Tuesday, March 14, 2023

His sickness, according to the physicians, is mental. This scientist is dedicated to figuring out the truth.

Geneticist Marlena Fejzo suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum, which she identified as the source of her sickness and used as a lifeline.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum
Hyperemesis gravidarum, a pregnancy condition characterized by nausea and vomiting so severe that it can cause devastating complications for the mother and fetus, has long been poorly studied and recognized. Meggie Shannon

FEFUM — Manipulating a neat wooden desk at eye level in the corner of the bedroom was the one sheet of paper that Marlena Feiso had kept for 24 years.

This is a portrait of her 31-year-old Dr.Faizo who went through the worst ordeal of her life. Her face and body are painted pale green and sick yellow, with tears lingering on her sunken cheeks. The only thing she remembers from that time is her sister's colored pencil drawing in 1999. Some of the photos her mother took were "too bad" to save, said Dr. Fejzo, now 55.

She knew that small seas and vomiting during pregnancy were normal.

She couldn't go to work, she couldn't take care of her little boy, and she couldn't swallow a teaspoon of water. Her empty gastrointestinal tract cramped so violently that it lasted so long that she could not breathe.

For at least one month of her life, Dr. Fejzo was unable to eat or drink and was hydrated by an IV. Her weight dropped from her already tiny 105 pounds to her 90 pounds. After that, she became too weak to get on her scale.

"I was starving," she said.

Finally, her doctor agreed to insert a catheter into a large vein near her heart to feed her, but Fejzo believes it was too late for this step. At 15 weeks of gestation, the fetal heart stopped beating.

Dr. Fejzo was devastated. "All suffering is free," she said.

Her Dr. Fejzo, then a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles, is now an undergraduate in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine.

During her pregnancy, she suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum. Her symptoms included dehydration, weight loss, electrolyte imbalance, and very severe and persistent nausea and vomiting that could lead to hospitalization.

This complication is rare and affects about 2% of pregnancies, but the consequences can be devastating. In this study, a woman describes her experience with this condition in harrowing terms. "I wanted to die," she wrote.

Some felt “miserable and hopeless.” Or she's lonely and abandoned, referring to suicide. She said, "When I woke up in the morning, I sobbed to find out she was still alive."

Hyperemesis Patients
In a recent survey of more than 5,000 hyperemesis patients, 52% were considering terminating the desired pregnancy and 5% were pregnant. 32% reported having suicidal thoughts. Maggie Shannon

However, despite the severity of nausea as it is colloquially called, doctors often take longer to treat it.

"My doctor thought it was all in my head," he said. I told her it was a ruse.

Dr. Fejzo was furious that her doctors attributed her suffering to mental illness. So she made it her life's work to find the true cause of this condition.

Interrupted Career

Marlena Fejzo grew up a few miles away from her current home in the affluent Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. There she hums along with her cousins and her friends as she is one of her four brothers and sisters. She says she spent her charming California childhood skiing in Mammoth Mountains, hiking in Yosemite National Park, and vacationing in Palm Springs.

She graduated from the prestigious Harvard Westlake School (then Westlake School for Girls) with top grades in high school and studied Applied Mathematics at Brown University.

In her third year at Brown University, she was fascinated by an introductory class in genetics, and she decided to pursue a Ph.D. in this field at Harvard University. This came as a surprise to her family of lawyers, linguists, and musicians.

As a graduate student at Harvard University, Dr. Fejzo discovered two of her genes involved in the development of uterine fibroids, and her work received national recognition from the American Society of Human Genetics.

Cynthia Morton, professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School, said it's a rare honor for a young scientist, especially one working on health problems that don't affect men. Said. Said.

In 1995, Dr. Fejzo began a fellowship as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Breast Cancer Genetics at the University of California, San Francisco. During her tenure, she held a faculty position in the genetics of the states that affect her track and women. I turned to her study career.

Within weeks of being pregnant with her first child in 1996, she was hit with constant nausea and vomiting. Still, she could hardly eat, could not work for eight weeks, and she had to be put on an IV twice because of her dehydration.

Approximately 70% of pregnancies present with some degree of nausea and vomiting, but healthcare providers can take the time to differentiate between normal morning sickness and hyperemesis and provide treatment. Maggie Shannon

This was the first time Dr. Fejzo experienced hyperemesis, but her doctor at the time did not give her the name of her illness or recommend her medication.

By her second trimester, she felt good enough to return to her job and the rest of her pregnancy was normal.

Dr. Fejzo's second pregnancy occurred in her 1999, two years later. She moved back to Los Angeles and enrolled at U.C.L.A. That's when she went through the worst ordeal of her life, which she said led to her 10 weeks of serious illness and a miscarriage.

Dr. Fejzo's sister, Melanie Schoenberg, now 45 and a public defender for Los Angeles County, recalled seeing her after her ordeal. She was in a wheelchair, too weak to walk, wrapped in her blanket, sobbing and shivering with grief.

"She looked like a ghost," Schoenberg said. "Like a pile of bones"

underresearched state
At the age of 31, Dr. Fejzo, regaining his powers, made two decisions that would change his life. At first, she said she would not attempt another pregnancy, but her twin daughters were later born with the help of her surrogate mother. Second, she was determined to find out what was causing her emesis.

She searched the medical literature for clues. Why was she so ill when most pregnancy symptoms were much milder? "Nothing was known," she said. "There was very little research."

About 70% of pregnancies have some degree of nausea and vomiting, but it's usually not dangerous, says Dr. Trovik. Healthcare providers may take time to distinguish between the more common morning sickness and the rare but more severe emesis and offer treatment, including medication and nutrition.

Marlena Fejzo
"What happened to me was so devastating that I don't want it to happen to anyone else. We talked about firing the state." Maggie Shannon

Before intravenous drips became routinely available in the 1900s, hyperemesis was a frequent cause of death in pregnant women, and the medical literature cited it as a reason for inducing abortion because the mother's life was in danger. Adversity was mentioned. Excessive vomiting was noted. finished. Some experts believe that writer Charlotte Brontë most likely died of hyperemesis in 1855, rather than tuberculosis, which was listed on her death certificate. Today, Death from hyperemesis is rare, but it does occur as do serious complications. Electrolyte imbalances caused by excessive vomiting and dehydration can lead to arrhythmias and cardiac arrest. It can lead to miscarriage, brain damage, and death. Hyperemesis is also associated with an increased risk of pregnancy complications such as preterm birth, pre-eclampsia, and blood clots. A recent survey she conducted of more than 5,000 of her hyperemesis patients in the UK found that 52% had considered terminating the desired pregnancy and 5% had done so. 32% reported having suicidal thoughts. A 2022 study found that hyperemesis was one of the main predictors of postpartum depression. Most babies born in hyperemesis pregnancies are healthy, but recent studies show a slightly increased risk of low birth weight, and a slightly increased risk of developing cognitive, mental health, and behavioral problems in childhood. Researchers hypothesize that these effects may be caused by malnutrition and intrauterine stress. For the past 100 years, doctors have argued that nausea is an unconscious attempt to "oral abortion" as if you were giving up on a pregnancy, but there is no evidence. rejection of femininity; cold products; and strategies for taking a “timeout” from stressful household responsibilities. Or, as Dr. Fejzo's doctor told her, a bid for her attention. As a result, women have often been blamed and punished for their illnesses. In the 1930s, patients hospitalized with hyperemesis were "denied of the comfort of a vomit bowl" and forced to lie down in their vomit. To date, patients hospitalized with this condition may be isolated in darkened rooms and denied access to visitors or cell phones. It is based on the theory that it is caused by an unconscious refusal to conceive and that isolation leads one to accept the pregnancy. He said the conduct was "misogynistic" and "indefensible", but issued new guidelines containing statements condemning the conduct, at least occasionally, in France and elsewhere in Europe. Dr. Fejzo was plagued by the lack of effective treatments and dismissed as having psychological causes for his illness. She thought nothing would change as long as the true cause of her condition was unknown.

10 years Friday

When Dr. Fejzo returned to her UCLA lab after her miscarriage, she told her boss, the head of her genetics department, that she wanted to find out what was causing her hyperemesis. "She just laughed at me," Dr. Fejzo said. Unable to find a mentor interested in hyperemesis, Dr. Fejzo took a job researching ovarian cancer at a university. She remained in the position mostly part-time for 20 years. But she began putting together her research on hyperemesis in the evenings and weekends, and on Fridays when she wasn't working in her lab. Her brother Rick Schoenberg, 51, a statistician at UCLA, helped her create an online survey of hyperemesis patients, and the Hyperemesis Education and Research (HER) Foundation funded her research. bottom. under. In 2005, she provided a small grant to her collaborator, Dr. Fejzo. Dr. Fejzo also began working with obstetricians and gynecologists at the University of Southern California. After tallying her survey responses, "it quickly became apparent that it was running in her family," she said. I was like, 'My sister has it. In 2011, Dr. Fejzo and her collaborators published their findings in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Women with hyperemesis sisters were found to be 17 times more at risk than those without.

Dr. Fejzo knew that DNA analysis was important for understanding the genetics of hyperemesis. So in 2007, she began collecting saliva samples from symptomatic and non-symptomatic people.

She called her study participants (more than 1,500 in total) every Friday for her 10 years to ask for her medical records and consent to participate, and collected saliva collection kits from her home. . she mailed

But Dr. Fejzo didn't know how to pay for her own genetic analysis. Her grant application to the National Institutes of Health was denied. Since 2007, her institution has funded only her six hyperemesis studies totaling $2.1 million.

That amount is small compared to the state's financial burden, said Kimber McGibbon, executive her director of the HER Foundation. (Amy Schumer, who has publicly documented her struggle with hyperemesis, sits on the foundation's board of directors.)

Hospitalizations for hyperemesis are thought to cost patients and insurers about $3 billion a year due to complications such as medications, home care, unemployment, and postpartum depression.

'This is it'
Dr. Fejzo got her 23andMe DNA test kit from her brother on her 42nd birthday because she didn't have the funds to analyze the saliva samples that had accumulated in her lab's freezer. . She found another way.

After registering her kit, she will receive her regular email, offering her the option to participate in the company's research studies by completing her online survey and consenting to the use of her genetic data. Below.

"I saw what they were doing and thought it was great," she said.

She asked her 23andMe if they would include questions about nausea and vomiting during her pregnancy in her customer surveys, and they agreed. Years later, she worked with the company to scan the genetic data of tens of thousands of her 23andMe customers, looking for variations in her DNA associated with the severity of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. The results were published in her Nature Communications in 2018.

Several genetic mutations were reported to be very different, but the most prominent was a genetic mutation that makes a protein called growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15). Dr. Fejzo had never heard of it, but as soon as she started reading about it, she remembered, "Oh my god, this is it."

GDF15 was previously shown to act on portions of the brainstem that suppress appetite and induce vomiting, causing appetite and weight loss in cancer patients. Blood levels of protein naturally increase during pregnancy and are found to be even higher afterward in those with severe nausea and vomiting.

The researchers speculate that GDF15 may have evolved to allow pregnant women to detect and avoid unsafe foods that could harm fetal development during early pregnancy. In hyperemesis, however, this normal protective mechanism appears to work in overdrive. This is at least partly because he has too much GDF15, said Stephen O'Lahilly, director of the Department of Metabolic Diseases at Cambridge University. he said. GDF15 survey.

In a study published in 2022, Dr. Fejzo and her colleagues identified an association between hyperemesis and her GDF15 in patients she enrolled Friday over her 10-year period. This analysis was performed for free by the biotech company Regeneron.

When the study was published, Dr. Fejzo wrote on Twitter, "My life's work is done."

But she's not done. She said several pharmaceutical companies have started trials of her GDF15 her-based drug. The drug, which aims to reduce nausea and improve appetite in cancer patients, has promising early results. Watching carefully.

Several researchers are working on similar anti-nausea treatments, Fejzo said. Among them is a newly formed company called Materna Biosciences, which has hired Dr. Fejzo as Chief Scientific Officer.

Fejzo said there are major hurdles to trying new drugs during pregnancy, but if done carefully, this step could improve treatment options for hyperemesis patients, with GDF15 being a major contributor to the condition. You can clearly show that

Dr. Fejzo hopes that her belief that the symptoms are psychological will eventually come to an end.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Black Homes' Internal Lives

Helen C. Maybell Anglin, Black Homes Owner, Zócalo, AphroChic,  ELLE Decoration, Black Homemaking

Helen C. Maybell Anglin

Black Homes Owner
Helen C. Mabel Anglin outside her home in Chicago's Chatham Park neighborhood, circa 1974. This house was a family business until last year. Chicago Sun-Times Media Company

FEFUM — Helen C. Mabel, the self-proclaimed "Soul of Southern Cuisine He's Her Queen," poses wrapped in black mink on the steps of a natural stone home on Chicago's South Side. It's her 1974, the house she commissioned architect Milton M. Schwartz in 1965, is as bold and inviting as its sculptural owner, with embedded porticoes. Big enough for her white baby to dwarf her piano.

Mabel Anglin died in 2009 and the house was her family's property until last year. Writer and real estate agent Bertina Power was called upon to provide expert opinion to those wishing to renovate and sell.

"I was like, 'I'm going to buy,'" she said. ”

Ms. Power is a black woman like Mabel Anglin and her entrepreneur, who is just under 1.8 million tall, has come to believe her ownership is destiny. I said no, but I doubt a house like that is flying under the radar right now.

After decades of neglect, Black Her Interiors — spaces designed for and by Black homeowners — are gaining renewed attention. They are documented and analyzed in publications, exhibitions, and research initiatives. Not everything is as striking or contemporary as Mabel Anglin's home, but overall it's the story of a black man seeking identity and comfort at home.

"The issue of black aesthetics is murky. I do significant geography research at Temple University. Malone once told a former Indianapolis resident, 'If someone walks into your house,' I've said, why do they say 'this is a black house'?"

"It's refreshing to see how people interpret it at home," she said as she and her research assistant Faith Lindsey looked at the 50 submissions. Or the kitchen, the wall of memories, and other things familiar to us. It makes sense. "

Writer and curator Catherine E. McKinley explore the country to capture similar personal and aesthetic moments in Letters from Home: The Art and Science of Black Home Making, due out next year by Bloomsbury USA. I have been touring.

"I have a love-hate relationship with interior books, so this book is about storytelling, it's about details and things that aren't easily spied on, it's not about an obsession with detoxified things."

The Art and Science of Black Homemaking

Black Homes Owner
Illustration by Valerie Avolker for "Letters from Home: The Art and Science of Black Homemaking" by Catherine E. McKinley. Valerie Abker

Illustrated by Valérie Aboulker, "Letters from Home" includes the birth and posthumous residences of artists such as Xenobia Bailey, Terry Adkins, and Sun Ra. Also included is the work of Chip Thomas, a physician who installs roadside murals and abandoned structures on Navajo land in Tuba City, Arizona.

Fragments near the house also tell the story of black homemaking.

Malone and McKinley's documents contrast visually with her 2006 Sheila Pree Bright's The Suburbia Portfolio, which is part of the collection of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Bright is an Atlanta-based photographer whose designs are typical of his interior designs.

"Visually he's a storyteller. A lot of the images always feel urban when it comes to our culture," said Bright. She said, "When he moved to Atlanta, he saw a lot of African Americans living in the suburbs.

Her photos soon began winning awards, but Bright realized that many white viewers couldn't overcome their internal stereotypes.

On the bookshelf was Debra J. Dickerson's 2004 manifesto, 'The End of Blackness: Returning the Souls of Black Folk: Returning Souls of Black Folk to their Rightful Owners.

The museum's curator, Michelle Joan Wilkinson, has been developing the design and architecture collection since 2016, sourcing artifacts and photographs of urban planning like Bright's.

The museum has acquired architects' archives and furniture designs, with particular emphasis on seating contemporary practitioners such as Jermaine Burns, Stephen Burks, and his architect David Adjaye, who designed the museum. I'm here. I am here. On display is his 1840 bed by Henry Boyd, a Cincinnati carpenter, and entrepreneur who patented the screw-fastening system. Muse's Den' is a padded red vinyl bar that was set up in the south side house in the 1970s and used as a speakeasy.

In her 2018 essay for Pin-Up magazine, Tiana Webb Evans writes about "People in Chairs." Seated Negro painting by Kelly James Marshall, Jordan Castile, and Kehinde Wiley. That same year, Wiley famously seated President Barack Obama in a fictional historic chair. Internet searches are lackluster at best." Pictures fill in the blanks.

The ELLE Decoration Cover

Black Homes Owner
The March 2022 cover of Elle Decor featured a collage by artist Mickalene Thomas.

One of her artists known for rendering spectacular and often sequin-encrusted interiors is Mickalene Thomas. The March 2022 cover of Elle Decor's The Art Collector's Home features her 2012 collage by Thomas, featuring floral sofas, acid footstools, and spring greenery from decades ago. characterized by vegetation. It evokes the rich and inviting mood found in black interiors that have been represented over the years.

In AphroChic: Celebrating the Legacy of the Black Family Home (published last year by Clarkson Potter), authors Bryan Mason and Jeanine Hays report: Stacey and Andre Blake's house in Fayetteville, North Carolina, which appears in the book, resembles the cover of Ms. Thomas (although the sofa is Clementine and the walls are Cerulean).

The freedom to buy a home anywhere, the means to decorate it to your liking, and the time to relax there are hard-won privileges for black homeowners.


Black Homes Owner
AphroChic Interiors: Celebrate the traditions of black family homes. Clarkson Potter

These dreamy interiors sometimes carry a political punch. On the March 2021 cover of Elle Decor, the magazine's first black editor-in-chief, Asad Syrkett, tells Detroit artist Rachelle Baker, 20 I asked you to famously tell me that you asked me to recreate the Yellow Room of the century. Nancy Lancaster, master of decoration of the century.

“The best interiors are about the aesthetics of the people who live there and the story of how they live in the world,” says Mart.

Mr. Lancaster grew up in pre-Civil War Virginia. Read her biography and you'll find out. Her father was a domestic worker and a cotton broker in what she called "a large family". On either side of the table in her original room are the so-called Black Her Moore carvings on the hands and knees that support the top of the table.

"How do we begin to rationalize this depiction of coercion?" Mr. Marset asked.

A yellow cover of Mr. Baker, a black woman sitting in a room conducting. She strikes up a conversation about labor.

In her book Midcentury Modernism and the American Body: The Politics of Race, Gender, and Power in Design, published by Princeton University Press in 2021, design historian Christina Her Her Her Wilson Is Race I am looking for and gender.

The Ebony Test Kitchen

Black Homes Owner
The Ebony Test Kitchen is part of the exhibition 'African/American: Making a National Table' hosted by the Food and Drink Museum. Timothy Smith

Ms. Wilson included many ads from the era of a white woman tending a suburban home alone. It was a source of social agency," she writes. Saarinen's famous chair is happily on display. His CBS graphic designer George Olden in Black sits and hangs out with friends in Queens.

Ebony and its founders John and Eunice Johnson sponsored some of the most famous modern black interiors of the 20th century. The stunning ebony test kitchen was designed by Arthur Elrod and William Reiser for the company's offices in Chicago. Food and drink museum collection.

When the Johnsons asked Elrod and Reiser to design an apartment on North Lake Shore Drive, they said:

Traces of its exterior can still be seen today in houses such as Bertina's Powers. The spirit of the home's original owners, who hosted Martin Luther King Jr., Mahalia Jackson, and Muhammad Ali, can be seen through the large living room, multiple sliding doors that lead to the stone deck, and the remains of the home talk to the full bar downstairs. This is a place of celebration.

Original Architech emerges from his burrow

Architect Chris Cornelius

Designed by Chris Cornelius in the Milwaukee suburb of Franklin

Architect Chris Cornelius
The Chris Cornelius-designed Indian Community School opened in the Milwaukee suburb of Franklin, Wisconsin in 2007 and has been a hit with students and parents ever since. Timothy Hursley

FEFUM — Chris Cornelius grew up in federal public housing on the Indian Reservation of Oneida, five miles west of the Bay in Greene, Wisconsin, and had no vision of his future as an architect. He was surrounded by poverty. The only hot meal he received was a free lunch at an unreserved school. Still, sleeping by the wood stove in the living room of his family's ranch home proved to be a formative experience.

Starting in September 2021, he will serve as chair of the University of New Mexico's Department of Architecture and Planning and runs his studio, His Indigenous Peoples. Indigenous is a design firm he founded that focuses on architecture and indigenous cultures.

The son of a brick mason, Mr. Cornelius excelled at drafting and architectural drafting, but his counselor (fellow Oneida) directed him to a federal grant program for natives to attend college. , There was no guidance. , higher education was not his plan. He majored in architecture at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he connected with Indigenous students and began thinking about what Indigenous architecture was.

Mr. Cornelius at Albuquerque's University of New Mexico

Architect Chris Cornelius
Cornelius at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Adria Malcolm

He began designing small projects for Oneida, taught at the University of Milwaukee, and did the speculative design. After attending graduate school at the University of Virginia, he moved in 2003 to the Indian community of Franklin, a suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He worked with architect Antoine, who had just won the school's design competition. under. he was invited

Predock and Cornelius proposed a sustainable, integrated building that embodies Oneida's tradition of caring for the planet.

Surrounded by old trees, the hillside school is made of timber, copper, and local limestone. The indoors and outdoors are connected by large windows and expansive outdoor learning areas, including ponds, wetlands, and field labs

The exterior of the Indian Community School

Architect Chris Cornelius
The exterior of an Indian Community School in Franklin, Wisconsin. Timothy Hursley

In a two-story building, younger students live on the lower floor, in classrooms named after plants and other earthly objects, while older students live on the upper floor, whose rooms are associated with birds and the sky. I live on the floor. I live on the floor I Live on the Floor The entire Indian Country, all land under tribal jurisdiction, is represented in the school's central communal gathering area, shaped like an abstract map of the United States. Plantings represent different landscapes, and custom wooden seats represent the plains and plateaus of the territory.

Completed in 2007, the Indian Community School is a hit with students, teachers, and parents, but more storage would be ideal to allow for a larger gymnasium, Flores said. Others, who favored simpler, recognizable patterns and bright colors, were critical of the design, stating that its architecture was not specific enough and should include motifs and shapes such as turtles and eagles.

Among the community events held on-site was the Bear Moon Pow Wow in January. Leaders at Kamehameha Schools, Hawaii's private school system, took inspiration from the use of this space to incorporate similar outdoor gathering spaces into their buildings, Flores said.

"He's a very mellow and thoughtful young man," Flores said of Cornelius.

The Wiikiaami Pavilion in Columbus

Architect Chris Cornelius
The Wiikiaami Pavilion in Columbus, Indiana was a breakthrough for Cornelius. Via Chris Cornelius

A big turning point in his independence came in 2017 in Columbus, Indiana when he received the J. Irwin and He Xenia S. Miller Award. As part of the Exhibit Columbus show, he unveiled the pavilion. This pavilion recognizes the nations of Delaware, Kickapoo, Miami, and Shawnee that inhabited the land long before it was dotted with masterpieces by architects like Eliel Saarinen. Published by Wikia. Built. (The pavilion was built on the site of Saarinen's first Christian church, built in 1942.) The structure is made of translucent steel "feathers" that cover a bent steel structure. I am here. “I wanted to recreate the process of making a wigwam, rather than making a wigwam,” said Cornelius. The project caught the attention of Deborah Burke, Dean of the Yale School of Architecture. He later invited Cornelius to teach a class in his design studio at Yale University. "Chris brings to his students a voice they've never heard before," Burke said. “He expands the canon of what architecture can do.

Not My HUD House

Architect Chris Cornelius
A prototype called "Not My HUD House" was exhibited at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art last year. Tom Harris

His voice has permeated the art world as well. A prototype called "Not My HUD House" was shown at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art's "Architecture at Home" exhibition in Arkansas last year. The compact unit proposes an alternative model of public housing for the new Aboriginal culture, offering features specifically lacking in Housing and Urban Development Authority structures, such as porches, fireplaces, skyscapes, and animal habitats. get.

"Reservation public housing was an instrument of colonialism and assimilation. It had nothing to do with our culture," Cornelius said. “There was a basketball court because HUD was building a basketball court for an urban housing project.”

At the University of New Mexico, Mr. Cornelius continues his legacy. The school hosts the Institute of Indigenous Design + Planning and offers a certificate in Indigenous Planning.

He leads a conversation about the lessons of Indigenous architects of the past. How he designs home environments with more communal and flexible spaces, and how he uses materials that are more suited to the local climate and culture. He said there is much to be learned from being a good neighbor to plants and animals without overdoing it.

Friday, January 6, 2023

After spending the night in Blyth, Thor the walrus heads back out to Sea Scarborough


Thor was seen resting on a wooden pontoon at the Bryce Yacht Club. Photo: Owen Humphries/PA.

Crowd-pleasing in Scarborough on New Year's Eve, migrating walruses have returned to sea from Bryce's final resting place on the Northumberland coast.

Thor, who showed up at Bryce on Monday, was back on the water before 7am on Tuesday.

When the walruses were seen resting on the yacht club's wooden pontoons, crowds quickly flocked to Bryce to park in the afternoon and spend the night.

The juvenile male is believed to be the same walrus resting on the airstrip in Scarborough Harbor, about 100 miles south, on December 30th. Within 24 hours, he was back in the water again.

Scarborough's New Year's Eve fireworks display was canceled to avoid walrus damage, but the walruses had already left the harbor before midnight.

Thor, the first walrus recorded in Yorkshire, is believed to have been spotted far south while swimming near the Hampshire coast in early December. He is expected to continue heading north toward his natural habitat in the Arctic.

BDMLR Rescue and community organizer Molly Gray said of Thor's visit to North Yorkshire: "

Thor is the third walrus seen in the UK in the last two years. "It could be a bit of a pattern...so we could see more, but who knows," said Gray.

As a protected species, Thor's perimeter was cordoned off and closely monitored by marine experts. In 2022, a walrus nicknamed Freya was euthanized in Norway. This is because visitors approach her incessantly and can threaten human safety.

Onlookers were advised not to get too close to Thor, and Gray advised people to stay away.

"He needs to save energy and rest for the long journey back to the North Pole."

Thursday, January 5, 2023

CrowdFarming network provides a one-stop shop for getting fresh produce to your customer's door


Sergio Quijada Domínguez: "Regular distributors have raised prices significantly." Photo: Courtesy of CrowdFarming.

Quitting a police job to grow passionfruit is an unconventional career move.

Quijada, who grows about 1,500 plants on his farm near Velez Malaga in southern Spain, has found passion fruit to be his specialty.

"It was a tool I was missing," he says. “We had our own products and wanted to sell directly to consumers, but we had no choice, and authorized distributors increased our prices significantly.”

The man who delivered the cardboard packing case proposed cloud farming, which is responsible for management and logistics and directly connects customers and farmers.

CrowdFarming was founded in 2017 by orange farmer Gonzalo Úrculo and his brother Gabriel. The site currently hosts 182 farms in 12 countries with half a million consumers.

“In the traditional system, supermarkets set the final selling price based on the consumer's willingness to pay,” says Gonzalo Úrculo. “This will determine how much the supermarket will pay the supplier, and the supplier will have to deal with other intermediaries.

Gonzalo and Gabriel Úrculo: “Our oranges are still cheaper than the average price of organic oranges in the countries where we sell them.” Photo credit: CrowdFarming.

He adds that oranges are in transit or stored for at least three weeks before being purchased in Nordic supermarkets. But at CrowdFarming, customers get better, fresher, and cheaper products in exchange for direct relationships with growers.

"We pick oranges only when we need them," he says. “Once you place an order, you get it the next day, within three days. The oranges are still cheaper than the average price of organic oranges in the countries where we sell.”

Less than three years after launching the CrowdFarming website, Úrculo was able to quit his day job and focus on running his brother's organic orange farm in Valencia.

When my brother was sick and had to plant 10,000 trees, someone asked for help and I went to get it. All three payments were completed within one year. Across the platform, 188,842 trees, plants or fields were recruited.

Kelly Goh has worked with CrowdFarming since they started their Oro chocolate business in the Philippines. She buys cocoa beans from a series of cooperatives and goes through a process of fermentation and drying before making chocolate.

“We pay farmers 30 to 50 percent more than the market price,” says Go. “Compared to West African farmers, our farmers earn almost twice as much. We also cover the cost of organic farm certification, which helps raise awareness.”

Auro produces about one tonne of chocolate daily and sells about 70% of it in the Philippines. Like other users of the CrowdFarming platform, her biggest international client is Germany, where there is a high demand for organically produced goods.

Nicola de Gregorio uses old grain varieties to make handmade pasta for Fastquera in Cammarata, central Sicily. Unlike traditional pasta, which dries quickly at high temperatures, the grain harvested from the conventional Sicilian Tumminia and Ruslida varieties is ground and the pasta is traditionally dried over several days.

De Gregorio joined the CrowdFarming platform in 2019 and says, "Having direct relationships with our clients has helped us weather Covid."

According to De Gregorio, most of Fastuchera's customers are in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, where wheat field adopters often visit the farms.

“People are willing to pay more because they know they are supporting quality-oriented agriculture with minimal environmental impact,” he says.

Sustainable farming is also a focus for Quijada, which sells passion fruit primarily to customers in Belgium, France, and Germany, and the platform shares that philosophy, he says.

In addition to facilitating producer-consumer contact, CrowdFarming minimizes environmental impact by minimizing transportation.

“Obviously, we can't compete with Colombia or Vietnam, where passion fruit grows wild, but Europe is huge. It's big enough to buy all the passion fruit, avocados, and mangoes we grow in Spain,” says Quijada.

In a traditional supply chain, farmers sell to middlemen, who transport their produce to warehouses and then sell it to supermarket chains, who then distribute it to local stores. After that, the consumer has to go to the supermarket. CrowdFarming ships directly from farmers to consumers, and the platform ensures that different orders to the same destination are grouped together, so the trucks are always full.

The system benefits producers and consumers as well as the environment, says Urculo. “Buying food directly from farmers is the most powerful daily act anyone can do to create a positive social and environmental impact,” he says.

Monday, January 2, 2023

Day one of Sweden's largest wolf extermination, Hunters return home empty handed


Jonas Danielson, a hunter, and co-organizer of the Tinath Hunt, Swedish wolf territory, points out his guns. The group travels across Sweden for a month trying to take down large predators. Photo: Beata Furstenberg.

The most crucial culling of wolves in modern times has begun in Sweden.

On Monday, Guardians accompanied 200 hunters to kill wolves in the frosty forests between Gevrevori and Dalarna, hunting from midnight until sunset at 3pm. The group travels across Sweden for a month trying to take down large predators.

On Monday, hunters surrounded an area they knew wolves had a lair. They let the dogs out, whose task was to seek out the wolves and drive them out the road to the waiting hunters, but with no luck, the hunters returned home empty-handed.

However, the dogs have identified some of the hideouts, allowing hunters to move faster in the future.

Hunters will be able to kill 75 of the 460 wolves next month as the government seeks to reduce population density in certain districts.

"We need hunting to slow down the growth of wolves. Wolf packs are the largest we've had in modern times," said Gunnar Green, predator manager at the Swedish Hunters Association, on Monday. told local news outlets when the

But conservation groups point out that Sweden's wolf population is relatively small, with more than 3,000 in Italy.

Scientists warn that large-scale slaughter would threaten a fragmented and vulnerable population. Photo: agefotostock/Alamy.

They appealed the decision, which they claimed violated the Bern Convention, but to no avail.

"You get discouraged. Reports keep coming in that the wolf tribe is in big trouble, but [the government] doesn't take it seriously," said Danielle of the Conservation Society's Wildlife Management Group in Gävreborg. Ekblom said.

Marie Regard, head of the anti-hunting group Jaktkritikerna, said: Killing a quarter of the population through hunting hurts animals and nature. It's disastrous for the entire ecosystem. The presence of wolves contributes to the enrichment of animal and plant life. Human survival depends on healthy ecosystems. ”

Anna Karen Seserberg, Sweden's minister for rural affairs, recently told public broadcaster SVT:

"We can see that the level of conflict has increased and the level of acceptance has decreased," Sazerberg said, adding that the government has asked the state Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider the recommended population numbers.

Authorities had previously recommended that the population not fall below 300. However, a majority of the Swedish parliament is in favor of reducing the wolf population to 170. This is the bottom of the range of 170 to 270 that allows the country to meet the conservation requirements of the EU Species and Habitats Directive.

Hunting is a hot political topic in Sweden and a powerful lobby can influence politicians to allow more animals to be killed.

“Even where wolves live, there is a large majority of Swedes who like wolves. In our opinion, the reason for these hunts is that there is a demand among hunters for shooting wolves. Hunter organizations have tremendous power in Sweden, the Swedish parliament has a hunter club open to members of all political parties, and there is a shooting range under the parliament. This sounds like a joke But it's completely true."

A group of scientists from Europe's top universities recently told the journal Science that no scientific advice was sought for this goal, which would threaten an already fragmented and vulnerable population.

WWF predator expert Benny Gaffwart said Congress' figure of 170 was "not based on any scientific fact."

"A level of 170 is too low as wild populations can have unexpected things," he told SVT. “There is a problem when it comes to wolf genetics, the smaller the wolf population, the greater the impact of variations in genetic status.”

Norway shares a wolf population with Sweden along its border, which poses an additional threat to the endangered predator. The Norwegian and Swedish wolf population, the Scandinavian wolf, is on the endangered species list, classified as endangered in Norway and severely threatened in Sweden. The Norwegian government has a very restrictive wolf management policy targeting a population of four to six pups each year. As far as is known, Norway is the only country in the world with a maximum number of endangered species. This allows hunters to significantly reduce the wolf population each year. Nature campaigners argue that this extra pressure from the Swedish government could make the species even more endangered.

Norwegian campaigners are battling a decision to allow such a massive culling in court, and there will be hearings next week, and they hope to win. could spread to Sweden, which is governed by the law of

Nature group Aktivt Rovdyrvern (ARV) said: There are currently around 400 wolves in Sweden and Norway, but this seems destined to drop to around 200 in total, with 170 in Sweden and 30 in Norway. This is incompatible with establishing and strengthening viable wolf populations in Scandinavia, both in the short and long term. ”