THE SUSTAINABLE LIVING TOUR

I recently had the opportunity to connect with Shayna and Bryan of Earth Journeys, a company that supports change makers through immersive eco education experiences. Shaped by the guiding principles of spiritual ecology—especially that of the rad Joanna Macy—their transformative twelve day retreat, The Sustainable Living Tour, is a rich exploration of what we can do to cultivate regenerative practices and nourish collective healing.

Over the course of a week and a half, you'll visit permaculture sites, eco villages, and community centers across Southern California by biodiesel bus. From hands-on workshops to conversations with trailblazing sustainability experts to succulent autumn nights camping under the stars, The Sustainable Living Tour is a rare opportunity to reconnect with the natural world and to find community.

I first learned about this opportunity from a patron of Loam—who told me that it was "truly an incredible experience, and one that I credit for where I am in life today"—and am so inspired by the change that The Sustainable Living Tour is activating in this world. I hope you'll join me on this earth journey to heal our hearts and mend our world. Use the referral code LOAM when you sign up and you'll help support the movement we're growing here too.

SHARE YOUR SUSTAINABILITY STORY

WORDS & IMAGE: KATE WEINER

Earlier this week, Erica Neal of Yellow Swing Garden shared a gorgeous meditation on the power of storytelling in shaping sustainable living. Erica's essay—the first in a fresh series from her on holistic homesteading—has given me a dose of hope during these rocky days. Writes Erica:

When we set out to accomplish a goal with story in mind, we set intentions. We envision progress and challenges along the way to a stunning destination. We generate or gather imagery and language that invokes passion.  And most importantly, we create a space in our memory that can recall these vivid dreams when our hope needs help. Even a dream as simple as sustainable living deserves the support of a vibrant, intentional story.   

Erica's words were just what I needed to hear this week. Newly unemployed and unsure what I am doing and where I am going to live next, I've been searching for ways to ground my passion in action. I feel like I have so many opportunities in front of me, so many places I can go and things I can do, that I've found myself struggling to make a decision. I'm overwhelmed by possibility but I'm also afraid of making the "wrong" move. 

That's why I so treasure Erica's essay. She inspired me to take a deep breath and to think about the story that I am telling about myself. I know that my story will evolve as I do. I know there will be many things I can't control that will shape my next steps. I know, too, that creating a narrative for myself takes me out of the nebulous fog of what next? I've been floating in and plunges me into a story I am an active agent in. At its heart, storytelling is a way to be our own permission—to dream deeper, dare bigger, and do more—in spite of the everyday trials and tribulations we might be struggling with. 

That's why I sat down one early morning and wrote my sustainability story. I won't share ALL of it with you (when I've got a fire in my belly, I'm not a good editor) but here's a little of what I poured onto the page:

I want to continue to tell stories and create art that inspires positive environmental change. I want to grow into my role as an environmental activist and deepen Loam's reach. I want to make something—art, love, a fresh-from-the-farmers'-market meal for friends—every damn day. I want to find work that helps me embody hope and gives me a space to support others in their pursuit of sustainable living. 

When I sat down and sketched out a story of who I want to be and what I want to do, I found it easier to inhabit the present. The restlessness in my belly isn't so damning when I can recognize it as part of my journey of becoming.

In that spirit, Erica and I want to invite you to share your sustainability stories with us. What are your big dreams for living lighter on this earth? How do you want to grow into your work as an environmental advocate? What places do you want to protect? Whatever it is that moves you, share your sustainability story with us at connect@loammagazine.com over the course of the next few weeks. We'll compile our favorites into a post that we hope will serve as an inspiration board for our luscious Loam community.

Here's to dreaming and doing, today & everyday. 

 

SUPPORT LOAM

After wrapping up my residency at the magical Woodland Keep last week, I've been thinking long and hard about how to grow Loam this year. We're living within the midst of a sociopolitical and climate crisis and I believe so deeply in the power of art to heal deep wounds and inspire tangible change in our communities and in our country. Because of our beautiful community, Loam truly has grown from a magazine into a movement. I love hearing from you that an article on renewable energy inspired you to switch to solar in your home or that one of our Artist-in-Residents gave you a fresh frame for rethinking your relationship to activism. That's the embodied power of environmental art.

To move forward, Loam is going to need a little more support. Asking for help is hard but I believe in what we're growing with Loam and I know that together we can do good in the world.

If you love Loam, I'd like you to consider donating $1 a month to our Patreon. With these funds, my vision is to:

(1) Continue to create content that activates change, 

(2) Provide stipends to our passionate crew of contributors, and

(3) Offer our environmental workshops at little to no cost to our communities.


 Of course, there are many ways to support Loam that go beyond financial contributions! You can apply to be an Artist-in-Residence or contribute content to our site. I love collaborating and truly welcome new ideas.

 I'm so thankful to each and every one of you for your support and love—in all its permutations and possibilities.


With love,

Kate

MY NEW ROUTINE DURING THIS REGIME

WORDS & IMAGE: KATE WEINER

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. 

Arundhati Roy

The world is very different than it was a little more than two weeks ago. Because of Trump, our environment, our communities, and our bodies are infinitely less safe. 

We need to cultivate daily routines that bring self-care into balance with radical collective action. These are challenging times, rife with the threat of catastrophe, but they are also a liberating opportunity to be ungovernable, to really put the power back into the hands of the people. I'm scared. I'm angry. I'm determined. And I am striving to take small, strategic actions that reflect that.

Herewith, ten things I'm doing every week (sometimes every day) to resist, rebuild, and renew. Share what strategies you are integrating into your routine in the comments! 

CALL CONGRESS

Every morning I wake up, nurse a nourishing mug of golden milk, and call Congress at (202) 224 3121. Check out 5 Calls for suggestions on who to call and scripts for what to say.

EARTHING EXERCISE

Spend time in nature every damn day. Take a hike with friends, soak up the sunset, settle into a sitspot. Love for our one and only home is what will sustain us during the hard fight ahead. 

TUNE INTO A STRATEGIZING SESSION

MoveOn hosts weekly strategizing sessions (more than 25,000 people tuned into their first call) that help you prioritize where to direct your energy as an activist for the coming week. 

SIGN UP FOR ACTION ALERTS

Action alerts via text from the Sierra Club, MoveOn, and the Citizens Climate Lobby have helped me focus my energy the last few weeks as well as remind me to reset and resist in the middle of my workday. 

SET UP MONTHLY DONATIONS

I have set up monthly donations to 350, NRDC, Food and Water Watch, Citizens Climate Lobby, and Yes! Magazine. There are so many incredible organizations who need our support and it doesn't take much shifting in your budget to find the money to invest in people who are working fiercely on the frontlines to create meaningful change. 

RALLY EVERY WEEK

I've been traveling the last few weeks and haven't had the opportunity to participate in as many rallies as I would like. But I've been buoyed by my friends from across the country who have been showing up in the streets and at their Senator's offices several times a week. Dedicated protest is our new norm. 

VOLUNTEER

I've been volunteering with Be Zero for many months but my work for this awesome organization has never felt more important. Plastic is oil and I want to inspire people to divest from fossil fuels by rethinking their relationship to waste and redefining their real needs. Find a cause you care about—regenerative agriculture, animal welfare—and carve out two hours a week in your schedule to volunteer for a relevant community organization. There is tremendous power in the local. 

INVEST IN RENEWABLE ENERGY

I've made it my mission to sign up one person for Arcadia Power every week, a clean energy company that makes investing in renewable accessible to everyone. I am also working with my apartment complex to install solar panels. If every one of Loam's 22,000 readers were to commit to inspiring just one community or complex to support clean energy, our impact would be huge! Trump's climate policies are terrifying. But as consumers, the power is with us. If you want clean energy, do your part to support clean energy. This is true of everything we want for this world.

HOST HUDDLES

Make time to break bread and share ideas with those you love. Create the grounds for collective art; make a game plan for mobilizing change. We are not alone in this, no matter how panicky some days can be, and we are not without power, not ever.

 

I have never been angrier in my life but I also have never been more suffused with love for the world and committed to protecting her. I am reaching out more to old friends, extending love to my sweethearts, practicing abundance, exercising gratitude—and this renewed interest in unapologetically living the life I want to live is bringing me hope in the dark. This is a wake-up call to fight harder and love freely and I am working, every day, to rise up. 

 

 

THE GRACE OF SLOW CHANGE

WORDS: LILY MYERS

IMAGE: KATE WEINER

I walk the same route to work each morning, trailing my boots over the grey sidewalk. I’ve seen this same patch of sidewalk go from sun-lit, to leaf-strewn, to snow-piled, all in the span of several months. Each day I feel pretty much the same as the day before, and yet below my feet the earth demonstrates its ongoing change. Slowly, one day to the next, everything shifts.

Change is on everyone’s mind this time of year. We’ve made resolutions, we’ve opened our fresh planners, we’ve created goals for 2017. That’s the fun part: counting down among fireworks and swearing we’ll be different this year. But now that we’re a few weeks into January, how do we actually enact that change?

Just like the earth does. Slowly.

It often feels like we’re stuck in these dreary winter months: the days of January and February are long, grey, nearly identical. But even when they feel endless, they do somehow end. Somehow we get to the sun-filled days of spring. And how does this happen? Oh-so-slowly, one day at a time.

We get frustrated with ourselves when it feels like we’re not changing fast enough. We haven’t mastered our resolutions. We’ve fallen back into old habits. But look back to two years ago; five years ago; ten. Weren’t you vastly different then? Haven’t you picked up new habits, new routines, new rhythms since then? Huge change did happen. It just happened so slowly that it was nearly imperceptible.In nature, growth is imperceptible.

Each morning you look no different than the morning before, yet somehow you’ve grown from an 8-pound newborn to a full-grown adult. Each day a tree looks no bigger than the day before, yet where did our gigantic oaks and towering cedars come from? Seeds. The tiniest beginnings.

That’s why my motto for 2017 is “direction, not perfection”. I’m not looking to enact all my changes at once. I didn’t begin all my new habits on January 1st. I’ve tried that in previous years, and it only leads to frustration and guilt, because we don’t work that way. We’re animals living on planet Earth, and we grow just like any other animal does. Yeah, you guessed it: slowly.

“Direction, not perfection” means it’s more important where I’m aiming than how fast I’m getting there. It doesn’t sound flashy or exciting, but actually, I take this as very good news. Unlike strict rules and timelines, it allows for spaciousness. It allows time, patience, room to really develop into our new selves. It allows time for strong foundations to be built, time for us to really understand why we’re making this change. And it also allows room for setbacks and mistakes. If we know we’re heading in the right direction, than a hiccup or a tumble doesn’t matter. We still know where we’re going.

Ironically, the resistance to slow change often stops us from moving at all. Often, I’ll put off beginning a project or task because I know it’s going to take soooo long. So I don’t start it at all, and then it ends up taking even longer. But if I take just one step forward in the process, just one tiny micromovement, the process begins to look easier. One micromovement leads to another, and to another, and before you know it you’re six feet tall. Your sapling has grown. We’ve made it to spring.

I employ this micromovement trick with anything I’m resisting. If I don’t want to clean the sinkful of dishes, I’ll just clean the first one. If I don’t want to go on a run, I’ll just put on my running shoes. If I don’t want to start a writing piece, I’ll just open up a blank Word document. The first micromovement has been made; the journey has begun. From there, it becomes manageable to take just one more micromovement. Pick up one more dish. Step outside the front door. Type the first word.

Yeah, but doing it that way will take so long, the complainer in my head says. Yeah, I retort, just as it should. Just as everything here on earth grows. Out of a billion micromovements.


It’s cold here in the middle of January. But I know that each day as I walk the same city block, the air is getting infinitessimally warmer. The days are getting infinitessimally longer. I know that one day, I’ll look down and see cherry blossoms.

THE CONSCIOUS KITCHEN: MORNING TONIC

WORDS & IMAGE: HOLLY LOWERY

Recently my partner and I decided to give our bodies a little break. We’ve been running around like mad and the stress of that combined with the lack of time to cook at home has led to a lot of quick meals and take-out. While this yang energy has been fun, our bodies were definitely ready for a breather. 


So for the next ten days, we set out to cook all of our meals at home (or at least as often as humanly possible). We prepped soup and salads and snacks. We basically took Sunday afternoon to set ourselves up for the chillest week of cooking ever. 


Because I’m always looking to take the next step (sometimes to a fault), I wanted to add a little something extra to kick off this week of home-cooked food. I’m lost without my tea in the morning, and I love the idea of hot lemon water regularly, but I always feel rushed to drink that and my tea before I head to work. I wanted something that would literally jump start my body without requiring a lot of time to make, eat, or drink it. 


Enter, my new morning tonic.


I figured I would combine my love for (and enormous supply of) kombucha, with some other next-level ingredients, and what better way to get it in my bod than in the form of a shot?
So here’s what’s in it & why I chose to add these ingredients:

  • Kombucha (1c)- As you will soon find out, I am a fermentation nerd, and kombucha is my favorite form of probiotic. Currently my brewing partners and I are working on brewing some pretty large batches so the supply is abundant.
  • Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (1/3c)- Many people report having experienced decreased inflammation, better digestive function, and a stronger immune system after regularly drinking this stuff in the AM. If you can get past the taste this is an amazing addition to your daily regime. 
  • Ginger Root (2 thumb size pieces) - Ahhhh Ginger. So many amazing properties I could write about. But to keep it short and sweet, I chose this for its anti-inflammatory & digestive properties. Bye-bye bloating! Well, assuming I’m also treating my body with respect and all the good vibes.
  • Turmeric Root (1 thumb size piece) - Turmeric is trendy; this we all know. But seriously, there’s a reason. Turmeric is like the queen of all the roots. And she, combined with ginger, is like having the royal couple over for dinner. Turmeric contains tons of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and again anti-inflammatory properties. She is said to be the “Anti-Cancer root”
  • Dandelion Root (1/2-1 thumb size piece) — My partner and I went foraging for the first time together a few weeks ago and came back with a handful of this stuff. Not sure what to do with it right away, we dried it and set it aside hoping to find a use. Thank you, tonic idea. After some research I found that dandelion is actually a mild laxative, which would explain why the first few days my partner and I were, um, more than regular… This is not something I plan to drink all the time, but is a great addition to all the healthy whole foods & other herbs we are eating this week.
  • Gingko (2 tbsp)- This is an herb I’d heard of for a while but had no idea what it was for. So naturally I bought it because I knew it was “good for me” and it sat in my pantry for 6 months before I did anything with it. But this herb really is great and I wish I had started using it way before now. Gingko is amazing for blood flow, and is often used to treat neurological disorders. It’s a great herb to start the morning with to get that brain of yours ready to crush the day ahead. 
  • Black Pepper (1/2 tbsp) - This one is simple but little known for its medicinal properties. Black pepper has some pretty great antibacterial properties, and is also great for immunity and digestion. It’s so easy to find, so there’s no excuse not to toss it in the pot!
  • Clove (1/2 tbsp) - I usually keep this on hand for homemade chai, but it also made a great addition to this tonic. Besides the fact that it tastes lovely, clove offers up antimicrobial properties, which in layman’s terms just means that it helps fight microorganisms that may be weakening your immune system. It is also great for headaches, which often times I get when I change what I’m eating or drinking a bit. 

TO MAKE THE TONIC:

  1. Bring 4-5 cups of water to a boil. Reduce heat to low and put ginger, turmeric, dandelion root, black pepper and clove into water. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes. 
  2. Turn the water off and add the gingko. Let sit for another 5-10 minutes.
  3. Strain and transfer the liquid to a new jar and let cool to room temp.
  4. Add the kombucha and raw ACV to the tea, cap and store in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.
  5. Enjoy before eating in the morning- preferably when you’re in a clam headspace.

xoxo
Holly

WHAT'S COOKING IN THE CONSCIOUS KITCHEN?

Preserving Seasonal Rituals

 

SUBMIT TO PERMACULTURE IN PRACTICE

Loam is accepting submissions for Spring 2017: Permaculture In Practice. Slated for release in early March, this carbon neutral print issue seeks to celebrate diverse makers who are bringing the principles of permaculture to life through creative channels. 

Permaculture is a holistic approach to farming that merges landscape design, sustainable agriculture practices, and ecological philosophies to nourish thriving ecosystems. As Christopher Shein writes in "The Vegetable Gardener's Guide To Permaculture," the twelve principles of permaculture are:

  1. Observe and interact
  2. Catch and store energy
  3. Obtain a yield
  4. Apply self-regulation and respond to feedback
  5. Use renewable resources
  6. Produce no waste
  7. Design from pattern to details
  8. Integrate rather than segregate
  9. Use small and slow solutions
  10. Use and value diversity
  11. Use the edges
  12. Creatively use and respond to change

For this issue, we're interested in stories, visual art, prose, non-fiction narratives, photo ethnographies, and poems that reconsider the ways in which diverse individuals and initiatives are applying the principles of permaculture to their work. It's not just about permaculture as a farming practice—it's about permaculture as a way of life.

We will be accepting submissions through December 10th, 2016 (photographers, just note that we only accept hi-resolution images).  Send your final work and/or any questions that you may have to Nicole and Kate at connect@loammagazine. We're so looking forward to checking out your gorgeous work!

THE CONSCIOUS KITCHEN: PRESERVING SEASONAL RITUALS

To Transition from Growing to Preserving: The Lost Art of Seasonal Rituals

My partner and I just finished our last batch of canning this week. Many hours spent over a hot stove, boxes upon boxes of canning jars, a bounty of homegrown goods and lots of wine later- we have a fully stocked pantry for the colder months to come.

Most of us in the "West" have 24/7 access to the grocery store, so one might ask why on earth we would spend our limited warm weather time in the kitchen when we can just hop in the car and get everything we need right down the road. 

When we first began this ritual, I found myself asking the same question, especially since my time has become even more precious as of late. The answer was far from obvious, but when I realized what was underneath this seemingly tedious task, my soul settled into a new found contentment.

Below, my six favorite reasons for why I love to explore canning, preserving, drying, dehydrating and freezing our summer bounty.

1. Kitchen work is meditative

Think about when you draw out your favorite cutting board and your best knife. You tie your apron on and pull your hair back, signaling that it’s time to get to work. You take your basket of tomatoes out of the fridge and begin to rinse them, one by one under the cool water, ridding them of any bits of earth that decided to make the journey from the garden. These beginning steps of preparing a batch of canned tomatoes are so simple, which is what allows us to quiet our minds. Canning is like yoga in that it matches simple, repetitive motions with the breath. If you can find the tie between the two, you’ll begin to notice how relaxing this work can be.

Give it a try next time you’re in the kitchen. Slow down. Match your breath to your work. And take notice of where your mind goes and how quiet it becomes.

 

 2. We grow closer in the quiet

I have never had a partner as loving, adventurous, giving and supportive as the man in my life now. I am so grateful that we connect on virtually every level. We do most everything together, which is fantastic. But. I have always been one who needs my time alone. Most of the time we end up doing this work together in silence. We never intended for this to be our “quiet time,” but because the work is inherently meditative, and we both know what we’re doing in the kitchen (this helps immensely!) we don’t have to exchange too many words to be connecting in this ritualistic moment.

 

3. The harvest [almost] never goes to waste

How many times a week do you throw away fruit and veg because it has sat in the bottom of the fridge crisper too long? If you garden, how many times do you end up giving boxes of food away because you grew too much? Or worse yet, letting it rot on the vine. As a culture we end up throwing away so much food. Because we try to can, dry, freeze and dehydrate as much as we possibly can we have dramatically decreased the amount of food waste in our household. You can do this not just with homegrown foods, but your CSA or store bought groceries as well! Is your spinach on the verge? Freeze it for smoothies. If your apples are bruised and not quite as crisp, cook them down in a crockpot to an apple sauce and pressure can them. 

 

4. Physically preparing for winter is one of the oldest forms of signaling the body for seasonal change

Ancient civilizations have always had different ways of preparing for the colder seasons; in Native American culture it was very common to have week-long celebrations with dancing, singing and feasting to welcome the change in seasons, in addition to repairing their homes and sun-drying and smoking as much food as possible. Because of our modern technological advances we aren’t forced into preparing as much for the winters; we still have access to food unless a natural disaster occurs. Or if you live in Upstate NY and are buried under 10 feet of snow!

That physical preparation isn’t just done out of necessity; it is a cultural tradition, one that also prepares us mentally and spiritually for a quieter, colder, more yin time of year. By stocking up and spending that time getting ready to transition, our bodies and spirits are better able to adapt to the change when it does come.

 

5. It allows us to eat locally even when we can’t eat seasonally

One thing I’ve been focusing on this year has been to eat closer to home. I made a vow not to visit the grocery store this summer since we were growing so much from home, getting a weekly CSA and regularly visiting the farmers’ market. While that vow was definitely broken more than a few times, I did manage to eat a lot more local food than I have in years past.

Eating locally and seasonally is somewhat easy to do in the warm months when the harvest is abundant. But with about 4 months of frigid weather coming my way, thinking about eating locally seems next to impossible. I know I won’t be able to eat quite as locally for the next few months, but knowing that some of the frozen and canned veggies came straight from my garden will be a comforting thought to hold me over until spring.

 

6. There is nothing quite like having a bite of summer in the brutality of the winter

Do I need to say much more? Cracking open a jar of homegrown tomatoes in the dead of January is about as close to summer as you can get. While those tomatoes aren’t quite as delicious as the warmth of the sun on your bare skin, they do a decent job making the winter months a little more bearable.

 

Happy harvesting, preserving + transitioning!

Holly

 

MEET HOLLY

Holly is a health coach and personal cook. Through her creative work, she motivates women who have a fierce desire to get healthy by asking the tough questions, provoking accountability and sharing her *mad* skills in the kitchen and around the home.

Her passion for sustainably raised and home cooked food has fueled the quest for improved health and wellness for both her and her clients. If she’s not in the kitchen whipping up a new dish, you can usually find her rocking her most recent cooking workshop, brewing excessive batches of kombucha beer, creating content for her clients, playing in the garden or eating veggie tacos over a glass of red wine with her favorite humans.

If you’re into getting creative with real food and drink, gardening, fermenting, simplifying your spaces, connecting with your local community, getting weird with nature, creating space in your life for the things that really make you light up, and being an all-around badass at living a more organic life, tune into her new column for Loam, The Conscious Kitchen. 

To find more of Holly’s creative work check out:

How to Create More Space in your Busy Life [For the Sh*t that Matters]

Stick Your Tongue Out at your Inner Critic [Facing Fear]

Food Prep Tips for the Type B Personality

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