Winter 2018/19 Almanac

Hello friends and a big welcome to all the new subscribers!

Winter is here. It’s a time when we slow down. Indoors, it’s a time that is quieter and gentler. Think of it as a hibernation period. It’s a time to regenerate and nourish much like nature does at this time. All that time and energy you put towards resting and rebuilding your body will travel with you into the New Year ahead. Nourish yourself with fresh wholesome food like these delicious recipes: Freekeh, Chickpeas and Shallots, and the Butternut Squash & Arame Soup. I’ll be adding more of my favorite recipes to this Winter Issue in the New Year!

If you love chocolate, learn about which brands not only make delicious chocolate but which are also ethically made. It’s really important to support brands that are trying to make a positive difference.

Do you know about the many different names for Palm Oil that are used as ingredients by various manufacturers? Do you know what the RSPO label means on products made with Palm Oil? Being an informed consumer is being an empowered consumer.

From the benefits of selenium in your diet to organically grown food, how to make your own mustard, to why aloe vera can be used for more than soothing burns, are all ways to integrate healthy options into your life.

For many years, when I lived in Los Angeles, I used to go to the Insect Fair at the Natural History Museum. This year, for the first time, I went to the Insectpalooza at what is considered the mother ship for all things relating to entomology, Cornell University, in Ithaca, New York. It was a very informative visit and I loved it, especially learning about the bee waggle dance.

The Cabinet of Green Curiosities has two new additions, one is stringy and one fire-y. They join other unusual and fascinating little known natural treasures or ones created from natural resources that clothe us, feed us, inspire us or… bury us.

I’m ready to catch the next plane to Sweden! I would love to visit the subject of Innovative Design, or in this case, Innovative Thinking. It’s an idea that makes a lot of sense. As we deal with a looming problem I wrote about in this past Fall Issue, which was about what to do with recyclable waste in the near future. On the other hand, on my way to Sweden, I could stop off in England first, and pay a visit to an estate that was re-wilded. It sounds so beautiful!

I have 3 great movies-Living the Future’s Past, Look & See and Secret Ingredients and 3 great books- Wilding, Be the Change and The Forest that I recommend in this issue.

The Gamechanger is a long time friend who has devoted his work to raising awareness about Climate Change. He recently received an award for his photography, a medium that he uses for his environmental activism. Congratulations to him and his awesome body of work!

Back in 2010, I experienced the work of the artists featured in this issue. I was awestruck by what they had built on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum in New York City.

Until recently, I was only aware of Anton Chekhov’s work as a playwright and then I discovered that he was an avid gardener, knew the health benefits of growing your own food and the medicinal properties of certain plants.

I hope that you will find the December garden chore list helpful. If you are on the east coast, there is very little to do at the moment but if you are on the west coast, I remember it being a busy time.

And finally, the last post has some Christmas history trivia. There are also ideas on how to decorate your home using natural materials, gift-wrapping, where to find a pesticide free tree and how to best recycle your tree after the holidays.

And in case you didn’t see this lovely story before…It’s about a man in Tampa, Florida, who grows food so he can give it away.

Wishing you and your loved ones a very happy holiday season and most wonderful New Year 2019!

Best wishes,


  • Eco Garden, Winter 2018/19 Almanac

    February Eco Garden

    Moon Gardening with Priscilla Woolworth.

  • Artist, Winter 2018/19 Almanac

    Favorite cartoons from 2018

  • Recipe, Winter 2018/19 Almanac

    Mindful Matcha Granola

    Easy to make granola, with all its delicious bits and pieces!

  • Nature News, Winter 2018/19 Almanac


    Insectpalooza is an annual insect fair put on by the Department of Entomology at Cornell University, in upstate New York, where the public is educated about the issues related to insects and other arthropods.

  • Artist, Winter 2018/19 Almanac

    Mike and Doug Starn

    Born in New Jersey in 1961, the identical twins Doug and Mike Starn work collaboratively and defy categorization, combining traditionally separate disciplines such as sculpture, photography, painting, video, and installation.

  • Nature News, Winter 2018/19 Almanac

    A Little Christmas History

    Do you know how the custom of celebrating Christmas began? As with many Christmas traditions, its roots go back to pagan times. Some Northern European pagans believed that the sun was a god and that he went through a yearly period of ill health in winter.

  • Eco News, Winter 2018/19 Almanac

    How to Change the World by What We Buy

    As a consumer, be informed about products that contain palm oil. You might not cook with it, but you would be surprised about how many food products contain palm oil, and many of them aren’t clearly labeled.

  • The Cabinet Of Green Curiosities, Winter 2018/19 Almanac

    Tinder Fungus

    Simply pry off a chunk of the smoldering Tinder Fungus and use it to light some tinder and remake your fire.

  • Nature News, Winter 2018/19 Almanac


    Did you know that most people have elevated concentrations of mercury in their body?

  • Sustainable Design, Winter 2018/19 Almanac


    ReTuna is the world’s first secondhand shopping mall, featuring only reclaimed and reused goods.

  • Artist, Eco Garden, Winter 2018/19 Almanac

    Anton Checkhov’s Garden

    “I think that if I wasn’t a writer, I could be a gardener,” wrote Anton Chekhov in 1900.

  • Eco News, Winter 2018/19 Almanac

    The Green America Chocolate Score Card

    Most major chocolate companies have commitments to source more sustainable cocoa. Many of them have plans to have 100% certified cocoa in their supply chain by 2020.

  • Eco Cinema, Winter 2018/19 Almanac

    Secret Ingredients Movie

    This eye-opening documentary by Jeffrey Smith and Amy Hart may change the way you think about your food forever- and the way you eat.

  • Eco News, Winter 2018/19 Almanac

    Organic Food May Reduce Cancer Risk

    People who regularly eat organic food are much less likelyto get cancer than those who don’t, a major new study found.

  • Eco Cinema, Winter 2018/19 Almanac

    Look and See

    LOOK & SEE revolves around the divergent stories of several residents of Henry County, Kentucky who each face difficult choices that will dramatically reshape their relationship with the land and their community.

  • Eco Cinema, Winter 2018/19 Almanac

    Living in the Future’s Past

    Living in the Future’s Past shows how no one can predict how major changes might emerge from the spontaneous actions of the many.

  • Eco Tip, Winter 2018/19 Almanac

    Homemade Mustard

    If you’re looking for that classic yellow color, just add a little turmeric powder.

  • Eco Tip, Winter 2018/19 Almanac

    Aloe Vera

    Did you know that aloe vera is good for so much more than treating sunburns.

  • Recipe, Winter 2018/19 Almanac

    Butternut Miso Soup with Arame and Wasabi

    Try this soup tonight!

  • The Cabinet Of Green Curiosities, Winter 2018/19 Almanac

    String Made from Nettles

    Nettles are not only an edible wild plant but can also be used as fiber for textiles and cordage.

  • Animal News, Winter 2018/19 Almanac


    Back in 2000, Charlie Burrel and Isabella Tree, who live in Knepp Castle in the UK, took the radical decision to give up on the estate’s arable and dairy farm, which they had tried and failed for years to keep profitable, to pursue an experimental process of habitat creation.

  • Book, Winter 2018/19 Almanac

    The Forest by Riccardo Bozzi, Violeta Lopiz and Valerio Vidali

    *Selected as one of the ten New York Times and New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s books of 2018

  • Book, Winter 2018/19 Almanac

    Wilding by Isabella Tree

    Isabella Tree tells the story of the ‘Knepp experiment’, a pioneering rewilding project in West Sussex, using free-roaming grazing animals to create new habitats for wildlife.

  • Book, Winter 2018/19 Almanac

    Be The Change: How to Get What you Want in Your Community by Thomas Linzey with Anneke Campbell

    Inspired by five true stories.

  • Recipe, Winter 2018/19 Almanac

    Freekeh with Caramelized Shallots, Chickpeas and Yogurt

    An easy to make, delicious and very nutritious recipe. Freekeh may not be free of gluten but it is very high in healthy fiber and protein while being very low in fat and contains important minerals such as zinc, iron and calcium.

  • Gamechanger, Winter 2018/19 Almanac

    Sebastian Copeland

    Sebastian Copeland is an award-winning photographer, polar explorer, author, lecturer, and environmental activist and has led numerous expeditions in the polar regions, to photograph and film endangered environments.