Plants Are Dope Link Roundup 12/20/19

plants are dope link roundup

For Fran, the small packet of seeds, flowerpot and soil left by Jan Moffat, the mental health nurse who developed Borders Hospital’s Space to Grow garden, would be life-changing.

“Jan brought in a packet of seeds, soil and the plant pot and just left them at my bedside table. I stared at them for a week, then one day decided to plant the seeds.

“That meant I had to get up to get water for them. When they got too big for the pot, I had to get dressed and repot them down in the greenhouse. It meant I had a reason to get up. Then I had to eat because I needed the energy to do what I wanted in the garden. I started to re-engage with life.”

It’s beautiful, reading about how plants literally give some people a will to live. Thank you, Sandra Dick, for your article in the The Herald.


Which brings me back to the subject of this issue. The more people try to replicate the taste or texture of meat, the less I like it. I am not a fan of the Impossible Burger. It’s a burger for carnivores. If I wanted my food to taste like meat, I’d eat meat.

This year I had occasion to dine on the tasting menu at Benu in San Francisco. Course after course of tiny plates was set before me. Everything was exquisite, although the dish I best remember was a fat little cooked carrot with a coil of edible string around it.

It seems ridiculous saying this, but it was delicious — the essence of carrot, fresh, full of flavor. And I realized that that’s exquisite food to me now. Not a plant-based patty that mimics meat. But a plant-based food that celebrates the essence of its plant-ness, whether it’s mushrooms or lentils or beans.

I notice myself getting closer and closer to being able to articulate a thought that’s been floating around my subconscious mind for a while. Essentially, that plants taste good. That developing a taste for them is also good. That a plant-based diet is more, not less, delicious than an omnivorous one. That omnivores just need time to improve their palate.

Thank you, Bernadette Fay, for your article in the San Francisco Chronicle. It’s helping me muddle toward the direction I’m headed, if that makes sense. Similarly, a line from Alicia Kennedy in an old Broadly article about feminism and vegetarianism that I recently came across stood out: ” Traditional roles and palates are reinforced even when no meat is being consumed.”


We processed into the chapel carrying plants and placed them on soil. Immediately people started to come to the plants, to confess their forms of relation or non-relation. One student said something that stuck with me: “I don’t know how to relate to you in this subjective way. I am afraid that if I do I might discover a level of pain that I don’t know whether I can bear.”

I think her reaction sums up the beauty of the ritual. By confessing, we are able to perceive something new. We experience what were the objects of nature – animals, plants, trees, forests — as subjects, with their own full life and experience. 

Remember the students who gave confession to plants a little while back? Claudio Carvalhaes, the theology instructor who led them, wrote an essay explaining why he held the confession for Sojourners.


Back in January, China became the first country to grow a plant on the Moon — a single cotton seedling sprouted before dying in the harsh cold of the lunar night.

But newly-released images reveal that the cotton plant fared a little bit better in its sealed-off biome than previously believed. The seedling grew two green leaves before it died, according to IEEE Spectrum, instead of just one as previously reported. While the difference between growing one and two cotton leaves is fairly inconsequential, the images are a fascinating glimpse into China’s attempts to study how the lunar environment affects life.

China grew cotton on the moon! Kind of. Read the article by Dan Robitzski in Futurism.

This news made me feel both happy and sad. Happy because how cool is it that we grew a plant on the moon? Even if only for a short while? Sad because I know those in power only want to use the moon like its a factory. Sad because people lack respect for our solar system the same way they lack respect for plants and animals and they’d probably destroy the moon in a snap if they could, just like we’re destroying earth.


Image credit: MyModernMet.com

Throughout art history, flowers have been one of the most beloved subjects for painters. The vibrant blossoms of flowers have long provided artists with inspiration, with many dedicating their careers to produce still-life paintings of various botanical beauties. From 17th-century Dutch still-life paintings to Japanese woodblock prints, flower art has a long and storied history.

Jessica Stewart wrote about famous flower paintings for MyModernMet. My favorite older flower paintings are by Dutch artists. How about you?


Dulen says knowing where climate refugia are can help land managers conserve them. The park service is looking at protecting Soda Springs meadow by keeping out invasive species and making sure the forests around it don’t become overgrown and fire-prone. She may also have to defend against “conifer encroachment,” where pine trees invade mountain meadows in search of water in a hotter, drier climate.

Scientists are searching for places on earth that could sustain plant and animal life during climate change. These places are called “climate refugia.” Cool idea. I wish I could trust that the powers that be would not exploit these areas. Article by Lauren Sommer in KQED.


The soil on American military bases is about to get healthier. That’s thanks in part to new research on the benefits of a very unique kind of compost: finely shredded government documents. The concept, published in a September report by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is aimed at doing two things: reducing the amount of paper waste that ends up in landfills, and improving the condition of military training grounds.

This is the best news I’ve heard about the U.S. military in a while. “The U.S. Military is Using Destroyed, Declassified Documents for Compost” by Jessica Fu in The New Food Economy.

Any investor with $100 or more can go to the website and invest in the Steward Farm Trust, which owns the entire portfolio of loans and has a projected annual return rate of 4 to 6 percent. The company is calling the model “crowdfarming,” since individuals can do it easily online and they’re investing alongside others. But unlike crowdfunding models such as Kickstarter, the online investment pathway does not allow you to select a specific project; the lending is spread across Steward’s portfolio of farms. There are opportunities for “qualified” investors to put their money into specific farm projects, but that is through a separate fund and requires more capital.

If you find a little extra money in your end-of-year accounting, crowdfarming sounds like a good place to put it. Thanks to Lisa Held for writing “With $100, You Too Can Invest in Regenerative Agriculture,” published in Civil Eats.


Other Headlines:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.