Category: Sustainability

Year in Review: What Got Shipped

It’s easy for some of us to pass by each minor, or even major, accomplishment and, instead, revisit the list of what still hasn’t been done. Or started. Worse is doing what’s not on the list. That is, if you want to be able to check something off.

The year 2010 was one of self-generated projects. It was a year of deliberately stepping back a bit from work, for better or worse, to reassess who I was doing business with, what kind of work I was doing, and where I wanted to go. It seemed natural, if not exactly planned, to follow where my desire led. Which meant allowing ideas to flourish just a little before tromping all over them. We creatives are masters at self mutilation.

At Seth Godin’s urging, I put together a partial list of what I accomplished this year. According to Godin:

Doesn’t matter whether it was a hit or not, it just matters that you shipped it. Shipping something that scares you (and a lot of what follows did) is the entire point.

In no particular order, a baker’s dozen:

1. Worked with 3 new clients.

2. Became a partner in a new business venture, responsible for branding and marketing strategy.

3. Took the World Changing Writing Workshop and got exposed to some daring, authentic, interesting writers. It left me inspired and supported, if virtually.

4. Had a story published in Smithsonian magazine’s Food & Think blog.

5. Developed communications and helped plan events for AIGA Portland’s Sustainable Design Initiative.

6. Contributed to the collaborative book “The Portland Bottom Line“—sustainability stories from small businesses. Profits support MercyCorps NW.

7. Started a yearlong personal project of illustrated logs of my fresh produce purchases, comparing how I spend my money on local versus non-local produce.

8. Wrote 8 blog posts for the Portland Farmers Market.

Hearty Greens 8 Ways to Sunday
Hazelnuts: A Complete Nut
Solace of Soup
Sponsor Profile: Food Front Cooperative Grocery
The Frenzy of Late Summer Eats
Love Ripens at the Market
Getting Raabed
Kids Cook…If You Let Them

9. Wrote 31 blog posts on design, food and the meaning of life.

10. Finally retired my old G5 Mac that has served me well, and committed to a laptop so I can work everywhere, all the time!

11. Created 15 paintings, mostly abstracted nature, something I haven’t done in years.

12. Gave myself an end-of-year gift to attend Compostmodern conference in San Francisco in January 2011, covering sustainable design practices.

13. Attended WordCamp Portland, which got me excited about redesigning Allegro Design using WordPress. I only got as far as a face lift that puts News and Featured Projects on the home page—a major accomplishment for the self-employed!


What did you accomplish? Give it a shot, publicly or privately. Make a list of 13 things you shipped in 2010. If you don’t know what they are, ask a good friend or colleague to point them out.

May 2011 bring even more. Cheers!

Year of Produce: September

One thing about a regular, and more importantly, self-directed, non-client-based project, is that life sometimes gets in the way of getting it done. Life, in this case, was cross-country travel, getting walloped by a flu while on travel and attempting to steal moments to get this month’s produce log designed and posted. A laptop with a mouse pad next to it (I have trouble with a track pad for detailed work) does not fit on cramped airplane tray table.

Download September Fresh Eat log in high-resolution. Below are links to previous month’s logs.

Why Eating Healthily Can Be a Challenge

Life gets in the way of a lot of things while we’re living it. Eating is one of them. Or eating well, as in healthily, not fancily. In a recent New York Times article “Even Benefits Don’t Tempt Us to Vegetables,” the author reminds us what a serving is: half a cup of cut-up or cooked vegetables, one cup of fresh greens, half a cup of cooked dried beans, or, if you must, six ounces of vegetable juice.

Read more

A Year of Produce: July

July’s produce log has proved a little challenging to get finished. I could blame it on the fact that I’m too busy eating but that wouldn’t be entirely true. Though I confess to stuffing my face with berries as you can see by my bucket ‘o blues. When people think of Oregon’s adventure sports, they think of kiteboarding in Hood River. But it’s not until you’ve been elbow deep in marionberry vines that you’ve truly experienced extreme sport. This is not an activity for wimps. This is full-metal jacket sport. But boy, is it worth it. The floral, bubble-gummy marionberry, a type of blackberry, is indeed one of the great wonders of the northwest.

If this is your first visit, you’re seeing a month-by-month log of fresh produce, with a tally to see how my local versus non-local dollars compare. See April Produce Log for an introduction to the project. Here are May and June. You can download each one as a PDF. Here is July. Each month includes recipe ideas, links and PDFs to download.

Read more

Farmer’s Markets: Nourishing Enterprises

This week ends National Farmers Market Week. Even with access to one of the consistently rated-top farmers markets in the country—Portland Farmers Market— I’m still surprised there is such a week. In spite of the gloomy picture of the health of the average American and the crushing power of the industrial food complex, we have something to celebrate. There are now about 6100 markets across the country, a 16 percent increase over last year. Go here to find a farmers market near you.

Following is a tribute to the impact of farmer’s markets, with a focus on the Portland Farmer’s Market and highlighting one of their sustainability efforts. Their clearly defined mission and success at executing goals is an inspiration for any business or nonprofit.

Read more

A Year of Produce: June

June required several new drawings as more and more produce is becoming available. The color palette is opening up, which, in addition to beautiful meals, also means a larger variety of vitamins and minerals. An Eat the Rainbow post is soon to come that explores the range of antioxidants in the many colors of foods, and their benefits.

One way I added to that rainbow was to pick 10 pounds of strawberries—practically a required summer activity in Oregon. Read more