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01 September 2014
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News/Essays
Day Five: Oyster mushrooms, the wapato shimmy and a vision
by "Wild Girl" Rebecca Lerner   
25 November 2009
Image Off to dance in the cold waters of a marsh, myself and eight friends piled into a big van and set out on our quest for wapato. Also known as Indian swamp potato or arrowhead, for its arrow-shaped leaves, wapato is a bulb-shaped root vegetable that grows underwater in wet mud.

Conditions seemed almost preternaturally accommodating. Though it is duck-hunting season, Culture Change publisher Jan Lundberg easily secured a permit for our harvest at the last minute. We just happened to pick a day closed to hunters.

 
Day Four: On Sumac tea, conserving calories, and preparing for collapse
by "Wild Girl" Rebecca Lerner   
24 November 2009
Image Sumac is a big shrub or a tall tree, depending on your view, that grows all over the United States, Europe and the Middle East. I have seen it along roadsides, in drainage ditches and as an ornamental plant in front yards. The dark red-purple berries form a distinctive cluster the size of a fist at the ends of the branches. The berry clusters are dense and fuzzy with a texture that reminds me of a carpet. They can be boiled to make tea or left to sit in cold water to make a refreshing beverage reminiscent of lemonade. Like citrus fruits, sumac is very high in Vitamin C.
 
The Coming Chaos
by Peter Goodchild   
23 November 2009
It now seems to me that the systemic collapse of modern civilization will have two distinct phases. The first will be merely economic hardship, and the second will be chaos. In the first phase, the major issues will be inflation, unemployment, and the stock market. In the second phase, there will be the disappearance of government, law, and money.

I am reminded of Robert D. Kaplan’s Ends of the Earth. We might imagine the USA, for example, as one of the collapsed countries he describes, where official borders are meaningless, and where police, armies, and bandit hordes are indistinguishable from one another.

 
Day Three: Licorice Ferns and Earthly Kindness
by Rebecca "Wild Girl" Lerner   
23 November 2009
Image Wild plants are compelling because they hint at an alternative reality where food and medicine are free, given by the Earth in an incredible act of generosity and compassion, like a parent for a child.

Inside every heart is a memory of another way. Advertisers have noticed that consumers long for a connection to nature, which is why so many commercials now play up products as "natural" and "green."

 
Day Two: Acorn Pancakes, Baked Fig Chips, and Cracking the Black Walnut
by Rebecca Lerner   
22 November 2009
Image Most of us are familiar with English walnuts, but black walnuts are lesser known and far better -- rich and sweet, the flavor suggests a hint of maple syrup! Black walnut processing is messy, and there is a lot less nutmeat than with English walnuts. You have to wipe away the gooey outer covering by hand and wash them in water to get to the actual nut, then lay it out to dry. For a neat second use, you can also boil the husks in water and use the mixture as a brown dye.
 
Day One: Medicinal Food and Supernatural Berries
by Rebecca Lerner   
21 November 2009
ImageI started the day with a nourishing tea made of pine needles, rose hips, mint and mallow greens, all gathered within a half block of my apartment in the city. It was more like a broth than a tea, because mallow has a gooey quality that thickened the mixture and gave it a hearty texture. Mallow is a prolific weed that grows close to the ground on sidewalks all over the city.
 
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