“Street Farm” – Growing Food, Jobs and Hope on the Urban Frontier
by Michael Ableman, Chelsea Green Publishing, $ 29.95
or read for free at the Long Haul Info-Shop
Review by elke
Author Michael Ableman is one of the early visionaries of urban agriculture and co-founder of Sole Food Street Farms.
The colorful, expressive pictures alone were soul food to me.
The book describes the struggles, set backs and lessons learned in pursuing the vision to establish a farming project in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, a neighborhood that was lacking healthy food and jobs. It tells the heart- (and soul-)warming stories of a lot of the person(alitie)s working hard to grow the project. I was touched by the openness and honesty of these stories about how the connection to food also was changing people’s connection to life, a sometimes challenging process.
This is an inspiring and, at the same time, very practical book for people who want to get involved in urban farming or start their own project even outside the city. It also contains numerous tables and side notes, turning it into a valuable handbook for future urban farmers.
It is a beautiful book, even if it didn’t fulfill my hope of presenting a way out of our disconnected agricultural and economic system: The farm is heavily dependent on the high end restaurants that it serves (it also sells some of it’s produce at local farmers markets).
Much of the money generated by Sole Food Street Farms stays in the community and gives meaningful work to people who have been socially and economically marginalized.
Though I admire the folks involved with this project very much, the image of these fat cats dining on this beautiful produce in their 5 star restaurants made me want to throw a pipe bomb! You know that feeling, right?
So we were cleaning the Slingshot loft and discovered this pile of fucking zines from like years ago that we probably should have reviewed but well, we’re activists, so like we’ve been busy with freeway shutdowns and putting on punk shows, and all sorts of other stuff that seemed more important than reviewing your zine (sorry). (seriously, sorry!!) We wish we could review everything that is sent to us, and it totally keeps us up at night, all these great zines that just keep piling up for us at the infoshop. The zines we don’t review still get added to the Long Haul zine library, where they will live until someone steals them—so at least that’s something, right? Shit. Anyway, sorry. Here are some hella belated zine reviews:
GREEN-EYED MONSTERS: My Report on Jealousy
By Lacey Johnson
This terrific zine is a very courageous personal exploration of the intense jealousy Lacey experienced in a romantic relationship. She responded to a crippling episode of jealousy by reading about, researching, and analyzing jealousy. Being a professional illustrator and writer, she wrote the zine as a therapeutic tool for herself and others struggling with the primal experience of fear, anger, and sadness that can be triggered by a partner being attracted to or involved with someone else.
While brutally honest about the pain and the sometimes less than stellar behavior that jealousy can cause, the zine is hilariously funny. Even better, every page is brimming with amazing graphics and comics including everything from Miss Piggy and her rival pig Denise, to Beyonce with the baseball bat, from Homer Simpson to Oprah, to Bob Ross painting your emotional landscape, and more. Despite the heavy topic, she doesn’t take herself too seriously. The disclaimer on page one says, “This was born from snot and confusion and a failed love project and turning on the light to look in the mirror. I am not a love doctor, I am just a Pisces with an Aquarius moon.” The whole zine has that same humility and humor, and whatever your experience with jealousy, you are likely to find it educational and entertaining.
It is filled with great advice and specific tips on coping with and reducing your jealousy, in very bite-sized chunks and and a very welcoming format. She includes a bibliography with books, websites, and videos for those who want to learn more about jealousy. “Green Eyed Monsters” can be ordered from etsy.com/shop/CreamyThighs. You can find Lacey’s other comics at: tumblr.com/blog/whaleribbed and her artwork at: laceyjohnsonxoxo.com.
(Review by Kathy Labriola, Counselor/Nurse)
The Anarchist’s Guide to Travel: A Manual for Future Hitchhikers, Hobos, and Other Misfit Wanders
By Matthew Derrick
Whether you’re a seasoned train-hopper, an urban explorer, or a homebody who likes to occasionally pick up hitchhikers, this book will make you smile and nod your head. It has the feel of sitting at a campfire and slowly sipping a forty with Squat the Planet founder Matthew Derrick, while he spills all his tips, knowledge, stories, and personal philosophies from over 15 years of being a migrant.
It gets a little preachy at times (spoiler alert: the Golden Rule is do your own damn dishes), but Derrick’s earned it. Like the dude has seriously figured out how to live a pretty decent life while traveling the country and living in tents and cars and squats and shit, and he wants you to know that you can too.
I especially appreciate that he included a bunch of interview questions with other travelers, so you get to hear stories from folks of other backgrounds and orientations in regards to what their experience has been like. Also, seriously, don’t hop a train until you’ve really thoroughly read the section on train hopping like ten times at least. Whether you just want to do your first off-the-grid road trip, or actually plan go all in and start rubber-tramping, bike touring, or become a boat punk, grab a copy of this book, hit the road, and unplug your ass from the capitalist machine. (Review a. Cat)
Restless Legs: A Photo Zine
If you’d like to venture through Portland, trash dive a punk art festival, and train hop to Pennsylvania alongside a crew of ruggedly inked friends, this could be a ride for you.
The true love of zine making as archive blooms in this collaborative photo zine. The epigraph reads: “Nobody sees a flower, really. It is so small. We haven’t time—and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.”
The artist’s friends appear in vivid color photographs that capture a certain and sincere care that the photographer puts into each relationship. Whether the subject is smoking a cigarette, grinning wildly, or reaching their hand into a trash can, the shared devotion of time between artist and subject—both past and present—throughout the transiency of space, paints a warm portrait of solidarity among radicals.
Capitalism’s colonization of time has endangered time as “the ultimate scarce resource”. Our allocation of time is a matter of justice. (Shippen, Nichole Marie “The Colonization of Time: Production, Consumption, and Leisure”) This zine is in itself a fight for time, a political response—using moments and travel to nourish friendships, to create community, to support one another.
The diligent printing and care in the craft complement the zine’s beautiful simplicity. At second and third read, its deeper complexity moves the reader to go outside, call a friend, and take back one of the most precious resources—time.
Find this and other works by the artist at www.cargocollective.com/bryanbrybry.
(Review by H. Sabet)
No Gods. No Dungeon Masters.
Text by Ion O’Clast. Art by Rachel Dukes. Cover by Andy Warner.
Anarcho-nerds rejoice! Behold an anti-capitalist riot populated by ents, druids, and Dr. Who! Gawk at a group of anarchists who disguise themselves as a Katamari ball-o-garbage cosplay to sneak into Comic Con! This zine is brimming with hella geek soul food punctuated by philosophical reminiscings about how radicals and nerds ought to team and rule the galaxy together. “Out of the Ether! Into the Streets!” +2 damage against cops! Check out their website for more of this ilk. (Review by a. Cat)