Categories
Culture Food

Watched On the Job with Priya Krishna

Watched How To Run Brooklyn’s Legendary Tamale Cart | On the Job | Priya Krishna | NYT Cooking from YouTube

Food carts are everywhere in New York City. Hot dogs, coffee, halal, mangoes … The list goes on. There are 20,000 street vendors fueling the city daily, yet …

There is no way this woman makes enough from the amount of work she puts in. Three days of work to make her tamales and maybe she doesn’t even sell them all?! It’s amazing she’s advocating for herself but also super shitty the risk it poses to her as an undocumented immigrant — she says “I’m not scared anymore” but I’m scared on her behalf. It is infuriating that America can’t see the value this woman brings to the community and grant her legal status to open up more opportunities to someone with this kind of work ethic.

Our approach to immigration is ridiculous. The woman in this video was an accountant in Mexico but couldn’t find a job in the US, so now she illegally sells homemade tamales. Here in Seattle, I know an Indian woman whose husband got a tech job but her visa doesn’t allow her to work even though she is *also* a computer scientist. The Egyptian man whose family owns the gas station downtown is an engineer but wasn’t able to transfer his license here, so he works the counter at a quickie mart. What. The. Fuck. How does it benefit the US to deny these skilled people the ability to work in their fields?

We watched the whole On the Job series and there are a bunch of dedicated entrepreneurs running awesome businesses that support their community — and as an outsider feel totally unsustainable because everything relies on them and the help their families can give. It is exhausting watching them. They have the hustle, but I wish they could get some success without having to burn themselves out.

A guy running a bodega has become TikTok famous and people stop in from around the country to enjoy his friendly service: they can hand over any random ingredient in the shop and ask him to make it “ocky style” and he develops an original sandwich recipe on the fly. Crumbling chips or candy onto the sandwich, using doughnuts as the bread, concocting something delicious and unique for over 100 customers a day — plus making hundreds of standard sandwiches — plus he restocks the shelves and runs the cash register if his ten year old nephew can’t be spared to work it.

A woman running a pop-up Instagram restaurant gets her cousin to drive up from Pennsylvania to help each weekend, and a volunteer delivers the food. She has a full-time job and spends her “free time” running the food business. Her expenses have skyrocketed with inflation — mushrooms went from $14 to $20 — but she wants to keep it affordable. Please tell me you are making money at least.

Categories
Future Building

Gardeners Give a Fuck

Quoted Audacious Gardening: On Daring to Care – The Planthunter (The Planthunter)

A personal essay on life and gardening by Georgina Reid.

Gardening is simply a framework for engagement with our world, grounded in care and action. To garden is to care deeply, inclusively, and audaciously for the world outside our homes and our heads… To be a gardener is to give a fuck. To be a gardener is to be invested in a place—to know it, to protect it, and to be present.
Georgina Reid

This is a good metaphor.

Gardeners plant and tend things that they won’t get to appreciate, trees that won’t mature till we’re dead. We invest in the future, planting bulbs and trusting they will bloom after the dark winter. We are patient, letting young plants take their time to fill in after three to five years. It looks a little sparse there at the beginning, but we know it will grow into something spectacular.

We (hopefully) plant with a vision — and if we’re wise we’ll listen to the plants and adapt our vision to reality, accepting the plants that can thrive instead of coddling the ones we want but that hate our conditions.

We do the boring groundwork of enriching the soil, making it a place where our plants can survive.

We wage the endless battle against invasive weeds that steal our nutrients.

We (hopefully) learn from our failures even as we keep up hope the next experiment will succeed, and aren’t afraid to try new things. We continuously learn and grow along with our garden.

We embrace the seasons, celebrating the best of what each offers – bulbs and annuals in spring, perennials and grasses in summer, textural elements and evergreen foliage in winter.

Categories
Future Building

Trading Activism for Personal Action

Quoted Knitting at the end of the world – Austin Kleon (Austin Kleon)

George Orwell on the importance of hobbies in times of political turmoil.

“Only two ways of reacting to the current crisis of nature were offered. On the one hand, there was ‘fighting’. This fighting was to be aimed at the ‘elite’ that was destroying the planet – oil companies, politicians, corporate leaders, the rich. On the other hand, there was ‘giving up’. Giving up meant not fighting. It meant running away from a necessary battle. It meant being selfish. It meant ‘doing nothing’, and letting the planet go to hell.

 

All of this hinged on a narrow definition of what doing something involved, and what action meant. It seemed to suggest that action must be something grand and global and gestural. Small actions were not actions at all: if you couldn’t ‘change the world’ there seemed little point in changing anything.”

Paul Kingsnorth, via Austin Kleon

This discussion and diminishment of personal, direct action arises often in the environmental field. We need systemic change but I still feel there is value in living in accordance with your values and being cognizant of the resources you personally use, even if the system makes it hard to reduce that and your individual contributions are a pittance compared to corporate impacts. But especially right now when we’re basically holding back the floodwaters and can’t make progress with a hostile government, there’s no sense in giving up entirely.

Or maybe this is appealing to me because I can do something and feel like I’ve accomplished something, which excuses me from fighting the big fight.