewalks,
Uses: The leaves are edible as early as possible, as well as the bulb, and the seeds are also edible, cleans teeth,

Loquat - (Eriobotrya japonica) - Perennial Tree - Rose Family
Cycles : Dormant in fall and flowering in winter, fruiting in early spring, new leaf growth in the summer
Habitats : medians, front lawns, empty lots, alleys, landscaping, parks
Uses : as a delicious fruit, dried or fresh, oten peeled, with a large seed that can be dried and roasted as a coffee substitute

Mallow (Malva pariflora) - Herbaceous Annual Mallow Family
Cycles : New growth in late winter early spring, producing producing purple flowers and pods
Habitats: disturbed soils, clay soils, empty lots, medians, farms, wildlands
Uses: in a salad, stir fried, in soups, colon cleansing and weight loss tea,

Stinging Nettle (Urticca spp.) Herbaceous Annual - Nettle Family
Cycles : Dies back in fall and winter, new growth after first winter rains in garden beds, creeks, canyons, forests,
Habitats: garden beds, creeks, canyons, forests, sidewalks, empty lots, alleys
Uses: Harvested carefully with gloves and tongs, cooked like spin

Loquat Lust

The only difference between love and lust is trust - ?

The moment the first flavor crystal of sweet nectar bursts in your mouth, a new fruit exists that you may have never noticed. One of the most ubiquitous trees of Los Angeles, yet also one of the most neglected Yes, they taste very uncannily similar to many others, yet unique. I can think of at least 5 fruits that bear resemblance to loquats; peaches, apricots, mangoes, apples and cherries. They have a wide range of flavors depending on variety, ripeness and various other factors such as water, sun and nutrients. They are one of the most forgiving of all edible fruit trees, needing little, being favored by few pests, the humble loquat produces copious amounts of fruit annually in medians, front yards, alleys, abandoned properties, public parks and even gas stations. They are a very useful trees, the leaves being used for medicinal purposes, fruit and seeds (used to make a coffee or tea sbstitute) have all been used by humans for hundreds and thousands of years, with significant improvements in the taste over the last 500 years. Here is a recipe and a slice of history via wikipedia and from the forthcoming book "Feral Culinarian": the mildly wild food book.

^ Raw Loquat Jam
< attributes : vegan, raw, local
< useful tools : vessel
< preparation time : 10 minutes

* loquats

Loquats are known to be of indigenous origin Asia, where they have been domesticated for over two thousand years. They thrive in a wide variety of conditions of climate, soil and light, and after being pollinated by insects, they produce a peachy colored fruit in late winter or early spring. The leaves are analgesic, antibacterial, antiemetic, antitussive, antiviral, astringent, diuretic and expectorant. Quite a resume for such a small fruit. The size ranges from 1 to 3 inches with at least one 1/2 inch pit.

Jam is a sweet pasty substance usually made from combining heat, sugar, fruit (with pectin) and preserved in jars. Most common sugar comes from politically unstable regions where farmers are watched by guards with guns and governments, murderous rebel groups take bribes from international agribusiness firms. Loquats are delicious with their naturally present sugar however, and not often commercially available. Many people regard them as ornamental trees and plant them on medians and front yards, unbeknownst to residents and locals. I suggest appreciating the fruit in it's own season and eating it as quickly as possible, because without sugar and pectin, this will not last more than a week or two. Try using what ever fruit is in season to make a raw jam, strawberries, raspberries and melons can often defy the seasons and grow year round in Southern California and other hot dry climates.

To make, remove the seed(s) and thin peel, then pulverize the flesh into small pieces. Keep the seeds for planting, or roast them on a fire, grind or mill and put the grounds in your coffee making device to make loquat coffee. Continue mashing the rest of the fruit and put it into a jar in a cold place. It is a fine compliment to smoothies, ice cream, yogurt, pies, cake, other pastries as well as salad dressings or salsa. Cut the flesh into quarters to dehydrate.