From the Stacks: September 1, 2006

Utne receives some 1,200 magazines, newsletters, journals,
weeklies, and zines. Add in hundreds of books, CDs, and DVDs, and
it’s a flood of media that lines the walls of our library and piles
high on our desks. All the ideas, people, and stories inspire
lively daily chatter, but they can’t all fit into our bimonthly
magazine. So we share the gems here in our weekly editions of ‘From
the Stacks.’ Check in every Friday for the freshest highlights of
the independent and alternative media.

Health-food guru
Alice Waters, founder of Berkeley’s eminent Chez Panisse
restaurant, guides the food-focused Sept. 11 issue of
the
Nation
. In the magazine’s first food-centric issue,
big-name contributors including Eric Schlosser, Michael Pollan,
Vandana Shiva, Jim Hightower, and Winona LaDuke parse the problems
in the world’s food system. The essays paint a disturbing picture
of the ways in which agribusiness and federal policy restrict our
diets and dictate cultural attitudes toward food. Also on the menu:
more detailed discussions of food activism, farming, Wal-Mart’s
organic move, and school lunches. — Danielle
Maestretti

Arriving none too soon, the summer issue
of Always
in Season
has meandered into the Utne library.
This edition of the quarterly newsletter created by
Mama
Donna’s Tea Garden and Healing Haven
is aptly dedicated to the
sun — that star so often associated with the gods throughout
history for its omnipresence. ‘Ritual Ragot’ looks at sun worship
and another piece examines ‘sun science.’ Also in this issue, Mama
Donna Henes? provides an account of her surreal experience eating
dinner in Sedona, Arizona, while watching a wildfire in the
distance and viewing news of the same fire on CNN. Finally, an ode
to the cucumber imparts methods for relief from the sweltering
summer heat with recipes for a cucumber facial, soup, and drinks.
— Suzanne Lindgren

The
newsletter Daughters was originally distributed as a
complement to the girls’ magazine
New Moon but has grown into its own
publication. Frank discussions of pressingly relevant topics make
it a?rich resource for parents. The September/October issue advises
moms and dads on difficult topics like talking with girls about
weight, eating, and exercise in a culture with dysfunctional
relationships toward all three; how to clue daughters in to
marketing schemes that feed on insecurities and dictate desire in
order to make a sale; and raising the issue of alcohol use with
children of all ages. — Suzanne Lindgren

Too often, environmental magazines can leave readers feeling
guilty and unhelpful to our needy planet. Canada’s
Natural Life rescues us from our eco-woes
in the September/October issue with an 8-page ‘Good News’ section.
Highlights of current, positive, and accessible environmental
change include short pieces on how recycling your old cell phone
can help raise money for gorilla habitats, a new online database
for gardening questions, and a unique coalition of the United
Steelworkers and the Sierra Club. Elsewhere, Robin Eisman shows us
how planting a new garden creates eco-habitats for displaced
pollinators in need. — Miriam Skurnick

The August issue
of Urbanite, a monthly magazine ‘for
Baltimore’s curious,’ takes a shot at the difficult task of
defining ‘place.’ For the etymological endeavor, writers share
experiences like the adventures in street parking that afforded
Bonnie J. Crockett the chance to meet some new faces in her
neighborhood. There’s also Melissa Faye Hess’ visit to the
disappearing Amish country and Marianne Amoss’ ‘favorite place to
be,’ MySpace.
One of the most encompassing definitions comes from Steve Graham,
founder of the journal The Cybercities Reader, as quoted
in Elizabeth A. Evitts’ editor’s note: ‘Place is about community
and identity, it’s about people’s perceptions of who they are and
where they live.’ — Rachel Anderson

In the
September/October issue of
Orion, the magazine takes on a topic that
usually doesn’t make it into the pages of environmental magazines:
violence. ‘[T]hough many people know that war is among the worst
possible things for the natural world,’ the editors explain,
‘landscape and violence are seldom part of the same conversation.’
Whether it’s the physical destruction visible in a post-Katrina
Gulf Coast, or the slow devastation of the species-rich grasslands,
Orion suggests humans and nature have been tangled in a
brawl that’s gone too far. Mark Kurlansky’s feature, ‘Nonviolence,’
questions whether people are inherently violent, or just stuck in a
history of conflict. ‘What if we lived in a world that had no word
for war other than nonpeace?’ he asks. ‘What kind of world would
that be?’ — Rachel Anderson

UTNE
UTNE
In-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.