Dan Barber’s Culinary Crusade – WSJ.com

“Butchering and eating animals may not be called kindness, but eating soy burgers that rely on pesticides and fertilizers precipitates destruction too. You don’t have to eat meat, but you should have the good judgment to relinquish the high horse. There is no such thing as guilt-free eating.”

WSJ Soapbox piece on food, sustainability, local diets, and the environment by Dan Barber, chef at Blue Hill at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. He discusses his opinions on what is best for humans to eat – best for us in a way that is healthy, and best for the earth in a way that is sustainable and logical – based on nutrient cycles, tracing the energy flow, and the inputs and outputs unique to different areas and their soils, as well as culture and our biological needs. Interesting ideas on “ecological intelligence” and an argument against vegetarianism (it’s always good to hear the reasoning behind both sides!).

“What I don’t like about sustainable foodies—and I’m considered one of them—is that we carry an air of preachiness about food. (No one wants to be told what to eat, whether it’s by your mother or by a group of holier-than-thou chefs.) But true sustainability is about more than just deciding to cook with local ingredients or not allowing your child to have corn syrup. It’s about cuisine that’s evolved out of what the land is telling you it wants to grow. As one farmer said to me, Food systems don’t last; cuisine does.”

Source: Dan Barber’s Culinary Crusade – WSJ.com

The Vertical Forest

“More and more people believe that access to a garden, and to gardening, is a basic human need. But is the answer a traditional house and garden or should we be looking at gardens in the sky?”

Dubbed “Flower Towers” by the Financial Times, these fluffy green buildings designed by architect Stefano Boeri are currently rising in Milan. Photos show that the skeletons of the buildings are up, an intricate maze of balconies and jutting gardens designed to insulate the building, counter air pollution and support reforestation, work towards sustainability, and maintain biodiversity and a functioning ecosystem, all suspended 110 meters into the air. These microclimates ideally would maintain their own energy and water usage and recycling, including using repurposed grey water from the building to feed the plants.

The floor layout with plumbing detail makes the building look like an Escher piece. 900 trees of varying heights and structural types will be used to make a diverse wall, both for the biology of the building and for coating the sides of the buildings more fully. The finished product, which when flattened, is equivalent to 15,000 square meters of land and 10,000 square meters of forest, and is intended to counteract the growth of Milan’s rapid urban expansion.

Eco-cities coming of age?