Living and thriving through regenerative practices and a sustainable worldview.

Posts tagged “Resilience

Lessons from Hurricane Sandy: infrastructure and resilience

I’ve been thinking a bit about this whole hurricane thing, and as is often the case, it has turned to more permaculture-related thoughts.

When my grandfather was a boy, he had a little kerosene lamp to light his way to bed every night. You see, they didn’t have electricity yet. During Hurricane Sandy, my mother used this very same lamp to read by and navigate through a darkened house.
I find it amazing that in around just one generation’s time, we’ve gone from having no electricity, to being so UTTERLY dependent upon it.

I recognize that this is largely due to the fact that electricity has been built into our infrastructure. Generally, we don’t put wood-burning stoves in new homes or apartment buildings. We think of fire as a potential hazard, even if we cherish the warmth of a fireplace enough to make electric versions of them.

All of this brings me back to my grandfather. In his childhood, they had a lot less “infrastructure”, but stronger social relationships. I’ve had a lot of discussions about alternative infrastructure, how to strengthen it, getting off the grid “in order to be self-sufficient”, etc.
But none of those are really the same as talking about the idea of infrastructure ITSELF as being a crutch or a potential obstacle to resilience.

Back in the day, my grandfather’s community, in a town next to where I still live, had a very important discussion. These people were very hard-working folks who believed very much in the church as center of community, and in helping your fellow person out. These people also invented the very first insurance company in the U.S., and the idea of “insurance”, and this was almost a scandal inside the church.

Why? Because they recognized that it had the potential to “relieve” folks of the moral responsibility of helping their fellow community members, since insurance would step in and do what had traditionally been done by people: re-build houses after a fire, loan resources, etc. In the end, it was decided that they would only make “insurance” available to “heathens outside of the church”, in order to not make their own people complacent and apathetic. Obviously, the idea grew past those boundaries, and we now have a nationwide epidemic of insurance fraud and a litigious court system. Our good natures are now actually HAMPERED by insurance liability in many cases. Which is exactly the kind of thing that they were worried about. Oops.

My point is this: is infrastructure that is not based in social relationships, but rather, in contracts, actually an impediment to resilience, both physically and morally?


Hamburg Parsley Turnip – Versatile and yummy!

http://eatdrinkbetter.com/2008/10/23/its-a-parsnip-its-a-carrot-no-its-parsley-root/

It’s a Parsnip, it’s a Carrot – No, it’s Parsley Root

October 23, 2008 By

Parsley RootMy choice for this weeks unusual vegetable is Parsley Root (Petroselinum crispum variety tuberosum), also known as Rooted parsley, Turnip-Rooted Parsley, Dutch Parsley, Hamburg Parsley or Heimischer. It’s a winter root that has been used for centuries for soups and stews in the “Old World” but is fairly unknown and underutilized everywhere else – at least in the culinary community.

Parsley root extract has been shown to be useful for chronic liver and gallbladder diseases. It is a diuretic, blood purifier, carminative, and hepatic.

The parsnip-like root is white, dry and has a flavor somewhat like celery, turnips, and, of course, parsley. It’s usually available August through April, being at it’s peak in November through February. Use it like you would a parsnip, carrot, celery root or turnip. Think aromatic, a little aggressive, herbal and pungent.

It pairs beautifully with other roots in dishes like:

Caramelized Assorted Root Vegetables
Roasting vegetables is an age-old technique that releases natural sugars. By combining several vegetables and cooking them slowly until they are caramelized and sweet, I take that method one step further and achieve an enticing medley of flavors and textures. You could serve these humble root vegetables alone or with almost any roasted meat, game or poultry. Add a salad of tossed greens to your menu to round out the meal. The recipe can be doubled or tripled if necessary, but divide the mixture between several pans so the cooking process is not affected.

For the Roasted Root Vegetables
4 ounces pearl onions
1 head garlic
4 carrots
2 parsnips
2 turnips
2 parsley roots
2 Yukon Gold, 6 fingerling or other waxy potatoes
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive, plus more if needed
kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

To Prepare the Roasted Root Vegetables: Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Fill a medium-sized saucepan two-thirds full with water and set over high heat. Bring water to a boil. Add onions and boil one minute or slightly longer to loosen skins. Remove onions with a slotted spoon and let cool. When onions are cool enough to handle, use a paring knife to loosen skins, then slip off the skins and discard. Set onions aside.

Separate the head of garlic into cloves and lightly smash each clove using the side of a large knife to loosen the skin. Remove the skin and set garlic cloves aside. Peel carrots, parsnips, and parsley root then cut into pieces about 2-inches long. Peel turnips and potatoes, halve lengthwise, then cut each half into 1-inch thick slices. Set all vegetables aside.

In a large, heavy roasting pan or in a large, ovenproof sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Add the vegetables and sauté, stirring, for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and season vegetables with salt and pepper.

Transfer pan with vegetables to oven. Roast, stirring every 5 minutes, until vegetables are lightly browned and tender when pierced with a knife, 30 to 35 minutes. If the vegetables start to stick to the bottom of the pan while roasting, add 1 to 2 tablespoons additional oil and toss again.

Remove pan from oven and taste and adjust seasoning.

Advance Preparation: These vegetables are best served immediately after they come out of the oven, but if you prefer, you can roast them ahead and reheat them just before serving.

Substitutions and Options: Any root vegetables will work; you may omit or add vegetables to suite your tastes and what is available in the market.

Makes 4 side dish servings


What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience

An 8-part series by Chris Martenson.