PASA Western Region Potluck

Mon., Dec. 15, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. 

The Poinsettia Story

Tues., Dec. 16, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Department of Making + Doing Gallery Exhibition

Thurs., Dec. 18, 5 to 7 p.m.





Entries in Dispatch (36)


Rebels With a Cause

Illustration by Chris Hall

Entrepreneurial middle schoolers evolve
into focused jerky makers

1998. Downingtown Middle School Cafeteria. Fifth period lunch. I had just finished my brown-bagged salami, mustard and Cooler Ranch Doritos sandwich, and scrounged through my backpack for the $5 bill my mom gave me each morning for drinks and snacks. I got the same thing everyday: strawberry kiwi lemonade ($1.49), a giant chocolate chip cookie ($1), and a Taco Bell soft taco ($1.50). Yes, our cafeteria actually served Taco Bell, an inconceivable travesty by current childhood nutrition standards, and heaven on earth to a 12-year-old. It was that golden era of flavor, when adulterated concerns like “health” and “natural ingredients” never got in the way of unalloyed indulgence.

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Earning Her Chops

illustration by Alexander Ciambriello

I have no interest in slaughtering animals. I have borne witness and it’s intense, hot, primal and best left to the people who are skilled at doing it quickly and humanely. But as a meat-eater, I wanted to “get to know” a whole animal in a visceral way, not just frozen packages of muscle and bone. One Sunday last winter, armed with sharp knives, determination and the book Whole Beast Butchery, my friend Ann Karlen, the founding director of Fair Food, and I took on the challenge of “breaking down” a pasture-raised hogget, or adolescent sheep. Three hours later, that beast was arrayed before us, a buffet of roasts, chops and stewing meat. 

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Chards of Conversation

It all started after overhearing a conversation in Nepali. The Bhutanese couple behind me on the bus was talking about their first days in America. I had learned bits of the language years ago when I worked on organic farms in Nepal after high school, so I turned around and said, “Namaste.” Almost immediately they asked what I did, begging me to help them find a way to get their hands back in the dirt.

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Return to Power: Why we need a new Benjamin Franklin

At the peak of February’s ice storm, 715,000 households in the Philadelphia region were without power. But is being “without power” the same as being powerless? I live in a Montgomery County neighborhood that has managed to escape weather extremes: no tornadoes, hurricanes or drought-induced wild fires. But icy rain and bitter cold overwhelmed us. Towering trees glazed and shattered. Power lines festooned the streets. Sudden silence fell, leaving thousands of people powerless.  Gov. Tom Corbett and President Barack Obama, in a rare show of accord, declared our region a natural disaster emergency area.

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An injured rider finds support from the bicycle community

illustration by Andrew RobertsI could be the safest bicyclist i know. I teach people how to ride bikes in the city as part of my job at two nonprofits—the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and Gearing Up. Off the clock, I’m a bicycle evangelist who encourages everyone to give two-wheeled transportation a try. But my enthusiasm was recently challenged. 

Days before Christmas, I was biking home, heading west on Reed Street past the Acme in South Philly. I turned south where the trolley tracks turn north at 11th and Reed, and suddenly, my bike slipped out from under me and I was on the ground. 

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