AN ECO-JOURNAL OF OBTAINABLE & SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS curated by THE ECOLOGY CENTER
In this Issue HANDMADE A CELEBRATION OF CRAFTSMANSHIP
FEATURES Open Studio, p. 7 Locally Made, p. 10
PROFILES Meet the Makers, p. 4
MAKE Wildflower Meadow, p. 12 Kombucha Tea, p. 13
Photo: © 2014 Kevin Voegtlin
ISSUE 10 / FALL 2014
ISSUE 10 / FALL 2014
Editorial Team and Contributors Issue 10 Fall 2014 03 Director’s Notes 04 Meet the Makers:
Our Local Community of Artisans
06 What is Handmade:
Production, Sourcing & Ethics
of the Artisans’ Studios
10 Locally Made:
Sustainability is Within Reach but It Begins with Cultivating a Local Culture
Founder & Executive Director of The Ecology Center. With his background in permaculture and agroecology, and, having worked extensively in California and Hawaii and internationally in Costa Rica, Peru, Mexico, Ghana and Nigeria, Evan knows that people have the ability to directly impact the environment through individual change.
07 Open Studio: A Tour
at Home This Winter
CASSIE WOLF, JEFF DAVIS,
Jeff is a native of San Juan Capistrano, California. With a BA in cultural anthropology from UC Santa Barbara, he returned to Orange County after teaching abroad to further explore the relationship between humans and their environment and how to keep it healthy.
David Rager ART DIRECTOR
AN ECO-JOURNAL OF OBTAINABLE & SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS curated by
David has been lending his art direction and graphic designs talent to The Ecology Center since day one. When he’s not designing, he can be found living and riding his bike in Paris, France.
Brigid Jeffers DESIGNER
Brigid is a graphic designer as well as an avid baker and home cook. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in graphic design from CSU Chico, she spent several years working in the Pacific Northwest, and now resides in Orange County. www.TheEcologyCenter.org
Lindsey Bro is a writer, curator, and teacher with an affinity for cultural studies. Emphasizing an interdisciplinary approach, her work focuses on food, community, travel, and contemporary history.
Kevin Voegtlin PHOTOGRAPHER
12 Make: Four Things to Make
15 Build, Harvest, Make, Grow
14 Join Us on a Journey
An artist with an awardwinning eye, Scott travels the world capturing unique cultural and natural moments in photographs. When stateside, Scott resides in Laguna Beach, where you can find him pursuing photography and whenever Cassie Wolf possible, spending time in the ocean.
Ann Nguyen Ann leads marketing and communication at The Ecology Center. She studied at UC Davis and has a master’s degree in English. A weekend shutterbug, Ann enjoys documenting her explorations and experiences of nature through film and digital photographs.
studied culinary arts locally, finding harmony when the two subjects come together. She teaches private cooking classes, consults on edible gardens, raises chicken, runs a boutique catering business, Local Tastes Better, and manages the Downtown Santa Ana Farmer’s Market.
Kevin Voegtlin was born and raised in South Orange County. While attending Cal State Long Beach, Voegtlin interned at SURFER Magazine and began working for SURFER Staff Photographer Jason Kenworthy shortly after. Voegtlin honed his photography skills experimenting in natural photo study of Southern California.
Cassie is the heart and hands behind SoapyLayne. She is an artist and avid animal lover who lives in beautiful Southern California. Her years of experience at work in an animal hospital helped her realize the importance of creating cruelty free products that are also safe for the environment. With the growing movement toward natural and organic products, Cassie has become more aware of the benefits of using plant based natural skincare products that do not contain harmful ingredients or preservatives. ABOUT THE ECOLOGY CENTER
The Ecology Center seeks to bring individuals, households, and communities together in a solutions-based educational setting to inspire and create a healthy and abundant future for all. The Center highlights empow ering and cutting-edge environmenKristin Morrison tal perspectives that can be applied ARTIST/DESIGNER to the way we live our lives, making it Kristin is a natural dyer, de- possible for us to coexist with a thrivsigner and fiber artist. Her ing environment. primary inspiration stems from the ability of nature to design, heal and ABOUT EVOLVE create. She designs, hand dyes, and An eco-journal produced by The hand makes functional apparel for Ecology Center, Evolve explores her eponymous line, KAM Textiles. both local and global perspectives When not in her studio, she spends on contemporary ecological issues. her time harvesting dye plants, taking Written and supported by a wide network of activists and ecologiphotographs, surfing, and traveling. cal professionals, the content is unKerri Cacciata like anything else being produced in CHEF/FARMER’S Southern California. For comments, MARKET MANAGER feedback, and letters to the staff, email Kerri was born and raised email@example.com in Orange County. She earned her bachelor’s degree in community organizing in San Francisco and
A CELEBRATION OF CRAFTSMANSHIP Letter from Evan
At The Ecology Center, we speak often about local food as an ingredient to creating a healthy and sustainable food system. In this issue of Evolve, and in preparation for our first annual Fall Festival, Handmade, A Maker’s Market, we dive into the culture of craftsmanship–creating local products for local people, beyond food. Similar to the health of our food systems and ultimately our diet, supporting local farmers, chefs and food artisans creates a thriving food ecosystem. Good food is good for everyone, as is good quality handcrafted household and everyday products from apparel to furniture to medicine. It’s really quite obvious when you connect the dots; buying products from local artisans/makers recreate a nottoo-distant connection to how business has been done since the beginning of humanity. While disposable products surround us, it’s a relatively new concept. There was a time, not much more than 50 years ago, when artisans, craftspeople and small businesses thrived. Handmade, A Maker’s Market is our effort to recultivate this sense of community and local economic pride.
Each of these makers work diligently to source materials locally with integrity, design and build high-quality utilitarian goods that will last generations. Let’s just say that Handmade, A Maker’s Market is the opposite of buying products from Target, Ikea, or Walmart (overseas production, cheap labor, toxic processing, pollution, and disposable). —————————————————————————
“There was a time, not much more than 50 years ago, when artisans, craftspeople and small businesses thrived.” ————————————————————————— We hope you’ll join us at our festival that is a celebration of craftsmanship and source our daily needs - food, apparel, furniture and more - from local people we can trust. We scheduled the festival to coincide with the holidays as your loved ones will be grateful to receive a gift made by hand, with love.
Evan Marks, Executive Director
ISSUE 10 / FALL 2014
MEET THE MAKERS
AUTHOR: LINDSEY BRO
Our Local Community of Artisans
Get to know the designers, makers, and artists within our region who are dedicated to creating high-quality goods with integrity.
CRAFT / GOOD: NATURAL DYES, FIBER ART & DESIGN LOCATION: ORANGE COUNTY
A unique craft line of handmade designer textiles, dyed from handmade and homegrown natural dyes, sourced from only local fibersheds, ran in small production, utilizing low water practices, and working with only local labor. Kristin Morrison takes great care to ensure the sustainability of her work by protecting the sourcing, process, and integrity of her goods with a holistic approach to production. kristinambermorrison.com
Maricolous Textiles CRAFT / GOOD: HOME EFFECTS AND WEARABLE TEXTILES
Amabelle Aguiluz CRAFT / GOOD: DELICATE GARMENTS AND KNITWEAR LOCATION: LOS ANGELES
Creating beautiful knitwear with a Slow Fiber approach, Amabelle’s work is poetic and stunning in shape. She creates each piece by hand on an old knit machine, sculpting intricate forms with unique characters and themes. Her lines are inspired by nature, finding patterns and palettes in various landscapes and environments. She works exclusively with California grown sustainable and organic cotton, hemp, alpaca, fair trade and recycled materials. amabelleaguiluz.com
LOCATION: LOS ANGELES
Maricolous Textiles is a line of home effects and wearable textiles hand loomed and hand dyed in Los Angeles. Featuring fibershed ingredients, extracts and dyes from foraged botanicals, and traditional African, Indian, and Japanese loom techniques, each piece is one of a kind, made with a Slow Fiber approach. maricolous.com
CRAFT / GOOD: FINE ART, CUSTOM WOODWORK
CRAFT / GOOD: FURNITURE DESIGN
LOCATION: ORANGE COUNTY
LOCATION: LOS ANGELES
A true multimedia artist, Miller shines in both large and small works made from wood, chalk, paint, textile, print, and glass. Creating sometimes fantastical pieces, Miller offers hand carved wood, hand blown glass and fine art infused with 1970s surf culture and natural living. jmillerart.com
A traditional woodworker and furniture maker, Marks’ work highlights the simplicity of industrial design and fundamental construction. With great care for chosen wood, sourcing, design and production, his pieces are dedicated to the ethos of do-it-yourself, pop-up, knock down, and environmentally conscious construction. elliotmarks.com
CRAFT / GOOD: FINE FURNITURE
LOCATION: SANTA BARBARA
CRAFT / GOOD: ALL NATURAL SKIN CARE PRODUCTS
A husband and wife duo of visionary proportions, Killscrow produces beautiful design, woodworking, furniture, and fine art illustration. Their work individually highlights detail and care, playing to modern design and techniques with strong artistic interpretation. Killscrow’s current line includes fine wooden furniture and detailed illustration on handmade paper. killscrow.com
LOCATION: ORANGE COUNTY
Featuring natural, vegan, and cruelty-free handcrafted goods, Cassie approaches her line as a means to provide luxurious, yet affordable, unique skin care options. Her work showcases her abilities as an artist, creating personal products that tread lightly on the world, sourcing high quality, gentle plant based ingredients from only the most reputable companies. soapylayne.com
Tigers to Lilies
CRAFT / GOOD: DENIM AND CUTTING BOARDS
CRAFT / GOOD:
LOCATION: SANTA BARBARA
Neil Harrison repurposes and redesigns skate decks, denim, surf boards, and cutting boards in the wilds of Santa Barbara County. The one-of-a-kind creations are each handmade with the pure intention of getting used boards back on the road again. The hand stamped, numbered, logged and finished cutting boards originated from scrap wood cuts, but have grown to their own line of intimately designed and patterned shapes. stormymondaygoods.com
LOCATION: LOS ANGELES
Featuring gentle and sweet wildflower arrangements, Lili, a floral artist, forages native plants to create magical and ephemeral pieces for the home, galleries, and made to order needs. Running workshops and DIYs, Tigers to Lilies offers dried florals as well as in-home plant care services. tigerstolilies.blogspot.com
CRAFT / GOOD: BOOKS
LOCATION: LOS ANGELES
CRAFT / GOOD: HAND-WOVEN BASKETS
Book Stand is an art book shop specializing in unique art books, independently published magazines, films and vintage publications. Inspired by the quirky personal libraries of imaginative individuals, Book Stand’s carefully edited catalogue includes art books about plants and the natural world, titles organized by a single color, and small collections created by artist friends. artbookstand.com
LOCATION: SAN DIEGO
A former art teacher, Buck Owens specializes in hand crafted Appalachian basketry. Featuring hand woven natural rattan, his baskets offer not only harmony and purpose, but beautiful color patterns, organic (yet functional) shapes, and durable design. basketcraftsman.com
Mt. Washington Pottery
CRAFT / GOOD: CERAMICS
CRAFT / GOOD: MEDICINAL HERBS AND TEA
LOCATION: LOS ANGELES
LOCATION: DANA POINT
Beth Katz has always loved to work with her hands. In a former life, she was a make-up artist for TVs and movies. As a graduation present, she gave herself a month of pottery, and since then has never turned back. Beth’s work is inspired by natural beauty - stillness and quiet, wind and sunlight, and the subtlety of a shadow. Stones, shells, hives, nests and tree bark are a few things that inform the beads and surface textures of each piece. mtwashingtonpottery.com
The Waterhouse, in Dana Point, offers pure ionized alkaline water, whole house filtration systems, organic bulk herbs, custom tea blends, tinctures. Corey, founder of Waterhouse Apothecary is passionate about the quality of drinking water along with herbs and their many healing benefits. She studied under Dr. David Jubb, author of The Secrets of an Alkaline Body in NYC. Upon her return to Dana Point, she opened The Waterhouse in 2011, providing a much needed alternative to bottled water and western medicine. ocwaterhouse.com
Cheri Messerli CRAFT / GOOD: JEWELRY LOCATION: LOS ANGELES & PARIS
Sustainability, in all aspects of her life, is very important to Messerli and her collections further articulate those principles. She aims to challenge the status quo of luxury and show that even everyday materials can yield the most impressive results. Each collection is a continuation built upon the belief that good design remains timeless. Each season brings new pieces, new mediums, and updated classic styles. cherimesserli.com
Max Isles CRAFT / GOOD: FURNITURE LOCATION: LAGUNA BEACH
Max is a founding member of The Ecology Center and has created many of the structures and furniture you see around the center. Max loves working with wood due to it’s warmth, character and challenges. Consequently, no two pieces are the same. His work reflects the fact that he is a longtime environmentalist. The pieces are made from salvaged, scrap or sustainably forested wood, any finishes used are natural and non-toxic, and the pieces are made to last. Hand made in Laguna Beach to last a lifetime.
ISSUE 10 / FALL 2014
Kings Road Apothecary
Local Tastes Better
CRAFT / GOOD: HERBAL REMEDIES
FOOD: SEASONAL DISHES
LOCATION: LOS ANGELES
Rebecca teaches about herbal medicine, sees clients, and runs an online apothecary shop, Kings Road Apothecary, offering elixirs, teas, scrubs, salves, and tinctures to help a variety of ailments ranging from colds to flu to stress. The herbs she uses are ethically and sustainably wildcrafted around Southern California. kingsroadapothecary.com
Eden’s Savory SAP
Chef Kerri Cacciata Minton lives with her husband, cat, dogs and chickens on her own little urban farm in Fullerton, CA. With her impressive edible garden, she enjoys experiencing the seasons change in both her backyard and in the kitchen. Local, seasonal, and sustainable produce is the driving force for her creativity in the kitchen. When not in the kitchen, Kerri manages the Downtown Santa Ana Farmer’s Market. localtastesbetter.blogspot.com
FOOD: HERBAL FLAVORS
LOCATION: LOS ANGELES
Eden's Savory SAP is lovingly handmade by Eden Batki and friends. A self-trained chef, Eden draws inspiration from the likes of the Moosewood Cookbook, M.F.K. Fisher, the foragable wild bounty along the L.A. River, food adventures in the San Gabriel Valley and international grandmother-style home cooking. The big idea with Eden's Savory SAP is to conjure up original and appetizing ways to reintroduce millenium-old flavors. edensherbals.com
FOOD: KOMBUCHA LOCATION: LOS ANGELES
Better Booch was founded by husband and wife duo, Trey & Ashleigh Lockerbie. Trey became interested in Kombucha from a recommendation by his sister, who religiously consumed the beverage through her extensive and victorious bout with cancer, due to its alkalizing benefits. He could not agree with the flavors he found in stores, so he decided to pursue home brewing it himself. When Trey & Ashleigh decided to start selling their Booch at farmers markets in LA, Better Booch quickly took off. better-booch.squarespace.com
FOOD: ORGANIC JUICE AND SMOOTHIES
FOOD: ORGANIC COFFEE
LOCATION: DANA POINT
LOCATION: NEWPORT BEACH/TUSTIN
Brian and Rachel Dunn began Organic Tree, an organic juice bar, to return to their health-related roots, as well as share their juicy lifestyle with others. They use locally-sourced ingredients to create a variety of tasty elixirs that support healthy living. Each of their beverages contains enzymes, vitamins, and minerals that infuse your body with sun-energy and vitality. organictreejuicebar.com
For Martin Diedrich, founder of Kéan Coffee™, great coffee has been part of the family for several generations. As coffee farm owners for much of the last century, the Diedrich family developed a deep, intuitive understanding of coffee. They came to a profound appreciation of the impact of climate and geography on coffee. Through their own experimentation and learning from others, they developed numerous techniques of growing, processing, and roasting to maximize coffee bean quality and flavor. keancoffee.com
WHAT IS HANDMADE?
AUTHOR: LINDSEY BRO
Production, Sourcing, & Ethics The slow shift toward purposeful consumption has resulted in a powerful redistribution of economic influence over the last few years. Artisans now have a strong market of customers interested in not only the craft of handmade goods–a practicality that makes pursuing their passion a viable reality – but in the story of it as well. It’s only part of the battle, though, because today’s artisans have people who are interested, but not necessarily educated. Customers seem to want to know more, but what’s the deciding factor? And, finally, can artisans trust that our patterns of purchase are actually shifting in a forever kind of way? Fortunately, consumers are genuinely interested in the stories surrounding artisan craft. They’re
taking the time to seek out small batch, handmade, intentional pieces that carry purpose and passion because, not only are they distinctive, they’re often a better product. Unfortunately, like so many buzzwords these days, the term “handmade” has evolved to not necessarily represent what it originally intended. Once a trusted term of differentiation, “handmade” can barely give today’s savvy consumer confidence in production practice or even quality of goods. As happened with other terms and labels, the conscious consumer has to take personal responsibility for self-education about the reality of sourcing and production behind their makers and their goods. This includes ingredients, shipping,
production and assembly because the myth of “handmade” synonymous with craft, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Too often the reality is that many of the goods believed to be handmade are still sourced from China, containing considerably toxic and unsustainable materials. ————————————————————————————
The question is: How do we empower ourselves to support the real artisans who work so hard to explore their craft?
———————————————————————————— Not surprisingly, a holistic understanding of sustainability, production, and sourcing begins with taking the time to meet your maker.
OPEN STUDIO A Tour of the Artisans’ Studios An artisan’s workspace says a lot about her process and the heart and soul she puts into her work. An exploration of the artisan’s workspace and the manuals and books, specialized tools, works in progress, and materials and residues the artisan has collected over time reveals in real and tangible ways her years of dedication to perfecting her craft. PHOTOGRAPHER: KEVIN VOEGTLIN 01 Ashley of Maricolous Textiles weaving on her 36” Schacht Might Wolf floor loom | 02 A collection of knit and crochet garments in Amabelle Aguiluz’s studio | 03 Amabelle Aguiluz in her studio | 04 Lana and Darrick Rasmussen of Killscrow in front of their studio | 05 Lana and Darrick in their home |
ISSUE 10 / FALL 2014
06 Neil Harrison of Stormy Monday inspects a finished cutting board | 07 A rack of hand dyed garments from KAM Textiles | 08 A collection of finished products and personal effects in Neil Harrison’s studio | 09 Kristin Morrison of KAM Textiles holding flowers from her dye garden | 10 Lili Cuzor of Tigers to Lilies in her studio | 11 Elliott Marks’ woodworking tool belt | 12 Ashley of Maricolous Textiles carrying spools of yarn | 13 A pressed leaf in Lili Cuzor’s book | 14 Elliott Marks in front of his woodworking workshop |
ISSUE 10 / FALL 2014
AUTHOR: ANN NGUYEN
Sustainability is Within Reach But it Begins With Cultivating a Local Culture While mass production has afforded us unparalleled convenience, we have come to learn in the last several years that it comes at a great cost. As we experience rising health epidemics, waning resources, and accelerated climate change, it’s becoming clear to all of us that this is not a sustainable system. But what can we as individuals do to change and create a solution that benefits us now and future generations? Luckily, we do not have to look far for that answer. In fact, we should start looking more locally. Even though we are not going to be able to find everything we want readily available and local, we can change our mindset about how we buy. Take the Slow Food movement for example. When we learned that tomatoes do not grow in December and they must travel thousands of miles to get to our plate, we purchased cold season vegetables like beets and squash instead. Plus, supporting locally grown produce isn’t only beneficial to our environment, it is also more beneficial to our health and well-being. As we shifted our perspective, we began to enjoy other benefits as well, like the experience of new flavors and new varieties of winter vegetables that we had never tried before. If we can change our way of purchasing food, we can also change our way of purchasing clothes, beauty products, and household goods. As conscious customers, we can choose to support artisans who source their materials locally and ethically and who approach their work within a holistic framework. With the growing movement of local artisans, sustainable goods are within our reach. We can start an upward spiral - the more we support our artisans, the more our community will grow, the more options and choices we will have.
Fashion & Fibers Before there’s fashion, there are fibers. But do you know where your fibers come from? According to Kristin Morrison, a local textile artist and fashion designer, we used to grow cotton and indigo in the South since the era of industrialization we began to export fibers from overseas and US fabric mills began to close. There are only 2 organic cotton farms in California currently and they do not produce enough to support the industry. As a result, fiber, textile, and apparel production are exported to places like China and India, where the cost of production is low and there are few regulations on the ethics of labor and farming.
In today's ephemeral, fast-fashion world, the demand for inexpensive and quickly discarded apparel is contributing to a vicious cycle of mass production and resource depletion. We are buying clothes more quickly than ever, and also discarding more, with each of us throwing away 54 pounds of clothes and shoes into the trash each year. Added together, that’s about 9 million tons of shoes, jackets and other wearables that are sent into the landfill annually, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It’s clear that fast fashion, just like fast food, is a not sustainable system. The question is how do we change this mindset? Kristin offers a solution: “To change that is to begin a local process, i.e. making textiles here, and the other portion of that is consumers supporting local makers and designers who are a part of a local process. Making better decisions within the realm of opportunities is key - anything that challenges you in your personal life to consume less per year and be more conscious about the designers that you’re purchasing from, looking for local, and locally made. It’s also about building a relationship between the consumer, retailer, and designer. It all needs to happen together to shift the paradigm that we currently live in." Kristin is also adamant about designers taking more responsibility for pushing awareness because designers have more opportunities to be directly connected with the production process. “The
good news is there is a small but strong movement towards bringing woven mills back to the states. I’m starting to work with domestic woven mills like the California Cloth Foundry and denim producers like Cone Mills on the east coast mills. This year, I’ve started working with LA Fibershed, who are doing amazing work towards that. We’re essentially a nonprofit, resource organization, and art collective who is trying to connect designers and artists to local fibers…what we’re calling a Fibershed. Similar to a watershed, it’s connecting with bioregional fibers like California cotton, wool, dye plants, production, resources, and water. We do our best to source all of the above within a 250 mile radius of downtown Los Angeles,” Kristin explains. The challenge with such an intensively hands-on approach is the cost of production, which increases the price of products. Kristin sees this as an opportunity for a cultural shift: "I am the designer, the maker, and the textile artist, and I am pushing to make more of my own fabrics. Thus, the process is going to take infinitely longer than sending it off to someone else. But the value and quality of each piece go up infinitely as well. So there is a direct correlation. If the customer values all that we said, then the hope is the willingness to invest in one or a few pieces a year rather than a few pieces a month.” In essence, we are investing in functional, durable products that will last a long time and bringing back a craftsmanship culture that celebrates the artistry of handmade goods.
MAKE before they arrive in a vase in your home! These are all things that are easy to ignore because we are not used to thinking of flowers and plants in that manner,” Lily explains. Like food, flowers are also grown on farms and they play a big part in our carbon footprint. According to a San Francisco Chronicle investigation of contaminated wells and waterways near a California lily farm, flowers grown with conventional techniques contribute to the contamination of our watershed through fertilizer and pesticide runoff, which can in turn impact wildlife and human health. Going back to those perfect Valentine’s Day roses and where they come from - more than 120 million roses are imported from South American farms that use pesticides restricted in the US and labeled as highly toxic by the World Health Organization, the New York Times reported.
According to Buck Owens, a basket artist who weaves each piece by hand, “Anything handmade is better than machine made. I'm not aware of any machine that can make a basket like mine, or make any basket better than a human being can. I've made hundreds of baskets over the last 33 years and no two are the same. Even the dyes come out different as each piece of reed takes the dye differently.” The uniqueness of each product is what makes it truly personal and priceless.
Floriculture & Flowers Vegetables have their seasons and so do flowers. Yet, if you walk into any grocery store or flower shop, you’ll notice that certain flowers, like roses and orchids, are available year-round. When Valentine’s Day comes around, roses conveniently all reach their peak perfection. But the real story behind these blooms isn’t so rosy. We caught up with Lili Cuzor, a local floral artist, to learn more about the business of flowers. "When one purchases flowers from a flower shop or flower mart, the buyer usually doesn't know where the flowers and plants are coming from, how far they have been shipped, under which growing conditions they have been placed under, how many pesticides and hormones have been used to grow them, and how much of an impact that one specific bloom has had on the environment. Some flowers are force-grown out of their proper season in green houses and shipped across the world
“In my opinion, there’s nothing romantic in the large-picture cost that the exotic flowers have on the environment, especially if they were forcegrown, sprayed, packed, shipped, and then unpacked and set up in a shop already a week old.” Lili's approach is to find what’s locally available. "When possible, I try to forage as best as I can. Foraging is wonderful for many reasons, including being mindful of what your surroundings are, picking things that are in season and growing naturally, learning about what grows natively in your surrounding environment, and understanding what the impact is one makes when picking from a nearby garden, a sidewalk, a field or simply while out on a walk as opposed to buying in bulk from a flower shop or flower mart.” Lili also encourages everyone to check their local farmer’s market for what’s seasonal and to think outside the box, “Herbs, grasses, and weeds create beautiful arrangements too. It’s not only showflowers that get all the attention.” Herbs such as basil, sage, and lavender also add a wonderful sensory experience with mood-lifting aromas. Take a stroll and observe your natural environment to learn what normally grows in this climate. For those who love gardening, how about growing your own wildflower box? Growing native wildflowers encourages beneficial insects to visit your yard and provide the additional benefit of keeping away pests while also pollinating your garden.
Furniture & Forests It’s a classic case of not seeing the forest for the trees. We’re losing forests at an alarming rate and yet the demand for wood-based products continues to rise. While wood is a renewable resource, unfortunately, many logging activities in the tropics are done without regard to the forest ecosystem. Over time this can limit the forests' ability to regrow which leads to reduced biodiversity and
increased global warming pollution. "Wood that comes from South America is difficult to determine whether or not it was harvested sustainably or not. There is a huge problem of illegal logging in the Amazons and other regions where government control is lacking,” says LA-based furniture maker, Elliott Marks. What’s considered good wood? If you’ve followed along with us, you can easily guess the answer: it comes down to what’s available locally. "For this region, and Southern California in general, I would say the Eucalyptus family of trees are the most abundant species. They do produce some magnificent hardwoods,” says Lana Rasmussen of Killscrow, "Unfortunately, the process of harvesting and seasoning Eucalyptus is extremely difficult and time consuming, thus making it challenging as a commercially viable species.” But there are many varieties of wood that are available in the US. Darrick Rasmussen gives more details: "Furniture making as a whole can be very low impact environmentally when ethical decisions are made to choose certain wood species and types of finishes.. I prefer to use domestic woods such as White Oak, Walnut, and Douglas Fir because they are abundant, beautiful and grow right here in the US. I think the finishing process is the most toxic aspect of making things from wood, but there are products available that have little to no VOC content. I am always trying out new finishes with the goal to find one that is environmentally friendly, (which usually means they are pleasant to work with), looks great, and protects the wood without taking away the natural look and feel.” Elliott also looks to domestic woods for his furniture: "Some of these West Coast woods can be harvested responsibly allowing the forest to renew itself. Douglas fir and redwood are both examples of fast growing species that if replanted and selectively cut are a sustainable source. Other woods such as oak and walnut are harvested from naturally felled trees on private property. Asking the lumber yard about the specifics of their inventory may be the best way to determine the sustainability of a given species of wood.” Today’s environmental challenges may seem daunting because the existing system is so pervasive in almost every aspect of our life that it has become a part of our lifestyle. As Lana & Darrick point out, "Environmentally responsible use of materials cannot be compartmentalized from lifestyle.” When we change our lifestyle, we change the paradigm. Across the board, no matter if we talk about food, flowers, home goods, or apparel, there is a very simple yet powerful solution: Choose local. Support your local community of growers and makers, and better yet, become one yourself. Slow is fast and less is more.
ISSUE 10 / FALL 2014
Four Things to Make at Home This Winter Pomegranate Fusion Face Scrub
AUTHOR: CASSIE WOLF
This antioxidant rich pomegranate powder contains loads of vitamins and minerals and is rich in protective polyphenols. Combined with the gentle castor sugar and ground cinnamon (which helps with circulation) makes this a magical, easy to make face scrub. Dragon’s Blood is a dark red tree sap from Croton lechleri trees in the Amazonian rainforests of Peru and is used as an astringent which can help to dry blemishes and promote healing. You can find Dragon’s Blood at your local health food store.
INGREDIENTS LIST 01. In a small bowl, measure out your pomegranate 1 tbsp pomegranate powder powder, castor sugar, oats and ground cinnamon 4 tbsp castor sugar (any fine grain sugar) 2 tsp ground oats 02. Stir in the almond oil and castor oil, mix well. 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 2 tbsp almond oil 03. Stir in the manuka honey, mix well. Add the 2 tbsp castor oil dragon’s blood and give it a final stir to combine 1 tsp Manuka honey (or honey alternative) all ingredients. Transfer to a small container 2 droppers (80 drops) Dragon’s Blood with a lid.
TO USE: Moisten your freshly washed face with a bit of warm water and massage a tablespoon amount of scrub gently over your skin until the sugar crystals dissolve. Allow the scrub to remain on your face for 5 -7 minutes and then rinse off with warm water. You can use this scrub 2 times a week. This mask can last about two weeks out of the fridge.
Make a Meadow AUTHOR: JEFF DAVIS
Grow a wildflower meadow almost anywhere using your own hand-made seed balls! Seed balls are a mixture of seeds, clay, and compost. Rediscovered by Japanese natural farming pioneer, Masanobu Fukuoka, seed balls can be planted anywhere to transform empty landscapes into thriving ecosystems. Because seeds are “planted” or encrusted in a mixture of clay and compost, they’re protected from birds, insects, rodents, or being carried away by wind or water. Plus, they stay dormant until rainfall makes the seeds sprout. Seed balls were developed a long time ago, and have been planted all over the world including ancient Rome, Egypt, North Africa, and China. Make your own and use them to grow plants wherever you see bare soil!
MATERIALS AND TOOLS Dry red clay Organic compost Small seeds Spray bottle with water Bucket INSTRUCTIONS 01. Choose your seeds: Use seeds of easy-to-grow wildflowers and hardy legumes. Native plants are low maintenance and don’t require a lot of water and they restore natural habitat because they are the foundation of an entire ecosystem. 02. Make your mix: 5 parts dry red clay : 3 parts dry organic compost : 1 part seeds. Add water until it can be rolled into a ball. 03. Roll it into a small ball—about the size of a marble.
04. Let it dry. 05. Toss anywhere you see barren soil! Your own front yard (imagine a meadow instead of a lawn!), a vacant lot, or a barren field!
Kombucha Tea AUTHOR: ASHLEIGH LOCKERBIE
A fermented tea drink from Northern China, kombucha eventually found its way west as a popular health tonic and functional food often grown at home. Now a prevalent commercial drink, kombucha can be bought by the bottle or the keg, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it cheaper at home. With a little time and a few simple steps, you’re easily on your way to your own batch of effervescent organic acids, active enzymes, probiotics, and b-vitamins. TOOLS & INGREDIENTS: 1 Gallon glass jar with a wide-mouthed top 1 cup of sugar 2 tablespoons (or about 4 tea bags) organic tea 1 Kombucha Scoby 1 thin cotton covering for the jar, allowing the brew to breathe 1 Bottle of Better Booch filtered water
DIRECTIONS: 01. Boil 5 cups of water in a pot. When water boils, turn off the heat and add sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add the tea bags. Traditionally, kombucha is made with organic black tea. At Better Booch, we flavor all of our teas using unique tea blends, so you might play around with different styles you can use green tea, or oolong, or add spicy notes with orange peel, lemon peel, cayenne, cinnamon, or anything you like! 02. Once you have added the tea, cover and let cool for 4-12 hours. The tea cannot be hot when you add it to your brew, otherwise it will kill the live cultures in the starter. 03. Once the tea has cooled completely, remove the tea bags and
pour it into your glass jar. Add one bottle of Better Booch, which will serve as your starter tea. Fill the jar almost to the top with room temperature, filtered water. 03. Add your scoby to the top, cover with cotton fabric and secure with string or a rubber band. Let your brew sit somewhere where it won’t be jostled around, and in 8-14 days you will have delicious and nutritious kombucha! 04. If you’d like to keep the brew going, place your kombucha in a new container in the fridge, and use about 2 cups from the previous brew as starter for your next batch. Drink up, and notice how your digestion, energy levels, and clarity of mind will improve with every sip!
Maple Cider Vinaigrette AUTHOR: KERRI CACCIATA
After a long summer, the colder months bring many welcome flavors. This vinaigrette compliments everything from a salad with cranberries to an apple slaw. Drizzle it over roasted butternut squash and top with pepitas. Make a double batch and keep it handy all season long!
INGREDIENTS: 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar 2 tbsp pure maple syrup 2 tbsp minced shallot 1 tbsp dijon mustard 1/4 tsp salt 1/4 tsp pepper 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil INSTRUCTIONS: Combine all items except the olive oil into a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to emulsify.
ISSUE 10 / FALL 2014
JOIN US ON A JOURNEY! Become an Advocate for Change
The Ecology Center is excited to announce the launch of a new Advocate Membership program designed to take members along on a guided journey towards better sustainability. What the Advocate Membership Program means for you... A GUIDED JOURNEY. Consider TEC
your personal sustainability coach! We'll keep you inspired and excited with seasonal tips, resources, and Advocate success stories in our new Advocate's Almanac e-guide. PRIORITY ACCESS. As our valued
members, you'll be the first to know. Members enjoy early access and exclusive sneak peeks to premier events, including Green Feast and the upcoming Handmade: A Maker's Market.
EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNTS. Not only do members enjoy discount workshop rates, you also receive 20% off the item of the month and a daily 10% off discount to any item in our Tools for Change General Store. FREE SUBSCRIPTIONS. Stay well
informed of sustainability issues with a free subscription to Evolve, our eco-journal, and a free subscription to Edible Orange County.
WHY ARE WE LAUNCHING A NEW MEMBERSHIP PROGRAM?
Because change starts with each of us. Each person is responsible for the health of our community and our environment, but we don't have to do it alone. Through sharing our resources and experiences with you, our goal is to make it easier for you to take action and make a difference. Because we appreciate your support and we want to show you. Many of you have been with us from the start and we owe our achievements to you. We plan to enhance our engagement with the community to make all of us more effective in achieving our goals together.
REWARDS. Along with all the new
benefits, we created a learn and earn program to keep you motivated. Take steps toward positive change and we will reward you with a free TEC workshop upon completion.
Because we have big plans for the future and they involve you. You have a direct impact on our growth. Through your membership, TEC is able to engage in conversations that
expand our individual spheres of influence, thereby effecting greater change. In addition to your own eco-journey, your tax deductible contributions are also supporting unique educational programs that go into schools and communities to elevate and sustain the health of the ecosystems that we all depend upon for life. Whether you are an individual or a business, anyone can make a worthy contribution. Membership starts at only $50 for an entire year of amazing benefits. Ready to begin your journey? Join our Advocate Membership program today and be part of the solution! SIGN UP ONLINE:
TheEcologyCenter.org/support BY PHONE:
BUILD, GROW, HARVEST, MAKE Hands-On Workshops at The Ecology Center
Ecological solutions to current environmental issues can only be realized if people are equipped and empowered to make changes at the individual level. The more you can make and create, the less you depend on mass consumption, the less waste you produce. Through Backyard Skills workshops, we teach individuals how to grow and preserve foods, use and reuse water efficiently, turn waste into healthy soil for gardens, create herbal remedies, and acquire other relevant hands-on techniques and positive ways to live in connection with our ecosystems. Our workshops are designed to coincide with the seasons - spring is a time for growing, summer for harvesting, fall for making, and winter for building. Check our calendar for the latest workshops and join us to learn a new useful skill you can apply in your life. The Backyard Skills program is generously supported by The Boeing Company, SDG&E, and by the Center for Living Peace.
TOOLS FOR CHANGE A General Store for Growers & Makers Through cultivating a culture of makers and doers, TEC aims to empower our community towards positive action. We encourage everyone to begin with simple lifestyle choices at home like growing your own food or catching rain water. It all starts with the right tool for the right job. Thatâ€™s what Tools for Change is all about. Weâ€™ve carefully curated some of the best eco-friendly products to bring you essential resources and tools for making and doing, such as ollas, organic compost, compost bins, kombucha kits, rain barrels, foraging guides, natural sunblock, local honey, and more. The more we make, the less we rely on mass production, the closer we are to a healthier, more abundant future. Come visit us and take home a tool for change! NEW TO TOOLS FOR CHANGE: FREE TAKE-HOME DIY SKILLS!
How do you start a compost bin? How do you preserve food? How do you install a rain barrel? We share step-by-step instructions and insider tips and tricks to help you do more and buy less!
NOVEMBER 8, 2014 | 11AM – 5PM
AT THE ECOLOGY CENTER 32701 ALIPAZ ST. SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, CA
Amabelle Aguiluz Book Stand Buck Owens Cheri Messerli Elliott Marks Jesse Miller KAM Textiles Killscrow Kings Road Apothecary
Maricolous Textiles Max Isles Mt. Washington Pottery Soapy Layne Stormy Monday Tigers to Lilies Waterhouse Apothecary
FOOD F ROM Better Booch Eden’s Savory SAP Kéan Coffee Local Tastes Better Organic Tree Sidecar Doughnuts & More!
Illustration: © 2014 Lana Fee-Rasmussen
An eco-journal of obtainable and sustainable solutions curated by The Ecology Center