Posts Tagged ‘progress


Maker Foode

J-P, Glenn, and I went to Maker Faire in San Mateo yesterday. Highlights included the bike area, with Cyclecide’s pedal-powered carnival rides, Oakland’s own scraper bikes, and a tandem unicycle; the darkened building with singing Tesla coils, a neon land shark, and MonkeyLectric’s programmable Lite Brites for your bicycle wheels; and TechShop’s building, which made us eager for their San Francisco opening this summer.

And then there was the food. Fair food has gotten a lot better since I was a kid.

My Pica Pica “maize’wich,” a fresh-corn pancake filled with black beans, plantains, cheddar, and Tapatío:

Gerard’s Paella:

Featuring a paellera with its own license plate:

And TechShop’s lasers expand the options for cascarones:

There was also a lemonade stand that blew my mind. Besides lemonade and limeade, it offered fresh watermelon juice and hibiscus tea. Taken together, the menu screamed “aguas frescas” to me, but the menu was all in English. Crazy.

More Maker Faire photos and videos here.


Cesar Chavez Day

In Days of Obligation, Richard Rodriguez reminds us that even when César Chavez “made the cover of Time as the most famous Mexican American anyone could name,” he and the UFW directly touched the lives of only a small percentage of Mexican Americans. Many farmworkers were (or still are) Mexican-American, or Mexicans in America, but most Mexican Americans were (and are) not farmworkers. At a gathering honoring Chavez, Rodriguez remembers being among “the Mexican-American haute bourgeoisie, as we stood to pay our homage … stood applauding our little saint. César Chavez reminded us that night of who our grandparents used to be. Then the Mexican waiters served champagne….”

I am another member of the Mexican-American haute bourgeoisie, and as a child I played a lot of make believe around picking and planting crops, thinking of real farmworkers, if I thought of them at all, as part of a rather romantic past. But it’s been a long time since I’ve been that callow: the waiters keep serving me champagne and the farmworkers keep growing my strawberries.

Our society does a lot to keep us from thinking about who grows our food, and under what conditions. Here are a few links and reading recommendations to get and keep you thinking about the people who produce most of the food you eat:

  • Coalition of Immokalee Workers
  • Harvesting Justice
  • Dick Meister and Anne Loftis’ A Long Time Coming gives a good historical overview of farmworker organizing in the US, including the United Farm Workers up to the late 70s.
  • John Bowe’s Nobodies tells the story of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and explores some of the reasons for the continued exploitation of farmworkers.

And, if you’re going to eat strawberries, try to get them locally from a farmer you trust, or else try to get ones from Swanton Berry Farm–the only strawberry grower with a UFW contract.

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