Guest Blogger Natalie Wojinski: On Olives and Strawberries

Natalie Wojinski teaches cultural geography and advises the journalism programs at Hercules High School in Hercules, CA. She has been an MWW Public Engagement Coordinator for two years, and coordinates the newsletter for the California Geographic Alliance. Prior to teaching, she worked as a broadcast journalist. This is the first in a series of three posts in which Natalie describes how a trip to France inspired a personal and professional interest in local economic geography.

strawberries.JPGThe olives and strawberries made me do it. The sheer beauty of the vast arrangement of different types and flavors of cured olives in the market, and the baskets of strawberries garnished with delicate yellow blooms, took my breath away. Something clicked and I realized that I needed to have my own market close to home.

It was February 2007 when my husband and I took a group of 12 students to France. Until about a month before the trip, we were planning to travel to northern France. With economies the way they are, our travel company informed us in early January that we would have to change our trip to Paris and the South of France. A trip to a French market was not on the itinerary, but the chaperone from the school we traveled with suggested it. As she had been to France before, I agreed. By the time we reached Saint-Rémy-de-Provence on a cool and overcast morning, we were all ready to explore.

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Earth Week Digest: A Days Outing, Party for the Planet, and Everybody Eats

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Party for the Planet:

Earth day is tomorrow, and if you haven’t already made plans, how about attending a Party for the Planet at your local zoo or aquarium? Your local AZA-accredited zoo or aquarium is the ideal place to connect with conservation in your community. Party for the Planet festivities will feature environmental education activities, amazing animal encounters and fantastic family fun.

Everybody Eats:

Today, whilst reading the ethicurean, I stumbled across a link to a Yes! Magazine article describing how a community food system works. The article was titled Everybody Eats and has a pretty cool downloadable poster that very nicely illustrates how a local food system can work (teachers: use this in your classroom, parents: show your kids).

FoodSystem_Poster11x17.jpg Now I know that Earth Day isn’t normally associated with feasting (like Christmas or Thanksgiving), but why not start a trend? I like to eat good food, and in my opinion, good food comes from local sources. So this Earth Day, get together with friends and family and have a locally-sourced potluck or holiday feast!

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Add a Geographic Twist to Your New Year’s Resolution

We’re officially one week into 2009! So…how are those New Year’s resolutions coming?   Each year millions of Americans and others across the globe set goals for self-improvement as the calendar transitions from December to January. Some of the most common resolutions relate to weight loss and health, finance management and family life; check out this list of “Popular New Year’s Resolutions” from the US … Continue reading Add a Geographic Twist to Your New Year’s Resolution