Radical Farmers Use Fresh Food to Fight Racial Injustice and the New Jim Crow

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Soul Fire Farm by Leah Penniman over at  Yes Magazine

If we are to create a society that values black life, we cannot ignore the role of food and land.

In August, five young men showed up at Soul Fire Farm, a sustainable farm near Albany, New York, where I work as educator and food justice coordinator. It was the first day of a new restorative justice program, in partnership with the county’s Department of Law. The teens had been convicted of theft, and, as an alternative to incarceration, chose this opportunity to earn money to pay back their victims while gaining farm skills. They looked wary and unprepared, with gleaming sneakers and averted eyes.

“Without black farmers, there would have been no Freedom Summer.”

“I basically expected it to be like slavery, but it would be better than jail,” said a young man named Asan. “It was different though. We got paid and we got to bring food home. The farmers there are black like us, which I did not expect.

“I could see myself having my own farm one day,” he added.

Read the full story on Soul Fire Farm by Leah Penniman over at  Yes Magazine

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8 Things Entrepreneurial People do Differently

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By Joe van Brussel for Huffington Post

Entrepreneurship goes beyond Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and Garrett Camp, and it embodies something bigger than Twitter and WhatsApp. Entrepreneurship is a mindset, an attitude, and a lifestyle adopted by people who aren’t satisfied with the status quo.

It’s an approach to life that favors creativity over conformity and action over inaction. Bestselling author, investor, and entrepreneur James Altucher says that for him, “Being an ‘entrepreneur’ doesn’t mean starting the next Facebook. Or even starting any business at all. It means finding the challenges you have in your life, and determining creative ways to overcome those challenges.”

So, even if you’re not tinkering away at the next world-changing invention or looking to set up shop in Silicon Valley, there are aspects of the entrepreneurial mindset that will enrich your work and life. Here are 8 things entrepreneurial people do differently.

See what Joe van Brussel at Huffington Post says entrepreneurial people do differently after the break

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Healthy Snacks Around the World

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Everyone loves snacks.

Around the world, consumers spend $374 billion on snack foods a year, according to research giant Nielsen’s recently released Global Survey of Snacking, and 91 percentof global consumers polled turn to a snack at least once a day, USA Today reported.

But Americans are a different breed of snackers. Globally, the top three most popular snacks are chocolate, fruit and vegetables, according to Nielsen’s data. In North America, they are chips, chocolate and cheese.

It sounds like many of us are guilty of one of the prime examples of snacking mistakes: We confuse “snack” with “treat”. “Snacks offer nutrition and fullness to help bridge one meal to the next,” registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner previously told HuffPost. “Treats don’t give either.”

Maybe it’s time to put down the chips and adopt a few of the healthier snacking habits from farther away from home. Here a few healthy snacks from around the world to start with.

Check out more snacks from around the world by Sarah Klein at Huffington Post

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Charity Miles Donates Money to Charity Every Time You Run or Bike

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Android/iOS: Fitness trackers are a great way to gamify your fitness goals and compete with others. If you’re motivated by helping others, free app Charity Miles helps you earn money while you run or bike.

The app uses your phone’s GPS to track your exercise. Each time you open it up, you pick a charity. You’ll then earn 10 cents a mile for biking and 25 cents a mile for walking and running. While the app is open, they show you an ad from the sponsor donating the money.

You won’t change the world with the amount you’ll earn, but if you run or bike anyway, you may as well help charities along the way.

 

Stay tuned to hear one individual’s personal contribution from the app!

 

Check out the full article by Dave Greenbaum at Life Hacker

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5 U.S. Foods Banned in Other Countries

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Via Eat This, Not That

It’s no secret that our food system is broken. Any country that allows us to unknowingly eat wood chips, yoga mats, human hair, beetle shells, beaver sex glands, and all number of synthetic chemicals isn’t looking out for our nutritional interests. And while the USA is busy labeling pizza a vegetable, other countries are taking steps to protect their people from dangerous food-like products. Here are some foods that you can find in your grocery store that are banned in other countries.

Rice Krispies Most of the cereals in US cereal aisles cannot be sold as they are in other countries because they contain the preservative Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT). Both BHT and BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) are banned in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and much of Europe because they are thought to be carcinogenetic.

If you’re looking to splurge on a nostalgic bowl of breakfast cereal, try one of these 5 best “bad for you” cereals.

Kraft Mac and Cheese The artificial colors yellow 5 and yellow 6 are found in tons of foods in the US, from mac and cheese, to crackers, chips, and even drinks. Foods containing these dyes are banned in Norway and Sweden. In the EU, they must be labeled with the phrase: “May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.”

We have an easy at-home version that’s ready in 30 minutes and will help you lose weight, plus recipes for more comfort food favorites.

US Milk The EU has banned milk that contains the growth hormone rBGH. Most conventionally raised (non-organic) cows in the US are given this drug. Unless your milk is organic or says “does not contain rBGH” you are drinking milk that would be banned throughout Europe.

Considering a milk alternative, but don’t know which is best? We break down the nutritional pros and cons of cow’s milk and three alternatives.

Tyson Chicken The EU has had a long-standing ban on chicken that has been washed in chlorine. Many chicken companies in the US use chlorinated water baths, rinses, and mists as an antimicrobial treatment. Some chickens are “water chilled,” which means they are submerged in a chlorine bath. Others are “air-chilled” which means they could have been misted with chlorine.

Chicken’s not the only protein you’re eating that’s questionable. The 5 reasons why tilapia is worse than bacon will shock you.

US Almonds These are banned in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland because they can contain Aflatoxins, which are toxic byproducts of certain molds. Aflatoxins have potent carcinogenic effect in animals and humans.

If you’re confident in your almond choice, check out all their health benefits; they’re one of 5 foods that help you sleep, one of 10 foods that boost your brainpower, and one of 8 fatty foods that make you skinny.

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Legal Marijuana is the Fastest Growing Industry in US

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Legal marijuana is the fastest-growing industry in the United States and if the trend toward legalization spreads to all 50 states, marijuana could become larger than the organic food industry, according to a new report obtained by The Huffington Post.

Researchers from The ArcView Group, a cannabis industry investment and research firm based in Oakland, California, found that the U.S. market for legal cannabis grew 74 percent in 2014 to $2.7 billion, up from $1.5 billion in 2013.

The group surveyed hundreds of medical and recreational marijuana retailers in states where sales are legal, as well as ancillary business operators and independent cultivators of the plant, over the course of seven months during 2013 and 2014. ArcView also compiled data from state agencies, nonprofit organizations and private companies in the marijuana industry for a more complete look at the marketplace.

Check out more on this fast-growing industry by Matt Ferner at Huffington Post

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Desolenator Creates Clean Water from Salt Water Using Sunlight

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Water scarcity affects every corner of the globe. Around 1.2 billion people — almost 20 percent of Earth’s population — lives with the constant worry of not having enough drinking water to survive, according to the United Nations.

However, almost three-quarters of this world we inhabit is covered in water, the vast majority of which is undrinkable salt water. And it’s this problem that a crack team of innovators in London is looking to solve.

Having lived in United Arab Emirates’ capital, Abu Dhabi, for more than five years, William Janssen was already accustomed to drinking desalinated water — seawater treated in large machines that consume lots of energy. So Janssen came up with the idea of using solar energy instead to transform salt water into drinking water, a more sustainable, cost-effective method.

So Desolenator was founded in 2012, and the company has been working with Innovation Experience, a group that helps marry “clean tech development” with human-centered design, since 2013 to make the idea a reality. The company has since become part of London’s Imperial College accelerator program for clean technology startups, and just this week it met its $150,000 crowdfunding target on Indiegogo, with a week still to go.

It will use the money to take the product through the final stage of development, and there should be a fully market-ready product by October, with non-government organizations (NGOs) in conflict regions high on the target list.

Backers of the Indiegogo campaign have so far donated 55 units to causes, 35 of which are being given to families in southern India and Africa.

Find out more about how the desolenator works from Paul Sawers at Venture Beat

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How to Re-Wire Your Brain For Greater Happiness

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Image by Rog Walker
Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could hack into our own brains and rewire them to be happier?

Science has shown we actually can thanks to a phenomenon called experience-dependent neuroplasticity. “It’s a fancy term to say the brain learns from our experiences,” says Rick Hanson, neuropsychologist and author of the book Hardwiring Happiness. “As we understand better and better how this brain works, it gives us more power to change our mind for the better.”

RECOGNIZE YOUR NEGATIVITY BIAS.

Our brains are awesome at overlearning from negative experiences. “The brain continuously scans for bad news,” says Hanson. “As soon as it finds the bad news, it overly focuses on it.”

Think of where we’ve evolved from and this starts to make a lot of sense. “Our ancestors evolved in really harsh conditions,” he says. Negativity bias is really good for animals surviving in the wild. It’s what Hanson calls the “eat lunch don’t be lunch” mentality. But these days, we aren’t exactly running from predators, yet our brains are still functioning as if we’re in the wild.

THE BRAIN CONTINUOUSLY SCANS FOR BAD NEWS; AS SOON AS IT FINDS THE BAD NEWS, IT OVERLY FOCUSES ON IT.

Try not to overlearn from your negative experiences. That means if you get a performance review from your boss, for example, and he tells you countless positive things about your work and one bit of criticism, don’t obsess (as we often tend to) on the one negative thing. “The brain is like a garden, except its soil is very fertile for weeds,” says Hanson.

DON’T JUST THINK POSITIVELY. THINK REALISTICALLY.

There’s a lot of good stuff happening in our lives, but we don’t always let ourselves stop and notice it. Rewiring your brain for greater happiness isn’t simply about positive thinking. “I don’t believe in positive thinking,” says Hanson. “I believe in realistic thinking.”

Realistic thinking means noticing the good things that happen to us as they occur and letting ourselves experience them. “We tend to not even notice a good fact when its there,” he says. “The boss actually said 19 good things about you, but you’re obsessing over the one bad thing. [Read more…]

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Mr. Broccoli can help kick(flip) your cold

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Mr Broccoli wants you to know that one serving of broccoli will provide you with more than 150% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C, which can shorten the duration of the common cold.

Broccoli is also rich in vitamin A, iron, vitamin K, B-complex vitamins, zinc, phosphorus and phyto-nutrients.

Eat your broccoli!

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Wise words from Ira Glass…..

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Is Climate Change to Blame for the Northeast Snow Storm?

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Some forecasters have projected a record snowstorm for the Northeast in the coming hours, which isn’t exactly the sort of thing that makes people think about global warming.

But in declaring a state of emergency on Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) noted that this type of monster storm is “part of the changing climate.”

“I’ve only been governor four years. I believe I’ve gone through more emergency disasters in four years than any governor in history has gone through,” said Cuomo. “There is a pattern of extreme weather that we have never seen before.”

Check out the full article by Kate Sheppard over at HuffingtonPost

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Five Questions to Prioritize your To-Do List

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Priority is key to a good to-do list, so Laura Vanderkam of Fast Company recommends sorting them based on five attributes, which we have paraphrased as questions:

  • Does this take me closer to my goal?
  • Does this really matter to my boss?
  • Does this make me money?
  • Does this lighten my mental load?
  • Does this have to be done today?

If you answer “no” to a task on all those questions, then drop it to the bottom of the list. The rest, order them by how many “yes” they score, with the most yeses getting top spot. Of course, this depends on how big your to-do list is, use your judgement and make sure it’s still useful.

Check out the full article by Mihir Patkar at Life Hacker

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Washington D.C.’s 11th Street Bridge transformed into a High Line-style park

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Washington DC’s fiercest architecture competition in years recently selected OMA and Olin to transform a concrete highway bridge over the Anacostia river into a vibrant, High-Line-style public park. The winning design concept for the 11th Street Bridge Park connects the two disjointed sides of the Anacostia river with a large “X”-shaped structure, which will feature an amphitheater, cafe, environmental centre, and performance spaces, along with accessible rooftop gardens on each of the buildings.

Check out the full article on this amazing transformation by Corinne Hargrave at Inhabitat

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Why You Should Seek Quiet Every Day

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Benefits of quiet by Herbert Lui for Life Hacker

Every day around 3pm, my brain gets weary. I’ve tried numerous techniques to counter this challenge: coffee (especially when McDonald’s is giving away free smalls), splashing cold water on my face, surfing around online, snacking. Yet I’ve found one technique to be the most effective: going for a walk.

This post originally appeared on Medium.

The longest stroll I’ve taken is around 10 minutes, and I just wander around the block. I pass by the open hotel lobby that’s air-conditioned in the summer and heated in the winter. By the students on their way to and from art school. By storeowners, by late lunchers, by buildings under construction and their builders. I’ve even run into friends around the block.

I look forward to this break every day. Not because I don’t like what I’m doing, but because my brain is fried and I’m hitting the afternoon hump. On days I don’t take it, I feel like I’m doing my employer or client an injustice—because I can’t give them my brain’s full output.Even recently, when the temperature dropped down to -30 Celsius, I bundled up and wandered outside—and into Toronto’s underground tunnel system.

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What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

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morning-routine

Mornings are a great time for getting things done. You’re less likely to be interrupted than you are later in the day. Your supply of willpower is fresh after a good night’s sleep. That makes it possible to turn personal priorities like exercise or strategic thinking into reality.

But if you’ve got big goals—and a chaotic a.m. schedule—how can you make over your mornings to make these goals happen?

Because I write about time management frequently, I’ve gotten to see hundreds of calendars and schedules over the years. From studying people’s morning habits, I’ve learned that getting the most out of this time is a five-part process. Follow these steps, though, and you’re on your way to building morning habits that stick.

1. Track Your Time

Part of spending your time better is knowing how you’re spending it now. If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you know that nutritionists tell you to keep a food journal because it keeps you from eating mindlessly. It’s the same with time. Write down what you’re doing as often as you can. Use my spreadsheet, a Word document, or a pad and pen.

While measuring your mornings, try tracking your whole week. The reason? The solution to morning dilemmas often lies at other times of the day. You may be too tired because you’re staying up late. But if you look at how you’re spending your nights, you’ll notice that you’re not doing anything urgent. The Daily Show can be recorded and watched earlier—possibly while you’re on the treadmill at 6:30 a.m. [Read more…]

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