About six months ago, I found myself standing in the middle of the International Rescue Committee’s New Roots community farm in the City Heights section of San Diego. It was there that I met Luchia, a refugee from Uganda who now lives with her daughters in City Heights. She is one of the strongest, most determined women I have ever met, so beautiful and proud.
She was there to meet me, show me her garden plot, and then, take me home to cook traditional Ugandan fare. When we met it was actually a little chilly out and her natural instinct was to wrap her arms around me, making sure that her scarf was wrapped around me too. Needless to say, it was an instant connection and she welcomed me within a heartbeat.
Over the past five years the IRC has been building its New Roots program – a program which connects refugees, newly arrived in the United States, with the land and helps them integrate into their communities. To date, the IRC has been able to establish community gardens and farms in 11 of the 22 cities where they help refugees restart the lives.
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Dunkin' Donuts' bid to tout their java exclusively as "Best coffee in America" has been refused by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on the grounds that the desired trademark is "merely laudatory and descriptive of the alleged merit of applicant’s services and the goods featured therein," according to the Boston Globe.
For those readers not in the habit of deeply perusing the USPTO's website as part of their leisure reading, "coffee" is defined as "a hot, slightly bitter drink made by pouring hot water over brown powder consisting of coffee beans that have been ground" and "best" as "used for referring to the person or thing that is the most satisfactory, appropriate, pleasant, effective, of the highest quality, etc."
Here in the cold, dark, horrible nub end months of the year, I jam clementines into my mouth like it's my job. Two, four, six at a sitting, I'll dig the edge of my least-ragged nail into the rind and claw away the loose skin to reveal the dewy, seedless segments inside. Rinds pile up in pungent heaps on every flat surface around me - exoskeletons shed by sweet-blooded alien insects that have come to Earth to lift me from my seasonal funk.
I'd stop and take them to a trash bin, but that would mean precious seconds not spent stuffing oranges into my face in the manner of a crazed bonobo. I will set upon a cheap, plywood crate or red net sack full of clementines and dispatch quarters, thirds, halves at a time until there is nothing left but a fine mist of citrus oil coating all nearby surfaces like a cheery arterial spray.
I am certain it is horrifying to watch, and it is in the best interest of all my personal and professional relationships that these little fruits are only available for a brief period each winter.