These spandas are the primordial vibration of all that is. Our universe was created by their vibration. This vibration and spiral formation is in everything: from the double helix found in our DNA, to your thumbprint, to bird migration patterns, the seasons cycling, the planets revolving, and the ultimate spiral of the universe. Education Coordinator
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and weaved together in the same pulse/vibration—ancient yogis turned inward to understand the meaning of life and the universe at large. Yogis viewed the body as a microcosm of the macrocosm and through contemplative and experiential practices, discovered the Self. The Self in the Vedas and Upanishads is often symbolized by fire (agni). When your fire burns bright, your body and mind thrive, your prana or energy flows, and your spirit shines. Our Shine issue has tons of articles about fire. In this issue, you will learn about safer alternatives to fireworks, fireflies and bioluminescence, the fire of fighting social injustices and racism in the food system, all the while illuminating the fire within by balancing your body’s subtle energy. Life is fire. From the fire that moves you to love and to fight, and the fire that emerged in the initial sparks of creation burning brightly in the sun. That fire swirls in and around us igniting our paths. So, the next time you feel your inner fire dwindling or that life is spiraling out of control, remember the ancient yogis and try spiraling inward, examine the self, and remember what inspires you—ignite your flame and Shine.
In the Vedas and Upanishads, ancient Hindu texts, the universe is described as a manifestation of prana (the energy of consciousness) or as Obi Wan Kenobi would describe it “the Force.” Prana moves through space and time as spandas (swirling spirals of energy).
Honest Weight Food Co-op is a member- ecologically sustainable ways of living. owned and -operated consumer Honest weight is open to the public, cooperative that is committed seven days a week. The Coop to providing the community Scoop is produced bimonthly with affordable, high by our Education Department quality natural foods and and offered free of charge products for healthy living. as part of our mission. Our mission is to promote to view online, Please visit more equitable, participatory, and www.honestweight.coop/coopscoop.
Contributors Associate EDITOR Ben Goldberg is retired from a 40+ year career in behavioral health care in the non-profit sector. He is currently an active volunteer and a freelance writer and editor.
Assistant EDITOR Tara Herrick Brown, M.S. is a holistic health practitioner at Elevate Albany Wellness on Albany Shaker Road and has offered Resonance Repatterning® sessions at the Co-op. To learn more about Brown and her practice, INUR Wellness, LLC, please visit www.inur.com Carol Reid is a retired cataloger at the New York State Library, where she worked for over 35 years. She has edited newsletters on librarianship, intellectual freedom, and social responsibilities, done scads of proofreading in her time, and maintained a 10-year blog called “Typo of the Day for Librarians.” A total nitpicking word nerd, Carol has been a member of Honest Weight since the 1980s.
Donna Eastman, Ellen Falls,
Bonnie Betz, Julie Harrell
Pat Sahruaq, Ben Goldberg, Colie Collen, Brandon Costelloe-Kuehn, Tara Herrick Brown, Karla Guerreri, Rebecca Angel Maxwell, Sarah Goldberg
Advertise with us! Contact: Kim Morton (518) 330-3262 firstname.lastname@example.org Printed with soy ink on recycled paper in Albany, NY
Cover Artist: David Iplioni David Iplioni has been a visual artist for as long as he can remember. As a child, Iplioni would recreate his favorite cartoons and comics in sketches and drawings, and as he matured, his skills developed into a professional career as a graphic artist. His paintings strive to create oneness through artistic universal vision referencing nature, Rastafarian culture, sacred geometry, planets, and the cosmos. Iplioni finds that art can heal us, inspire us, and alter our brain chemistry, which can lead to an elevated state of consciousness, well-being, and better emotional health. He says, "This is our path, as visionaries, as artists, as manifesters of spirit to tune into the highest vibration." While he loves creating original and custom paintings, envisioning and bringing to life murals, logos, and tattoo designs are also a passion of his. His work has a strong following in the U.S., as well as internationally having sold original art to such countries as Trinidad, Norway, and Australia! Iplioni currently lives in Upstate New York where he can be found toiling away at his next masterpiece. His paintings are currently on display in the Art Gallery at Honest Weight Food Co-op.
ISSN 2473-6155 (print) ISSN 2473-6163 (online) The Coop Scoop is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing medical or health advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider. We are not responsible for errors or omissions. Honest Weight is not responsible for, and does not necessarily agree with, our guest writers' articles.
SHINE 2 LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
by Suzanne Martin
5 PRODUCER PROFILES by Pat Sahruaq
7 HONEST WEIGHT REACHES OUT by Ben Goldberg
9 ANYTIME IS PICNIC TIME by Colie Collen
12 SOULFIRE FARM: FIGHTING FOR FOOD JUSTICE by Brandon Costelloe Kuehn
15 FIREFLY FUNDAMENTALS by Ben Goldberg
16 SAFER ALTERNATIVES TO FIREWORKS by Ben Goldberg
17 ENERGY MEDICINE by Tara Herrick Brown
19 HEALTHY SKIN CARE by Karla Guerreri
21 CREATIVITY FOR ALL by Rebecca Angel Maxwell
22 CO-OP KIDS: TRAPPIST 1, THE NEWLY DISCOVERED PLANET by Sarah Goldberg
by Pat Sahruaq
We truly value the small businesses and dedicated individuals who work hard to create the exceptional goods and products we carry here at Honest Weight Food Co-op. We think these inspirational stories demonstrate the importance of supporting local businesses, and why we’re so committed to it!
FOUND IN OUR GROCERY DEPARTMENT.
So many cleaning products on the market today are chemical concoctions that wreak havoc on both the environment and human health. Even those cleaners that are touted as eco-friendly contain potentially hazardous ingredients. Tidy Thyme cleaning products, developed by Michelle Boyle of Altamont, New York, are a refreshing departure from these false "greenies." At an early age, Boyle was inspired by the work ethic of her parents and by the support of her surrogate grandmother and childhood caretaker, Alice. Boyle’s husband’s chemical sensitivities were the catalyst for educating herself on the chemicals in cleaning products and their effects, and the recognition that environmental toxins can lead to disease. Alice’s battle with cancer and her ultimate death was also an inspiration for wanting to make a difference—"Do something about it!"
own basic plant-based cleaning solutions, and by 2008 she was using and testing these solutions in her professional cleaning business, Green Genies. In 2014 Boyle introduced her Multi-Purpose Cleaner at Honest Weight. Today four additional Tidy Thyme products are on the shelf at the co-op: Glass and Stainless Steel Cleaner, Room & Linen Spray, Yoga Mat Cleaner, and Scrubbing Powder. All these products are crafted in small batches in Boyle’s home, and all are made from 100 percent natural ingredients, such as lemons, vinegar, and essential oils. In Boyle's words, Tidy Thyme products are for "conscious, compassionate consumers who don't want to poison themselves, their families, or the planet.” Visit www.tidythyme.com for more information.
As a result, Boyle began to experiment with making her
FARM to TABLE
Dining, CSAs, Markets
Visit us online! knowwhereyourfoodcomesfrom.com JULY/AUGUST 2017
AQUA VITEA KOMBUCHA At the co-op, in the area between the produce and bulk departments, you will find the kombucha fountain. It is one of the store's most popular browsing spots; there is almost always someone sipping samples of the six available flavors: BlueBernie, Ginger, Hibiscus Ginger Lime, Turmeric Sunrise, Strawberry Sage, or Blood Orange. What is this unusual drink, and why do so many people want to try it? As explained on the Aqua ViTea website, kombucha is “…an authentic, raw probiotic drink that has been revered for centuries around the world for its life-enhancing qualities. It’s made from tea, water, sugar, and a symbiotic culture of yeast and bacteria. During fermentation, the sugar and tea nutrients convert into vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and organic acids.” The result of this fermentation process is a healthful beverage that “is refreshingly fizzy, non-alcoholic, and good for your gut." Jeff Weaber is the creator of Aqua ViTea, now located in Middlebury, Vermont. 6
FOUND IN OUR BULK DEPARTMENT.
Weaber learned the craft of brewing and fermentation while working for the Lucky Labrador Brewing Co. in Portland, Oregon. Eventually he was introduced to kombucha through Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions Cookbook and the Weston Price Foundation, an organization focused on health, nutrition, and traditional foods. In 2005 Weaber and his wife, Dr. Katina Martin, who holds degrees in naturopathy, midwifery, and acupuncture, moved to Vermont where he began producing his own brand of kombucha and sharing it with his friends. The more he learned about the health benefits of this drink, the more determined he became to make it available to the wider community. In 2005, Weaber and Martin established Natural Family Health, and Weaber started what would become Aqua ViTea, the combination of which allows Weaber and Martin to work as partners to educate people about "bringing their lives into healthy balance." In
Weaber focuses on producing authentic kombucha that is not only unpasteurized and undiluted, but non-alcoholic as well. He does so through the combination of ancient traditions, modern techniques, and precise scientific testing methods. Additionally, as a responsible business owner, he continually evaluates the impact of his business decisions on the environment and on his community. For more information about this producer, go to www.aquavitea.com.
Pat Sahruaq has been a member of the Co-op since 2005. She contributes to the Coop Scoop as the writer of the Producer Profiles. Sahruaq says, “It’s a pleasure being part of the Honest Weight family, and I’ve especially enjoyed communicating with the various producers whose products are sold at COOP SCOOP
Honest Weight Reaches Out
Extending HWFC's mission of people, planet, profit with Outreach Coordinator, Amy Ellis. The Honest Weight Food Co-op Mission Statement and the Co-op Statements of Conscience include the following: •Our mission is to promote more equitable, participatory, and ecologically sustainable ways of living; •We are committed to helping our community learn more about growing, choosing, preparing, and using natural foods; •We are committed to learning and teaching about alternative ways of living that are healthy for ourselves, our community, and our planet; •We are committed to donating five percent (5%) of our net profits per year to local nonprofit organizations. When Outreach Coordinator Amy Ellis is asked about the role and function of the Honest Weight Outreach department, she responds without hesitation:
“The outreach function is one of the major ways that the co-op carries out its mission. Along with our education program, outreach is what turns the Mission Statement and Statements of Conscience from a group of noble ideas and good intensions to a living, breathing set of actions. It’s where the Mission is operationalized and continually realized, and the bottom line is about sharing with and giving back to the community.” Outreach activities are primarily focused on healthy and locally sourced food, food preparation and cooking, and healthy eating, within the context of a vital, nurturing, and sustainable environment. The Outreach Department conducts presentations and supports enrichment activities at schools, libraries, senior residential programs, businesses and nonprofit groups, and at a wide variety of community activities and initiatives, such as health and wellness fairs. It is also through the Outreach Department that the co-op makes food and modest monetary donations to worthy causes and local organizations. While there are many repeat requests from organizations for outreach JULY/AUGUST 2017
participation, there are also many new organizations requesting presentations or activities all the time. Ellis joined the co-op in 2009, worked in the Wellness Department each week until she was hired as the Outreach Coordinator in 2010. She is the only employee doing outreach. However, the department requires the assistance of 15 to 20 member-owners in order to fulfill the outreach function, and without whom outreach would be much more limited. Ellis says, “We are typically inundated with requests from the community, with requests coming from a wide range of organizations, and geographically not just from Albany city and county. Outreach representatives are routinely out doing activities in the community at least two to three days each week. Typically we’re scheduled three to six weeks ahead with community activities.” Ellis says, “Just one of the reasons I love what I do is because it’s always different. Even when we present at organizations where we’ve been before, there are always new people participating. The organization, such as the school or senior residence, may be a repeat, but the participants are always changing. It’s particularly exciting when we do an activity at a school for one class and then we get multiple requests from other teachers in that school system. It’s like a positive contagion!” One important dimension of the outreach function is to help the community learn about the co-op itself, about cooperative business functions, and to help dispel some common myths about the co-op—that we’re not open to the public or that the prices at the co-op are prohibitive 7
Bring in your reusable bags when you shop at the Co-op and receive five cents to put towards a local non-profit. Recipients change quarterly and are eligible if their mission aligns with that of Honest Weight Food Co-op. In the second quarter of 2017, the Enviro Tokens program at Honest Weight will benefit the following 501(c)3 organizations:
an independent organization funded and driven by concerned individuals. Their vision is clean, swimmable waters, a Hudson River teeming with life, and safe and abundant drinking water supplies. riverkeeper.org
U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants: U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants advances the rights and lives of those who have been forcibly or voluntarily uprooted. For 100+ years, the unwavering commitment of oitsleadership, team, network of service providers, and advocates has helped redirect the destiny of countless vulnerable lives. refugees.org
Girls on the Run Capital District: inspires girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. girlsontherun.org
Out of the Pits:
provides adoption and spay/ neuter services along with community-based educational programs like therapy dog training, public education clinics and Elementary and Secondary School workshops. They provide owners with counseling and specialize in offering shelter outreach. outofthepits.org
Albany Bike Rescue:
provides a community for the exchange of bicycle maintenance and repair skills and to make cycling accessible to people in the Albany NY area by the re-use or recycling of donated bicycles, bicycle parts and accessories. albanybikerescue.org 8
for most people.” Ellis says, “The community should understand that Honest Weight is as open to the public as any other supermarket is, and that, between sale items, coupons, and a variety of other community-responsive types of discounts—such as Co-op Basics, the Senior Citizen Discount Program, and Student days—the co-op is an affordable place to shop for healthy, locally-sourced food.” The co-op’s Ready, Set, Grow! Program offers cooking and nutrition education to local schools, libraries, and various other community-based organizations.
These activities are in close alignment with the co-op’s mission to promote more ecologically sustainable ways of living and its commitment to helping the community to learn more about growing and preparing natural foods, and about alternative ways of living that are healthy for ourselves, our community, and our planet. In addition to the routine activities at schools and other organizations during the school year, the Outreach Department devotes most of the summer to activities with children and teens. This year, for example, outreach is partnering with the Albany Library system, doing youthbased food and healthy eating programming at all Albany Library branches, and venturing out to other Upper Hudson Library System libraries throughout the Capital region, such as those in Stephentown and Voorheesville, as well as to college-aged groups. Ellis says, “What the kids of all ages enjoy most are hands-on activities and learning about food and healthy eating by making food they and their friends can then eat. Heads, hands, hearts, and stomachs. Can’t beat it!” One of the most unique and popular outreach activities is the food, film, and discussion series, Food for Thought at the Linda, which Honest Weight has co-sponsored with WAMC (listener-sponsored) public radio for more than ten years. Special thanks to Amy Ellis and all the member-owners that help bring Honest Weight Food Co-op's mission to life in our local community and beyond!
Any Time is Picnic Time
Picnicking hot spots in the Capital Region.
by Colie Collen
“A picnic is more than eating a meal, it is a pleasurable state of mind.” DeeDee Stovel, Picnic: 125 Recipes with 29 Seasonal Menus
photo by Rob Bye
There’s something about eating outside, with all its small associated challengesblustery winds, sudden rain, blistering sun, and marauding bugs that heightens the senses. Most of us would probably agree that WHERE TO GO all food tastes better with sun on your nose Some easy local spots for dining al fresco: and a soft breeze aerating the wine. Albany’s Washington Park
Be conscious of ticks. Their populations are soaring this year, and so is the spread of Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses. Wear long pants tucked into socks, long sleeves, and pale clothing, if possible, to be better able to spot the little buggers.
Unveiling containers of salads and snacks, watching clouds roll past, listening to the stories of friends or the sound of the crickets and birds—a simple change in routine and environment helps us to become a little more present, relaxed, and a little less habitual. Picnics are like brief vacations from “normal life,” less tactically challenging than camping but more involved than dinner and a movie, and they provide a chance to connect with friends or family in a low-key, local, inexpensive way. So lather on the sunscreen, grab some checked gingham, and may these suggestions inspire your season’s explorations. An important cautionary note: JULY/AUGUST 2017
Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted (co-designer of New York’s Central Park and Golden Gate Park in San Francisco), our own Washington Park is a serious jewel. In spring, all the trees are a-flower and people are out to admire the waves of tulips. Sit by the Moses statue for a more regal, cultivated experience, near the dog park for some laughs (just don’t sit on the ground in the dog park!), or trek around to find a spot beneath the willows. You don’t even have to plan your meal. Stop by Berben & Wolff’s on Lark Street for delicious vegan fare, grab sushi at Shogun on Madison Ave, or better yet, swing past the co-op for salads and snacks. Those are just a few of the many, many options in that neighborhood. In summertime, bring your dinner to the Park Playhouse amphitheater for free quality 9
entertainment. This year they’re showing Ragtime.
Riverside Park in Troy
Like Washington Park, this is an easy one. On a nice afternoon, you can plan a picnic in two seconds by grabbing some food from any of the delicious spots on or near River Street (Beirut, the Placid Baker, or Tara’s Kitchen, to name a few) and plopping yourself down by the river. The architecture of the park makes it easy to sit out without blankets or chairs, and there are water jets in which the young-at-heart can run amok. While you won’t experience much wild nature here, it is lovely to watch the Hudson roll by. Be aware: In summer, lots of public events happen here, so be prepared for an impromptu party.
A sweet spot just outside of Cohoes, Peebles is positioned where the Hudson and Mohawk rivers meet. The park offers scenic views, good bird and even eagle watching from the cliffs, and lots of trails for walking and running. Set up shop in a picnic area, with tables and grills, or find your own hilltop to put a blanket on. It is water, water everywhere, but no swimming allowed—the currents are dangerous, so enjoy watching waterfalls, but please don’t go chasing them. Also note: Peebles can be a bit crowded on the weekends, though there’s room for all within a short walk. It’s also a really great spot for pups on-leash.
If you have lived in this area for a while, you are likely familiar with the escarpment overlook at Thacher Park. It is about a half hour’s drive from Center Square. And get this: it’s at the edge of what was once a prehistoric ocean, hence the breathtaking views. The Indian Ladder trail is Thacher’s claim to fame, but there are 25 miles of other trails in the park, and a bunch of picnic-friendly amenities, like tables, grills, volleyball nets, and playgrounds. They also just built a pretty fancy new Visitors Center, with interactive exhibits about the geology, ecology, and history of the park. Pack comestibles for the whole day to make the most out of the trip, and don’t forget to wear sunscreen.
Petersburg Pass, the Taconic Crest Trail, and the Snow Hole Y LL ! CA TED
LO OAS R
NUTS, SEEDS, GRANOLA, DRIED FRUIT, TRAIL MIX, NUT BUTTER, CHOCOLATE AND COFFEE. CHECK OUT OUR SALES IN THE BULK DEPARTMENT!
East of Troy, toward Williamstown, Massachusetts on Route 2, there is a generally quiet and always beautiful hiking area owned by Williams College. If you’re heading eastward, the parking area will be on your right, and you can hike south from there toward Berlin Mountain, or cross the street to head north, toward the Snow Hole. The trail is a bit steep at first, but as soon as you come to the top there is a vista with a view west toward the Hudson. It’s a perfect spot to stop for a picnic. Hike up for sunset, or get there earlier and keep hiking all the way to the Snow Hole, a small crevasse less than three miles from the trailhead, which is icy and cool all year long.
Down in the fertile hills of Ghent on Route 22, sculpture park Art OMI occupies 300 acres of open land, and is free and open to the public every day during daylight hours. Picnic tables are scattered through the sculpture park, which has unpaved paths running through it. Some sculptures are right by the path, while others are tucked away in the woods, so budget a full day’s exploration to get the most out of the space. OMI is an opportunity to pack something beautiful and really enjoy the full picnic experience. Just a 40-minute drive from Albany.
OTHER IDEAS A little weird, perhaps, but easy and fun!
In conclusion, I hope you know that you can have a picnic anywhere, anytime. It doesn’t require an ice bucket or perfect checked blanket but it does require just a tiny bit of ingenuity and forethought.
Local rural cemeteries
Hear me out, though this may sound creepy at first Albany Rural Cemetery in Menands is the most beautiful, peaceful place in the whole Capital District and the scenic Saint Agnes cemetery is close by as well with its large and magnificent angel statuary. Oakwood Cemetery in Troy is a close second (or third). These huge tracts of land (Albany Rural is over 400 acres!) were set aside as resting places for the dead, of course, but also as peaceful parks for visitors to stroll, bird watch, and contemplate. The trees are monumental, given so much room to spread their branches, the perennial plantings are lush and welltended, and rushing brooks cut deep ravines through the acreage. So many animals live in these spaces, they are almost like conservation areas. I’ve always been tempted to lay out a blanket and bring a picnic, and this year I swear I will.
PACK YOURSELF A TOTE BAG THAT’S PICNIC-READY WITH EACH OF THESE: Sunscreen & sun hat Bug spray Forks, knives, & spoons Small cutting board CCK (a.k.a. Common Condiments Kit) which might include travel salt & pepper, a small bottle of hot sauce, or whatever you love A few small Mason jars to drink from Cloth napkins Corkscrew & bottle opener
Here comes summer! Local drive-in movie theaters are open on weekends and some are open every night for blockbuster double features under the stars. Even if you don’t care about the mostly terrible movies they’re playing, it is thoroughly enjoyable to bring a meal and drinks, lay a blanket and chairs out on the grass, and pretend that it’s 1960, but only in the good ways.
Tick-removal tool & band-aids, just in case.
Your own rooftop
too much of a to-do.
If you have access, why not bring supper out to the roof? It’s just enough of a challenge to feel novel, plus you get a whole different view of the neighborhood. As Carole King sings, “Right smack dab in the middle of town, I’ve found a paradise that’s trouble proof, up on the roof.” Bring a blanket—roofs are often surprisingly dirty— and be careful, of course.
HONEST WEIGHT HAS FREE NUTRITION & COOKING CLASSES! Register online to reserve your spot at:
www.hwfc.eventbrite.com JULY/AUGUST 2017
Whenever you get the itch in that particular way and the sun is shining (or even not shining). Grab your ready tote and head out the door at a moment’s notice without
Colie Collen member of the Co-op for nine years and counting, was formerly Honest Weight's Education Coordinator. Now, she grows flowers and makes bouguets for her budiness, Flower Scout, which nyou can find online at www.flower-scout.com.
Salmon + Cymbalta: breakthrough nutritional strategies to address anxeity and stress Sat, 7/1, Teaching Kitchen, 1-3:30 pm
KIDS COOKING: cooling down in summer Wed, 7/5, Teaching Kitchen, 3-4:30pm
Picnic recipes with chef ricardo Fri, 7/9, Teaching Kitchen, 2-3:30 pm
FOOD AS MEDICINE: "YOU ARE WHAT YOU'VE EATEN" Fri, 7/7, Teaching Kitchen, 12-2 pm
gut health & healing from chronic illness Tues, 7/11, Teaching Kitchen, 6-8 pm
fermenting 101 Mon, 7/31, Teaching Kitchen, 6-8 pm
Soul Fire Farm:
Fighting for Food Justice
by Brandon Costelloe-Kuehn
Soul Fire Farm is commited to ending racism and injustice in the food system. Here's how.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines a “food desert” as a “low-income census tract where either a substantial number or share of residents have low access to a supermarket or large grocery store” (USDA 2016).1 Leah Penniman, who cofounded Soul Fire Farm (SFF) with her partner Jonah Vitale-Wolff in 2011, rejects the term because deserts are natural phenomena, and there is nothing natural about racism in the food system. Penniman talks of “food apartheid,” a phrase that alludes to the structural and systemic causes of food injustice. Her perspective is reminiscent of Ta-Nehesi Coates’ claim that “racism is rendered as the innocent daughter of Mother Nature, and one is left to deplore the Middle Passage or the Trail of Tears the way
one deplores an earthquake, a tornado, or any other phenomenon that can be cast as beyond the handiwork of men” (Coates 2015, 7).2 Penniman sees food apartheid as something actively created and continuously re-created. This can be hard to acknowledge, but starting with this recognition opens up many paths to the development of a completely different food system. SFF’s mission is ambitious: to end racism and injustice in the food system. In their own words they, “raise life-giving food and act in solidarity with people marginalized by food apartheid. With deep reverence for the land and wisdom of our ancestors, we work to reclaim our collective right to belong to the earth and to have agency in the food system. We bring diverse communities together on this healing land to share skills on sustainable agriculture, natural building, spiritual activism, health and environmental justice. We are training the next generation of activist-farmers and strengthening the movements for food sovereignty and community selfdetermination".3
SFF, located in Petersburgh, New York, originally started out as a family farm. Penniman and Vitale-Wolff knew they wanted to grow healthy food for their neighbors. As they grew fruits and vegetables, they were also growing a community of passionate and dedicated advocates for food justice and they began offering workshops that have grown into impressive annual series. In addition to running a robust Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, SFF offers a Restorative Justice Youth Training, which provides an empowering alternative to incarceration. They run a Black and Latinx Farmers Immersion, aiming to reverse the destructive decline of landowning Black farmers (coming up July 24-29). Their Freedom Food Alliance uses food as a tool for criminal justice reform, and an Agroecology Knowledge Exchange initiative connects SFF with indigenous farmers in Mexico and Haiti. SFF will also be offering an Uprooting Racism Immersion, activist retreats, and public speaking and training. (Please see the website for event dates.) Their food justice and sustainable farmer training programs are “by and for communities historically most marginalized—people of color, low-income individuals, women, religious minorities, and those in the criminal justice system” (Soul Fire Farm Overview). SFF’s accomplishments to date are impressive, and they show no signs of slowing down. They have trained over 1,000 youth and adults in best practices in farming and food sovereignty, created model systems for sustainable food production that inspire countless farmers, distribute food weekly to 80 families in marginalized communities, and have offered over 100 off-farm educational events at conferences
photos courtesy of Soul Fire Farms
and in the community. Recently, SFF raised funds to build a new barn on the property, which will allow them to expand their array of educational programming. There are many ways to get involved with SSF: sign up for a CSA Farm Share, join a workshop, to contribute funds or inkind items to help grow their programs, and become involved by volunteering to help out with one of the upcoming Community Farm Days (see figure 1). Bibliography: 1. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). â&#x20AC;&#x153;Food Desert Locator.â&#x20AC;? https://www.fns. usda.gov/tags/food-desert-locator, 2016. 2. Coates, Ta -Nehisi. Between the World and Me. First edition. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2015. 3. Soul Fire Farm. http://www.soulfirefarm.org/ 4. Soul Fire Farm Overview. https://docs. google.com/document/d/1bwn153phRVkq1Hr4OMnOv_xK9pQPR40bIWk7r4WBMs/ edit
Brandon Costelloe-Kuehn lives and works in Troy, NY. His teaching, writing, and design work weave together interests in sustainability, social and environmental justice, media, history, politics, science and technology. He can be reached at email@example.com. JULY/AUGUST 2017
photos courtesy of Soul Fire Farms
(DONATE YOUR TIME) TO SHINE!
by Sarah Sexton
Got some spare time and want to give back? There are lots of opportunities to volunteer across many industries around the region, but don’t forget your local farms, including Soul Fire Farm. SFF has several skilled and ongoing volunteer positions listed on their website. They also offer Community Farms Days (CFD), when the public is invited to pitch in and help work the farm. CFDs honor the Haitian cultural practice of Konbit, a traditional form of cooperative work and mutual aid. SFF's
CFDs consist of working the land together from 8 a.m. to 1 pm, side-by-side with community members of all skill levels in “joyful connection to the land and one another.” At 1 p.m., the volunteer work is rewarded with a potluck lunch, during which there are opportunities to ask questions about SFF’s mission, learn more about what it takes to run a farm, or just enjoy some delicious food and casual conversation with your neighbors. Soul Fire will have CFDs in August, September, October and November this year. You can learn more, RSVP or get directions on their website www.soulfirefarm.org or by calling 518-229-1339. Sidebar by Sarah Burbules Sexton
8-week Business Planning Course starting Saturday, January 28th 9:00 am to Noon 920 Albany Street, Schenectady
Give yourself or a loved one the gift of entrepreneurship for the New Year! 255 Orange St., Albany, NY 12210 ◆ 920 Albany St., Schenectady (518) 436-8586 ◆ www.mycommunityloanfund.org
Mohawk Hudson LAND CONSERVANCY
FREE Outdoor Adventures!
Saturday, July 22
socially concerned investors with local micro and social
entrepreneurs since 1985
5% off for Co-Op Members
Hikes across the Capital Region:
Fun for the whole family!
Accessible Hikes Bike Hikes Art Hikes Saturday, August 20 Kids’ Hikes Family FRIENDLY Wildlife Hikes Wilderness Crafts ...and more! What can we make with our hands? Hear Stories Get Crafty Learn natural history Bring home your nature crafts!
Information and free registration! www.mohawkhudson.org Photo by Dietrich Gehring
Clothing, Footwear, Accessories, Jewelry and Hand Knits
Free Gift Wrap
A unique shopping destination at 700 Columbia Turnpike, East Greenbush NY 477-9317 www.sweaterventure.com COOP SCOOP
Firefly Fundamentals Fabulous facts about these bioluminescent creatures. • Fireflies are one type of organism that can produce their own light. This ability to create light is called bioluminescence. The most common bioluminescent creatures are marine or sea-living organisms, and even some bacteria have this ability. • The light that fireflies produce comes from a chemical reaction, a mixing of specific chemicals, inside their bodies. This is similar to what occurs inside a glow stick.
by Ben Goldberg
• the harvesting of the chemical luciferase, an enzyme that plays a role in firefly bioluminescence and which is being used for research in cell biology, molecular biology, and biochemistry.
Want more fireflies in your yard or park? • Don’t use bug pesticides and lawn chemicals.
• Each species of firefly has a distinct color of light. Some are blue, green, orange, yellow, and even light red.
• Encourage worms, grubs, slugs, and snails because firefly larvae feast on those slimy critters.
• Fireflies light up for a variety of reasons: to communicate; attract a mate; defend territory; warn predators away; and to attract prey. In their larva stage, the very young form of the insect, fireflies light up to frighten predators away, and in some species of fireflies, even their eggs light up.
• Offer shrubs, high grass, flowers, and low-growing plants for shelter.
• There are more than 2,000 species of fireflies. Fireflies are found on almost every continent on earth. • Fireflies only live about one year, long enough to mate and lay eggs. Firefly larva live underground and feast on such slimy creatures as worms, slugs, and snails. Most adult types of fireflies live on nectar, pollen, and some even eat other fireflies, or nothing at all during their brief lives.
Firefly populations are in decline due to such factors as: • the use of harmful pesticides; • light pollution;
• Fireflies love moisture! Leave moist areas, such as small ponds, wet meadows, forest edges, farm fields, and wild bog, marsh, stream, and lake edges. Catching fireflies—DON’T! It may be hard to resist the temptation to catch fireflies, but catching these charming little lights might cause accidental harm or trauma, even if you’re careful. If you feel you must catch some, you’ll want minimize any possibility of harm so please: • Keep them in a jar that has some moistened paper on the bottom and with a lid that has plenty of holes for air; • Only keep them for a little while—a day or two at most—and then set them free. To see some bioluminescent sea creatures, check out National Geographic's Bioluminescence on Camera video. For a list of many types of bioluminescent critters, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_bioluminescent_organisms
• climate change; • habitat destruction;
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SAFER (AND MORE ACTIVE) ALTERNATIVES TO FIREWORKS. Here are some fun and safe ways to celebrate with light and sound:
•Try techno alternatives such as “fireworks and light show” projectors. •Buy glow-in-the-dark stuff such as silly string, body paint, and more. Goldberg •Play with glow-in-the-dark bubbles! (To make by theBen glow bubbles, simply mix up water, add some dish soap and some glow paint until the desired effect is achieved. You can blow bubbles using a straw, but be sure to BLOW OUT, and not suck in.) •Try L.E.D. lights inside balloons. Just insert a small L.E.D. light into a balloon before you blow the balloon up. •Make your own biodegradable confetti launchers. See http://www. piikeastreet.com/2012/07/confetti-launchers/ for DIY directions. •Make some noise (but not too late in the evening and not if it freaks out neighboring pets)! Gather pots and pans, empty five-gallon buckets, and any species of rhythm instrument or object. The more players, the better and the noisier. •Set a good-sized campfire (if local laws permit) and then, if you like, tell stories, ghosties, or otherwise. This combination of fire and storytelling can be just as spellbinding as a fireworks display, if not more. •For a sedate, but possibly longer-lasting and more earth-friendly effect, make and toss some “seed bombs” around your neighborhood or park. For DIY directions, see NASA’s web site, https://climatekids. nasa.gov/seed-ball/. Or, for commercially available “bombs”, see a nursery site such as Vermont’s American Meadows’ at http://www. americanmeadows.com/flower-seed-packets/seed-bombs. Photo by Lotte Meijer
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Solid Ground Center for a Balanced Life
Offering mindfulness-based solutions for Stress Management Caregiving and Compassion Fatigue Grief and Loss Weight Management ADHD Relapse Prevention Individual and group services 148 Central Avenue, Albany 518-339-9443 www.solidgroundny.org Check our website for class schedule
by Tara Herrick Brown
Looking at medicine through the lens of energetics is like opening the front door in springtime and allowing the fresh air and the scent of spring flowers to come in. For energy medicine has gone through a cold winter of confusion and misunderstanding, and that season is now behind us. ~ James L. Oschman, Ph.D.
Energy medicine, a term coined in the late 1980s, generally refers to a form of healing that connects to and influences the subtle energies, within and surrounding the body.1 The premise of energy medicine, and any form of energy work, is that all living things, and their physical bodies, thoughts, and emotions, are expressions of energy. This subtle energy—or qi (pronounced “chee”) in Chinese medicine and prana (vital life force) in yogic traditions—can be accessed through various therapies involving this subtle energy field. It is believed that optimal health comes from a balanced vital life-force energy.
Blockages in the natural flow of the subtle energy fields are thought to cause illness, and by addressing the subtle energetic imbalances, one can restore a healthy flow of the subtle energy and promote overall health and wellbeinG.2
for example). Energy medicine has many names and comes in many forms. It is a vast field with a myriad of therapies and healing modalities. Here are just a few to illustrate the spectrum:
Acupuncture: Acupuncture may be
the most well-known and researched form of energy medicine. It is believed that by inserting extremely fine needles into precise locations on the body, known as acupuncture points or acupoints, the vital energy flow can be changed and imbalances can be corrected in the subtle energy along the energy channels of the body called meridians. Research has shown that the acupoints have lower resistance to electrical current flow as compared to the surrounding tissues. As each meridian is associated with one or more organs inside the body, the electrical activity of the acupoint seems to be related to the organ function.3
Botanicals: Since all living things
are expressions of energy, every single plant, flower, and root embodies a unique energy. According to the World Health Organization, 80 percent of the populations of some Asian and African countries use herbal medicines as part of their primary health care.4 When plants are dried and made into teas, or finely ground and encapsulated, the plant’s medicinal properties serve to treat a patient’s symptoms. There are also other forms of plant medicine that use only the energetics of the plants— flower essences, homeopathy, and essential oils (aromatherapy).
Mindfulness & Deep Breathing: Mindfulness is about having increased awareness of the present, including awareness of your body and emotional feeling-state. It often uses breathing techniques, guided imagery, and other relaxation practices to calm and focus the mind, release bodily tension, and help reduce stress. Deep
Believing that the body is self-healing or self-regulating is the foundation of energy medicine—the body simply needs to, and can rebalance its own energy. There are forms of energy medicine that are self-healing (using only the mind or hands), forms that use energetic substances (taken internally, absorbed through the skin, or smelled), and other forms that require a practitioner (acupuncture, JULY/AUGUST 2017
Photo by Joshua Earle
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breathing, which is often used during mindfulness practice, is the conscious control and/or observation and awareness of inhaling and exhaling. It sometimes involves holding your breath or breathing in a specific rhythm or cadence.5
Reiki (pronounced “raykey”) is a hands-on energy healing technique where the practitioner moves their hands along the body, releasing energetic imbalances and blockages to strengthen, correct, or redirect the subtle energy flow.6 It is sometimes described metaphorically as turning an old-fashioned radio dial. The practitioner turns their energetic dial until they find the right frequency, and their energy aligns with the life-force energy needed to promote their client’s healing.
Energy medicine hypothesizes two kinds of energy fields: veritable, involving mechanical vibrations or scientifically observable energy that can be measured; and putative, which is physically undetectable and cannot be measured with universally accepted scientific instruments.7 Veritable energy: uses vibrational energy (sound) and electromagnetic forces, such as visible light, magnetism, and lasers: transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), electrocardiograms (EKG) for the heart, electroencephalograms (EEG) for the brain, among many other mainstream therapies—all energy medicine—and conventionally used to diagnose and treat patients.8 Indeed, most of these instruments likely would be considered pseudo-science just a few decades ago. Putative energy: is the subtle energy (qi, prana, or life-force energy) believed to reside inside and also surrounding all living things. The putative energy field uses only the hands, the mind, or the energetics of plants to influence the body’s energy. Once the putative energetics are
introduced and aligned, the body acts to return to balance—assuming the body’s innate ability to heal. There are some instruments that claim to measure putative eenrgies but many mainstream scientist reject this instrumentation. Until scientists develop more well-accepted instruments for measuring putative energy fields and the western medical model creates a new research paradigm to evaluate energy medicine, anecdotal evidence is all there is to
Science does not yet know how Reiki works or why meditation is beneficial. Perhaps, though, there is more to this life and our healing journey than meets the eye or the conventional instrument. go on.
References: 1. Srinivasan, T.M. (2010). “Energy Medicine.” International Journal of Yoga. Jan-Jun; 3(1): 1. 2. Olivo, E. “Energy Medicine.” Oprah. http:// www.oprah.com/health/Energy-Medicine 3. Noetic. “Mapping the Field of Subtle Energy Healing.” http://noetic.org/research/projects/ mapping-the-field-of-subtle 4. Gerber, R. (2001). “A Practical Guide to Vibrational Medicine: Energy Healing and Spiritual Transformation” HarnerCollins, New York. 5. NIH: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. “Terms Related to Complementary and Integrative Health.” https://nccih.nih.gov/health/providers/ camterms.htm 6. Oschman, J.L., Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis, 2nd ed., 2015. 7. Berman, J.D. & Straus, S.E. (2004). “Implementing a research agenda for complementary and alternative medicine.” Annual Review of Medicine. 55: 239-254. 8. Vallbona, C. & Richards, T. (1999).
Tara Herrick Brown, M.S. is a mind-body practitioner at Elevate Albany Wellness on Albany Shaker Road and has offered Resonance Repatterning® sessions at the Co-op. To learn more about Brown and her practice, INUR Wellness, LLC, please visit www.inur.com. COOP SCOOP
Healthy Skin Care
by Karla Guerreri
Make your skin shine with high-quality products from Honest Weight's Wellness Department.
Estée Lauder said, “Glow is the essence of beauty.” So true. However, if the sovereign business queen of the cosmetic realm was still with us, she would have nothing on the co-op wellness department when it comes to products that stimulate a healthy shine on the surface and radiance within. Co-op shoppers know that the quality and purity of what goes on your skin is almost as important as what you eat, and they are finding the perfect products on the wellness department shelves. Department manager, Alex Mytelka and assistant manager, Deanna Beyer mindfully research, order, and stock products that meet the standards of the Co-op Buying JULY/AUGUST 2017
Guide and fulfill the needs of coop customers perfectly. While some suppliers are local, others are in the far reaches of the globe, and each has something dazzling to offer. Perhaps the closest neighbor is Earthly Remedies by Erin. Produced in Richmondville, New York, the line is completely chemical-free, with no synthetic fragrances or stabilizers and no petroleum, preservatives, or GMOs. The owner, Erin Ethier is a (non-certified) organic gardener who grows and processes her own ingredients to make popular products, including a foaming face wash, natural face cream, eye cream, and acne oil, among others. Earthly Remedies is also a good neighbor— they donate a portion of their profits back to nonprofit organizations in the community. At the co-op you will also see the African analogue to Earthly Remedies
represented in Alaffia, which was started in 2004 in Sokode, Togo. The name, Alaffia, refers to a common greeting in parts of Africa, meaning “a state of peace, health, and well-being.” Fairtrade is the foundation of the organization, and the products gleam with healthful purity. The company claims a special affinity for ethnobotany, the study of relationships between people and plants, taking into account how ingredients interact with the person using them, and with the environment they come from. This complex relationship manifests in the form of facial mist, facial cleanser, day cream, shower gel, and classic African black soap, in neat containers on the co-op shelf. Key ingredients throughout the line are unrefined shea butter and coconut oil. Alaffia serves as a model of community economic development and benevolent business practices. Alaffia Empowerment Projects have transformed communities in West Africa by ensuring that African resources empower African communities. Toward that end, Alaffia supports a variety of important enterprises and initiatives including women’s health programs, education projects, an eyeglasses program, and a reforestation project. The Aura Cacia line of essential oils comes from the Frontier Coop in Iowa, which has been memberowned since 1976. Aura Cacia body oils are especially favored by co-op shoppers because they dry instantly when they are applied after a shower and never show up on 19
clothing. The Moroccan argon oil, for example, also revitalizes nails, skin, and hair. The unfailing luxury skin care line at the co-op is Dr. Hauschka. More than twenty specific products for all skin types and conditions are on display. Products include cleansers, toners, masks, moisturizers, and eye cream. Any of the dozens of Dr. Hauschka items can be special ordered, as well. When the bright, sunny days of summer come, sunscreens and insect repellants take a prominent place in the wellness department, on the far endcap. Rest assured that the lotions by Badger, Alba, and Herbal Armor follow the guidelines of the co-op’s Environmental Working Group and contain no oxybenzone or other harmful ingredients. Even with all of these choices of creams and oils to pamper and care for your skin, some people prefer to make their own products for a custom approach to their individual skin care. Even here, the wellness department does not disappoint. The Veriditas line of essential oils is therapeutic-grade and of the highest quality. The oils are certified organic by the USDA and by Ecocert. Also available are oils by Aura Cacia and oils with the Honest Weight Label, made by Vitality Works. These essential oils are made from flowers, grasses, bark, or other plant parts. Essential oils can be very potent and most should be combined with a carrier oil when applying directly to the skin. There is no shortage of carrier oils at the co-op either. There 20
are about a dozen different oils to choose from, including argan, jojoba, castor, grapeseed, and sweet almond oil. To learn more about these, you can seek the advice of the co-op’s own Latrell, who leads a monthly workshop on the subject. Latrell has a lifetime of learning behind her craft, and her advice is invaluable to those getting started in the area of making their own oil blends. In a recent co-op class, while she measured and blended a relaxation formula for the workshop participants to try, she talked about the oils and their characteristics. Carrier oils must be chosen for the purpose and for the person. For example, someone who has a nut allergy would choose something like rose hip oil or argan oil, rather than sweet almond oil. Various essential oils blend better with certain carriers, too. Latell’s recommended reference for this know-how is a book entitled Essential Oils: All-Natural Remedies and Recipes for Your Mind, Body, and Home, edited by Claire Cross, and available in the wellness department. The book is visually pleasing and has many useful recipes and information on the particular qualities of the various oils. It is a great resource for custom lotions. So many choices and so little time! Whichever skin care regimen you choose, your skin–the largest organ in your body–will thank you for its renewed, healthful glow.
Karla Guererri lives in Troy. She is a semretired educator with a public school background. Karla has written articles for iSante and Sente Magazine, along with a short story under a pen name in a little known journal, Adventures for the Average Woman. COOP SCOOP
Creativity For All:
by Rebecca Angel Maxwell
Best Activity Books for Adults
Unless you’ve been hiding under moss, you must have noticed the popularity of adult coloring books. People find them relaxing and creative for all abilities and ages. But wait, there’s more! Here is a selection of other activity books to take with you anywhere to spark creativity.
Paint By Sticker
by Workman Publishing A relaxing, guided activity with vibrant results. This is even easier than coloring because it requires no tools except the book itself. Create a masterpiece with teeny, tiny pieces. Peel and stick, baby, just peel and stick.
The Test Book
by Mikael Krogerus and Roman Tschappleler How high can you jump? What is your dosha? How German are you? And most importantly, do you like taking tests? This is a fun little book of questions to give you insight into yourself. There is a mixture of silliness and serious quizzes, but all are quick. They come with interesting introductions on what the tests are about and who developed the original (longer) form. Although each test is for one person to take, it’s also interesting to take the tests with someone else or a group. “How Narcissistic Are You” was especially eye-opening with others.
Drawing Your Own Path
by John F. Simon Jr. Art as meditation is the theme for this book. You don’t have to be an artist or practiced meditator to do the 33 drawing exercises. Instead, use this journal as a tool to practice mindfulness in a creative way. “Concentrated looking, mindful sketching, and improvisational awareness,” are what Simon is teaching, rather than drawing skills. However, visual artists can gain insight into their own creative flow. I highly recommend this book for those who have a hard time with a sitting meditation practice. It’s an active and fun way to get into the zone. JULY/AUGUST 2017
The Five-Year Memory Journal: 366 Thought-Provoking Prompts to Create Your Own Life Chronicle
by Sterling Publishing “The animal I wish to be right now… is on my mind.” The format for this book is simple: fill in the date on the top of the page and answer the prompt. At the beginning of the next year, you turn back to the first page, and see how your thoughts differ this time around. Continue doing this for five years. Although each writing question needs just a brief answer, over time self-reflection grows. Give yourself permission to express yourself honestly and un-self-censored. In this age of social media, it’s nice to have a private place.
The Guerilla Art Kit
by Keri Smith
Keri Smith writes that, “Public art says ‘the human spirit is alive here’… guerilla art is about leaving your mark.” I saved this book for last because I could list ALL books by Keri Smith for you to check out. Long before adult coloring books were popular, Smith’s Wreck This Journal jumped out of the bookshelves (go get one!). Since then she has authored many journals with different themes but the same purpose—to show how simple and fun creativity can be. This book explains guerilla art to be: 1. Beautifying—altering your surroundings; 2. Questioning—using your voice, challenging the status quo; 3. Interacting—with the environment or people. With activities ranging from chalk quotes to knitted tags to moss graffiti, there is something for everyone with a passion to share with their community. I highly recommend this book. 21
Co-op Kids! TRAPPIST-1: THE
NEWLY DISCOVERED PLANETS
The trappist planets are newly discovered planets that were by Sarah Goldberg always there, and we finally found them! When you look up at the sky at night, do you ever wonder what else could be out there that we have not yet found?
ASTRONOMERS, scientists who study space and the objects in space, have been looking closely at the night sky and doing research for many years. Astronomers are the reason we know so much about the moon, the stars, the sun, and planets. Our planet is called EARTH. Earth is a large rock with large grooves and holes that make up our oceans, mountain ranges, and everything around us. Our planet, Earth, is part of our SOLAR SYSTEM, which is a group of planets that both rotate, or spin, and also move in orbit, or a circular path, around our central star: the sun. We are used to thinking of stars as small balls of light sprinkled in the night sky, but there is a large star that we can see during the daytimeâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the Sun. Although our sun looks large and very hot to us, it is considered by scientists to be rather small and warmâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;they call it a YELLOW DWARF STAR. There are nine planets in our solar system, and each has something unique about it. Earth is the third planet from the sun. The two planets closer to the sun are Mercury and Venus. We could not live on either of these planets because they would be too hot during the day and too cold at 22
night. Earth is perfect for us. Mars, one of our neighbors, is a small, red planet that you may sometimes see hanging low in the sky at night. Mars is considered to be a ROCKY PLANET, much like Earth, Mercury, and Venus. The other type of planet in our solar system is called a GASEOUS PLANET. As the name suggests, a gaseous planet is simply a giant ball of gas that has been wound really tightly by GRAVITY, the force that brings things together. People would not be able to live on gas planets because there would be no ground or surface for us to walk on. We would simply float through the gas. Neptune and Saturn are also gas planets.
Saturn is a gaseous planet
mars is a ForRocky years, planet astronomers have been searching space for a solar system like ours that contains many different planets orbiting, or spinning, around a star like our sun. Recently, astronomers discovered such planets in their own unique solar system! Astronomers found seven EXOPLANETS, or planets outside of our solar system, out in the universe. They have been referring to these planets as the TRAPPIST-1 planets, named after the central star in that solar system. These newly discovered planets seem to be full of rocky grooves and holes, much like the surface of our Earth. In the TRAPPIST-1 system, there are only three planets that orbit their star. The other four are locked in position. They do not spin or rotate as the Earth does so there are no sunsets or sunrises. It is simply always day on one side of the planet and night on the other side. COOP SCOOP
The star in the newly discovered solar system, TRAPPIST-1, is different than our sun star. Instead of being a yellow dwarf, the TRAPPIST-1 sun is an ULTRA-COOL DWARF. It’s still fairly small, like our sun, but it gives off much less intense heat. This means that unlike our solar system, the planet closest to the sun may be HABITABLE—meaning it may be possible for humans, or other forms of life, to live on it. There are a number of things that astronomers look for when searching for habitable planets, such as the presence or possibility of water and hydrogen (a type of gas necessary for us to breathe) in the ATMOSPHERE. An atmosphere is a layer of gases surrounding a planet, somewhat like smoke drifting out of a fire. Out of the seven TRAPPIST-1 planets that scientists found, astronomers suggest that three of them could be habitable. That is, they could have some form of life on them. We do not yet know too much about the new solar system, but astronomers have discovered that the planets’ rotations are slightly different than Earth’s. Despite the appearance of sunsets and sunrises, which makes it appear that our JULY/AUGUST 2017
sun moves around Earth, our sun does not move. It is Earth that is actually moving, while also orbiting around the sun. That is like someone using a hula hoop while riding on a merry-go-round! The hula hoop is spinning around the person’s body while both the hula hoop and the person are making a wider circle because the merrygo-round is also spinning. Our days are twenty-four hours long because that is how long it takes our planet to spin completely around the sun, making a full rotation. The planet that is closest to the TRAPPIST-1 star has a day that is one and a half times longer than our own, and the planet farthest from that star has a day that is equal to almost twenty Earth days. The discovery of the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system is extremely exciting for astronomers, and they plan to build a new telescope to begin studying the atmosphere of the planets next year. Sarah Goldberg is an early childhood educator with a degree in Creative Writing from SUNY New Paltz. She lives in Albany with her dog, her parents, and her student loans. 23