From cosmomimicry to kraut chee.
—by Greta Belanger deJong
I’ve just returned from the Bay Area, where associate publisher John and I attended the 24th annual Bioneers conference, along with our friends Brandie Hardman and Ron Johnson, co-owners of Boulder Mountain Guest Ranch, and also International Man of Mystery whom we will identify only as Scott.
We heard from the awesome Janene Benyus, who made famous the word “biomimicry”—to find solutions by observing and copying nature. David McConville explained his similar but different approach to problem-solving: “cosmomimicry”— directing our vision outward to patterns and structures in the universe. Highlights for me were the U of U’s own renowned tree biologist Nalini Nadkarni, and a post-conference opportunity to walk in the fields with Bob Cannard, a hardcore Nature devoté and personable Sonoma County farmer made famous by his association with Alice Waters and Chez Panisse. Bob is brilliant, like a gem—and maybe even as smart and outspoken as my brother, author Jerome D. Belanger (whose latest book is Enough! A Critique of Capitalist Democracy and a Guide to Understanding the New Normal). I also did a fermentation workshop with Sandor Katz (wildfermentation.com) where we made what he calls “kraut chee.” It’s my new favorite thing to do with vegetables.
Post-conference, we met up with old friend and former Salt Laker Tom Price, whom John used to build Burning Man art cars with. Tom, a founder of Black Rock Solar, now lives in Berkeley and works for a company that manufactures the planet’s only carbon-negative gasifiers. That’s a story that needs more telling!
I came home with exciting new books, a list of more books to buy locally, a dozen iPad documents and a head full of ideas. Going away now and then is good, but the best part is coming home with new perspectives. I will pick John, Ron, Brandie and Scott’s brains and serve you up tasty morsels from our conversations in the months ahead.
And while we’re on the subject of tasty morsels, Happy Thanksgiving. I wish you many delicious ideas and dishes—and, if you’re lucky, some kraut chee.
— Greta Belanger deJong
Greta Belanger deJong is the editor and publisher of CATALYST.