Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Two statistics you must stop repeating!

1) “People only use 10% of their brain’s capacity.” Wrong. A goofy idea instigated by third-rate (in critical thinking terms, even though in some respects cutting edge technically speaking) turn-of-the-century research. They opened some folks’s skulls, zapped different places with an electrode, and asked the subject what happened. 90% of the zaps resulted in no perceived reaction. They concluded, with the Ancient Egyptians, that this gray matter must therefore be used as mere filler. So lame! [Addendum: apparently the source of the myth is not certain, but the fact of the myth is. See Snopes article.] 2) “The average piece of food in America travels 1,500 miles from farm to plate.” Possibly true, but consistently quoted out of context. The study that this is based on was done for food consumed in (or near, I forget) Chicago. Not for the country as a whole. It is possible that Chicago provides an accurate approximation of the national average, but there’s no good reason to expect this to be true. I wouldn’t be surprised if the real number is significantly lower, or (more likely, to my gut instinct) quite a bit higher. Plus, the study was done a few years ago. International trade in food has only increased. Grapes from South Africa. Bell peppers from Israel. Them’s far away places. [Addendum: I’ve just done some quick Googling, cuz I wanted to see if I could find the source of the food mileage estimate. Turns out that there’s more than one source (shocking!) since a few different people have studied it over the years, but none that I saw was very recent. So anyway, this is a question that deserves a good, up-to-date, and thorough study. Any graduate students out there in search of a topic?]


Top Ten Survival Skills You Need to Know

Matthew Stein’s When Disaster Strikes provides a thorough, practical guide for how to prepare for and react in many of life’s most unpredictable scenarios (like the 2016 US presidential elections to use but one dystopian example). In this disaster-preparedness manual, he outlines the materials you’ll need-from food and water, to shelter and energy, to first-aid and […] Read More

Recipe: Summer Herb Flower Vinegar

Olivia’s mom, Lola, is famous for her potato salad that seems so simple, but has a certain je ne sais quoi—the secret ingredient: chive-flower-infused vinegar. She recalls, “As a child I was enchanted by the apothecary bottles lined up on our kitchen shelves, stuffed with purple pompoms—I just knew there was magic happening inside.”This recipe […] Read More

The Future Is Hopeless, So Give it Your All

The never-ending national election in the United States, the “surprise” pro-Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, climate change … the list goes on and on about how easy it can be to lose hope in the future.Like many of life’s frustrations, or overwhelmingly large topics, most people in our society find themselves somewhere on the […] Read More

A Meditation on Garden Weeding

In this excerpt from The Tao of Vegetable Gardening, author Carol Deppe reflects on her time spent daily in the garden and how her actions can often transcend the moment, or the task, at hand. As Carol notes, “On a good gardening day there is nothing better. On a good gardening day there is not […] Read More

Author Q&A: Eli Rogosa, “Restoring Heritage Grains”

Eli Rogosa, author of Restoring Heritage Grains found her calling about two decades ago in the Middle East. Working with farmers in the Fertile Crescent, she came upon a treasure of heritage wheat growing healthily in the stifling heat without chemical intervention.Consequently, Rogosa started The Heritage Grain Conservancy with the aim to preserve landrace wheat, […] Read More
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