Cover Story: House Rules

A Philly startup is out to prove that eco-friendly architecture can be affordable
story by Natalie Hope McDonald / photo by Shawn Corrigan

It happened over beers. Childhood friends Chad Ludeman and Nic Darling were in the process of making a huge change—leaving their jobs to launch a development company. Neither one had any work experience in architecture or design, but they could see a shift happening—green, energy-efficient building was the future, and they had a chance to capitalize.

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Feature: the Flour Show

A 300-year-old mill helps revive a beloved brand
by Lee Stabert

With the mill running, the whole building moves,” says Dave Poorbaugh, standing on the well-worn wooden floorboards of the 300-year-old Annville Mill in Lebanon County. “An old flour mill has a soul, because it moves. And when you walk in here, you’re part of it. You’re moving, whether you like it or not, so you become part of the machinery.”

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Flour 101: Hard vs. Soft

When it comes to flour, here are the basics: Soft wheat thrives in temperate, moist climates (like ours), while hard wheat flourishes in the Midwest. Soft wheat is milled into pastry flour, while hard wheat becomes bread flour. “All-purpose” flour—something Dave Poorbaugh of Daisy Organics stridently opposes on principle, arguing, “I don’t think many women buy all-purpose dresses”—is made from a combination of the two.
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Profile: Second Nature

A veteran Philly furniture maker finds new inspiration
by Lee Stabert

I interview Jack Larimore from an unfinished bench in his studio. Reclaimed wood timbers lay on an angle—dominos mid-fall—braced by a small round ball. The top is sanded, but still rustic. As he speaks, I can’t help but run my finger along the grain of the wood.

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Book Review: the Story of Stuff

The Story of Stuff: How Our Obsession with Stuff is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities and Our Health--and a Vision for Change
by Annie Leonard
Free Press (2010), $26

The original “Story of Stuff” is a 20-minute animated documentary that took Annie Leonard 20 years of research to make. It’s a brilliantly simple dissection of our society’s relationship with stuff, and now she’s translated her message into book form.

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Film: No Impact Man

No Impact Man

Back in 2007, Colin Beavan (a.k.a. No Impact Man) had his 15 minutes—sitting for television interviews, being bandied about on blogs and earning a feature in The New York Times. (His book was reviewed in Grid’s October 2009 issue.) Along with his wife and daughter, Beavan attempted to live for one year in New York City with no net impact on the environment—no trash, no carbon emissions, no elevators, no subway, no products in packaging, no plastics, no air conditioning, no TV, no toilet paper and, for the final six months, no electricity in his apartment.

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Buy Local: Young Garlic

Garlic is one of nature’s most wondrous miracles. I have never had a dish that I deemed “too garlicky”—I like it spicy (raw), sweet (roasted; I go through whole heads at a time) and anywhere in between. When most Americans picture garlic, they see the mature bulbs—taut little bundles of awesome, each individual clove gift-wrapped in its translucent shell—but spring offers the chance to enjoy baby garlic, toddler garlic and wily teen garlic.
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Recipes: Spears of Joy

Asparagus signals the arrival of spring
by Marisa McClellan,

Each spring, I celebrate the arrival of local asparagus. Those fat, green-verging-on-purple stalks mean that the season of verdant abundance has arrived. I binge on the stuff—much like my beloved grandmother Bunny did before me—buying armloads of asparagus, slightly fearful that it will disappear before I’ve had my fill.

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Recycling Challenge: CDs

Recycling your old compact discs
by Samantha Wittchen

The Challenge: The day when your tower of compact discs goes the way of the 8-track is rapidly approaching. With the increasing ubiquity of digital music, we are certainly in for a major influx of CD-related trash to our landfills.

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Gardening: Shoots & Ladders

Happy together: Companion planting can increase the yield and the health of your urban garden
by Char Vandermeer

It’s time to dust off those planters, rinse out the watering cans and get some dirt under your nails. If your garden looks anything like mine—a sea of containers atop a South Philly roof—then you’re constantly struggling to maximize your growing potential without strangling your plants in their pots.

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Bikes: Along for the Ride with Andy Dyson

In a new column, Julie Lorch pedals along with notable members of Philly's bicycle community on a route of their choice. They ride, they chat, she reports back.

I met Andy Dyson at St. Mary’s Church, Neighborhood Bike Works’ (NBW)  headquarters at 3916 Locust Walk. Director of the organization since 2002, Dyson spends his days surrounded by broken bikes and people who want to fix them.

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News: Tree Trim

Fairmount Park cuts down trees to make way for meadow

by Cassie Cummins

Usually when you hear about someone cutting down trees, it’s a bad thing. Not in this case: Fairmount Park’s Houston Meadow Reclamation and Management Plan is using the systematic removal of trees to restore a valued ecosystem, and return breeding birds to a beloved section of the park.
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