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robertogreco : neighbors   9

Going Home with Wendell Berry | The New Yorker
[via: https://twitter.com/annegalloway/status/1150867868696772608 ]

[Too much to quote, so here’s what Anne quoted:]

“Lancie Clippinger said to me, and he was very serious, that a man oughtn’t to milk but about twenty-five cows, because if he keeps to that number, he’ll see them every day. If he milks more than that, he’ll do the work but never see the cows! The number will vary from person to person, I think, but Lancie’s experience had told him something important.”
via:anne  wendellberry  rural  slow  small  empathy  kindness  georgesaunders  relationships  neighbors  amish  care  caring  maintenance  human-animalrelations  human-animalrelationships  culture  farming  agriculture  local  locality  place  trees  history  multispecies  morethanhuman  language  restorativejustice  justice  climatejustice  socialjustice  johnlukacs  environment  sustainability  kentucky  land  immigration  labor  work  gender  ownership  collectivism  conversation  lancieclippinger  god  faith  religion  christianity  submission  amandapetrusich  individualism  stewardship  limits  constraints  memory  robertburns  kafka  capitalism  corporations  life  living  provincialism  seamusheaney  patrickkavanagh  animals  cows  freedom  limitlessness  choice  happiness  davidkline  thomasmerton  service  maurytilleen  crops  us  donaldtrump  adlaistevenson  ezrataftbenson  politics  conservation  robertfrost  pleasure  writing  andycatlett  howwewrite  education  nature  adhd  wonder  schools  schooling  experience  experientiallearning  place-based  hereandnow  presence 
9 weeks ago by robertogreco
Why I Quit Ordering From Uber-for-Food Start-Ups - The Atlantic
[This is Josephine: https://josephine.com/ ]

"I work some days from a small office in San Francisco, and every day, I gotta eat. For a stretch of several weeks this year, I obtained my lunch from an iPhone app called Sprig.

It’s a beautiful piece of software. A trompe l’oeil table offers a compact slate of choices for lunch and dinner, all photographed beautifully from above. On the day I’m writing this, I can get a Caesar salad ($11), blackened chicken with broccoli ($11), a lamb-kofta wrap ($11), a tequila-lime shrimp salad ($13), or a kimchi veggie bowl ($10). Everything is organic, with sources all specified. The chicken comes from Petaluma.

* * *

I work some days from my apartment in Berkeley, and every day, I gotta eat. Two or three times a month, I obtain lunch or dinner from a network called Josephine.

The first time I encountered Josephine, its website was a bare page that instructed you to enter your phone number and “join our SMS list.” The design is only slightly more elaborate today; there’s still no iPhone app.

Josephine doesn’t prepare any meals itself. Instead, it screens home cooks and takes orders on their behalf. On the day I’m writing this, I can get carrot soup ($11) from Lisa in Oakland or pho ($13) from Hai in Emeryville. That’s it for tonight. Tomorrow, there’s chicken and dumplings ($11) from Suzie in Albany or veggie enchiladas ($8) from Afiba in Fruitvale. The menu extends out two weeks; Josephine is less “I’m hungry now” and more “I expect to be hungry on Thursday, so I’d better line something up.” The photography is rough-and-ready, Etsy-caliber, and the dishes are described by the cooks themselves.

* * *

Sprig sells on speed: From selection to delivery, it’s twenty minutes. The experience is identical to an order from Seamless or GrubHub. A harried courier extracts your meal from a fat insulated bag; you say “thank you,” close the door, and feel bad for a moment about the differences between your lives. Five stars.

Meals from Sprig arrive reliably deflated from their in-app depictions: soggier, less composed. The quality of the food ranges, in my experience, from “sure, I can eat this” to very good indeed. It’s approximately equivalent to what you’d get in a nice cafeteria; better than Kaiser Permanente’s, not as good as Facebook’s.

“Gotta eat” is a rumble in the belly, a business opportunity, and a public-health crisis all rolled into one, and to address it, Sprig is building the biggest, nicest cafeteria ever. The ambition is clear: Sprig in every city, with longer menus, better ingredients, faster delivery. I can see them: the drones dropping lamb kofta from the sky.

But there’s more to any cafeteria than the serving line, and Sprig’s app offers no photograph of that other part. This is the Amazon move: absolute obfuscation of labor and logistics behind a friendly buy button. The experience for a Sprig customer is super convenient, almost magical; the experience for a chef or courier…? We don’t know. We don’t get to know. We’re just here to press the button.

I feel bad, truly, for Amazon and Sprig and their many peers—SpoonRocket, Postmates, Munchery, and the rest. They build these complicated systems and then they have to hide them, because the way they treat humans is at best mildly depressing and at worst burn-it-down dystopian.

What would it be like if you didn’t have to hide the system?

* * *

Meals from Josephine are not available for delivery.

On the day of your order, a text message arrives bearing a street address. You ride over on your bicycle and spot a Josephine sign taped to the front door, which is ajar. You step inside; the feeling is both clandestine and transgressive. In the kitchen, the cook—your neighbor—is working. Maybe another customer—also your neighbor—is lingering. You announce yourself, say hello, receive your meal. Chat a bit, if you like. Carry it home in a bag dangling from your handlebars.

It definitely takes more than twenty minutes.

But I will tell you that my Josephine pickups have been utterly reliable generators of smiles and warm feelings. I look forward to them, not just because “gotta eat,” but because they unlock my neighborhood, fill in the blank spaces on my mental map. And of course, it’s always fun to see the insides of other people’s houses.

The seriousness of Josephine’s cooks ranges widely. Some are clearly demi-professionals, as polished and efficient as Airbnb hosts; others seem surprised to have people in their kitchen. Some offer fat slices of cornbread as impulse buys; others seem happy to have finished their soup in time.

What unites them is this: They are your neighbors; they have cooked a dish of their own design; they have invited you into their home.

I flaked on a Josephine meal once, and as the pick-up window was closing, my phone rang. It was the cook. “I can leave it out for you,” she offered. I demurred. “Oh, okay,” she said. Her voice betrayed her disappointment. I felt bad all night.

* * *

Sprig started in 2013. Its four founders have tech-industry roots, and the company has raised around $50 million so far. (It is safe to assume the words "Uber for food" were uttered along the way.) Currently, you can order in San Francisco, Palo Alto, and Chicago—the last of which is clearly the test case for national expansion. The Sprig careers page advertises openings in Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle, Dallas, and Austin.

Josephine started in 2014. Its two founders also have tech-industry roots, and the company has raised around $600,000 so far. Mark Bittman recently joined its board of directors. Josephine’s home cooks are mainly scattered around Oakland and Berkeley. In October, the company listed its first batch of meals for San Francisco; on the day I’m writing, there are three home cooks in the city.

If Sprig projects an Amazon-like relentlessness, Josephine feels tenuous; some days, it seems almost too good for this world, too “eat your vegetables,” literally and figuratively. It’s convenient, but not THAT convenient. When it needs more cooks, it can’t simply hire them. Its viability in neighborhoods beyond the Bay Area will depend on instruments subtler than a war chest and an expansion playbook.

* * *

We are alive at a time when huge systems—industrial, infrastructural—are being remade, and I think it’s our responsibility as we make choices both commercial and civic—it’s just a light responsibility, don’t stress—to extrapolate forward, and ask ourselves: Is this a system I want to live inside? Is this a system fit for humans?

It’s like this:

Sprig-type operations drain agency and expertise out of the world. They centralize, aiming to build huge hubs with small spokes; their innermost mechanisms are hidden. They depend on humans behaving as interchangeable units of labor.

In the hypothetical future we can label Full Sprig, no one cooks who is not employed by this kind of company.

Josephine cultivates agency and expertise. It decentralizes, aims to build a dense mesh, neighborhood-scale; its mechanisms are public. It depends on humans developing their specific, idiosyncratic tastes and skills.

In the hypothetical future we can label Full Josephine, many people don’t cook, but some people cook a lot more, and better, than ever before, and all of us, cooks and non-cooks, derive pleasure from that. We meet on the sidewalk carrying warm veggie enchiladas.

What kills me is the plausibility of the Josephine future. This isn’t some utopian vision; there’s a scale model working in the East Bay today. Neighborhoods everywhere are full of cooks, or would-be cooks; the talent and the desire is thick on the ground.

Josephine employs the most basic tools of telecommunications to make a market and match “gotta eat” with “wanna cook.” This could be the system! The rumble in the belly, the business opportunity, the public-health crisis: The answer to all of it might be waiting next door.

We make these choices, bit by bit. I stopped ordering from Sprig back in the spring, because (a) I don’t like that future and (b) they sent me a truly sub-par chicken sandwich.

Every couple of weeks, or whenever I think of it, I check Josephine for something nearby. The food is always good, at least friend-cooking-dinner good and often better, but honestly, the future is what sells it."
robinsloan  systems  systemsthinking  2015  amazon  sprig  uber  efficiency  josephine  markbittman  decentralization  civics  society  neighborhoods  community  humanity  future  food  cooking  eating  slow  slowness  relentlessness  neighbors  neighborliness  dystopia  technosolutionism 
november 2015 by robertogreco
In Conversation | Perry Chen and Theaster Gates on Community-Driven Creativity - NYTimes.com
"The Kickstarter co-founder Perry Chen understands how communities can fuel creativity. The artist Theaster Gates knows how creativity can invigorate a community. What happens when they put their heads together?"



"Perry Chen: But everything comes from somewhere. I didn’t even know this till later on, but we found out that Mozart and Beethoven and Whitman and a lot of 19th-century authors used pre-Internet models like Kickstarter — you know, not just going to rich patrons or the Medici or the Church to get the big check, but people going to dozens or even hundreds of people to fund a creative work, a book where their names might be inscribed in the first edition or a concerto. And the Internet, as it can do, can scale things up and make this same model accessible to millions and billions of people."



"Gates: Your point about purposeful infrastructure is right, but I’m not the community do-gooder. I rehabbed my building, and the building across the street was jacked up, so I cleaned it up, because I didn’t want to look at it. I was really just being a good neighbor. I wasn’t trying to be like Mr. Community Builder Man."



"Gates: People try to create the box that defines the work that we do. I know a bunch of capitalists who put a spin on their hunger for a particular kind of capitalist end: they call it “social do-gooding.” But in fact, I want to kind of resist that and say, “Look, if there’s anything that ends up looking like an activist notion, it’s secondary to just doing the thing that I wanted to do.” The reality in the neighborhood that I live in is: if I don’t constantly reconcile what I have against what other people don’t, either I need to leave and be around other people who have what I have, or I’m constantly engaged in this kind of dynamic flow of opportunity and sharing. And that just feels like smart living. Like if my mom made too much food, she’d send a plate down the street. She doesn’t know how to cook greens for two people. She knew how to cook a pot."



"Gates: But happiness is funny. There are days that are really heavy and complicated and dark. And I think that if I were to look at the trajectory of life, what has been consistent is that there are highs and lows. I mean at the moment I found out that I was accepted into Documenta, my mom died. In a way I felt like, in late 2010, my mom’s death was the thing that somehow actually activated these other future opportunities. But there was tremendous sadness. So, there was a way in which these valences live next to each other all the time."
perrychen  teastergates  2013  creativity  art  socialpracticeart  purpose  neighbors  community  urbanplanning  janejacobs  urban  urbanism  neighborhoods  platforms  funding  crowdfunding  kickstarter  infrastructure  socialgood 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Social practice must be broad, or not at all – Some stuff I said on facebook with the really challenging, thoughtful, responses removed | Lebenskünstler
"Being a good mom, being a good dad, being a good neighbor – these things are every bit as urgent and political as self-consciously being “radical” no? Picking up trash along your street or bringing cookies to the school teacher are every bit as “socially engaged” as AIDS activist billboards, fossil fuel divestment die ins, or WTO protests. To me, politician, artist, activist are all professional designations (or always on the verge of being used in that manner) that certain activities are best left to those who identify as such. And that masks the political and aesthetic value people create (or destroy) in their everyday lives…so I totally agree that there are grandiose claims made for social practice, but this is no different than those made for radical political activism which also could be said “to ignore its increasingly professionalizing aspects while simultaneously insisting on its relevancy” All power to the people, even the dopey, unradical ones, even the cheese ball hug circle social practice do gooders, or the Wal-mart greeter that despite all the farcical theater of the smiley face low prices, is truly enthused and upbeat while greeting you."



"I at least stake my normative claim for an expansive social practice one that isn’t owned (exclusively) by art, academia, or activists. Something like – Social practice must be broad, or not at all."

[See also: https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:439d4d6072f7 ]
everyday  socialpractice  socialpracticeart  art  living  life  radicals  radicalism  randallszott  glvo  parenting  neighbors  2013  slow  small  amateurs 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Drones should be banned from private use, says Google's Eric Schmidt | Technology | The Guardian
"You're having a dispute with your neighbour," he hypothesised. "How would you feel if your neighbour went over and bought a commercial observation drone that they can launch from their back yard. It just flies over your house all day. How would you feel about it?"
drones  droneproject  ericschmidt  law  2013  technology  neighbors 
may 2013 by robertogreco
patfarenga.com — Don’t Let the Shadow of the Future Cloud Children’s Lives
"This obsession with The Future is, by definition, irresponsible. To be responsible is “to be able to respond” to someone or something. Since the future has yet to happen, one cannot possibly respond to it. The consequences of the obsession, both for individuals and for communities, are almost entirely negative.

…I think our future-obsessed educators misunderstand the true purpose of education. Education is the process by which people become responsibly mature members of their communities. If young people develop character, become familiar with their cultural inheritance and the wisdom of the past, and acquire the habits of mind that will help them think critically, they will find their way to productive adulthood.

By placing the use of the energy and talents of our youth in abeyance, by separating children from their parents and thereby undermining communities, and by irresponsibly presuming to know the future, educators participate in folly, the proportions of which resemble a modern form of idolatry…"
future  ivanillich  education  deschooling  unschooling  tcsnmy  cv  presence  community  communities  human  humans  learning  people  relationships  parenting  society  process  maturation  maturity  character  habitsofmind  adulthood  responsibility  irresponsibility  2011  slow  life  living  glvo  adolescence  lcproject  teaching  pedagogy  modeling  neighbors  meaning  servicelearning  service  wendellberry  bernardknox  wisdom 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Neighborhoods and community: Sense of community just a knock away - latimes.com
"The author asked himself: Do I live in a community or just in a house on a street of people whose lives are separate from my own? And he wondered: What if he could deliberately get to know these strangers? [by sleeping over at his neighbors' houses]
neighborhoods  community  neighbors  learning  conversation  rochester  newyork  social  socialexperiments 
april 2011 by robertogreco
NeighborGoods - NeighborGoods
"NeighborGoods is a safe community where you can save money and resources by sharing stuff with your friends. Need a ladder? Borrow it from your neighbor. Have a bike collecting dust in your closet? Lend it out and make a new friend."
community  sharing  local  collaboration  tools  socialnetworking  socialnetworks  postconsumerism  postmaterialism  spacesaving  neighborgoods  neighbors  renting  collaborativeconsumption  losangeles 
february 2011 by robertogreco
NeighborGoods Helps You Stop Buying, and Start Borrowing | Sheepless
"w/ the growing trend of collaborative consumption comes a host of companies eager to solve this dilemma. LA-based business NeighborGoods is one of the pioneers of this space, offering an easy to use social network that helps you borrow & lend out all kinds of things. The site includes tools to make you more comfortable with sharing your ladder/sewing machine/sleeping bag: borrowing history, peer ratings, optional verification system, & even a recently added panic button that leaves a public flag on offending parties profiles until dispute is resolved. You decide who you lend to (just friends, people in your neighborhood, people who have been verified) & can adjust settings for different tiers of people – e.g. friends can borrow my camera for free, but neighbors I don't know personally need to pay rental fee. & in case your food processor/gorilla costume/lawn mower is in high demand, NeighborGoods will help you keep organized w/ automated reminders and a reservation calendar."
neighborgoods  sharing  renting  postconsumerism  postmaterialism  collaborativeconsumption  spacesaving  neighbors  community  socialnetworking  socialnetworks  losangeles 
february 2011 by robertogreco

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