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It’s a typical night in Batten House. We’ve just had our second meeting of the year, with the usual planning and plotting, laughter and sighing, dirty-pot talking and guest-warnings. This time, however, it’s February. And we’re trying out a month of radical action to re-up our commitment to environmental and social justice ideals. Kathy and I gave up coffee. Eva is eating totally local–including condiments and oils, that crazy woman. Most of us are attempting more vegan-centric or local-centric meals. It’s a nice little buzz to be able to chill in the kitchen talking about what each of us are doing…and to speak for myself, it’s making me even more excited for the next three weeks, respectively dedicated to water, stuff, and electricity.

It’s funny how for granted even the “environmental co-op” takes things…last night I was all excited to make some popcorn for meeting, and Eva gently reminded me that the corn we buy to pop comes from….indiana. It made me think how much easier “going vegan” or eating more radically would be with some prior planning. I instantly conjured images of corn fields behind batten house, all of us cheerfully husking the ears to save for popping in the winter. Blame it on early childhood inoculation to Laura Ingalls Wilder and her little houses, but it’s totally thrilling me that this week of being focused on food is bringing me a little closer to those frontier ideals of “keep yer paws off my field, big business.” 

One part of unMake your Mark that I think will prove challenging to us all is how we interpret and discuss these radical steps with those we love. My boyfriend is a firm believer in the nutritional power of milk and meat. (As a ten year old, he built a bookcase and painted milk cartons lifting weights on it…) It can be hard to explain these choices, especially if you’re like me and prefer to constantly flirt with all sides of the movement, gleefully flitting from bemoaning animal rights, reminiscing about the summer you spent tending adorable pigs to drunkenly eating pepperoni pizza from domino’s (not this month, i promise). 

For me, and I’m a little shame-faced to say it, the challenge I’ve set of cutting out coffee has been the hardest. I read this article today that suggests the top five things to look for if you want to procure sustainable, “fair” coffee, and it also acts as a primer on what kind of issues coffee consumption brings up, if anyone’s interested. now excuse me, while i take my second nap of the day…

love and solidarity,
laura b


un Make your Mark

Hello fellow Radical February-doers!

Today is the first day of our radical livin’ month. Our focus this week is food. A lot of us here in the house spent last night finishing up our errant eggs and milk (and some particularly delicious/weird free yoplait delights) and getting ready for the challenge ahead!

Below, find a few links to some sites that might help you in your week of radical food consumption, and don’t forget you are all always welcome for dinner at 6:15!! Later on in the week, check back for more specific tips, ideas, and reasons to go vegan or local for the month of february.

My favorite reason is the school yard rationale of you can’t knock it til you try it.

Hope to see you at dinner!

Laura Boyle, battenik

Hey everyone!  This is Jenny, posting from my new collective house in West Philly.  I wanted to share with you a crappy NYTimes article that was written about collective living and features my house.  Several of my housemates participated in a long and thoughtful interview with a reporter to explain why we wanted to live in a space that was actively anti-oppression, the most important reason being our physical safety (we are two POC, two trans people, lots o’ queers and ladies, etc).  Unfortunately the reporter took a very condescending attitude towards our politics in the article.  You can read the original here, a response about anti-abelism here, and my housemate Emili’s experience at the end of this Philebrity post.  In response to the article, Emili is planning a book about collective living and why/how we resist oppression in our environment.   When the call for submissions goes out, I’ll make sure to send a copy to Batten– I know you all would have a lot of awesome things to say.

Hope everyone is well! I miss Batten like crazy.  All  my best ❤

bulletin for 9/21

I was mistaken. The enemy of women is not men. No, and the enemy of the black is not the white. The enemy of capitalist is not communist, the enemy of homosexual is not heterosexual, the enemy of Jew is not Arab, the enemy of youth is not the old, the enemy of hip is not redneck, the enemy of Chicano is not gringo and the enemy of women is not men. We all have the same enemy. The enemy is the tyranny of the dull mind. There are authoritative blacks with dull minds and they are the enemy. The leaders of capitalism and the leaders of communism are the same people and they are the enemy. There are dull-minded women who try to repress the human spirit and they are the enemy of just as much as the dull-minded men. The enemy is every expert who practices technocratic manipulation, the enemy is every proponent of standardization and the enemy is every victim who is so dull and lazy and weak as to allow himself to be manipulated and standardized.
~tom robbins
even cowgirls get the blues

♥Batten house

these views do not necessarily
represent those of every
member of batten house.

This is an incredibly insightful and disturbing article from the current issue of The New Yorker. Worth a read (though a little short on who is taking action to get this changed and how to help):

Prop 8 Unconstitutional in CA

Brown: Invalidate Prop. 8

By Mike Swift

Saying Proposition 8 violates constitutionally protected liberties, Attorney General Jerry Brown on Friday asked the California Supreme Court to strike down the same-sex marriage ban, even as supporters filed a brief that would erase the legal recognition of couples married before Election Day.

In a brief filed with the high court, the state top’s lawyer argues for the first time that Proposition 8 should be invalidated, saying it is ‘inconsistent with the guarantees of individual liberty safeguarded’ by the California Constitution.”

Cooking Videos Online (from Bust)

Bitchin Kitchen with Nadia G.  – With recipes like Rehab Ravioli and Pissed Penne Arrabiata, Nadia G. brings attitude to delicious recipes.

Ani Phyo’s Raw Food Kitchen – Ani makes things like raw Pad Thai and Rawsagna.

Cooking With Rock Stars – An Indie Martha Stewart, Jen Robbins interviews and cooks with artists like Jenny Lewis, Sam Beam (of Iron and Wine), and Rufus Wainwright.

enjoy! ❤ liz


a nytimes feature Food Fighters

also this

❤ liz

The Red List

“Mammals facing extinction threat”

At least 25% of the world’s mammal species are at risk of extinction, according to the first assessment of their status for a decade.

Anti-Palin Rally in Alaska

Here are some posters I enjoyed:
palin rally

palin rally

palin rally

palin rally

palin rally

– liz