The Allium Connection to Green Living
The inbox at Vegetarians in Paradise is filled with hundreds of emails each day offering sexual enhancements, Viagra and Cialis, and offers of millions of dollars if we provide our bank account information. There are queries about medical advice, which we never give, and requests for vegetarian information that we are happy to provide.
We have also received hundreds of letters of praise thanking us for our service to the vegetarian community. Occasionally, there are requests to reprint one of our articles or features that we honor as long as they credit the source. When the Sierra Club asked to reprint our vegetarian restaurant listings for Los Angeles a few years ago, we were happy to comply. We felt that sharing this information would introduce non-vegetarians to delicious vegetarian food available in Los Angeles.
In November 2006 we received the following email with a request to reprint one of our articles:
You folks have done a great job with the article on garlic that appears on your website. I'd like to request permission to reprint all or part in an upcoming issue of Green Living and our related websites and book projects.
Green Living is a small independent publication that serves "friends of the environment" in our local area. We've recently selected garlic as our graphic symbol.
Thank you in advance for your consideration. If you are agreeable to granting this permission, please let us know exactly how you would like your credit to read.
Bogged down, as usual, under a pile of email, we tardily answered the request with this note:
Sorry to take so long in responding. Relatives, Holidays, and a giant pile of email distracted us from answering sooner.
We are flattered that you like our garlic story. We have no problem granting your reprint request. Just credit us as follows:
By Zel and Reuben Allen
When it appears in a publication, we would be grateful for a copy.
Health and Joy,
Zel and Reuben Allen
In the months that followed we completely forgot about the reprint until we received the following communication:
Zel and Reuben--
Less than a year ago you generously dipped into your creative well to contribute to a project designed to show that there is a "new village green" connected not by geography, but by ideas, values, and electrons. The finished book now exists, and a copy will be sent if you respond to this email confirming your mailing address. (While you are at it, a brief note about how the world is treating you is always appreciated.)
Thank you again for your willingness to be part of The New Village Green.
When we received the package, we eagerly opened it to see how the garlic article was used. Initially we had thought the material would be included in a magazine article. Instead, we were surprised to see that it was incorporated throughout an entire book.
Please understand that what follows is not a book review because reviewing a book we were involved in would be a conflict of interest or something like that. Normally, our book reviews appear in our Vegetarian Reading feature. Besides, The New Village Green is not a vegetarian book.
What immediately caught our attention was a full-page essay titled "But Why Garlic?" printed on a shaded gray background with the outline of white garlic emerging from the background. In the article author Stephen Morris shares the numerous reasons garlic was used.
Morris concludes by writing, "You'll find garlic lore and legend in tasty factoids throughout the world of The New Village Green. It's our vegetable of default. Why have white space when you can learn something new about one of nature's most intriguing creations garlic! Garlic information was provided by Zel and Reuben Allen, publishers of Vegetarians in Paradise, a monthly internet magazine (vegparadise.com)."
As we thumbed through the book, we found 26 pages that featured garlic quotes from our VIP article, "Garlic--Stinking Rose or Revered Medicine." All were shaded gray with the white garlic symbol. They ranged from small boxes to an entire page.
Then we began to read some of the articles and found ourselves fascinated by our discoveries. Most likely we would not have discovered or read this book if we had not been included, but we're glad we did because it opened so many new vistas for us and made us think about so much in the world around us.
We especially enjoyed "My Arabian Breakfast" by Chad Heater who looked at his plate and showed how the food in his 400-calorie breakfast traveled thousands of miles and used 2800 calories of fossil-fuel energy. The meal only included oatmeal, berries, and coffee with energy use that he likened to a Toyota Prius hybrid. By comparison, gorging on a Grand-Slam breakfast at Denny's with eggs, bacon, pancakes, and sausage would be like cruising in a Hummer.
Kirkpatrick Sale's contribution "Agriculture: Civilization's 'Great Mistake'" made us think how the earth has been despoiled and animals have been enslaved with the end result that we may destroy our own species.
On the lighter side, we guffawed reading Swami Beyondananda who tells us, "We're betting on the human race to reach critical mass before they get to critical massacre." In this article with humorous digs at the Bush administration, he leaves us with a final thought: "May the FARCE--as always--be with us."
We knew about the Slow Food movement, but Carol Ness shows how it has gone global and has reacted to health problems, economic disparities around the world, global warming, and waste. The idea is to de-industrialize food production. "That means putting taste back at the heart of food, saving heirloom fruits, vegetables and animals, keeping small farmers in business and in local communities, and pushing farming back on sound environmental ground."
Gary Davis and Em Turner provide us "Safe Substitutes: Non-toxic Household Products" that we plan to copy and post on our refrigerator door to remind us of changes we need to make in our own home.
Zoe Weil writes "Above All, Be Kind," a mantra quite familiar to vegans. The kindness involves making choices on what the family wears and eats and its entertainment, homes, toys, vehicles, and personal care and cleaning products. She advises to gather information, think critically, use the three Rs, and make positive choices.
There is so much more in this compendium of fascinating and diverse articles from numerous sources. The volume is divided into eight sections: The Gaia Hypothesis, Silent Spring, The Limits of Growth, The End of Nature, One-Straw Revolution, Small Is Beautiful, Whole Earth Catalog, and The Good Life. Each section concludes with New Village Library, a list of readings related to material covered in the articles.
The book reprints interviews with people like tree saver Julia Butterfly Hill, wild food stalker Euell Gibbons, and the author of The Omnivore's Dilemma, Michael Pollan. Recognition is given to the significant contributions to our culture by Rachel Carson of Silent Spring fame and Stewart Brand for his Whole Earth Catalog. Along with the garlic tidbits there are other sidebars and numerous quotes and portraits of contributors sprinkled throughout the book. And we mustn't forget The New Village People Index that even includes us.
On the last page of the book, New Society Publishers includes an environmental benefits statement. They have chosen to produce this book on recycled paper with 100% post consumer waste, processed chlorine free and old growth free. For every 5,000 books printed the publisher saved 31 trees, 2831 pounds of solid waste, 3115 gallons of water, 4063 kilowatt hours of electricity, 5146 pounds of greenhouse gases, 22 pounds of HAPs, VOCs, and AOX combined, and 8 cubic yards of landfill space.
Thank you, Stephen Morris for including us in this remarkable volume. You and your colleagues must be commended for assembling this collection of values, beliefs, ideas, and electrons. Our lives have been enriched by reading these thought-provoking articles. The internet has bestowed a blessing on all of us. Without it we never would have met and shared these marvelous experiences together.
And now let's sit down together and feast on this locally grown roasted garlic.