Super Sensitive About Localism

A recent New York Times piece, "The Pride and Prejudice of ‘Local,'" got me thinking about my own locavorism—or as it is increasingly being called, localism, because the “local” movement is going beyond just local food. If I ever come across to people who know me like some of the people in this piece come across, I’d be embarrassed. I don’t believe I come across like this in my writing, but if I do, I’m sure my readers will let me know. Portland restaurant owner Eric Bechard recently got into a fistfight over pigs he believed weren’t local enough. He had entered a culinary contest in Oregon that was advertised as local, and became “sickened” when two entrants used pigs from Kansas and Iowa. Fueled by alcohol (I certainly hope it was local alcohol), he was the aggressor in a fight with the contest’s organizer. A couple of police Tasers and cans of pepper spray later, the fight ended. Bechard believes “the pig fight has created a teachable moment for how to live locally.” I have to wonder what the lesson is? (Or at least what he thinks the lesson is.) I don’t see anything but poor sportsmanship (he didn’t win the culinary contest) and hypocrisy being taught here (the restaurant he runs doesn’t source everything local—although someday he eventually hopes it will). Then there is Portland’s Paul Sykes who has stopped patronizing a coffee shop that began locally in Portland but has expanded to other states. Sykes doesn’t go there any more because they aren’t “local” enough for him. Yet, he sells the products he makes out of wood “all over the world” because “it’s the only way I can make any money.” Do you see the problem here? It’s a snobby elitism that says, “I don’t have to be totally local, but darn it, the places I patronize better be totally local or they aren’t good enough for me.” Bechard isn’t 100 percent local at his restaurant, but he expects a contest he enters to be. Sykes needs a global market to stay in business but is unforgiving when another business does the same. I haven’t met anyone in the South Jersey local scene with this type of attitude. I’m hoping this isn’t the prevailing attitude in Portland, either, and that the two men The New York Times found are the exception, not the up-and-coming rule for people everywhere who value local. The New York Times also interviewed Erik Gage, the lead singer for the Portland-based band White Fang. Their song “Portland Sucks” pokes fun of this attitude that some of Portlanders have. I agree whole-heartedly with Gage when he says, “I think one of the most important things about localism is getting along with the locals.” Being an elitist snob about anything isn’t going to win converts in any community. No one will want to be around you to hear what you believe. They’ll only see your behavior, and the behavior of people like Bechard or Sykes won’t win anyone over to being more supportive of all things local. Robin Shreeves blogs for MNN about finding eco-friendly food options. Related Articles on Mother Nature Network: The benefits of buying local See our archive of stories on this topic Photo courtesy of 'Portland Buy Local' via MNN
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National Tell a Joke Day dates back to 1944 when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was having a meeting with Vice-President, Henry Wallace. The two men were tired and depressed due to the stress caused by leading a country through world war.

During a lull in the meeting, Wallace said, "Frank, to cheer you up I have a joke I'd like to share."

"Let's have it, Henry," Roosevelt replied while ashing his cigarette.

"Why did the chicken cross the road?" Wallace asked. "Not sure," Roosevelt replied.

"To get to the other side," Wallace responded.

Roosevelt laughed so hard that the bourbon he was drinking sprayed out of his nose and onto the floor of the oval office.

RELATED: A comedian shuts down a sexist heckler who, ironically, brought his daughters to the show

The joke was so funny, and did such a great job at lightening both their moods, Roosevelt proclaimed that every year, August 16 would be National Tell a Joke Day.

Just kidding.

Nobody knows why National Tell a Joke Day started, but in a world where the President of the United States is trying to buy Greenland, "Beverly Hills, 90210" is back on TV, and the economy is about to go off a cliff, we could all use a bit of levity.

To celebrate National Tell a Joke Day, the people on Twitter responded with hundreds of the corniest dad jokes ever told. Here are some of the best.


The Judean date palm was once common in ancient Judea. The tree itself was a source of shelter, its fruit was ubiquitous in food, and its likeness was even engraved on money. But the plant became extinct around 500 A.D., and the prevalent palm was no more. But the plant is getting a second chance at life in the new millennium after researchers were able to resurrect ancient seeds.

Two thousand-year-old seeds were discovered inside a pottery jar during an archaeological excavation of Masada, a historic mountain fortress in southern Israel. It is believed the seeds were produced between 155 B.C. and 64 A.D. Those seeds sat inside a researcher's drawer in Tel Aviv for years, not doing anything.

Elaine Solowey, the Director of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies at Kibbutz Ketura in Israel, wondered if she could revive the Judean Date Palm, so in 2005, she began to experiment. "I assumed the food in the seed would be no good after all that time. How could it be?" Solewey said.

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There's been an uptick in fake emotional support animals (ESAs), which has led some airlines to crack down on which animals can and can't fly. Remember that emotional support peacock?

But some restrictions on ESAs don't fly with the Department of Transportation (DOT), leading them to crack down on the crack down.

Delta says that there has been an 84 percent increase in animal incidents since 2016, thanks in part to the increase of ESAs on airplanes. Last year, Delta airlines banned pit bulls and pit bull-related dog breeds after two airline staff were bitten by the breed while boarding a flight from Atlanta to Tokyo.

"We must err on the side of safety. Most recently, two Delta employees were bit by a pit bull traveling as a support animal last week. We struggled with the decision to expand the ban to service animals, knowing that some customers have legitimate needs, but we have determined that untrained, pit bull-type dogs posing as both service and support animals are a potential safety risk," Delta told People regarding the new rule.

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via Liam Beach / Facebook

Trying to get one dog to sit still and make eye contact with a camera for more than half a second is a low-key miracle. Lining up 16 dogs, on steps, and having them all stare at the camera simultaneously is the work of a God-like dog whisperer.

This miracle worker is Liam Beach, a 19-year-old animal management graduate from Cardiff, Wales. A friend of his dared him to attempt the shot and he accepted the challenge.

"My friend Catherine challenged me to try to get all of my lot sat on the stairs for a photo. She said, 'I bet you can't pull it off,' so I thought 'challenge accepted,'" he said, accoriding to Paws Planet.

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via Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Americans on both sides of the political aisle can agree on one thing: our infrastructure needs a huge upgrade. While politicians drag their feet on high-speed rail projects, fixing bridges, and building new airports, one amazing project is picking up steam.

The Great American Rail-Trail, a bike path that will connect Washington state to Washington, D.C., is over 50% complete.

The trail is being planned by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit that is working with local governments to make the dream a reality.

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