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Locavorism vs. Globavorism

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Did you know…??

Did you know…??

“Under the current global system, 73 cents of every dollar spent on food goes to production, distribution and advertisement. The farmer pockets seven cents.”

“Local Foods Rebuild Health and Economies.” 2012. 26 Oct. 2014 <http://greenhomeauthority.com/local-food-rebuilds-health-economies/>

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Creating Hipsturbia

Ryan Inzana

 

By ALEX WILLIAMS
Published: February 15, 2013

“A yoga studio opened on Main Street that offers lunch-hour vinyasa classes. Nearby is a bicycle store that sells Dutch-style bikes, and a farm-to-table restaurant that sources its edible nasturtiums from its backyard garden.

Across the street is the home-décor shop that purveys monofloral honey produced by nomadic beekeepers in Sicily. And down the street is a retro-chic bakery, where the red-velvet cupcakes are gluten-free and the windows are decorated with bird silhouettes — the universal symbol for “hipsters welcome.”

You no longer have to take the L train to experience this slice of cosmopolitan bohemia. Instead, you’ll find it along the Metro-North Railroad, roughly 25 miles north of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in the suburb of Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.

Here, beside the gray-suited salarymen and four-door minivans, it is no longer unusual to see a heritage-clad novelist type with ironic mutton chops sipping shade-grown coffee at the patisserie, or hear 30-somethings in statement sneakers discuss their latest film project as they wait for the 9:06 to Grand Central.

As formerly boho environs of Brooklyn become unattainable due to creeping Manhattanization and seven-figure real estate prices, creative professionals of child-rearing age — the type of alt-culture-allegiant urbanites who once considered themselves too cool to ever leave the city — are starting to ponder the unthinkable: a move to the suburbs.

But only if they can bring a piece of the borough with them.

To ward off the nagging sense that a move to the suburbs is tantamount to becoming like one’s parents, this urban-zen generation is seeking out palatable alternatives — culturally attuned, sprawl-free New York river towns like Hastings, Dobbs Ferry, Irvington and Tarrytown — and importing the trappings of a twee lifestyle like bearded mixologists, locavore restaurants and antler-laden boutiques.

“I don’t think we need to be in Brooklyn,” said Marie Labropoulos, who recently moved to Westchester County and opened a shop, Kalliste, selling artisanal vegan soap in Dobbs Ferry. “We’re bringing Brooklyn with us.”

Welcome to hipsturbia.

While this colonization is still in its early stages, it is different from the suburban flight of decades earlier, when young parents fled a city consumed by crime and drugs. These days, young creatives are fleeing a city that has become too affluent.

Brooklyn, once the affordable alternative to Manhattan, has since been re-branded as an international style capital. Lofts in Williamsburg formerly filled with baristas and bass players now sell to Goldman bankers in excess of $1 million. The same is true in leafier breeder-magnet neighborhoods like Park Slope, Carroll Gardens and Boerum Hill, where young families now compete with moneyed buyers from overseas, real estate agents said.

A stately five-bedroom town house in Cobble Hill, which sold for $750,000 in 2000, was recently listed for nearly $2.9 million, according to public records. Prefer to rent? Even atwo-bedroom duplex in Carroll Gardens with a garden for the little ones can run $5,500 a month.

Patrick McNeil, 37, a painter from Greenpoint, encountered nothing but frustration on a recent Brooklyn house hunt. “We would be going out to open houses, and there would be 80 people going in, and they’d be asking $740,000, and it would suddenly go to $940,000 — all cash,” Mr. McNeil said. “And you’re still two blocks away from the sewer plant in Greenpoint. We just thought, ‘What are we doing?’ ”

What they were doing, it turns out, was slowly rationalizing a move to the suburbs. It was not an easy process.

Mr. McNeil is one half of the lauded street-art duo Faile, known for its explosive swirls of graffiti art, wheat-paste sloganeering and punk rock. He wears his hair in a top bun and bears tattoos with his sons’ names, Denim and Bowie, on his forearms. His wife, Nicole Miziolek, is an acupuncturist.

“We were the we’ll-never-leave-Brooklyn types,” said Ms. Miziolek, 36.

But faced with overpaying for a Brooklyn home that would barely contain a life with two young sons, they decided to look northward. “When we checked towns out,” Ms. Miziolek recalled, “I saw some moms out in Hastings with their kids with tattoos. A little glimmer of Williamsburg!”

He needed more convincing. “Nicole brought me up here kicking and screaming,” Mr. McNeil recalled. But he was won over once he saw a rambling three-story, five-bedroom Victorian with a wraparound porch for $860,000. There was even space for a basement rec room. And it was only a 40-minute drive to his Brooklyn studio.

In fall 2011, they made the jump from their 1,200-square-foot two-bedroom apartment in Greenpoint.

Yes, they are the youngest people on their block, they said, and unlike in Williamsburg, they have to expend effort to find like-minded people — or recruit other friends from Brooklyn. So far, they have persuaded one young family to move.

“People get those Brooklyn goggles,” Mr. McNeil said. “They think it’s the center of the earth.”

But that hip-centric view may be shifting, according to real estate agents who speak of a “mass exodus from Brooklyn.”

Alison Bernstein, the founder of the Suburban Jungle Realty Group in Manhattan, which specializes in relocating New Yorkers to the suburbs, said that more than 85 percent of her business is coming from Brooklyn, with a notable spike in just the last year. Most focus on what she calls “the Brooklyn triangle”: the somewhat artsier suburbs between Montclair or Glen Ridge in New Jersey, Larchmont in Westchester and the Hudson River towns.

“It’s all personality driven,” Ms. Bernstein said. “The overall vibe there is very laid back. It’s not very big-box retail-y, not strip-mall-y.”

But for people of a Galapagos Art Space mind-set, the move involves more than dollar-per-square-foot calculations. To abandon Brooklyn is to admit that a certain idea of Brooklyn has died, or that they longer fit into it.

Emily Wardwell Dodziuk, a graphic designer who moved to Hastings in July with her husband, Nicholas Dodziuk, a furniture designer, knew it was time to decamp for the suburbs when they found themselves trying to stay sane raising two young children, as roof parties thumped through the ceiling of their Williamsburg apartment until 3 a.m.

“I’ve worked in fashion, Brooklyn was part of our lifestyle, but it just came time to get real,” she said. “How long could we pretend it was O.K.?”

Noisy trustafarians were not the only problem. The couple had enrolled their oldest son into the gifted and talented kindergarten program in the local public school, but they were disappointed by the school’s overcrowding, unruly students and bureaucracy.

Not wanting to shoulder $20,000 a year or more for private schools, the suburbs seemed like the best option, she said.

With an increase both in density and in the atmosphere of busy professionalism, Brooklyn no longer feels as carefree as it did, said Ari Wallach, a futurism consultant, who recently cut short a Brooklyn real estate search.

“There is more looking down, less eye contact,” said Mr. Wallach, 38. “The difference is between the first three days of Burning Man, when everyone is ‘Hey, what’s up?’ to the final three days of Burning Man, when the tent flaps are down. Brooklyn is turning out to be the last three days of Burning Man.”

He conducted a Google Maps street-view search of Westchester, and settled on Hastings for his family when he saw Subarus parked on the streets, not Lexus SUVs.

He is not the only one. Mitchell Moss, an urban-planning professor at New York University, said that funkier suburbs like the river towns are getting a new look from “overeducated hipsters,” not just because they have good schools, spacious housing and good transit, but because lately the restaurants are good enough to keep them in the suburbs on a Saturday night. “The creative class is trying to replicate urban life in the suburbs,” he said.

To finally pull up stakes in Brooklyn, however, one has to make peace with the idea that a certain New York adventure is over, said Cass Ghiorse, 32, a dancer who recently had her first child and moved, with her husband, Joe McCarthy, from Williamsburg to Irvington. She now teaches yoga at Hastings Yoga, a new studio.

“You’re not a failure if you decide to leave Brooklyn,” Ms. Ghiorse said. “People move to New York with a plan, a dream, and sometimes it doesn’t work out that you can live that lifestyle. It takes a lot of money.”

As a server at Marlow & Sons, the nose-to-tail temple in Williamsburg, Ms. Ghiorse said she loved being surrounded by “that unbelievably saturated population” of creative influencers, like James Murphy from LCD Soundsystem.

While she savors the space and mental calm of the suburbs, she finds herself looking hopefully for signs of creative ferment. “We’ve found it in pockets,” Ms. Ghiorse said. “Once in a while, you’ll think, ‘This place gets it,’ because they have a Fernet Branca cocktail on their menu.”

The signs are there, if you know where to look.

On a visit to Hastings on a recent gray Tuesday, a stroll down the snow-flecked sidewalks of Warburton Avenue, a main drag, revealed more than a few glimpses of “Portlandia” popping up in an otherwise “Mayberry R.F.D.” tableau.

The gluten-free bakery, By the Way, sits across the street from Juniper, the farm-to-table restaurant that wouldn’t look out of place on Smith Street, the restaurant row that cuts through Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. Nearby isMaisonette, a home-décor shop that sells felted-wool gazelle heads, for those who prefer their antlers cruelty-free. The owners are Maria Churchill and Kevin McCarthy, recent refugees from the East Village.

The fact that there is a main street to stroll is a big draw for former Brooklynites who find sprawling, car-culture suburbs alienating. These pedestrian-friendly towns, filled with low-rise 19th century brick buildings and non-chain shops, offer a version of village-style living that Jane Jacobs, the Greenwich Village urbanist, would have approved of.

“Walking to pick up milk, to nip over to the farmers’ market, is priceless,” said Helen Steed, a creative director in fashion in her early 40s whose family moved from Brooklyn to Irvington four years ago. “It’s more familiar, less suburban.”

Indeed, the sturdy, retro, all-American character of the river towns fits well with the whole Filson/Woolrich heritage-brand aesthetic. People who set their cultural compass to the Brooklyn Flea appreciate the authenticity.

“Hastings-on-Hudson is a village, in a Wittgensteinian sort of way,” Mr. Wallach said. He added, “We are constantly hearing about the slow-food movement, the slow-learning movement and the slow-everything-else. So why not just go avant-garde into a slow-village movement?”

Indeed, in the era of artisanal chic, a move up the Hudson feels like Back to the Land Lite. Brooklyn locavores settle in comfortably at The Village Dog in Tarrytown, which serves a salmon boudin hot dog, with sustainable fish sourced from Pierless Fish in Brooklyn; or at Harper’s, a bar and restaurant in Dobbs Ferry, where Clark Moore, the bartender, barrel-ages cocktails on the premises.

No wonder Marco Arment, the former lead developer for Tumblr who recently moved to Hastings from Park Slope, said he no longer needs to run off to the country every three-day weekend.

“I have that balance already,” said Mr. Arment, 30. “From my window, I can see the George Washington Bridge, but there’s a deer in my front yard.”

The slower pace and cheaper space also make it easier to pursue the D.I.Y. hobbies and maker-culture businesses that Brooklyn has become famous for.

This is not to say the river towns are Brooklyn North. The mood is still sleepy and commuter-oriented, and real estate, while cheaper than Cobble Hill, is expensive by national standards (don’t even get the locals started on property taxes). Furthermore, the relative lack of racial diversity is striking to newcomers.

Marie Labropolous recently moved from a one-bedroom rental in Brooklyn to a four-bedroom 1970s split-level in Hartsdale, about 10 minutes from her shop in Dobbs Ferry. She and her husband, Simeon Papacostas, now have space for a music studio in their basement, where they enjoy regular “pajama jams,” she said.

There are some things, however, that she refuses to let go. “I still have my Brooklyn phone number,” Ms. Labropolous said. “I’m not giving it up.””

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February 18, 2013 · 7:54 pm

Boy Scouts may reverse national ban against gays as members, leaders

Posted by Diana Reese on January 29, 2013 at 8:33 am

“History’s being made this month. Last week, President Barack Obama became the first president to use the term “gay” in reference to sexual orientation in an inauguration speech.And on Monday the Boy Scouts of America — which successfully fought against allowing gays into its ranks all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 — said it may reverse its policy next week.

Eagle Scout Zach Wahls, 20, of Iowa City, Ia., the son of gay parents, delivered a 280,000 signature petition to the Boy Scouts of America’s Annual Meeting in Orlando last year, asking the organization to change its policies toward homosexuality. (DAVID MANNING – REUTERS)

Just last summer BSA had reaffirmed its stand to keep gays out. But it wasn’t a popular move. Membership in BSA is on the decline — and financial support is falling as well. The Merck Company Foundation, Intel Foundation, UPS and United Way have stopped or postponed donations due to the anti-gay policy of the 102-year-old organization.

Two members of the Boy Scouts of America national executive board: Ernst & Young CEO James Turley and AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson have supported dumping the ban on gays in favor of inclusion regardless of sexuality.

Then there are the negative headlines: A lesbian mom was kicked out of her position as a den leader in Ohio. The Eagle Scout application of a California teen who came out wasrejected. And last summer, a 19-year-old Eagle Scout in Missouri was fired from his job at a Scout summer camp after he announced he was gay.

Deron Smith, a spokesman for Boy Scouts of America, told me the decision to revisit the policy during a private meeting of the national executive board next week resulted from “a longstanding dialogue within the Scouting family.” As he explained, “Last year, Scouting realized the policy caused some volunteers and chartered organizations which oversee and deliver the program to act in conflict with their missions, principles or religious beliefs.”

Smith stressed that the board may consider lifting the national ban, but that it will remain up to the individual chartering organization whether to allow gays as members and leaders. Troops are sponsored by churches, civic groups and schools. BSA would not force any local chartering institution to accept gays.

That makes the national ruling something of a compromise. BSA’s basically giving local groups permission to make their own decision. Some troops have quietly accepted gays; Minnesota’s largest group of Boy Scouts, the Twin Cities-based Northern Star Council, has had an inclusive policy for 12 years.

Keeping it local makes sense to many parents and adult leaders. “I think it’s a good idea to leave it up to the local troop,” said Ken Mason, assistant scoutmaster of my son’s troop in Overland, Kansas, and the father of two Eagle Scouts.

“The individual troop has a much better sense of who has a positive or negative influence on the boys,” pointed out Glenn Carney, another assistant scoutmaster and dad of two Eagle Scouts.

But making the decision locally also puts a burden on the troop — and its volunteers, Kent Bredehoeft, Scoutmaster and father of two Scouts told me. “BSA relies on volunteers, and this puts the volunteers in a difficult political situation that, without clear BSA policy, takes away their attention from delivering the BSA mission.”

He questioned what kind of support the national office will give local troops “except to say it’s your decision.” Bredehoeft added that the decision will “be a very challenging one.”

Another dad, who preferred to remain anonymous, said as long as any Scout met the requirements, including being reverent and morally straight (that phrase was used before straight had a sexual connotation), his sexual orientation didn’t matter.

Just as reaction nationally is mixed, not every parent liked the idea of a change in policy, however. “I lost my ability to advance in scouting as a young man because of a scoutmaster who was a pedophile,” one dad wrote me in an email. “I am dead set against gays in scouting.”

Allowing openly gay leaders seemed tougher for some parents to accept. One mom, who prefaced her remarks with the belief that homosexuality does not equal pedophilia, still admitted she would worry about the safety of the boys.

“Most of BSA’s constituent parents view this as a safety issue more than a moral issue,” another dad wrote in an email. “I think BSA thinks the notion continues to exist among parents of elementary school age boys, making the decision whether to let their sons join an organization where there will be lots of overnight trips to isolated locations, in the company of relatively few adult leaders, that their sons are more at risk of being molested if those leaders include homosexuals.”

Certainly the reputation of Boy Scouts has been tarnished with reports of molestations and the court-ordered release of secret files, also referred to as the “perversion files,” that listed names of suspected child molesters. BSA has worked hard to protect boys in recent years; since 1987, two-deep leadership has been instituted (which, if followed, protects both boys and adult leaders). Any adult member of Boy Scouts is required to update Youth Protection Training every two years. And any evidence of sexual abuse of a Scout must be reported to the local police.

I hope the issue of allowing gays does not end up destroying the organization. As the mom of a 15-year-old who’s been involved in Scouting since kindergarten, I’ve seen the positive side of Boy Scouts. I’ve seen him develop responsibility and leadership skills. I’ve seen other boys grow and mature.

I asked some of the older Scouts in the troop what they thought of the possible change in policy; they didn’t see a problem. One Eagle Scout bluntly put it, “It’s [anti-gay policy] ridiculous….It’s terribly sad to see limited opportunities for others because of stupid and absurd reasons.”

Another Eagle Scout didn’t think sexual orientation should prevent anyone from the benefits of the Scouting experience, including obtaining his Eagle. But he also wondered how many churches across the country would revoke charters to an organization that allowed an openly gay leader.

One dad who sent me an email summed it up well, I thought, using the Boy Scout Law:    ” ‘Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent.’  Don’t see anything in there that excludes gays.”

Diana Reese is a freelance journalist in Overland Park, Kan. and the mom of a Boy Scout who’s working on his Eagle rank. Follow her on Twitter at @dianareese.”

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January 30, 2013 · 5:03 pm

INSPIRED LOCALS: Shoes made responsibly, by hand

Written by John Faherty

Jan 18, 2013


Alisha Budkie, owner of Smartfish Studio & Sustainable Supply on Main Street in Over-the-Rhine, stitches together one of her footwear creations

 

Sometimes you need to be busy doing your own thing to notice that the world around you is changing.

Alisha Budkie is a cordwainer. She makes shoes from the ground up. She creates the outer soles, she cuts the fabric and then she bends over her antique Singer sewing machine – which she powers by foot pedal – and begins to stitch it together.

Then Budkie, 27, sells them from her shop on Main Street in Over-the-Rhine. It is difficult work, and requires her full attention. But it was from here where she noticed a shift.

When she started making her shoes four years ago, back before she opened her shop, people would sometimes buy them because they were unique, or because they looked good. And in truth, they are and they do.

Then her peers, other young people, began to appreciate them because they are responsibly made. The raw materials were local and sometimes recycled. The labor was treated fairly, because she was the labor. There was little waste or impact on the environment.

In the last couple of years, however, Budkie has noticed that it is no longer just a small group of people who appreciate how her shoes are constructed.

“Originally, for most people, it was just: ‘That’s a cool shoe,’” Budkie said. “And now all kinds of people are asking about how something was made, and about where the products came from. It’s great to have good answers to those questions.”

Budkie grew up in Fairfield and graduated from Ursuline Academy in 2004. She went to the University of Cincinnati, where she majored in industrial design in the school’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning.

One constant through those years for Budkie was running. She likes to be outside and to exercise and have the chance to think. This lead to an appreciation of running shoes. “I love the practicality of them,” Budkie said. “They are designed to do one thing, and they do it well.”

Eventually, Budkie served internships with two major shoe companies. She enjoyed learning about the design, but not the way the shoes are made. In the mass manufacturing of shoes, supplies are purchased for cost considerations only. The labor force is often overseas and underpaid. The process requires waste and shipping costs.

In a moment of consideration, Budkie had an idea common to many people who design and build and create: “I thought, there has to be a better way.”

So for the thesis needed to graduate from DAAP, she designed and built her own shoes. Not running shoes, just regular shoes. Shoes a person would wear around town. She realized almost immediately that she had a lot to learn.

So one day she walked into a shoe repair shop she knew from her youth, Tricounty Shoe Repair on Northland Boulevard in Springdale, where she found Gerry DiManna, an Italian-immigrant cobbler.

“He seemed really excited that somebody wanted to know that much about shoes,” Budkie remembers.

DiManna remembers it somewhat differently. “I thought she was crazy,” he said fairly gruffly, but you could tell he didn’t mean it. At least not too much. “Nobody makes money making shoes.”

She showed him her designs and asked for a better way to make soles.

DiManna said he would teach her everything he knew about shoes and soles and thread and the old ways to make them. “She does it good,” DiManna said.

In 2011, after two years of apprenticeship, she decided she was ready to make her own shoes and to start her own store. She also wanted to sell art supplies because she remembered how hard it was to find good supplies when she was in school. Over-the-Rhine would be near DAAP, the Art Academy of Cincinnati and the School for Creative and Performing Arts.

She would name her business Smartfish Studio and Sustainable Supply. The website is smarterthanagoldfish.com. The name is based on the theory that goldfish are thought to have such small little brains that their memory is only about three seconds long.

Goldfish might take some offense, but Budkie wanted to encourage people to remember that actions have consequences, and that building things in a responsible way is good thinking for business and the environment. “I thought,” she said, “that we can be smarter than a goldfish.”

But first, she needed money, so she used crowd funding, the practice of asking people, many people, for small amounts of money to help start a business.

Contributions ranged from $10 to some in the hundreds. They did it to help, not to buy shares. On a white tile wall, under a sign that reads: “This store would not exist without” are the names of the people who made small donations. The names are written in black permanent maker.

People who made larger donations had bags or shoes named after them. There are “Alex” boat shoes and “Lee” loafers and another pair of shoes called “The Otter.” Budkie is not exactly sure why. “I think they just wanted to name them The Otter.”

Eventually she came up with more than $5,000 and was able to lease a store that had been sitting empty for years at the corner of 13th and Main in Over-the-Rhine.

She sells supplies on one side, with a 20 percent discount for students. Some of the products include good paper, books for notes, and locally made ink and organic cotton thread.

And on the other side is where she makes and sells her shoes. The old black Singer sits against a wall, and people often think it is just for show. They love it when she explains that no, that is what she makes the shoes with.

The cost of the shoes range from $85 for a pair of moccasins to $195 for a pair of lace-ups. Some of the uppers are made from old blankets, others are from the leather she repurposed from an old coat she found at a thrift store.

And they are selling well. “I have finally got the turnaround time down to about two weeks,” Budkie said.

Budkie is making enough money to consider new products. And different types of shoes she wants to design. She was helped, she said, by an Over-the-Rhine Chamber Business First grant this year.

“People are saying they want something that is made well,” Budkie said. “And they like that they are made locally and that the sourcing is good. It matters to people more and more.”

I try to find stories that seem small, but speak to something larger. Reach me at jfaherty@enquirer.com.”

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January 19, 2013 · 10:50 pm