Tag Archives: Toronto

Evergreen Brickworks

“The stones were dancing now.  O yes, they were dancing.  But it was not hopping and skipping like jigs or reels, nor was it the dismal revolving of a ballroom.  Not a stone moved from its place, but they rocked and turned slowly and with the greatest of dignity, as if to say, ‘We are the lords of the earth and of the water.  We shall stand when all has gone.  We shall endure until better things come.  But what can be better than we?  So we shall endure forever.'”

– Robertson Davies, Harper of the Stones (1986)

The Evergreen Brickworks is a national charity and a top 10 geotourism destination (according to National Geographic) located outside of Toronto.  This former brickworks factory has become a symbol of successful re-purposing, of integrating ecology, design, technology, and the arts.  Phew that was a mouthful – just think about it.  But the spaces – mamma mia! Everything was photogenic here from the graffiti to the lake to the artisan studios.  Here is sample of photographs I took with my new Nikon.


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tout est possible

All is possible!


As ‘new’ super foods enter the mainstream, new uses are found for them. Such as gojiccino!
In case you haven’t heard about gojiccino (I certainly hadn’t until now) it is the love child between a cappuccino and the Goji berry. My sister Jyoti grew a goji on her patio a few years ago. Shrivelled up Goji berries are Full of vitamins and antioxidants. 15 times the amount of iron as spinach. They are unique among fruit have all essential amino acids (like soy). Used in Chinese and Tibetan cultures for thousands of years, they are only recently known here in N. America.
I drank this gojiccino at Fresh in Toronto. It was unlike anything I’d ever tasted: a mix between coffee, chocolate, orzo (an Italian grain coffee found in every Italian cafe), rooibus and of course goji.
It got me thinking about superfoods and food intolerances and Robyn O’Brian whose book the best-selling number one book on GMOs on Amazon, “The Unhealthy Truth” talks about the link between GMOs and allergies. Her premise is ‘how on earth can we be allergic to food?’ Unless, of course it’s been altered.
As food becomes industrialized and bred for corporate efficiency, food loses nutritional value: what made it good for us to begin with. Fabio Picchi, famous Florentine Chef and Author told me once that the role of food isn’t to NOT harm ( sorry about he double negatives) ‘non e di Non fa male’ On the contrary food should be proven to do good ‘Deve far bene’. He wasn’t even talking about GMOs at the time. Rather veggies such as tomatoes that are bred to have an extended shelf life at the expense of flavour. I know what Fabio thinks about GMOS without even asking. He wants food to be proven to do GOOD. GMOs are actually proven to do harm. In many ways. Mamma mia!
With GMOs now rampant and unlabelled in N. America , not only are food staples such as corn and soy losing nutritional value but they are also made to express pesticides. The food we are eating in copious amounts, is actually designed with a pesticide to kill insects. In high concentrations these pesticides kill us too. Should food kill? In low doses this food poisons us slowly. I think of it like arsenic. Or putting a drop of Glyphosate (known as Round Up Weedkiller) everyday in a glass of drinking water. Why would we want to feed ourselves or our precious children trace amounts of nasty toxins?
So back to the new superfoods and superberries. I’m referring to things like quinoa, amaranth, goji berries, acai berries. Plants like spelt have shown to be superior to wheat for example. We know that the ancient varieties of wheat like Spelt and kamut and red fife are nutritionally far superior to over 95% of GMO wheat. GMO wheat is a monoculture crop bred to grow fast, resist pesticides and grow despite being sprayed a toxic cocktail. It isn’t cultivated with nutrition in mind. But profits. Devoid of nutrition, sprayed with toxins and spiced with bacterial genes, modern GMO wheat is to be avoided at all costs.
Until we demand large corporations to change their recipes to exclude GMOs (like they have done in Europe and South Africa) and eliminate round-up and toxic pesticides, we must avoid N. American grown sugar, soy, canola, corn. It’s the buycott. If we stop purchasing these poisons, ignore the advertising, corporations will have no power, no choice but to change for the better.
Until traditional varieties are re cultivated en masse and the GMOs erased from our food supply we must seek out Organic, GMO free, and Pesticide free foods. we must turn into hunter-gatherers at the supermarket. Armed with the ability to read and recognize labels, we can sniff out what we should put in our bodies. We can even use our smartphones which sort out the GMO chaff from the Organic wheat with apps that can tell you which products are NON GMO project verified.  http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2013/06/11/watch-forbes-test-buycott-app-on-anti-gmo-and-koch-products-in-supermarket-aisle/
And long live the Gojiccino! I hope to see it at cafes everywhere.