A diverse (and incomplete) sampling of my work that includes current enterprises, past projects, and academic prose. Enjoy! 

Rootstock Radio: Our Food System Isn’t Broken (It Just Never Worked Well in the First Place)

On the subject of world hunger, Eric talks about the research that made Frances Moore Lappé’s book Diet for a Small Planet so revolutionary: “She found that, in fact, the world was producing 1.5 times more than enough food to feed everybody. People are not going hungry because of scarcity. They’re going hungry because they’re too poor to buy the food that was produced.” Especially atrocious, Eric points out, is the fact that most of the people who are too poor to buy food are the farm workers producing the food—many of them women and girls around the world.

Rootstock Radio: Stories from a Half-Century in Organic

Sue Kesey is co-founder of Springfield Creamery, and a true pioneer in the organic dairy industry. In 1960, freshly married and recently graduated from Oregon State, Sue and her husband Chuck Kesey opened the doors of a humble creamery in Chuck’s hometown, Springfield, Oregon. What began as a fluid milk bottling operation—bottling and delivering milk in real glass jugs—grew into a thriving organic dairy brand that distributes an array of products throughout the 50 United States, Canada and Asia. Ever heard of Nancy’s Yogurt? You have Sue and Chuck Kesey to thank for it.

Form Printing & Design | Minneapolis, MN | AlphaGraphics

Let’s face it, paperwork isn’t glamorous. But in many professions it’s necessary and that’s why business-savvy companies come to AlphaGraphics in Minneapolis for form design and printing. If your clients and customers are filling out paperwork, you want to be putting clear, crisp, branded and professionally printed forms in their hands. At AlphaGraphics in Minneapolis, we print a LOT of forms. And for us—a team who literally spends their days working with paper—printing high-quality paperwork for your business is satisfying, rewarding, and maybe even a little bit glamorous. We take pride in a job well-done.

When Writing Feels Right

Today the bulk, brunt, and brute force of my written words are absorbed by the keys of a thirteen-inch MacBook Pro. Once in a while they are welcomed in great long rushes that start at the top of my head and race through my arms onto the screen, but most of the writing I do when I sit down to write feels like it comes in a rhythm of one step forward, two steps back that somehow still staggers across a page. The path of my cursor is never linear: surging forward, careening back to catch a forgotten comma, jumping from the end of a sentence to its beginning to add, erase, or rephrase. I consider myself a writer not because writing is an easy exercise for me, but because I like the process and feeling of wordsmithing an exceptional sentence enough to endure the blood, sweat, and tears shed while hunched over my Silicon Valley-made anvil.

Animal Whisperers: Your Local (Bovine) Outdoor Enthusiasts

It’s easy to see why cows love pasture: lush grass, fresh air, plenty of space to amble around… Organic farmers have held pasture as a cornerstone of their farming practice since ‘organic’ labels started sneaking into early food co-ops. But even before the distinction between conventional and organic agriculture (when “farming” automatically meant organic farming because chemicals weren’t even an option), farmers observed their cows gleefully heading out to pasture.

Rootstock Radio: Antibiotics & Livestock: What You Need To Know

And why, exactly, is Lena so concerned about the use of antibiotics in the United States’ livestock industry? She breaks it down for us: “When you use these antibiotics over and over again, you create resistant bacteria,” and resistant bacteria are a threat to humans because they “essentially become stronger than the medicine used to treat them.” It would be an understatement to say this is not good. Lena shares, “a woman in Nevada died from an antibiotic-resistant infection. It was an incurable infection and they gave her 26 antibiotics. That’s the entire suite of antibiotics available to US doctors and not one of them worked.” It’s the increasing failure of antibiotics in cases like this that concerns the NRDC (and should alarm the rest of us as well.)

Rootstock Radio: Food Allergies & Why Organic is Not a Fad

Robyn knows the challenges in our current food system well, from a lack of sustainability, to aging farmer populations, to chemical toxicity on farms. She also sees organic food as a big part of the solution. “The reason organic is not a fad and it is not a trend, is because cancer is not a fad, autism is not a trend. Food allergies are not fads and consumers need to know where their food is coming from—and how it is made. Once they learn that, they choose organic,” she says. “It is such a fundamental human right to be able to feed your family and the people that you love products that will not cause harm.”

The Fight Against Gun Violence

Milwaukee alone lost 145 people to violence in 2015, a 69% increase from 2014, the highest number of homicides in the last twenty years. Milwaukee families deserve to feel safe in their own homes and neighborhoods. Gun violence and gun owner irresponsibility take an enormous toll in many areas including life, education, and economic mobility. This is why I have recently announced a package of four bills that are aimed at tackling gun violence in our community and across the state. The first one, No Fly, No Buy, prohibits those who are on the federal terrorist watch list from purchasing firearms. The second bill would remove a major loophole in gun sales through private sellers and require background checks for all firearm purchases. The third bill would specify the minimum training hours and maximum classroom sizes for concealed carry courses. These measures will help establish guidelines to inform permit applicants of safe gun handling, storage, and risks of carrying. And the final bill in the package would require any concealed carry applicant to have general liability insurance of at least $800,000 to cover injury, death, or property damage that may arise from a permit holder’s negligent use of a firearm. The violence in Milwaukee and our state cannot be allowed to escalate. Everyone deserves to feel safe.

Rootstock Radio: The "Garden-to-Mouth" Experience

GROW La Crosse aims for the full “garden-to-mouth” experience as Jamie puts it, including children in the cultivation of their food from planting seeds and caring for plants, to eating their produce right from their school’s salad bar. Research shows that children who are actively engaging with healthy food eat…well…healthier. And as obvious as that sounds, Jaime shares that one of the biggest questions she gets when kids visit the garden is, “Can I have more spinach?” or “Can I have more tomatoes?” When was the last time you heard a child beg for their vegetables?

In the News: Hopeful Stalemate in the War on Pesticides

This week we’re cheering for our friends in those European Union (EU) nations who have refused to authorize even the limited use of glyphosate in herbicides. The findings about the cancer risk of glyphosate exposure are contradictory, and these discrepancies have brought glyphosate—and commercial herbicides that use it—to the forefront of disagreements among EU and US politicians, regulators and researchers. Monsanto’s widely available weed-killer Roundup, is one such product.

2016 Student Spotlight

Studying English Literature isn’t just about reading stories and writing analyses, it’s about thinking critically, communicating effectively, shuffling around for a foothold in abstract concepts and unfamiliar experiences, and building bridges between, across, and sometimes straight through an unlimited catalogue of ideas—new and old. As a senior double-majoring in English and Cello Performance, it has been fascinating to discover, over the past four years, the places that my two rather disparate majors intersect. (And I suspect I am only beginning to understand the ways they enhance each other.)

Governor Walker's Startling Change of Heart

Today Governor Walker declared that he has finally seen the error in his ways, that educating our children and young people is a top priority for Wisconsin. In a move that shocked and appalled the Tea Party, Walker announced he will reverse his largest cut to K-12 public schools in Wisconsin history and his most recent $250 million cut to the UW System. I am surprised and delighted that our Governor suddenly agrees with principles I have been at odds with him on for so long. What a relief to finally work together to address the real issues in our state. This is the sort of good judgment and visionary leadership I—frankly—didn’t think I’d ever see from Scott Walker. But as I’ve always said, I’m all about second chances. I will work for the good of our community with anyone who is willing, and if today’s the day that Governor Walker joins me in fighting to give our babies a leg up with excellent education, I welcome him to my cause. This is the kind of bi-partisan cooperation our state needs. Unfortunately, this is also a huge, unbelievable April Fools Joke!! Did I get you? I only wish that I could share such good news on any day of the year, not just joke about it on April 1st.