DIY RECIPE: CALENDULA BODY BUTTER

WORDS & IMAGES: KATE WEINER

The utter deliciousness of spring always makes my heart feel a little lighter. The purple wildflowers that frame my walk to the library; the sweet, succulent evening light; the light rain and chilly air. I love how everything seems to turn green in a day. You wake up, or leave work, and suddenly the whole world has changed. 

We're weathering a late-season snow in my neck of the woods but the spirit of spring still persists. I've found my energy for DIY herbal remedies has reawakened. Each morning, I pore through my favorite reads—A Wilder Life and The Healing Kitchen in particular have been guiding lights—and find a recipe that soothes something in my soul. 

My favorite herbal remedy to make is a calendula body butter, adapted from Rosemary Gladstar's recipe for face cream from "Medicinal Herbs: Beginner's Guide." For this recipe, I infuse the calendula oil myself. Infusing calendula oil isn't hard—you fill a glass jar with calendula buds and olive oil and let it steep in the sun—but it takes 3 to 4 weeks. Still, it's worth it. There's something magical about watching the midday light filter through a glass brimming with yellow buds. And there's something powerful about making something that most of us buy in plastic packaging.

The change in seasons is an invitation to be gentler with our sweet selves. I hope the act of creating this luscious body butter will remind you every day to be good and kind to yourself. 

ROSEMARY'S FAMOUS FACE CREAM

3/4 cup calendula oil

1/8 cup cocoa butter

1/8 cup coconut oil

1 tablespoon grated beeswax

1/4 cup aloe vera gel

3/4 cup distilled water

A few drops of lavender essential oil. 

TO MAKE THE CREAM:

  1. Combine the calendula oil, cocoa butter, coconut oil, and beeswax in a saucepan over very low heat and warm until everything is melted together. Pour into a measuring cup or bowl and let cool for at least several hours or overnight, until the mixture is firm, thick, and creamy.
  2. Scrape oil mixture into a blender. In a separate bowl, combine the aloe vera gel, distilled water, and essential oil. Turn the blender on at a high speed and slowly drizzle the water mixture into the oil, continuing to blend until all the water mixture has been absorbed by the oil. The blender should "choke" as the mixture thickens and becomes white and creamy.
  3. Scoop the cream into glass jars and store in a cool, dark place for up to a year. 

MAKE YOUR OWN MAGIC

WORDS & IMAGES: KATE WEINER

We remember that every act of kindness and mindfulness counts, and that progress can happen in small increments. Anger isn’t a sustainable motivator, so we create moments of joy.

Erica Neal

Since Erica Neal—Loam's latest contributor and the modern homesteading mama behind Yellow Swing Garden—shared these words on embodying hope with me, I've found myself thinking hard about what it would take to bring these principles into practice. It's SO important to remember that the radical revolution our world needs is in the details. Progress happens because of the small steps we take, day after day, to cultivate sustainable ecosystems and nurture healing communities. 

In that spirit, I've been dreaming up ways that I can make my own magic. How can I create moments of joy in my life and in the lives of those I love that deepen our ties to one another and to this earth? How can I cultivate experiences that help my community honor our roots and give us the nourishment we need to fight the good fight? These questions have brought me closer to the realization that moments of joy need the same time and thought I put into moments of activism (and sometimes, the two are one in the same!)

With the summer solstice a few weeks away, planting seeds for beautiful, dreamy gatherings feels especially needed. So here are three things I'm doing to make my own magic this coming month. Share what you're growing in the comments!

A HOMEGROWN PICNIC

In one of my favorite features in the current issue of Loam, Sita, Saqib, and Jocelyn of the People's Kitchen Collective share their belief that the kitchen table can be fertile ground for a revolution. It's a beautiful sentiment and one that holds true even when we transform the kitchen table into a farm-to-table spread to savor outside. Gathering together with friends over food really is a simple recipe for building community and deepening our delicious love for this earth. My dream is to bring a farmers' market haul rich in luscious fruit, veg, breads, and spreads to share with friends by the lake close to my home. We'll page through books and talk life. We'll watch the sunset. It's a simple idea but one I can't wait to bring into being (and lucky for me, it's not so hard to do so!)

RADICAL INHABITATION

My friends Lizzy and Matilda introduced me to this idea and I think it's such a powerful way of bringing the wild home to wherever we are. I want to bring my bed into my friend's backyard and sleep under the stars; I want to camp by the creek close to my home. These are places I pass by or walk through nearly everyday and it feels magical and inspiring and exciting to me to teach myself how to inhabit these pockets of nature.

CREATIVE CONNECTION

Making herbal remedies, working on my book, dancing outside—these creative acts bring me infinite bliss and make mundane days feel full of magic. Yes to that, please. 

 

 

BURNED OUT?

WORDS & IMAGE: KATE WEINER

I've been feeling really burned out lately. I take my own advice—I rest and luxuriate in simple self-care rituals. I plant things and gather together with loved ones for good food and energizing hikes. But I still feel tired, every day. I forget to call my Senators. I skip out on strategizing sessions. The energy that powered me through the first traumatizing, terrifying 100 days of Trump's Presidency is tumbling from a waterfall into a still pool. 

Burnout makes me feel guilty. I look at my life—how profoundly supported I am by my family, how beloved I am by my friends, how lucky I am to live into a city mapped by towering trees and burbling creeks—and I think how is this not enough to keep me perpetually motivated? Burnout makes me angry at myself too. To feel dejected, to struggle to fight—those experiences are gifts we give to our fascist regime and man, I'm not interesting in giving those capitalist cronies ANYTHING. 

It took a post-run collapse on the hill outside my home for me to realize the transformative potential of burnout. I sank into the grass, out of breath, and stared up at the mottled blue sky. Rain clouds coming in blanketed the bright green arms of budding trees in grey. There was a soft wind rustling the grass—the blades luminous in the golden hour light—and I felt so awake to everything that was around me in a way I haven't as an activist the last couple of weeks. I held the world and let her hold me. 

Burnout is like any emotion. The only way to work through it is to dive into the heart of the storm. Fighting burnout only made me more exhausted. Sitting on the hill, in love with the light, grass, trees, with this world that renders me speechless every day, I saw my burnout as an opportunity to change the actions I am taking—to refocus my work on rebuilding, to recenter my writing as my activism. I thought about ways I could carry my moment of golden hour communion with me. What about this moment made me awake? And what can I do to bring that sense of aliveness, alertness to life in my every day work?

The next few weeks for me are going to be about exploring new pathways. My intention is to ground myself in daily rituals—evening runs, morning watercolors—that nurture my creativity and offer consistency during the hard, uncomfortable, illuminating work of finding fresh channels. I'm going to learn about different ways I can inhabit and enact activism. So if you have any strategies, loamy loves, please share. We are capable of building the world we want. Even in my burnout, I know that to be true. 

RESOURCE GUIDE: SHOPPING THE SEASONS

WORDS & IMAGE: KATE WEINER

Spring always fills my heart anew with hope. I love when the farmers' market opens and I can sift through bountiful bundles of asparagus and brightly colored stalks of chard. Supporting local farmers who are cultivating biodynamic farms is integral to divesting from industrialized agriculture and nourishing soil. But it takes a little know-how to navigate the market (especially on a budget!) Consider these four modules, below, a primer on shopping the seasons.  

RIPE FOR TRANSFORMATION

WORDS & IMAGE: KATE WEINER

At a lecture I listened into several weeks ago, Dave Henson, a lifelong activist and the Executive Director of the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center, shared his strategies for creating change. "Look for what's ripe for transformation," Dave said, "and work toward that."

Those words have sat under my skin since then. As ready as I am for revolution, the systems I am working within and against are not always ripe for transformation. I am starting to realize more and more that it's vital that I build the world I want by really tuning into what is. When we accept that our fascist regime has made federal climate action near impossible, we can redirect our energy toward cultivating radical change in our communities, municipalities, and states. We can learn how to work through the deep sorrow in our hearts—at the anger that our country has voted a climate denier into office whose policies, if unchallenged, would usher in the collapse of civilization—by seeking out seeds for revolution wherever we are in this wild world. We can create change where we can for as long as we are able. 

It's easy to fall into hysteria during these dark days. Some nights, the fear that nothing I do will make a difference courses through me like a fever I can't sweat off. I still don't know to hold all the difficulty of living thru climate chaos and all the dreaminess of being alive in my heart. I still don't know how to live within the multi dimensions of reality, and of possibility. I still don't know how to make peace with an uncertain future as I find ways to inhabit the present. I do know that fascism wins when we believe our fights are no longer worth fighting. And so as long as I am walking on this world, I'm going to fight for her. As a friend of my mother says, that's the rent I pay.

Noticing what systems are ripe for transformation doesn't mean shying away from work that is hard. We have to continue to fight for a just transition to a clean energy economy even in the face of an autocracy that works to empower corporate personhood. So for me, noticing what systems are ripe for transformation is an invitation to rethink where the catalyst for revolution resides.

As I sink into this pear blossom ecstatic spring, I want to dedicate each day to doing a little more to bring the ripe for transformation philosophy into practice. Here are a few things I'm playing with—in my heart, in my community, in my state, in my country, in this world—to create change. What are you exploring, loamy loves?

HEART

The last few months have been hugely transformative for me. The first year after I graduated was the hardest in my life. I was sad and unsure and I felt like I was planting so many seeds and nothing was growing. So it's been delicious to realize that that very difficult year gave life to unexpected abundance. I feel like I'm on the brink of something beautiful (not sure just what it is yet!) and that sense of wild hope gives me permission to dare and do and dream deeper. 

COMMUNITY

Public land is a big issue in my neck of the woods. Open spaces are a vital home for species biodiversity and integral to strengthening community. I've loved working with local organizations to raise money to preserve public lands and inspire folks to truly soak up what makes our world so damn wonderful. 

STATE

I live in a state where cultivating community-owned solar and wind farms is an environmental and economic win-win. Renewable energy is ripe for transformation where I am and so I've made it my mission to share strategies for retrofitting sustainable homes through grassroots organizing and advocacy. 

COUNTRY

There are so many people and places whose right to life has been profoundly threatened by the Trump Administration. It's important to me to not only show love and solidarity with those hit hardest by fascism, but also to do the sometimes uncomfortable and unsettling work of cultivating true intersectionality across movements. How can I learn to listen deeper? Do better?

WORLD

We do not exist in isolation. Across the world, resistance against capitalism and climate chaos is growing. And although there has been, and will be, tremendous defeats and powerful triumphs, the resistance is working. The increasing violence of the fossil fuel plutocracy is proof positive that our desire for a just, livable world is unsettling those in power. The revolution truly is ripe for transformation. 

LOAM x KITCHEN + KRAFT

The best perk of my job at Loam? Nurturing exciting collaborations with artists, makers, and movers who are bringing sustainability to life in fresh ways. Whether co-creating a dance, writing an essay together, or making a mural, I love learning from and with people who believe in the beauty way and care passionately about our earth. We talk about the harsh realities of climate chaos and also the wild beauty in this world. And we find ways to find our joy, however small and simple, through the transformative power of co-creation. 

My most recent collaboration is with Tori Kendrew of kitchen + kraft. My aunt met Tori at a makers' market in upstate NY and shared my info with her after checking out her naturally dyed textiles! It was such a fun way to connect and as soon as I talked to Tori, I understood what my aunt saw. Tori's desire to infuse the products we use everyday with value isn't just about generating beauty—it's about creating a circular economy that honors reciprocal relationships with the earth. Her support of local dyes, fibersheds, and makers is really about supporting systems that heal our soil and foster a renewed reconnection with plants. 

This handcrafted and hand dyed farmers' market tote is such a luscious work of functional art and embodies what I want our shop at Loam to be: an opportunity to financially support our network of sustainably-minded makers by providing products that encourage action. My hope is that this sturdy tote, designed for the long haul, will inspire you to reuse bags, reimagine your relationship to your belongings, and reinvest in the local. Because if we want small, sustainable makers to thrive, we have to support 'em!

YOUR CONSUMER POWER CHECKLIST

WORDS: KATE WEINER

COLLAGE: GARRETT BLAD

Listen, man, I'm also trying to free myself from the shackles of the capitalist system but right now? I'm grateful for the incredible power in the consumer. It's giving the people the opportunity to build the world we want by reinvesting our money, redefining "wealth," and reimagining our relationship to what we buy and how. As Arundhati Roy writes:

The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling—their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability [...] Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing. 

I freaking LOVE that. Because that's the truth: we do NOT have to buy what they are selling. It's understandable that we might believe we do—we're mired in a world rich in contradictions and mapped by oil. But the inherent imperfections of who we are and the world that we live in doesn't mean we can't make better choices. We have TREMENDOUS power, both when we come together as collaborators and in the context of our everyday decisions.

So herewith, FIVE ways you can exercise your power as a consumer to create tangible change, mitigate climate catastrophe, and fight social, economic, and environmental injustice. And as always, feel free to share your own solutions in the comments!

  • CULTIVATE CLEAN ENERGY: Sign up for the super simple Arcadia Power to invest in clean energy every time you pay your electricity bill. Because the fossil fuel industry can't thrive—and projects like DAPL will fail—if we move our money toward clean energy. 
  • #GRAB YOUR WALLET: Boycott these companies who are supporting Trump. When we starve the capitalist machine, big businesses are forced to listen to us. They go where the money goes and as consumers, we have the money they want. 
  • F**K FAST FASHION: The fashion industry is one of the most environmentally destructive industries in the entire world. Full stop refuse to support companies like H & M and Urban Outfitters whose "affordable" clothes come at the cost of exacerbating economic inequalities in formerly colonized countries and devastating nature ecosystems. 
  • SHOP SMALL: Buying nothing is best. Buying less, buying better, and buying from local makers is a pretty close second. Source 90% of your stuff secondhand to drastically slash your carbon footprint. 
  • DIVEST: Move your money! The rad Yes! Magazine breaks it down. 

RESIST AND REBUILD

 

WORDS: KATE WEINER

IMAGE: RACHEL FRY

I haven't found a deeper sense of love this week. I'm afraid and I'm furious and I'm determined. Trump's torrent of terror has rattled many of us to our core. The lives of millions of people are in peril by our fascist government. It's surreal to know at the end of a day that you are warm in bed but that the world outside doesn't feel safe. I have moments of joy—nourishing glasses of golden milk, walks with friends, giggly parties in cramped kitchens—and then moments too of bone-deep despair—rallying in the biting cold, talking on the phone to friends who are afraid they can no longer return home, watching exhaust from traffic pollute the winter air and thinking you can't drink oil

It's okay to feel the overwhelm. Our rage, our frustration, our fear are proof that we are heart full enough to watch autocracy in action and know there's no way in hell we can accept this state-sanctioned violence. 

Resistance is vital. And as I reflect on the first week in this new era, I am coming to realize that resistance is nothing without rebuilding. The world we want can't wait. The stability of our climate can't wait. The security of our Muslim, Latinx, Black, and LGBTQ communities can't wait. And so even though it is frustrating as hell to fight battles we shouldn't have to fight, this is our reality. Trust that it doesn't mean we can't co-create another.

We can see our strength already. When we rallied for our Muslim brothers and sisters at airports across the country, our ferocious energy inspired a federal judge to intervene for justice. The power of the people is greater than the people in power. Those words continue to give me hope even in the heart of so much pain. 

How can you rebuild as you resist?

RESIST THE FOSSIL FUEL OLIGARCHY // REBUILD A CLEAN ENERGY ECONOMY

If you are as terrified as I am about what completion of the pipelines will mean for Native Liberation and a stable climate, do your part to divest from the fossil fuel oligarchy. Join your divestment movement on campus. Switch from petroleum-based plastics to reusable glass (plastics are poisoning our planet and keeping fossil fuel oligarchs in power. Screw that). Help your loved ones make the switch to renewable through Arcadia Power and Solar City. Send your comments on DAPL to the Army Corps. Change will come from the consumer. If we don't want pipelines to decimate our fragile earth and threaten indigenous communities, we have to unapologetically pursue a clean energy economy one home by one home. 

And sign up for the Citizens Climate Lobby. The CCL makes it easy to advocate for political change. You'll receive action items, alerts, and facts. Right now, Trump is orchestrating an executive order blitzkrieg to terrify us into submission. Keep yourself informed. 

RESIST DISCRIMINATION // REBUILD COMMUNITY

Donate to CAIR. Protest at airports. Organize postcard writing parties. An attack on any one of us threatened by Trump's bigoted agenda is an attack on all of us. 

To rebuild community is to reach out. Show up at strategizing sessions for diverse movements. Listen to others. Make it your intention to cultivate spaces that nourish respect, support, and solidarity. Last year, our friends Matilda and Lizzy shared with us their recipe for radical inhabitation. I deeply believe that this kind of experience is integral to rebuilding community as we resist attacks on our collective right to life. 

RESIST ISOLATION // REBUILD INTERSECTIONALITY

On a moonlit beach in Point Reyes several ago, the beloved activist Ryan Camero sang a song to several of my friends that he had learned in collaboration with The Beehive Design Collective. I desperately wish I could invite each of you into the memory of that experience—our hands interwoven, the sand against our feet, the silvery moon light—because the line and all of our grievances are connected changed for me how I saw movement building. Trump wants to tear us apart, to antagonize us into isolation. But it's the interconnectedness of our movements that will bring wild, radical change into life. Environmentalism lives at the intersection of social justice; embodying hope emerges at the nexus of collaboration. 

RESIST FEAR // REBUILD RADICAL JOY

Fear is what will keep Trump in office. Van Jones argued for a Love Army. And even though I'm pretty damn angry, I honor his vision of showing radical love to ourselves, our land, and our communities. It's not always easy—doing anything that's not "actionable" this week has left me anxious. But our embrace of joy in the darkness is a radical act of resistance. We have to continue to find ways to share meals and be in nature and love one another with all of our tender hearts.