Category Archives: Natural Life

Mycofest 2019

What happens at a Harrisburg Pennsylvania-based Myco (Mushroom) Festival? First off, several sessions from myco-experts and enthusiests. Secondly, fungi-based food and products of all sorts. Attendees also experienced camping and several mushroom foraging walks in which hundreds of specimens were gathered.

This video features William Padilla-Brown of Mycosymbiotics, LLC who is also the organizer of the annual Myco-fest. You’ll also see part of an interview with Matt Powers of the Permaculture Student and A Regenerative Future Podcast.

Please be sure to subscribe and visit the Forest Ranch blog at for more great regenerative philosophies!

History of Ethiopian Food

IMAGINE AN ETHIOPIA without Ethiopian cuisine. Was there ever such an unappetizing place? When did Ethiopians begin to prepare spicy wots and serve them atop spongy injera? And when did they begin to wash it all down with copious quantities of t’ej, their famous honey wine?

Drawing of Teff 
(c. 1780)

As I write, in much greater detail, in my book, Mesob Across America: Ethiopian Food in the U.S.A., nobody really knows how this cuisine emerged because very few written records of dietary habits exist from thousands of years ago. But scholars who have studied the ancient cultures of the land we now call Ethiopia and Eritrea have other evidence to document when the various elements of the cuisine began to emerge. 

The most prominent of these cultures, called Aksum, began its ascent in the first century B.C., was famous among its contemporaries by 300 A.D., and had faded into the mist of history by around 800 A.D. Almost two millennia later, we know that the food of Aksum was the nascent cuisine of Ethiopia.

In the fourth millennium B.C., agriculture emerged in the fertile highlands of what’s now western Eritrea and the Sudan. It then spread to the lowlands and eventually the plateau of Ethiopia, although it wasn’t called Ethiopia back then. By the first or second millennium B.C., these proto-Ethiopians ate sorghum, wheat, barley and possibly teff, along with many other grains, vegetables and pulses (lentils, peas, fava beans, chick peas and more). 

The language scholar Christopher Ehret suggests that these cultures may have had teff more than 5,000 years ago: He’s compared ancient Cushitic and Semitic languages of Ethiopia, and he speculates that teff “began to be cultivated at least several millennia before Christ, and possibly as early as the Near Eastern shift” – that is, about 5,000 B.C. Teff was a “local independent invention,” Ehret says, originating in the “northern and eastern fringes of the highlands” of Ethiopia in ancient times.

A variety of archaeological evidence confirms teff in Aksum early in the first millennium A.D., and probably in pre-Aksumite cultures of the first millennium B.C., when they had the proper cattle and plows to harvest it, although there’s no definitive physical evidence of teff that early. Teff, of course, is the grain required to make injera as we know it today.

The kings of Aksum drank t’ej and beer in the third century A.D, a knowledge that comes from inscriptions on Aksumite stones translated in 1962 by the Dutch scholar A.J. Drewes in his book Inscriptions de l’Ethiopie Antique. His revelatory work requires no reading between the lines: The ancient inscriptions that he deciphers tell us explicitly what some Aksumites ate.

Memorandum concerning the food of the royal court according to the law of the country,” begins one text, written in the middle of the third century A.D., less than a century before the height of Aksum’s power under King Ezana (321-360). The inscription goes on to describe the victuals: There’s virgin mutton, virgin beef, honey, wheat, beer, bread, a bucket of butter and – best of all – honey wine.

A passage from the Serata Gebr

Next up: injera. When do we know for sure that Aksumites baked it? Ethiopians today make their injera on a large round skillet called a mitad. In modern cities, these are often electric; in the country, the injerabakes on a clay mitad placed over an open flame. But regardless of the technology, the principle is the same: Making a piece of injera requires a big round skillet.

Enter Neville Chittick, whose 1972-74 excavations at Aksum yielded myriad treasures. In a close look at the pottery from the Chittick site, archaeologist Richard Wilding discovered some Aksumite mitads, placing them in the late fifth or sixth centuries, thus some time before 600 A.D. “The presence or absence of so basic a piece of specialized equipment,” Wilding writes, “might tell much of the diet and the principal cereal crop of Aksum.” That cereal crop is teff.

Read the full article here

Where our food is coming from ? The Supply Chain Map

My team at the University of Illinois just developed the first high-resolution map of the U.S. food supply chain.

Our map is a comprehensive snapshot of all food flows between counties in the U.S.—grains, fruits and vegetables, animal feed, and processed food items.

To build the map, we brought together information from eight databases, including the Freight Analysis Framework from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which tracks where items are shipped around the country, and Port Trade data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which shows the international ports through which goods are traded.

We also released this information in a publicly available database.

This map shows how food flows between counties in the U.S. Each line represents the transportation of all food commodities, along transit routes, such as roads or railways. [Image: Environmental Research Letters (2019)]

What does this map reveal?


Now, residents in each county can see how they are connected to all other counties in the country via food transfers. Overall, there are 9.5 million links between counties on our map.

All Americans, from urban to rural are connected through the food system. Consumers all rely on distant producers, agricultural processing plants, food storage like grain silos and grocery stores, and food transportation systems.

For example, the map shows how a shipment of corn starts at a farm in Illinois, travels to a grain elevator in Iowa before heading to a feedlot in Kansas, and then travels in animal products being sent to grocery stores in Chicago.


At over 17 million tons of food, Los Angeles County received more food than any other county in 2012, our study year. It shipped out even more: 22 million tons.

California’s Fresno County and Stanislaus County are the next largest, respectively. In fact, many of the counties that shipped and received the most food were located in California. This is due to the several large urban centers, such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as the productive Central Valley in California.

We also looked for the core counties—the places that are most central to the overall structure of the food supply network. A disruption to any of these counties may have ripple effects for the food supply chain of the entire country.

We did this by looking for counties with the largest number of connections to others, as well as those that score highly in a factor called “betweenness centrality,” a measurement of the places with the largest fraction of the shortest paths.

San Bernardino County led the list, followed again by a number of other California transit hubs. Also on the list are Maricopa County, Arizona; Shelby County, Tennessee; and Harris County, Texas.

However, our estimates are for 2012, an extreme drought year in the Cornbelt. So, in another year, the network may look different. It’s possible that counties within the Cornbelt would show up as more critical in non-drought years. This is something that we hope to dig into in future work.


We also looked at how much food is transported between one county and another.

Many of the largest food transport links were within California. This indicates that there is a lot of internal food movement within the state.

One of the largest links is from Niagara County to Erie County in New York. That’s due to the flow of food through an important international overland port with Canada.

Read the full article at Fast Company 

Avocado & Honey ep #68 Organizing for love

In this episode of #avocadoandhoneypod, Rebekah is back this time to talk about the beginning stages of Organize For Love, tips on how to declutter and organize your home, eliminating distractions on your phone and so much more! Please be sure to LIKE< SUBSCRIBE & SHARE!

This episode’s sponsore: Sankosa Athletic Apparel, @sankofa_athletic_apparel
Intro song: Ari Lennox “New Apartment”

Ancestral Hair Retreat

The Hair Retreat brought together by @AncestralHairStrands was very informal. Methods of relaxation were presented and everyone shared their personal experiences growing up and living with natural hair. Yoga presented by andYoga.  To learn more about the hair movement go to Ancestral Hair Strands. 


Informative panel discussion w.
Yoga by @sandiyogini
CBD Mocktail Drinks by @herbalhairbar
Raw Vegan Pizza Made by @embracerawliving
Yoga Space @andyogastudios

Delicious Raw Jackfruit BBQ Vegan Pizza by @EmbraceRawLiving

Avocado and Honey Podcast: Earth Is Your Mother Too

In this episode of #avocadoandhoneypod, Amber Tamm (@ambertamm) came through to share some of her experiences as a farmer, food systems, climate change, how both vegans and meats eaters are responsible and so much more! 

Please be sure to LIKE, SUBSCRIBE & TELL A FRIEND about #avocadoandhoneypod

As always, I appreciate you!

Intro Song: Tierra Whack “Fruit Salad”

Listen to the podcast here

Black Hair Stylist Wellness Retreat

For a weekend, you’ll be able to relax In a room full of sisterhood, w/ like-minded professionals!

You’ll experience: Organic Welcome Brunch Herbal Cocktails + Hair Teas Hand + Body Massages

Crown Circle Talk Spiritual & Business

Panel Vendors Workshops

Yoga & Movement

Come & Learn: -Self care tips for Hair Stylists –

How to balance work and life –

How to elevate your spirit to be in alignment w/ your purpose!

Increasing your hair business revenue holistically through self care

Nutritional tips for a healthy lifestyle

How movement can help w/ back strains + Massage techniques to do at home for hands and upper body

Hair History through the Afrakan Diaspora

Mental Health PANELISTS: SATURDAY: Jihan: Co-founder and CEO of SWIVEL BEAUTY, an online marketplace for women of color with textured hair who need a convenient way to find skilled hairstylists they can trust!

Diane C. Bailey: A “Master Pinoneer” in the natural hair industry, & founder/CEO of EMERGE: Natural Beauty Industry Alliance, a trace assocaitaion which will be the industry’s resource to develop leadership.

Chef Chandra: Owner of EMBRACE RAW LIVING, And providing the hairstylists w/ healthy + delicious Raw Vegan Food to fuel their body and mind! She’ll also speak to the hairstylist about nourishing their bodies properly through good nutrition!

Celebrity Hairstylist: TBA SUNDAY: Dr. Afiya: Hairstylist and Psychologist offering hair care professionals an opportunity to build skills in mental health first aid for their clients and for themselves!

Sandi Preston: Master Yoga Teacher and Co-owner of ANDYOGA STUDIOS located in bedstuy, Brooklyn. Sandi will provide a Yoga session for the hairstylists as a form of self care + body stretching. She’ll also be on the panel to speak about caring for the body!

Rebekah Love: Founder and Professional organizer of ORGANIZE FOR LOVE, a brand that bridges wellness and productivity for millennial Black women by eliminating physical & non-physical clutter from their life.

All stylists get to take home a Self-Care Wellness Gift Bag filled w/ goodies from our sponsors!

Location: TBA (NYC)

For more information go to

Sufism & Psychedelics w. Cheikh Sufi & Dr Gerry

Magnets Pyramids and Crystals Blogtalk Radio

Tonight’s show will be an epic revelation into the intimate connection between spirituality and psychedelic states. Two world famous authors, lecturers, workshop facilitators, and world travelers, Cheikh Sufi and Dr. Gerry. The first hour will feature Cheikh Sufi. He will share with us the origins and meaning of Sufism and how the Sufi path leads to higher levels of spiritual awareness and eventually enlightenment.

The second hour we will be honored to have as our guest, Dr. Gerry.  Dr Gerardo Sandoval Isaac will share with us the mystical power of Bufo Alvarius. Bufo Alvarius is the scientific name of The Sonoran Desert Toad. In this magical creatures venom is a potent compound that aids people in overcoming addiction, depression, and is a pathway to greater self awareness.

 Dr. Gerardo Sandoval Isaac — is a medical doctor, gynecologist, medicine-man and ambassador for the Bufo alvarius toad, the best ways to harvest and experience the Bufo alvarius toad venom and 5-MeO-DMT.

  • Dr. Gerry’s first entheogenic experiences
  • What happens in a shamanic sacred mushroom ceremony
  • Importance of letting go during entheogenic experiences
  • The Bufo alvarius toad
  • How to harvest and consume the Bufo alvarius toad venom
  • 5 most common effects of smoking 5-MeO-DMT
  • How and why the body produces DMT
  • Entheogenic homework
  • Message from the Bufo alvarius toad
  • How to prepare yourself before you experience the toad

When a person smokes 5-MeO-DMT, there is an increased production and release of neurotransmitters and endorphins, such as serotonin and dopamine. They promote body regeneration, healing and an enormous release of unconscious stress