Featured Articles from Issue 56

Featured Stories and Columns
When Old Becomes New: The Hidden Power of Plants in the Matthaei Medicinal Garden


Upon arrival the Matthaei Botanical Gardens may seem a bit intimidating, with a barrage of rattlesnake warning signs posted along the long winding drive through the wild, prairie-like, bucolic setting. But once you pay for your parking at the self-pay port and enter the arboretum or gardens, you are transported to a happier place from within the deep recesses of your childhood memories. It is altogether beautiful, peaceful, and engaging. There are many display gardens and areas of interest, but this article focuses exclusively on the outdoor Medicinal Garden.

Feminism. Beauty. Queer. Art. Patriotism. Democracy: A Conversation with Local Artists  John Gutoskey and Jen Talley

The election of President Trump has had an unexpected outcome: vigorous art production. Expressive signs, creative slogans, snappy comebacks, elegant visuals, perceptive one liners, parodies, comedies, dramas across all art forms, expressing particular values, have emerged, especially among social groups the President mocks, degrades, and denies. In response, artists celebrate their existence, dreams, loves, goals, aspirations, and an expansive idea of “freedom and justice for all.”

Reflective-Meditation-for-Worriers

Almost everyone I know worries at times, some more than others. A very few lucky people report little to no worrying. I’m not one of them. In periods of high stress, it even affects my sleep. I have a hard time falling asleep or I wake up frequently thinking about the same thing over and over. Worrying can involve anxiety, fear, anger, hopelessness, irritability, hostility, helplessness, and depression. It takes its toll on our physical health—headaches, stomach aches, migraines, sleeplessness, fatigue…the list goes on. 

Renewal for the  Body, Mind, and Spirit at Grass Lake Sanctuary

Clinical trial. Deductible. Dosing. Pre-op. Protocol. Blood work. If you are familiar with any of these terms, you’ve likely had some encounter with health care services in the United States. However, the traditional medical model – a condition-focused, interventional approach controlled by clinical providers – toward health and wellness has been challenged. In seeking recovery via alternative models, Americans are exploring options beyond the doctor’s office. The Ann Arbor area is a nexus for many of these resources, including Grass Lake Sanctuary, a nature-focused retreat space in Manchester that has served the region for over ten years.

Leaps of Faith: The Unicorn Feed and Supply

This column is a look at brave souls who have taken a leap of faith to open their own businesses in and around Ann Arbor. What follows are personal profiles of business owners following their dreams and thriving despite the odds. This issue we feature Unicorn Feed and Supply in Ypsilanti.

Revalue: Making the Shift to Ethical, Value-based, Local Investing for All

 Angela Barbash knows about financial challenges. Of Mexican and Italian descent, she’s the first generation not to work on a migrant farm, but grew up in a poor neighborhood in Westland. Now a wife and mom herself, Barbash recognizes the intimidation of learning financial management. At her Ypsilanti- based company Revalue , Barbash educates and empowers people to change their lives and their communities through ethical, local, micro-investing. She worked on the MILE (Michigan Invests Locally Exemption) Act, presents at socially responsible investing conferences, and is preparing to host a national conference on community capital in Detroit in June 2019.

Eats From the Streets: Your Next Foodie Adventure

The phrase “street food” may not sound too appetizing, but the real dishes behind the term are now considered by many to be the most authentic sampling of a culture’s cuisine, made popular in part by celebrity foodie Anthony Bourdain, who was a huge fan and helped to elevate street food’s popularity with his travel shows. Street food is sold from baskets, pushcarts, trailers, and trucks. What all of these modes have in common are their transportability, and they’re usually found very close to, if not parked on, the street. 

Bee Sweet: A Local Solution For Preserving Your Food  and the Environment

Despite the fact that starting any new business often comes with overcoming financial hurdles, working up the courage to start can often be the hardest part in and of itself. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the work that goes into running a business. The thought of hiring employees, managing the day-to-day operations, and trying to turn a profit can be a lot to juggle. However, I have discovered a local entrepreneur that dispels many of the myths centered on running a successful, and environmentally sustainable, business.

Mindfulness for  Little Ones

Imagine a group of four-year-olds sitting cross-legged on the floor, eyes closed, listening intently to the sound of a chime. As the ringing stops, the children’s hands rise from their laps and settle on their bellies. They breathe in… and then out. When their eyes open, they share how they’re feeling. “Calm.” “Tired.” “Hungry!”   This is how my preschool mindfulness classes begin. While it may be hard to imagine, kids as young as three can become mindfulness practitioners! Basic mindfulness skills taught at an early age can help young children to stay healthy and balanced as they grow. 

Random Acts of Kindness-- The Great Casserole Challenge

You can see the evidence of random kindness in every season—it’s not hard to find. For me, it happens a lot in winter, after a heavy snowfall. More often than not, I’ll look out the front window, dreading the fact that I’ll have to shovel the walk, only to discover it’s already been cleared by a sneaky neighbor! Suddenly my claustrophobic winter dread is replaced by the joy of new snow glittering in the sunshine. The day is now extra special because someone went out of their way to make it so.

More from Issue 56

Featured Stories and Columns
Renewal for the  Body, Mind, and Spirit at Grass Lake Sanctuary

Clinical trial. Deductible. Dosing. Pre-op. Protocol. Blood work. If you are familiar with any of these terms, you’ve likely had some encounter with health care services in the United States. However, the traditional medical model – a condition-focused, interventional approach controlled by clinical providers – toward health and wellness has been challenged. In seeking recovery via alternative models, Americans are exploring options beyond the doctor’s office. The Ann Arbor area is a nexus for many of these resources, including Grass Lake Sanctuary, a nature-focused retreat space in Manchester that has served the region for over ten years.

Leaps of Faith: The Unicorn Feed and Supply

This column is a look at brave souls who have taken a leap of faith to open their own businesses in and around Ann Arbor. What follows are personal profiles of business owners following their dreams and thriving despite the odds. This issue we feature Unicorn Feed and Supply in Ypsilanti.

Random Acts of Kindness-- The Great Casserole Challenge

You can see the evidence of random kindness in every season—it’s not hard to find. For me, it happens a lot in winter, after a heavy snowfall. More often than not, I’ll look out the front window, dreading the fact that I’ll have to shovel the walk, only to discover it’s already been cleared by a sneaky neighbor! Suddenly my claustrophobic winter dread is replaced by the joy of new snow glittering in the sunshine. The day is now extra special because someone went out of their way to make it so.

Embroidered Lavender-Filled Warming Pillow

With summer just around the corner and lots of gardening to be done, what could be better than a pretty warming pillow to soothe those sore muscles? Stuff the pillow with some dried lavender for soothing aromatherapy. To heat the pillow, place in the microwave for thirty seconds, pull it out and shake it, and heat it for another thirty seconds. You can also warm it in the oven by placing it in a cold oven on a cookie sheet. Turn oven on to 200 degrees. Shake pillow after five minutes, and put it back in the oven for another two to five minutes, checking it often to make sure that it is not too hot. Be cautious, it could burn you if you get it too hot. You can also try putting it in the freezer if you need a cool pack instead of a warming pack. Enjoy!

Building with Natural Materials in the Mitten State

My relationship with natural building started in 1996 when I took a 3-week course from the Cob Cottage Company on the West coast. It was a life-shaping experience in living and building with others, filled with the use of natural materials harvested from the land, food from the garden, bread from the earth oven, evening music, and camping. I came back to Michigan with the advice of my teacher, Ianto, to build with strawbales in this cold climate. I met up with Fran Lee who lived on rural land outside Oxford with her brother and sister-in-law, and together we set out to create a structure that feels like a hug. Inspired by the books Places for the Soul by Christopher Day and Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander, we set out on a journey that came to include Carolyn Koch, Gregie Mathews, volunteers, and experts as we practiced the ways of stone, wood, reed, straw bale, and earth. Strawbale Studio became the work of many hands and a labor of love created with much time and perseverance. A small building is a good place to start!

Great Tastes in Local Food

Our restaurant review column featuring reviews of Wild Poke, Dalat, and Fresh Forage.

Leaps of Faith: Earth Elements

Kristen Madrid and James McDonald have had a lifelong interest in the metaphysical and spiritual tools for healing practices, and their shared passion has blossomed into Saline’s first and only mind, body, and spirit shop: Earth Elements. At their store on Michigan Avenue in downtown Saline, you’ll find everything from crystals and gemstone jewelry to loose leaf teas and Reiki healing services. Together, they have created a one-stop-shop for self-exploration and spiritual connection. Stay for a cup of their “tea of the day”, and you will find it is also a wonderful space for relaxation and taking a much-needed break.