Friday, February 18, 2011

The Best and Worst Parts of CRIC House

I asked lots of people, including Marissa, about what they thought the best and worst parts of CRIC House are.  Most said the same thing or similar things: there are so many people and so many projects that it can be exciting or overwhelming.  CRIC is part of the WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) network, so people come from all over the world and stay from a few days to a few months.  This brings fresh ideas, inspiration and energy, but it can also be draining to constantly be integrating new visitors into your daily life, especially when that daily life is pretty different from what they're used to...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

More Interview Clips

Mainly what I'm doing right now is importing and sifting through the roughly 50 hours of footage that I shot while at CRIC House, and cutting it together to make a trailer, then feature film.  After I cut together the video of people talking about dumpster diving, I found this clip of Xander describing how people are usually initially freaked out by dumpster diving but pretty quickly get used to it, in a much more entertaining way than me rambling about it.  Here ya go:

I was also going through an interview with Stephanie today, and I wanted to share what she feels is the most important part of the work that is done at CRIC House.  It may surprise you, because it has nothing to do with dumpster diving, compost, or goats:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Let's Talk About Dumpster Diving

For many people, the idea of being in a dumpster is gross, unpleasant, maybe even unimaginable.  And the idea of eating food from a dumpster?  Probably unthinkable.

But all the people in this video, and myself, have chosen to get into dumpsters and eat food from dumpsters many times.  Why?  Because much of the food that is thrown away by grocery stores and food producers is completely safe and delicious to eat.  Expiration dates are conservative guesses about how long the food will last, but a lot of food is still good long after the printed expiration date.  If a piece of fruit gets a dent or bruise, the whole thing is thrown out even though the rest is perfectly good.  Most bakeries and coffee shops throw out their leftover bagels and pastries at the end of the day.  If one bottle gets broken in a pack, they throw all of them out.  All of this food is sent to the landfill, where it decomposes and releases methane, a greenhouse gas.  The EPA estimated that in 2007, landfills were responsible for 23% of all methane emissions.

One of the funny thing I noticed about dumpster diving at CRIC House was that many people (like myself) had never been dumpster diving before being at CRIC House, and are not particularly enthused about the idea of jumping in a dumpster.  But after a few days of seeing all the amazing, beautiful food that is brought home from the dumpster, often by the carload, one gets a bit curious.  So maybe you go along one night, just to see what it's about.  And you experience the surprises that the dumpster has to offer, the joy of asking the Dumpster Goddess for a particular item and being rewarded.  Treasure hunting, opening Christmas presents, hunting and gathering, all of these are compared to dumpster diving in these interviews.  Sometimes there are not such fun nights, gross dirty dumpsters, empty dumpsters, getting caught in a dumpster, etc.  But watch the video to see why many find it a worthy endeavor:

Dumpster diving is also be about not wanting to support capitalism, as is mentioned in the video.  For more information about some of the socio-political reasons for dumpster diving, read up on Freeganism (I'm trying not to write a manifesto here).  As Aubrie mentions in the video, at CRIC House, dumpster diving is the only way to feed at least 15-20 people three meals a day with so little money.   Xander (see the Feb 5 posting) and some San Diego friends have been keeping a blog, Dumpster Aficionado, about the food that they dive and cook at their communal house.

It was said several times in the video but I think it bears repeating: we know that dumpster diving is not sustainable because it relies on the waste of the system.  But since there is so much waste, why not make the best use of it?  I've also often heard people say that by dumpster diving, freegans are taking food away from homeless people.  I would say, there's plenty of food in the dumpster to go around.  If I ever felt that I would really be taking food away from homeless people, I would definitely not.  Also, there are often large quantities of certain items, like 20 lbs of green beans or peaches or potatoes, in which case it is necessary to have a kitchen to cook or preserve the food.  Also, check out Food Not Bombs, which uses dumpster food to make hot meals for anyone who needs one.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Meet Lampwick

Everyone loves Lampwick, if you don't yet it's only because you haven't met him.  He has more tattoos that probably anyone I've ever met, smokes like a chimney, he speaks with a southern accent even though he's from the Bay Area, and he's one of the sweetest people you'll ever meet.

He's called Lampwick because at CRIC House there's a policy that if there's already someone there with the same name as you, you have to come up with a nickname for yourself.  Lampwick's first name is Nick, and there was already a Nick at CRIC so he named himself after a character in Pinocchio who gets turned into a donkey.  What more can I say?  Lampwick:

P.S. Sorry my laugh is so loud in the footage, I end up fairly close to the mic.  Not sorry that Lampwick makes me laugh so much  :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Our Composting Instincts

I imported more footage today, including an interview with my friend Xander.  I was thinking about this bit of the interview the other day because I was sitting somewhere and started tearing apart little bits of grass/sticks out of boredom, and in this interview Xander talked about that habit.  I'd never thought much about it but he sees it as a natural instinct to compost, and I really appreciate the way it has changed the way I see a very simple action.  Also, being such a wonderful interviewee, Xander then relates this idea back to CRIC House in general and why he enjoys being there.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


I imported a bunch of footage yesterday and put some of my favorite clips together as a short video.

A bit of background on some of the clips:
-This clip of Gil (and the later one) are from a group conversation about what do we value at CRIC House, how do we decide on what we as a group value, and how do we show it/tell others, etc.
-Benno put part of a melon rind on one of the goat's heads, the goat's name was Goat-Face-Killah or Isau I believe
-Phixx doesn't live at GVV but has a workshop there, here he's riding a contraption that he got from a friend.
-The 4 Bells/Mourning Meeting board where we write what needs to be done each day and who is cooking meals.
-The larger field at the farm during the summer.  The corn is pretty tall, and just about everything that I pan over to on the left is tomatoes.  LOTS of heirloom tomatoes!
-The CSA Boxes that are made up of produce from the farm!  They include carrots, lettuce, beets, pears, watermelon, kale, chard, tomatoes, radishes, squash and lots of other things.
-A pot of tomato soup/sauce made from tomatoes from the farm.  Lots of sauce and soup was made from lots of tomatoes!  Pan over to the CRIC Kitchen and Brown Room
-Gil and Marissa eating dumpstered food
-People dressed up for the White Trash Drag Halloween Party
-Gil @ Values Discussion (see above)
-Pat lived and worked at CRIC/GVV for a while
-Xander was giving Josh a tour of CRIC, they're headed toward the Humming Barn and Compost
-The solar oven and tomatoes sun-drying
-Lunch!  CRIC has 3 communal meals a day, so this may look like a lot of people at a meal to you, but it's pretty standard or even small at times. 
-Goats!  These goats are GVV's, CRICsters help milk them twice a day.