Michael and Susan,
Just a note of thanks from a loyal customer and fellow inhabitant of planet Earth for all your efforts in developing a successful business in line with your values. I'm following in your footsteps with my granola business; we make cranberry apple granola (called "Crapola", a humorous play on words...) and are sweating it out in the kitchen and hoping that it's all going to pay off down the road. Your example is inspiring and I wish you all the best. Take care
Thanks Brian! Good luck with your word and foodplay. Happy bogging!
On another note, stay posted while I prepare to move this blog and website together into one cohesive, resourceful, stimulating virtual site that better reflects the values of Dancing Star. Are there features you're interested in? Maybe a tip of the day? A flavor of the month? More opportunities for feedback? More ways to win free food? Let us know how you would like to see chunks of energy on the web, and we'll get right back to you. Thanks!
For our wedding this past October, my wife and I made homemade dark chocolate truffles as for favors. Instead of rolling them in chopped walnuts or pistachios, we used the small bits and pieces left over from our favorite Chunks of Energy, High Country G.O.R.P. The pieces of nuts, raisins, and candies were super delicious and the colors matched our fall theme perfectly! Another idea would be just putting the squares in the small boxes with ribbon and "Thank you!" tags-or for something sweeter, drizzling them in Fair Trade Dark Chocolate first. I am sure they would be a big hit- people are always hungry after weddings, they look great on the tables, and they would be a cool conversation starter! Thanks Dancing Star!
Best Wishes Brendan, for a long and nourishing marriage!
One is 100% Raw Lemon Cashew. It's perfect for summer--light flavor of tangy citrus, cut with protein-filled cashew richness. The other flavor is 16 Carob SuperGreens--also organic. The taste is like the other carob flavors, but it's packed with anti-oxidants and vitamins. If your local source of chunks of energy doesn't carry them, let me know and we'll work something out.
I like picking words apart-- see this post's title, for example. Those first six syllables are a good meaning: our duty to engage critically with questions like why are we on the planet, how did we get here, how long will we be here, how are we supposed to Be here, why is there pain, why is there joy, love, anger, lies, disintegration, exhiliration, subtle and obvious cues of forces swirling around and within and between us... These are questions whose answers are lived irresponsibly. Our passivity may still be an answer or reaction of sorts, but it is trivial... Can't you see that we are compelled by an ability to RESPOND to these questions and not--i don't know--become despondent? Whether or not we recognize it, our chunks of energy have relationships with other chunks of energy, but sometimes they just jostle and disintegrate and become trivial and other times they can draw upon our ability to carry through with promises of I don't know, exploring the great mystery of life or feeling and changing and participating (flavor and biophilia and satisfying work and a sister's hug and bright, bright spring sun). Maybe we're not compelled, maybe "offered" is a better word. The response du jour is all too monotonous i feel, all too easy, and all too oppressive of our abilities! Tra la la. Now, on to the second part of the title.
Thanks to reann, for thoughtfully participating in this nook of the blogosphere with her assuring comments and conversation fodder. (To read it, look at the "So last season..." post.) You rock!
one of their forums. Check it out if you'd like to Do It Yourself.
Why, might you ask, are we directing you to recipes for a product that we're trying to sell? Chunks of Energy are an alternative to overly-packaged and processed protein bars and snack foods that have weird artificial matter in them. They are an alternative to rather expensive trail mix. They are an alternative to fast food when you don't have time to cook a filling meal but do have time to grab some chunks of energy and a piece of fruit. We aren't really selling Chunks of Energy as much as we are providing a choice in an industrial market.
Alternatives always have alternatives though, and if you have time to cook a meal, or if you can make healthy snacks at home, then go for it! When you don't have time, or when you want to spend your time doing other things, Chunks of Energy are in a bulk aisle of a health food store near you.
Her page is titled "Back Roads" and it looks like she's successfully meandering by the not-so-obvious sites where community happens.
In the meantime-- I'm glad you like them Johanna, if you read this!
In the most recent lecture of my “Global Perspectives of Food” course, my prof touched on the Great Labeling Debate. How do we read “organic,” “local,” “fair-trade,” and “unionized” as meaningful terms? Organic food methods used to stand in contrast to industrial production. Now, there is an “organic industry” which relies on monocultures and nationwide transportation to add “value” to food. That term—organic industry—is a sort of oxymoron, when “organic” means part of a living system, and “industry” is defined by mechanistically aiming to eliminate any variation, preference, or creativity. Is something really organic if it’s exploiting workers, enabling out-of-season produce, and breeding complacency with our food supply? Agribusiness is oppressive, plain and simple, as it capitalizes on this stamp of approval from the USDA. The answer? Some say that “local is the new organic.” That is certainly the catch phrase in
Some recommend eating grub. Anna Lappé and Bryant Terry say 1. grub is healthy local sustainable food for all 2. grub is food that supports community, justice, and sustainability 3. grub should be universal” I agree. Down with these meaningless “brand names” of how food is grown, and up with genuine relationships with the energies that are engaged to bring food to the table. Food doctrines are as dangerous as any other single-variable principle. This dogmatic approach is taken with labels for food like fair-trade, unionized, local, and organic as well as labels for food-eater like vegetarian, vegan, raw foodist, and freegan…these identities are meaningful in choice contexts, but they don’t help to satisfy our appetite for ethical, delicious, affordable, and accessible nourishment.
The quiet revolution, say Lappé and Terry, has begun. One example of whole-system activist is a local (to me in
Here is a short story of my day so far, which I am sharing because it is an example of many chunks of energy and Chunks of Energy. I woke up early to attend a qi gong course (my third one ever), and got there an hour early by accident. The wonderful thing that happened was a conversation with a man who makes breakfast and lunch in the lobby of the building where my course is, and that was chunk of energy number one. I gathered more chunks of energy during my course, and cleared my mind before a getting-to-know-one-another meeting of local movers and shakers who are working toward greening our small neighborhood of Duluth Avenue in Montreal. Lots of good intentions and fodder came of that meeting—chunks of energy number three. I came home midday and broke my fast on raw cacao and goji berry Chunks of Energy. They are the newest flavor, and they are powering my day in such a good way. May they energize you, too.
Dancing Star offers Chunks of Energy in bulk food bins because that way of buying food is an enjoyable practice in conscientious consumption. It is practical because of the price—or lack thereof—that reflects the true cost of the product itself, instead of being tainted with labels, packaging, and making a hierarchy of shelf space. It is enjoyable because a kitchen filled with jars of beans, grains, nuts, and seeds is quite pleasing to the eye. Ten pounds of Chunks of Energy come preserved in one (potentially-reusable, and definitely recyclable) cardboard box and one plastic bag. Picture ten pounds worth of energy bars or granola bars, which weigh in at an ounce or two each. That is a lot of stuff to throw away!
I keep Chunks of Energy in a mason jar in my refrigerator and they are always fresh and grabable. When I get to the end of the jar, I use the crumbles on top of toast spread with tahini. Delicious. I have the distinct advantage of nearly unlimited Chunks of Energy from my dad, so I don’t buy them in a store. For the bulk goods that I do purchase, I bring the jars or bottles that I store them in with me to the shop for refilling. If your bulk-food provider doesn’t allow you to tare your container, why don't you suggest doing so? Some states don’t allow that practice because of germ-spreading potential, but you could probably reuse the plastic bags that you use to transport goods from store to jar.
How satisfying to have no more or no less of what we need. Enough is enough! Best wishes officiating the marriage of reality and ideals.
So, Chunks of Energy, the food, are the brainchild of my dad, whose name is Michael Garfield-Wright. Thirty years ago, following a year-long stint on Wall Street, he decided that stress, toxic environments, and false relationships were not his thing. He sought to replace that unsustainable lifestyle with a wholly satisfying one, and began to explore the small but important ways of empowered living. In the decade or so that followed, he learned all about food and how it can be good for the self. He also discovered that stress, toxic environments, and false relationships are not really up anyone’s alley, and he wanted to be a catalyst in the campaign for awareness about what we’re eating. In the early 80’s, he and my mom moved to the Pioneer Valley where they could pursue the sort of graceful living they had in mind. One beard and one daughter (my sister Hannah) later, Michael finally figured out that this product—Chunks of Energy—were exactly good enough to serve. Fast forward 20 years, and you end up now, with me, my little sister, and Chunks of Energy in every United State. Local coops were our first customers, and they still carry them, as well as Whole Foods Markets and everything in between.
That’s the "seed" of Dancing Star and our Chunks of Energy, in a nutshell, or a seedhull, or what have you.
Here is a picture of our homestead last winter. It looks just about the same, still. Thank goodness!