Monday, May 31, 2010

Cooking Blogs

I got a great link from Audra, and one from Jen McNally (both below) and it made me wonder what else I'm missing?  What cooking blogs do others use?


101Cookbooks  -- mostly healthy and lots of vegetable based recipes

A year of slow cooking -- a blog-cum-cookbook with gluten-free slow cooker ideas

And, when gazing at gorgeous food on the internet gets in the way of actually cooking, check out the incredible restaurant scene in Portland:

Dan's column for the Bollard (this month extols the fabulousness of the Portland Public Market House) & the Portland FoodMap

Friday, May 28, 2010

Vote for Organic Gardening on Mackworth Island!

Also -- the Real School Garden has dropped to 3rd place in the contest -- if you haven't voted yet, please consider doing so and encourage friends and families... $50,000 for gardening on Mackworth could be a huge investment!  

Friends School is joining The REAL School, one of our collaborating neighbors on Mackworth Island, in applying for a grant from Nature’s Path, a Canadian cereal company. The purpose of the grant is to expand our gardening program by constructing a solar, hoop frame greenhouse so we can do three season growing.  The produce will be used to provide healthier, organic, locally grown food for the children’s lunches and to share with the local food kitchen.
You can help by voting for the proposal.  Please go to the link below for the Justmeans website where you can register your vote.  A few minutes of your time will support our efforts to bring more organic gardening and healthy food choices to the Mackworth community of schools.
Thank you for your time and support.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mojo Mom free webinar : Personal Power for Kids

I often learn good things from the MojoMom podcasts.  This Wednesday, they'll be offering a free webinar- not sure I can make myself open a computer at that time of day (9pm EST) but it look interesting -- maybe it will be available later.

Personal power for elementary and middle school kids: free parenting webinar this Wednesday night

The topic definitely looks like a good one for us...

Monday, May 24, 2010

More about toxic chemicals

Kristine Jenkins, from the Environmental Health Strategy Center, just sent this link to a New Yorker article about the tie between chemical toxins and children's health.

The Falmouth public library is screening the film A Chemical Reaction about how dangerous lawn chemicals are, and will have Paul Tukey (the filmmaker and author of Organic Gardens) on hand to answer questions - May 27 @ 7pm.   Learn more about the project at

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What Kids think about school

Interesting Washington Post one-off  (by psychologist Daniel Willingham) about why some students don't like school.  I thought this passage was interesting and it makes me wonder if this feels true to FSP students or not?

One in particular strikes me. Students get one, perhaps two, chances to feel academically successful in lower elementary school.

I say that because studies show that show most academic time is devoted to Language Arts: in first grade, about 67% and in third grade, 55 %.

So what happens to the student who is having a hard time learning to read? He spends most of the day working on something that is unpleasant, unrewarding, and at which he feels a failure.

Vote for Organic Gardening on Mackworth Island!

Friends School is joining The REAL School, one of our collaborating neighbors on Mackworth Island, in applying for a grant from Nature’s Path, a Canadian cereal company. The purpose of the grant is to expand our gardening program by constructing a solar, hoop frame greenhouse so we can do three season growing. The produce will be used to provide healthier, organic, locally grown food for the children’s lunches and to share with the local food kitchen. You can help by voting for the proposal. (It does require registering with Justmeans) A few minutes of your time will support our efforts to bring more organic gardening and healthy food choices to the Mackworth community of schools.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Dirt The Movie / customer appreciation @ Stonyfield Cafe

Need a Thursday night dinner & Movie Plan? 

Dirt the Movie : Playing at Space Gallery on May 20th

and Customer Appreciation Day @ Stonyfield Cafe (formally O'Naturals)

ALL DAY, anyone can BUY 2 MEALS and get the THIRD MEAL FREE! So bring your two favorite people in for lunch or dinner! Or take the third meal home to eat later!

We'll be DONATING 5% OF OUR TOTAL SALES that day to each of these local nonprofits that are both working to make organic food more available and accessible to people: Cultivating Community and Yarmouth Community Garden -- eat at our restaurant all day, and you'll automatically support these two great organizations!

We'll have some of our LOCAL VENDORS SAMPLING THEIR PRODUCTS throughout the entire day. Come try delicious samples from GrandyOats, Pastor Chuck's Orchards, Maine Root, Pineland Farms, Beech Hill Farm & Bison Ranch and Falafel Toasties!

We'll be raffling off a "GREEN GIFT BASKET" filled with great eco products and yummy all-natural and organic food!

Try samples of Stonyfield yogurts, and our new tart frozen yogurt and fruit smoothies!

And even more...

Sandra Steingraber wrote a recent essay calling out the Susan Komen foundation for supporting Kentucky Fried Chicken... this is just one example of the nutty amount of "pink washing" that happens in the Breast Cancer Movement... Carey sent a great blog post encouraging us to think critically before downing pink M&Ms and buying pink-ribbon lipstick...

Monday, May 17, 2010

More support for Sandra Steingraber's ideas

Just as I'm trying to pull together my learning from Sandra Steingraber, new info comes out.  In today's PPH,  3 separate articles addressed the issues.

1) children's learning and behavior (in particular ADD) is linked to pesticides

2) Leigh Donaldson wrote about the President's cancer panel

3) An international study could not conclude that cell phones are safe (or that they are not, in terms of radiation and cancer)

In some ways, we're clearly closing in on a tipping point, but in other ways it's all still so dispirit and not getting through (I used my cell phone only minutes after reading the study, which seems like a bizarre form of cognitive dissonance).

Any thoughts about how we move toward action? 

Word Cloud by Kristin -- make your own @

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A juggling weekend


In Yarmouth, on Saturday, a fundraiser for some local kids to attend Circus Smirkus's travelling show is taking place, and it looks so fun -- a juggle-fest, essentially, with circus snacks for sale.

Later, in Portland, Randy Judkins will be performing a family show as a benefit for Casco Bay High School.

And, for advance planning purposes, the Circus Smirkus dates are out -- Aug 2&3 in Kennebunk and 5&6 in Freeport.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sandra Steingraber, a call to action -- Kim's lengthy reaction, complete with action steps

"To love is to protect -- that is what love means"  (Sandra Steingraber, closing her talk)

Dr. Steingraber's workshop and talk were so provocative, so full of interesting scientific information, and so heady that it would be easy to walk away full-up.  Yet the essence of her talk was that we can not, in good conscience, leave it at listening.  That we - as teachers, parents, citizens -- must rise to the challenge of creating social change to protect our planet for future generations.

What is the problem?
I will not recapture the scientific evidence in her talk, but encourage folks to seek more information by reading her book, her website, organizing a screening of the film, or connecting with a local organization that makes the information available.

What Stands In The Way? 

Dr. Steingraber acknowledged some of the challenges facing the Environmental Movement :

1)  the damage being done by environmental toxins often remain ambiguous and unattached to the suffering of any particular individual.  When people tell their stories of illness, of miscarriage, of learning struggles they remain detached from the stories of dangerous chemicals in our food, in our water and in our bodies, despite increasing scientific evidence linking environmental toxins with disease.

2) the damage being done often occurs beneath eye level, literally in the mining of the ocean floor and underground stone, leaving us unable to bear visual witness.  We are a culture of visual learners -- our history and epistemology emphasizes "see it to believe it" making it hard for us to hold this knowledge as our own "truth."

3) the damage being done becomes normalized.  We forget to question, or  become frozen by guilt, worry, and despair.  Dr. Steingraber said that helping to move a sympathetic but despairing audience is a far greater challenge than debating a naysayer or looking an enemy in the eye.  Fatalism -- the sense that the challenge is too great, the devastation too far gone, the sacrifice too large -- is a pervasive discourse and a paralyzing one.  Steingraber encouraged us not to buy it, and to see that naturalizing environmental damage or giving over to fatalism simply becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy that makes us complicit in the destruction.

Why hope?

Dr. Steingraber encouraged us to move toward hope by remembering all the incredible stories of social movement success in the past -- and she gave a nod to all that Quakers have done in that work.  In the United States,  slavery was abolished, women won the right to vote, child labor was outlawed, the Vietnam war ended, Maine included sexual orientation and gender in our civil rights law.  Internationally, the stories are even more encouraging.  We have done marvelous things, working together.  We need to learn more about activism, social change, collective action to fuel alternatives to fatalism.

Action Point:  Read a biography of an activist, subscribe to YES magazine, watch "Eyes on the Prize", introduce your child to your favorite social movement

Dr. Steingraber used the example of the change in the cultural zeitgeist toward tobacco as a public health
victory.  This gave me pause, since the story of tobacco is more complex and discouraging than she eluded to, and the intersections between race, class, geography, globalization and environmental action add more pieces to the puzzle than I can hold in my head at any one time.  It is possible for a story to include more than one narrative, more than one moral, I guess.  Regardless, we all need a story that we tell that encourages others toward action, toward possibility.  What's yours?

Action Point:  Develop an "elevator story" that you can tell with ummph and authenticity that will help inspire others to feel hope -- enough hope that they're willing to work toward a vision of the future that matches their values. 

Finally, Dr. Steingraber's own story represents hope, in that she has had to make life choices based on the chance that her story would end in old age, despite a cancer diagnoses at 20.  Her unique understanding of "live in the moment" is to use that moment to think critically and responsibly about the future.  To assume that we can do nothing is to waste the rest of our days. Action can be joyful.  And, Dr. Steingraber eluded to the ways that working toward a clean and healthy planet is true common cause, repairing political divisions and conflicts between groups, providing amazing opportunities for alliance.

Action Point:  Take the time to figure out what piece of "getting involved" might bring you, and your family, joy.  Let it be fun.  Connect with someone unexpected around this issue. 

This is only a small bit of what I took away -- I'm so curious about what others thought?  Please consider guest posting!!!!

What is "Parenting for Peace", anyway?

A FSP friend asked me this morning, "what is this thing, Parenting for Peace, anyway."  It turns out, with all our great publicity for Sandra Steingraber, we failed to ever really explain the idea behind P4P in the first place.  Here's my take -- official documentation to come. 

Parenting for Peace represents FSP's commitment to engaging with our larger community, being of service as a learning community, and providing opportunities for inquiry and discernment for adults. Our topics are broadly about peacemaking,  and about issues relevant to children and Quaker values.   

We are beginning to create a model of having a fall event that is somewhat lower key, and then bringing a national speaker in the spring, offering a workshop for educators and a free evening lecture.  We expect to work with coalition partners to pull off these events, and to deepen our work in the community.  We have thus far funded the project through private donations, grants and sponsorship and hope to continue building community support for the program. 

The series began with Susan Linn, from A Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood.  The 2009 -2010 theme was healthy children, healthy environment, and included a panel presentation in the fall with Dr. Berringer from Harvard Medical School, Kristine Jenkins from the Environmental Health Strategy Center, and our own Nicole Borrasso.  We culminated with an exciting keynote by Dr. Sandra Steingraber last night (more on that to come!).  Our 2010-2011 plan includes something around stewardship and service, and we hope to invite Alfie Kohn to speak in the spring.  

This series is still young, emerging and organic. Your ideas, your participation on the planning committee, your energy, your feedback are all hugely welcome.  We believe that shared inquiry is crucial to discernment, that discernment is key to positive action.  We hope you'll join in! 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Parenting For Peace Tonight

Yippee -- After months of hard work, Sandra Steingraber comes tonight!!!   It is sure to be a moving and exciting evening -- please come if you can. 

If you want to fully enrich your Tuesday, check out "Building Multicultural Portland" first! 

Feel free to contact me with any questions!  Kim  / 615-3360

Building Multicultural PortlandReza JalaliCoordinator, Multicultural Student Affairs, USM
May 11, 2010  ·  5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Room 102, USM Wishcamper Center, Portland
In recent years, tens of thousands of New Americans have arrived in Maine.Reza Jalali, a writer and a refugee advocate, will facilitate a community discussion on the changing face of Maine, the dignity of difference, and the need to create accepting, inclusive, safe, and beloved communities we can all call home. Mr. Jalali is the author of Moon Watchers, a children’s book and The New Mainers. There will be a book signing after the conversation.
Preventing Hate Violence
Steve Wessler
Director, Center for Preventing Hate
May 13, 2010  ·  5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Room 102, USM Wishcamper Center, Portland
Mr. Wessler will lead a discussion on hate crimes against immigrants. The discussion will focus on the causes of hate crimes, the destructive impact of hate crimes and the practical ways in which communities can prevent hate crimes. This discussion is open to anyone who would like to learn more about hate crimes against immigrants, as well as those with particular knowledge and expertise about the topic.
These events are FREE and OPEN to the public.
For more information, contact Kyle Radke at 780-4563 or

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Julia Ward Howe's 1870 Mother's Day Proclamation

Happy Mother's Day, all.

If you're so moved, check out Mothers Acting Up (where I found this)  and the inspiring activism behind Mother's Day -- I think we could come together and create a safer more peaceful world for our children, as the mother's have done so often in the past.

Mother’s Day Proclamation- 1870

Arise then … women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
“We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: “Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”
Blood does not wipe out dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace…
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God -
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

For more about Julia’s life and words visit

Time Outdoors Boosts Mental Health

I feel so luck to come to Mackworth Island so often, and for my children to be by trees and water almost every day.

A new study confirms the mental health benefits of time outside, and suggests that just 5 minutes in nature can make a difference in our mood.  I am going to try for an island walk at least 3x a week. Anyone else?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

plants for peace sale

Hi Gardening Friends,

The 25th Annual PLANTS FOR PEACE sale will be held on Sat. and Sun., May 15 and 16 from 9-10, rain or shine, at 3 Greenleaf St., Brunswick.

There will be a wide variety of common and uncommon perennials available- dug from my garden-for early spring to late fall bloom; for sun, pt.shade and full shade including anemones, asters, bleeding hearts, a very easy clematis, cimicifuga, hostas, monkshood, etc., etc. New plants for this year include a corydalis, knautia, toad lily, ‘Lance Sargeant’ Persicaria and several others. Many ground covers, a few herbs and ferns will be for sale.

The PLANTS FOR PEACE sale benefits Peace Action Maine and the Brunswick-Trinidad Cuba Sister City program. ALL PLANTS ARE $3 A POT! Don’t forget to pick one little plant from the ‘freebie’ table!

The garden will be open for strolling before, during and after the sale. There is so much in bloom already! Come and enjoy it.

Please pass this info along to your group or gardening friends. Thanks!

Happy Gardening… Jane

Directions: Take Pleasant St. to River Rd., take 1st rt. onto Androscoggin St., 1st left onto Greenleaf St. I’m 3rd house on the left.

Flat Stanley on Saturday

Take a break from playground clean-up (but come back!)

Flat Stanley Portland School of Ballet
Around the World with Flat Stanley
“The Case of the Red Shoes”

Saturday, May 8 at 11:00am
Westbrook Performing Arts Center
At Westbrook Middle School
471 Stroudwater Street

Tickets at the Door
$5 children, $10 adults

Join us at this brand new theater
just 10 minutes from downtown Portland
Free On-site Parking!

Take Back the Tap

The older kids had an assembly with some students from the University of New England who explained their "Take Back the Tap" campaign.

They watched The Story of Bottled Water (I think it was this video)  (similar to the  Story of Stuff) and Grace says they learned a lot about "advocacy."

It will be interesting to see if it shapes their consciousness the next time there is a vending machine around... .

Monday, May 3, 2010

ACtion on May 13th

I am sending this message as a save-the-date for a fun, meaningful action that the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine  is organizing for May 13th at 12:00 noon in Monument Square. 

Here's the skinny:

-There are over 80,000 chemicals used in products in the United States today, that have yet to be tested for human health safety.  Science is telling us that many of these chemicals are getting into our bodies, and that some are linked to cancers, diabetes, obesity, learning disabilities, behavioral problems and reproductive disorders.

-In 2008,. Mainers passed the landmark Kid-Safe Product Act to get toxic chemicals out of children's products.  Under this law, the state had to identify a list of "chemicals of concern"

- In June 2009, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection released a list of 1700 chemicals of high concern.

-The DEP is expected to slate only very few of these chemicals for phasing out of products in Maine. 

-The Environmental Health Strategy Center and our partners in the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine are going to push for as many of these chemicals of high concern to be placed on the fast track for phase out.

-We are going to ask the EPA to set a high goal of phasing out 40 chemicals, like Bisphenol-A, phthalates, perflourinated chemicals - as soon as possible.

So:  On May 12th at 12:00 in Monument Square in Portland,  we are going to organize an action with over 40 participants - one person each for the 40 harmful chemicals we want our state to take out of our everyday products.   It may be a "Price is Right" themed event....imagine the music and then, "BPA, Come on Down!".  But we are still working out those details.

We will need at least 40 people who can take an hour on Thursday, May 13 to take part in this fun, first-of-its-kind in Maine, event.  I am writing to you today so that you can start thinking if this is something you would like to do - or to start thinking about others you know who may be able/willing to take part.

Thanks for your time - and please contact me with any questions, comments, or if you need more information on how to get involved.


Kristine Jenkins
Outreach and Organizing Director
Environmental Health Strategy Center
565 Congress Street, Suite 205
Portland, Maine 04101