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Bird of the Day: Common Sandpiper (Appledore Island, Maine)

July 31, 2014

Notes from the Garden: Building a house or a vegetable cage?

July 31, 2014
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Measuring the length of our new monkey-protected area in the organic farm at Cardamom County

Building a 15 meter x 20 meter vegetable cage is no small feat. The last estimate we had was that it would cost about 4 lakhs, which is apparently the cost of a small house. A lakh is a unit in the South Asian numbering system equivalent to 100,000. So, is 400,000 rupees worth it for a vegetable cage? I think spending energy to get a smarter design would be more worth it.

With the help of Raxa Collective’s head engineer, it is very likely we will be able to lower that cost significantly. As I talked about in my post about quantifying farm-to-table, I think that with a combination of lowering the cost and then taking advantage of the monkey-protected area as vigorously as possible with efficient use of the space, it will be worth it. There are elements of farm-to-table that are not quantifiable but can be seen in the overall conservation story of supporting smart land-use practices.

At the end of the day, at least the food here is locally sourced mostly from the Cumbum vegetable market in Tamil Nadu. This market is only about 25 km away and the farmers in that market are relatively close. This is far better then the way most food is sourced in the United States.

In the United States, eating local is a challenge. Most agriculture in the states is for corn and soybeans, rather than vegetables. And “local” is difficult when the local environment has few green spaces left, let alone farmland. So even though we don’t have “monkey-challenges” to growing our food locally in the states, we have monocultures and rapid suburbanization keeping us farther and farther away from fresh food.  Read more…

A Story About Patagonia, A Company We Believe In, And Relate To

July 31, 2014
Jon Kitamura in a Patagonia wet suit at Montara State Beach, California. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Jon Kitamura in a Patagonia wet suit at Montara State Beach, California. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times

We hope one day to have as many participant observers like Jake, saying things like this about Raxa Collective, as Patagonia has admirers. The company gets alot of good press, and for all the right reasons. We have not tired of it yet. Fans of the founder already, we also believe in his company, and (as if anyone needed to be convinced) this New York Times profile helps to understand why:

…“We had customers looking for safe alternatives for those with latex allergy, and then we had customers looking for alternatives to petroleum-based products,” Mr. Martin said, “so a number of companies had been approaching us.” Read more…

Bicycle Zeitgeist

July 31, 2014

We love design and we love bicycles, and we’ve been writing about their innovation-intersection long before Gianluca’s collapsable model came to our attention.

But we’re grateful for the reminders of the creativity that urges us to upcycle, recycle and craft our “ride”.

Temple Dance – Kerala

July 31, 2014
Photo Credits : Ramesh Kidangoor

Photo Credits: Ramesh Kidangoor

Kerala temples offer a veritable array of performing arts, often related to religious rituals and and mythological stories. The rhythm and elegance of the temple dances of Kerala are a result of  the various cultural influences that took place in the state. The dramatic costumes, vibrant colors, and throbbing music all make watching temple dances an unforgettable experience. Read more…

Bird of the Day: Rufous-naped Wren (Xandari Resort, Costa Rica)

July 30, 2014

Notes from the Garden: Learning and Harvesting

July 30, 2014

10559917_10201592002281680_8268726655977842745_nIn Cardamom County today, we harvested spinach, ladiesfinger (okra), mint, beans, and parsley. Our full wheelbarrow is heading straight to the kitchen. How many hotels have you heard of that grow a good portion of the food on site?

We have been hoping to get the monkey-proof vegetable cage approved so that we can grow the majority of our staple foods on site. Today, I will be meeting with one of the head engineers to see how we can make the design more smart: cut cost but still get the job done.

Read more…

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