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may 2017 issue 005

gmos omg

Are the rumors true? Learn the impact gmos really have on our health.

zero waste

One woman, one jar, four years Singer shares what it’s like living zero waste.

the great honey debate

Is it ethical? Vegans and bee keepers start the great debate.   may 2017


table of contents feautures

gmos omg Are the rumors true? Learn the impact gmos really have on our health.

zero waste with lauren singer One woman, one jar, four years of trash. Lauren Singer shares what it’s like living zero waste.

the great honey debate We’ve determined the best plant-based meals and restaurants in the country, and it’s veggitastic.




Letters to the Editor


Letter from the Editor


Review of the Month


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contributers justin worland

lauren paul

Justin Worland is a New York-based writer for time covering energy and the environment.

garance dorÉ Garance Doré is a French photographer, illustrator and author, best known for her fashion blog.

Lauren Paul is a critically acclaimed journalist and photographer based in Portland, ME.

president & publisher Czarina Shartle EDITOR Czarina Shartle MANAGING EDITOR Hasan Altaf SENIOR EDITORS Betsy Morais EDITOR EMERITUS Lewis H. Lapham EDITOR at large Ellen Rosenbush art director Czarina Shartle deputy art director Sam Finn Cate-Gumpert web editor Joe Kloc associate directors Camille Bromley, Matthew Sherrill photo producer Jeanne M. Modderman assistant photo editor Julie Hau staff photographers Rebecca Hale, Mark Thiessen Digital Imaging: Christina Micek, Edward Samuel photo engineer Tom O’Brien photo coordinators Edward Benfield, Kaya Lee Berne, Elena Sheveiko editorial interns Gabriella Dunn, Emma Hitchcock, Kendrick McDonald, Natalie Simone Meade art intern Gregory Morrison contributng editors Ben Austen, Kevin Baker, Tom Bissell, Joshua Cohen, Thomas Frank, contributing artists Olive Ahyens, Lena Herzog, Aaron Huey, Samuel James, Steve Mumford, Richard Ross, Danijel Žeželj administration Veronica Kresse, Jeanne M. Modderman ADVERTISING SERVICE MANAGER Marisa Nakasone SALES REPRESENTATIVE Tauster Media Resources, Inc.

made with recycled paper


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letters to the editor

from the ground up After reading the article concerning beginning your garden from scratch I have started my own garden. Growing your own vegetables is both fun and rewarding. All you really need to get started is some decent soil and a few plants. But to be a really successful vegetable gardener — and to do it organically — you’ll need to understand what it takes to keep your plants healthy and vigorous. Your article inspired me to do some more extensive research.  “Feed the soil” is like a mantra for organic gardeners, and with good reason. In conventional chemical agriculture, crop plants are indeed “fed” directly using synthetic fertilizers.When taken to extremes, this kind of chemical force-feeding can gradually impoverish the soil. Although various fertilizers and mineral nutrients (agricultural lime, rock phosphate, greensand, etc.) should be added periodically to the organic garden, by far the most useful substance for building and maintaining a healthy, well-balanced soil is organic matter. You can add organic matter to your soil many different ways, such as compost, shredded leaves, animal manures or cover crops.  As organisms in the soil carry out the processes of decay and decomposition, they make these nutrients available to plants. I feel so much more in touch with where my food is coming from. When the crops finally grow I won’t need to think about organic versus local or the food miles I have accumulated. The whole process happens in my own backyard. I thought the writing in the article was superb! Well done!  Joe Quakenbush, MA shopping around The design in the last issue was excellent! I enjoyed the spread about farmer’s markets. The use of typography was witty and humorous. I hope to see more work like it in following issues. As for the content of the feature itself, I wish there was more in depth information. For most of us, there’s no better place to buy fruits and vegetables than at a farmers’ market. Period. The talk about high prices isn’t entirely unjustified, but it can be countered, and I’ll get to that in a minute. What’s inarguable is that farmers’

markets offer food of superior quality, help support smaller-scale farmers in an environment that’s more and more difficult for anyone not doing industrial-scale agriculture, and increase the amount of local food available to shoppers. All of this despite still-inadequate recognition and lack of government support. Then there’s “know your farmer, know your food.” When you buy directly from a farmer you’re supporting a local business — even a neighbor! And you have the opportunity to ask, “How are you growing this food?” Every farmer I’ve spoken to says —  not always in a thrilled tone — that the questions from shoppers never stop. But even if a vege table isn’t “certified organic,” you can still begin to develop your own standards for what makes sense and what doesn’t.The statistics were interesting but I wish they were more fleshed out. Either way, it was a lovely and informing article. Katherine Hughes, NY fishing for truth The piece on fisheries in the last article was an interesting take. The piece was extremely well written and the design complimented the subject matter perfectly. However, as a person heavily involved in the fishing industry, I have some complaints. The public perception of fisheries is that they are in crisis and have been for some time. Numerous scientific and popular articles have pointed to the failures of fisheries management that have caused this crisis. These are widely accepted to be overcapacity in fishing fleets, a failure to take the ecosystem effects of fishing into account, and a failure to enforce reductions in fishing effort on fishing fleets and communities. However, the claims of some analysts that there is an inevitable decline in the status of fisheries is, I believe, incorrect. There have been successes in fisheries management, and I argue that the tools for appropriate management exist. Unfortunately, they have not been implemented widely. I did feel at times like the word choice was a bit biased, but there was solid information backing it up. Keep up the good work. Liz Resnik, FL

seasonal eating The article in the last issue concerning eating strictly seasonal food was intriguing. It got me wondering about the balance between supporting the environment and quality of life. We have become so accustom to eating our avocados year round that we forget the seasons. We forget that nature intended certain food to be eaten together at certain times in certain climates. The arrival of beautiful spring weather is a great reminder of the importance of eating with the seasons for optimum health and wellness. The changing of the seasons provides us with the unique opportunity to buy a variety of fantastic foods that are only available during that season. Seasonal foods offer a natural diversity that we should take advantage of when eating holistically for both our health and the health of our planet. There is nothing better than eating a juicy organic summer peach, vine-ripe heirloom tomato, or sweet strawberry grown by a local farmer that you know by name.  Seasonal foods are picked at the peak of freshness and offer higher nutritional content than out of season unripe fruits and vegetables. When you eat with the seasons you can enjoy a rainbow of colorful and diverse foods in your diet as well as providing your body with a wide variety of important vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that you need to maintain vibrant health. But when, if ever is it okay to cheat? Are we allowed some form of luxury? Or is nature, in itself, providing a luxury for us? Jan K, CA   may 2017


Photo by Margaret Pandone

letter from the editor

quick thank you to all of those who gave us feedback on our previous issue. At Honey & Hen, we desire to bring you sustainable living in style. So many think that in order to go green, they must give up luxury. “Going green” doesn’t necessarily mean living as a hermit in the woods and surviving off of sticks and berries. Living sustainably is important now more than ever, considering the current poitical climate. The importance of consumer decision is stronger than ever. It is clear that government will not take action unless the people lead the way. Voting with your wallet (and your stomach) is key. Sustainability is a broad discipline, giving students and graduates insights into most aspects of the human world from business to technology to environment and the social sciences. The core skills with which a graduates leaves college or university are highly sought after, especially in a modern world looking to drastically reduce carbon emissions and discover and develop the technologies of the future. Sustainability draws on politics, economics and, philosophy and other social sciences as well as the hard sciences. Sustainability skills and environmental awareness is a priority in many corporate jobs at graduate level and over as businesses seek to adhere to new legislation. Therefore, Sustainability graduates will go into many fields but most commonly civic planning, environmental consultancy (built and natural environment), agriculture, not for profit, corporate strategies, health assessment and planning, and even into law and decision making. Entry-level jobs are have grown and over the coming years, bachelors graduates can expect more and more options and opportunities. Sustainability is one the newest degree subjects that attempts to bridge social science with civic engineering and environmental science with the technology of the future. When we hear the word “sustainability” we tend to think of renewable fuel sources, reducing carbon emissions, protecting environments and a way of keeping the delicate ecosystems of our planet in balance. In short, sustainability looks to protect our natural environment, human and ecological health, while driving innovation and not compromising our way of life. Living sustainably doesn’t have to mean giving up the finer things in life. I hope you enjoy the latest issue. We touch on topics from zero waste living to gmos and everything inbetween.

Czarina Shartle   may 2017






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by justin worland   may 2017


in a few years, you could be eating the next generation of genetically altered foods — potatoes that do not turn brown or soybeans with a healthier mix of fatty acids.And you may have no idea that something is different, because there may be no mention on the labeling even after a law passed by Congress last year to disclose genetically modified ingredients takes effect. A new generation of crops known as gene-edited rather than genetically modified is coming to the market. Created through new tools that snip and tweak dna at precise locations, they, at least for now, largely fall outside of current regulations.  Unlike older methods of engineering genes, these techniques, like Crispr, so far have generally not been used to add genes from other organisms into the plants. The federal Agriculture Department has asked companies to advise it of their plans. But once the companies submit data to show the agency that the gene edits do not introduce for-

the technology for a new variety of waxy corn, used most commonly not for food but for starch in adhesives. Scientists at Pennsylvania State University have used Crispr to create mushrooms that do not turn brown as quickly.  The current regulations were written for the earlier generation of genetically modified organisms, where scientists used bacteria and viruses — typically from plant pests — to drop a payload of new genes into the nuclei of the plant cells where they merge with the plant’s dna. That worked, but scientists could not controlwhere the new genes would be inserted, and that led to worries of potentially dangerous genetic disruptions or crossbreeding with non-gmo crops.  Companies like Calyxt have portrayed gene editing more like moving the cursor in a word processor to a particular location and making a small change to the text. Federal agencies have not yet said how they intend to regulate gene edited foods, and the incoming Trump administration, while criticizing overregulation in general, has not weighed in.  Other parts of the world are also considering whether to regulate gene-edited foods and how to do so. In Europe, where many countries have banned the cultivation of gmos, the European Commission has created a scientific panel to study the issue, with debate resuming this year.  Dr. Choulika said the inspiration for the October gathering was a dinner more than two centuries earlier, by Antoine-Augustin Parmentier, a French scientist who was enthralled with potatoes brought to Europe from South America. But many Europeans scorned the potato. France even outlawed the growing of potatoes in 1748. Largely because of Parmentier’s work, potatoes were declared to be safely edible in 1772, and the ban was lifted. Still, few wanted to eat them.  In 1778, Parmentier organized the first one, serving dishes all made with potatoes. Potatoes became a fixture in French cuisine.  With farmers harvesting the first substantial plantings of the Cellectis gene-edited potatoes and soybeans last year, Dr. Choulika thought of throwing a modern version of Parmentier’s gathering.  “This is the first dinner on Earth with gene edited foods,” Dr. Choulika said to the diners. “Things that you eat today, millions of people are

i thought we were supposed to wear jeans        genes eign genes from plant pests into the crops, the agency is giving businesses the green light.  Hundreds of acres of gene-edited crops have already been grown in several states, unencumbered by oversight or regulations. And a few people have eaten them already. “This is not Frankenfood,” said André Choulika, chief executive of Cellectis, one of the companies developing gene-edited crops.  In October, Cellectis hosted a dinner at Benoit New York, the Alain Ducasse Manhattan restaurant, and served dishes made from its gene-edited soybeans and potatoes. Guests included professors, journalists and celebrities like Neil Patrick Harris, the actor.  “I don’t even know what gene editing is,” Mr. Harris said. “I thought we were supposed to wear jeans!”  Calyxt, a subsidiary of Cellectis doing the gene -edited food, is also developing new versions of wheat including one with greater resistance to fungal diseases, another lower in carbohydrates and higher in dietary fibers.  Other companies also developing gene-edited crops including DuPont Pioneer, which has used


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going to eat during the 21st century, and this will not stop.” Food is a side business for Cellectis, which focuses on pharmaceuticals.  After some collaborations with big companies like Monsanto and DuPont Pioneer, Cellectis started Calyxt, to explore opportunities for using gene editing for foods.  Dr. Choulika said he considered gmos safe, but that the gene-editing techniques like those used by Calyxt would be more acceptable to consumers. Often in gmos, the inserted genes came from unrelated species, like the bacterial genes that were added to cotton so that it would exude a toxin to repel bollworms, a mixing of species known as transgenesis.  “There’s not this blockage of transgenesis that freaks out people for no reason,” he said. “I think it is a question of perception.”  Instead of using bacteria and viruses to burrow into a cell, gene-editing techniques — Calyxt uses one called Talen — create molecules that act as a template to match a specific segment of dna and then make a cut there. For the Calyxt soybeans, for example, the only change was to turn off two genes. “There is nothing taken out or added to the plant,” Dr. Choulika said. “It’s what nature would have produced.”  Those edits change the mix of fatty acids and perhaps make for a better cooking oil. “Better than olive oil,” Dr. Choulika said.  At the dinner, the soybeans were transformed into a several dishes including soy blinis, mini tofu and soy burgers, and soybean hummus. Carole Pourchet, director of the Lab, the research and development arm of Mr. Ducasse’s food enterprise, said the gene-edited soy cooked like normal soy, but that the potatoes were a little drier, leading to the idea to confit them to retain moisture.  The potatoes showed up in mashed potatoes, potato pie and blinis. “The dinner was maybe potatoes cooked 10 ways,” said Richard C. Mulligan, a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School who was one of the guests. Dr. Choulika worked as a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Mulligan’s laboratory two decades ago.  Federico Tripodi, chief executive of the Calyxt subsidiary, said the company hoped the soybeans would be used in cooking oil for commercial and industrial use by 2018.  The potatoes, edited to remain fresher longer and not produce carcinogens when fried, could be grown and sold in 2019. A second potato that

is slower to turn brown just got word from the usda that it, too, is not subject to regulation.  Gene editing is not being used only with plants. A Minnesota company, Recombinetics, is editing the genes of farm animals — for example, creating cattle without horns. Critics warned that the industry was repeating the same mistakes of gmos.  “We’ve never been against any of this technology,” said Michael K. Hansen, a senior staff scientist at Consumers Union. “We don’t say it’s inherently bad or these crops are inherently dangers. It’s just they raise safety issues, and there should be required safety assessments.”  While the gene-editing templates match a specific sequence, it is possible that the same sequence occurs elsewhere in the genome or they will match similar sequences, and the dna will be sliced in those places, too, with unknown consequences. “They make it sound very exact,”

Dr. Hansen said. “It will have off-target effects.”  Dr. Hansen said unregulated gene-edited crops could also create trade havoc if traces of them accidentally mixed into exports to countries that prohibited them.  Daniel Voytas, chief science officer of Calyxt who was one of the inventors of the Talen gene-editing technology, said the company had not checked the entire genomes of their plants, but did look for unintended changes within sections that were similar to the parts they were editing. “We didn’t find any,” he said.  Dr. Voytas said it would not be “a huge amount of work” to sequence the entire genome and that all of the data they presented was available on the usdas website.  A usda advisory board in November unanimously recommended that standards for organic foods exclude gene-edited crops even if they were grown

without chemical fertilizers and abided by the other strictures of organic farming.  Dr. Mulligan of Harvard said he was not sure that people would see much difference between gene-edited and genetically modified. “The objection that people have is a more visceral and vague objection to messing with dna,” he said. “It’s hard to see that the public would see the difference.” He admitted that he was more excited by the chef.  “The good thing with this is Ducasse is such a culinary artist,” Dr. Mulligan said. “He is really well known for being able to take anything and make it taste good.”  For Mr. Harris, the dinner provided a whirlwind introduction to biotechnology — “realities that I thought were theoreticals,” he said.   may 2017


an interview with lauren singer by garance dorÉ


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over the past few years, the fad of “green living” has been on the rise. Lauren Singer is not your average 25 year old. Well, on a surface level, she very much is — full of life, ambition, style, and kindness. The thing that sets herself apart from most others, is that she lives zero waste. And that’s no exaggeration. Outside of composting and last-resort recycling, all of the trash Lauren has produced in the last four years fits inside a 16 ounce mason jar, which is exactly where it lives — and not in a landfill.   may 2017


Lauren Singer photographed by Marlen Mueller.

Lauren’s blog, Trash is for Tossers, has evolved into both a lifestyle and a brand, empowering people to make choices in their own lives to reduce the amount of waste they create, and helping them make natural, conscious changes by producing toxic and waste free cleaning products under her company, The Simply Co. — which is the perfect name really, because upon talking to her, you realize her outlook, methods, and objective really are perfectly simple. We’re so happy to share this inspiring interview, and glimpses into Lauren’s zero waste home, with you today! In a few sentences, how would you describe the zero waste movement? Well I can’t speak for the whole movement but I can speak about my lifestyle! For me, it means not sending any trash to landfills, but I do recycle and I do compost, but I recycle as a last resort. It’s taking conscious steps to reduce your waste to hopefully zero.


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What was the catalyst that prompted your journey into zero waste? Was it a gradual shift or all at once? It was kind of a series of events! I studied environmental studies at NYU and was always really passionate about the environment and about sustainability. And then my junior year of college I became really passionate about fighting against the oil and gas industry, particularly hydrofracking because of all of the environmental and human rights associated with it. And then my senior year of college, there was a girl in this class who everyday would bring this big plastic bag full of food, a plastic container, plastic fork and knife, and then she would throw it all in the trash. It seemed like such a disconnect between what we were learning and what she was doing. Then one day after class I went home to make dinner, and I opened my refrigerator and I saw that every single thing in there was packaged in plastic. And I felt like a huge hypocrite. So I made a decision to stop using plastic. But at the same time, plastic is everywhere — I couldn’t go to CVS and buy all of my beauty products plastic-free all of a sudden. So I found that I had to actually start making a lot of products myself and I hadn’t done that before, and by researching how to make products I found out about the zero waste lifestyle and it sounded like the coolest thing I had ever heard of. It was so empowering. Realizing I didn’t have to make any trash at all, and having such a low environmental impact was so exciting to me, so I decided to try it out, and it’s been four years.   may 2017


fruit stickers clothing tags wrist bands


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Lauren’s local coffee shop using her reusable mug photographed by Daniel Curran. New York, NY. 2017

What has been the biggest challenge of living zero waste lifestyle? I get this question all the time! Honestly the hardest thing for me is trying to dispel these preconceived societal narratives. For instance the idea that sustainability is just for rich white people, which isn’t true at all. It’s something that’s really attainable for anyone regardless of where you come from. It’s just about knowing how to make those choices. And dispelling the narrative that you have to be a quintessential hippie to care about the environment. I’m trying to recreate these narratives — regardless of who you are, what you care about, what you do, who you’re voting for, we can all do things in our daily lives that impact the environment in a positive way. And in return, impact our wallets and health in a positive way.

Lauren Singer and four years worth of trash photographed by Sonja Georgevich. New York, NY. 2017

What about the most rewarding part? Living in alignment with my values, which I had never really considered before. When I looked at myself four years ago, I realized that while I cared about the environment, I wasn’t doing anything at all that aligned with that except talking about it. So the exercise of making adjustments to my everyday life was so fulfilling because I realized I was living in a way that was exactly what I believed in. You launched a brand called The Simply Co. which is a line of toxic free, sustainable cleaning and household products. Can you talk about this? Yes, I make organic laundry detergent, which is something I never thought I would be doing! But I had been making my own products at that point for 2 years — all my beauty and cleaning products — and I realized they worked and they were effective. At the time, right after college, I was working in engi-

neering for the city and I had my blog, and I got questions all the time about the products that I was making, so I started doing some research and found that while there were beauty products that were in line with my own, the same wasn’t true for cleaning products.  I also learned that in traditional cleaning products, there are over 85,000 industrial chemicals that are used and most of them aren’t even tested for safety before they’re released into the market. On top of that, in the US, cleaning product manufacturers aren’t legally required to disclose the ingredients on the product packaging so when we buy something like laundry detergent, we have no idea what’s actually in it. Companies have the ability to say “fragrance” and “perfume” in the ingredient list because those are considered trade secrets, but those could be upwards of 2,000 different chemicals. I decided to quit my job and start a company to sell these products that I knew worked and that I felt like we all deserved. It was 2 years ago that I launched my Kickstarter for the company. I thought I was going to have 100 people who backed the campaign so I was like “I can do this by hand!” By the end of 3 days, I had over 850 backers and over 1,000 jars of detergent preordered. I was sitting in my apartment hand grinding soap to make laundry detergent! From there it has become a fully integrated company. My products are manufactured in Ohio at a facility where it’s solar powered and super sustainable, it’s a dream! It’s been a really amazing process. You haven’t sent a single piece of trash to the landfill in over four years, yet you don’t fit into the stereotypical aesthetic of a “hippie” — can you talk about living zero waste while also thriving in a modern world? Yeah! I mean, I’m   may 2017


a 25 year old girl that lives in New York City, when you find something you really like it feels I want to go out and have fun, date, eat good food, like you’ve scored. I’ve also learned to be much and look and feel beautiful, but at the same more minimal and have really learned my body time I don’t want to have a negative environmental and I feel like your 20s are really about that time. impact and I want to live zero waste. I’ve found I’ve really learned through second hand shopping that neither have to be comwhat I feel good in, what makes me feel beautiful, promised, I can do both, and through that I’ve learned how to be really and it’s just about making selective when I’m shopping. I love asking myself, choices that are quite simple. “How does this make me feel? Does it go with Through doing things like everything in my closet?” swapping out a plastic toothbrush for a bamboo one, or How have your shopping habits changed since coming prepared with a mason you’ve gone zero waste? I spend a lot less jar, I’ve been able to be my money, because obviously second hand is a lot authentic self and a live less expensive. And then I save so much money sustainably. If you look at the on food because I go to the farmer’s market every things that constitute zero waste, like using wash Saturday. I used to spend $160 a week on food, clothes instead of paper towel, saying no to plastic and now I spend about $60 a week. Through that straws, neither of those things are hard, and alone I’ve saved over $20,000. Traditionally we’re once you incorporate those into your routine, it paying a premium for packaging, and anything has a really positive impact. that is packaged are things we don’t need — things that have preservatives with low nutrients and How does fashion fit into the idea of sustainhigh calories — things that aren’t good for us. By ability? When I started living this lifestyle removing the ability to buy packaged food, I’ve I stopped buying any new clothing, so I’ve been saved money and actually feel a lot better. shopping exclusively second hand for 4 years now, and it’s been the most eye opening thing ever. How has this lifestyle impacted your relaThere’s so much unneeded stuff out there that tionship to yourself? To the earth? To myself, people don’t want anymore, so they sell to a I think I’m just so much more self-aware now. second hand shop. So not only is it 90% cheaper I used to blame everyone else for the state of than if I were buying something new, but I’m also the world — politicians, and government and reusing something that would technically business, and it wasn’t until I stopped and be waste. looked at myself that I realized I had power to make a positive or negative impact, and I realized Is it challenging maintaining personal style I was making a negative one. That helped me within your zero waste lifestyle? Not at all! look at myself and really do things to change how And it’s cool because I feel like I’m hunting, and I was living. My relationship to the earth has always

My relationship to the earth has always been the same.

Lauren Singer photographed by Jonaki Guha. New York, NY. 2017


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Laundry detergent from Singer’s company The Simply Co. photographed by Jonaki Guha. New York, NY. 2017

organic vegan castille soap

essential oils

washing soda

baking soda

been the same. My drive for what I’m doing is exactly that relationship. To me, there’s nothing that makes me happier than seeing a really beautiful sunset or golden light on a tree. It’s so simple, and as humans we have no control over it, no dictation over how the sun sets, it’s just so beautiful and it makes me so happy. There’s no question that I would want to do everything I can to protect something that so selflessly gives everything to us for us to appreciate. What drives you to inform others about the zero waste lifestyle? The biggest reason that I talk about all of this is that four years ago I was a person who created a ton of trash that really cared about the environment and didn’t know that I had a choice. When I learned about zero waste it opened up my entire world to understand that I did have a choice, and that I could live in a way that was so much more sustainable and so much more in line with what I believed in. I thought there had to be so many other people that would love to learn about something like this and benefit from this knowledge because they want to do something and they just don’t know what. So for me, starting the blog allowed me to explain what I was doing in a way that was simple, palatable and attainable, and not pushy or preachy. It was just, “this is what I do, if you like it, here’s how I do it, and if not then that’s fine!” It’s just my drive to show people that there’s an option.

Do you feel like living zero waste is a bit extreme? What do you recommend to people who are inspired but can’t imagine going completely zero waste? I would never tell anyone how to live or what to be, I live this lifestyle because it’s what works for me, it’s what makes me happy. I don’t really care if someone thinks it’s extreme or doesn’t want to do it because I’m focusing on myself and my own impact, and I’m putting it out there for people to think about and reflect upon their own lives. If they’re not into it, there’s nothing I can do. If people don’t believe me or don’t think it’s possible, I’ll invite them over for a zero waste dinner or take them to the farmers market instead of isolating people because they’re not in agreement with me, I try to bring them in and invite them into seeing how a different world doesn’t mean it’s extreme or weird, it’s just different. Biggest piece of advice for someone wanting to reduce the amount of waste they produce? Well first, there’s no one good place to start. Just start! Do something that’s easy and approachable, and that will give you the confidence to try something else. You don’t have to do it all at once, it’s impossible to go zero waste in a day, it’s one thing at a time! Realize that every positive change is positive, and even by thinking about reducing waste, you’re already starting that process of having a positive impact.

 And then from there I have a few steps that I recommend to people. The first is to look in your trashcan and see what you’re throwing away because in order to reduce your waste you have to know what kind of waste you’re producing. For me it was learning how to compost, how to buy in bulk and shop at the farmers market, and learning how to make my own products. By identifying my main sources of trash and figuring out ways to remediate it — I reduced about 90% of my waste.And then there are simple, one time changes that have a large scale positive impact. So things like using a reusable bag at the market, saying no to single-use plastic straws, bringing your own fork, packing your own lunch, using reusable cloth instead of paper towels. I call this picking at the low hanging fruit, it’s the really simple things that can have a large and positive effect.  And then last, learning how to make your own products! At first it was challenging but once I made toothpaste that took 30 seconds, saved me 7 dollars, had no toxic chemicals and produced no trash I was in! It’s just one step at a time. Just start! Don’t get mad at yourself. Be consistent and think about the kind of world you want to live in and if the life you’re living is aligned with that or not. If it’s not, find ways you can live more in line with your values, because when you do it really improves your general overall feeling.   may 2017


restaurant reviews the best of farm to table in new york city

Blue Hill in Greenwich Village Halfway through dinner at Blue Hill, my server presented me with two squashes. One was the common football-size butternut that weighs down shopping bags at this time of year. The other had the same shape but was about as big as a sparrow. I held it in my palm. It felt good in there. Without thinking about what I was doing, I began petting it. The couple at the next table asked if they could see my tiny squash, and I let them stroke its smooth, cool skin. Before things got too weird, our server took my pet squash back to the kitchen. When it came back, it had been roasted and cut in half. Specks of white pepper and strands of grated chestnut lay against its dark orange insides. It was sweeter than a normal butternut, but what I mostly noticed was that it tasted squashier, as if all the flavor had been compressed. Selective breeding was responsible, our server explained. Dan Barber, Blue Hill’s executive chef and a co-owner with his brother, David, had asked a Cornell agriculture professor to design a squash for him, making it as small and tasty as possible. The result is the 898 squash, served exclusively at Mr. Barber’s two restaurants, Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, N.Y., and this one, just off Washington Square Park.  Mr. Barber opened the one in Manhattan first, in 2000, with the idea of using local seasonal produce, including some from his family’s farm in the Berkshires. This put him in the company of, oh, several hundred other chefs. A few years later, though, he was chosen to lead an ambitious


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project at Stone Barns that combined a farm and a restaurant with research and education programs.  It turned out that he was born for the job. Patient, intense, curious, enthusiastic, articulate, Mr. Barber has become a dirt poet and kitchen philosopher whose time outside with the pigs and the beans has had a deep, lasting effect on the way he cooks. Today no other chef has the information he keeps in his head (how to make pure carbon out of a cow’s femur) or the vegetables he puts in his ovens (sparrow-size squash).  To get the Full Barber, you have to go to Stone Barns for a $198 menu-free, open-ended meal that may include, if you’re lucky, a tour of the manure shed where hot compost is put to work as cooking fuel. The original Blue Hill sits in the English basement of a townhouse in Greenwich Village, this historically tolerant neighborhood tolerance does not extend to manure sheds. The city doesn’t afford the time or space for the leisurely unfurling of Mr. Barber’s complete vision of how our appetites should fit into the land and the climate. The low ceilinged space is too much like a saloon, the tables too close together, the restaurant’s many ardent admirers too accustomed to treating it as a place to catch up over an excellent dinner.

Mas (farmhouse) in West Village Too many restaurants start off like gangbusters, only to sag into a sour, cynical middle age while they’re still young. Once they’ve made their first impression, they focus mainly on making money. In lumbering lock step, the Champagne flutes and the servers lose their sparkle.  Not at Mas. You could walk in tonight and be convinced you’d stumbled across a restaurant that just threw open its doors. I’m not just supposing. I’m recounting the reactions of friends I toted there over recent weeks.  “How old is this place?” they’d ask.  “About four,” I’d answer.  “Weeks or months?” they’d press.  “Oh, years,” I’d correct, at which point I could sense them going through a mental checklist of things that didn’t compute.  It was and it is, but there are restaurants with every bit as much vim and vanity after years on the scene as they had when they unveiled themselves, and Mas is a great example.  It’s an example, too, of the favors that age can bestow on a restaurant, or rather the way a restaurant can use age to its advantage. In growing older Mas has indeed grown wiser. Its talented chef, Galen Zamarra, is making better decisions and his kitchen operates with more discipline than in 2004, when I gave the restaurant one star.  Mas has also grown bigger, to 55 seats from about 40, thanks to a room in the back that was added in December. Fans of the restaurant’s original look needn’t worry. That room, opening

off a rear corner of the main dining area, isn’t visible to most of the rest of the restaurant, which is still bordered by a sleek creamy gray banquette with throw pillows. The atmosphere remains at once cool, cozy and — in a front lounge with a bar of stacked stones and tree-stump stools —  somewhat whimsical.  The restaurant’s name is a Provençal word for farmhouse, and that not only explains some of the decorative conceits but also sets up a menu with French influences and an earnest emphasis on seasonal fare.  It’s printed on small, matte ecru sheets held together with twine, and its length is restrained: maybe six or seven appetizers, maybe eight or nine main courses, balanced judiciously among vegetarian, fish and meat options.  Dishes are expensive — on one recent menu, à la carte entrees ranged from $34 (for mushroom and pumpkin ravioli) to $36 (for scallops with crab meat) — but they’re intricately wrought, with flourishes aplenty. (A four-course prix fixe, for $68, is the smarter way to go.)  I was even more smitten with an entree of housemade sausages of ground pork (shoulder, neck), red wine, onion, brioche, mustard and sauerkraut. They were sculptured into — and tasted like — a trio of meat loaves, but meat loaves are seldom this piggy, juicy, tangy and just plain cute. They had company, of course: red cabbage braised in apple cider, roasted cauliflower florets. Mas is the anti-Craft, choosing the sides and usually choosing several.

The Fat Radish on Orchard Street There are two ways to look at the Fat Radish, which opened spare and loftlike on lower Orchard Street a few months ago.  One is that it’s a smart little joint out of a Jamie Oliver photo shoot, a restaurant where almost everyone’s attractive, the cooking is good, the bill isn’t crazy, and you’d be a regular if you could. All are welcome, and the fries cooked in duck fat are superb.  The other is that it’s a restaurant for good-looking youngsters on their third jobs and second apartments, single and raging, with summertime Montauk shares and memories of Belize and Gstaad. It’s nice, but not precisely for everyone.  How you see it depends, as always, on who you are. Restaurants are tribal, above all else. The menu at the Fat Radish is British after a fashion, rustic at that, lighter than its promise, often more flavorful. The dining room is beautiful and airy, a space that might have been a sweatshop once but now belongs to art directors. (Really, it was a sausage factory.) Old plaster and hand-lettered signs are still visible on the bare brick walls, a city’s palimpsest.  The entrance is through a chill and empty coffee bar that serves as a foyer. Coats hang on the wall in the hallway, as in a pub, and the dining room opens beyond them, wide and welcoming to those with narrow hips and no complaints about perching on benches or stools for dinner.

 A salad of sweet carrots tossed with hijiki and crisp kale (the seaweed and winter green combining almost as if one were bacon and the other not, or vice versa) was a delight one night, especially alongside an English High Street marvel of pork pie studded with melting blue cheese. Sweet squash given the onion ring treatment had enormous charm and flavor, fried food for the yoga set. And if that celery root potpie could have used, say, a half-pound of ground beef amid the virtuous starch, at least it tasted sweet and buttery beneath its flaky crust. Vegetarians, if not vegans, could love it hard.  The Fat Radish is a pleasant and pleasing restaurant for all this, however: a handsome young golden Labrador, camera-ready, hard not to like. To sit in its dining room as light plays off the huge mirror in back, candles flickering everywhere, eating rillettes and drinking wine, is to experience a small part of the New York that leads people here inexorably and always will. They get jobs and meet people at parties where they don’t know the host, start flirting with someone and end up talking about whether to go to dinner at the Fat Radish on Saturday night. Cue Sondheim: “Do I pick you up or do I meet you there or shall we let it go?”   may 2017


june 2017 issue 006

ditching the florist Learn the secrets to mess free compost. You don’t have to be a farmer to compost!

best vegan eats

We’ve tracked down the best vegan restaurants in the us and it’s veggitastic.

sustainable design

An interview with the most creative sustainable designers in America.


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Honey & Hen Magazine  

Luxury Sustainability Magazine

Honey & Hen Magazine  

Luxury Sustainability Magazine