London's abandoned rail and tube lines have been put to many novel uses down the years functioning as bomb shelters, impromptu party venues and film sets for Hollywood movies.
But a new idea to create a mushroom garden in a tunnel beneath Oxford Street is perhaps one of the more unconventional attempts to breathe new life into the UK capital's forgotten subterranean murk.
"Pop Down" imagines a section of the defunct "Mail Rail" tunnel - a narrow gauge railway used for transporting mail around London which closed in 2003 - being repurposed as a mushroom farm and pedestrian walkway lit at street level by glass-fiber, mushroom-shaped sculptures.
Read the full story: "Mushroom garden" offers tunnel vision for a greener London
Miranda Lynch believes a vegetable garden has the power to revolutionize a community.
It's the idea behind of Isipho, the nonprofit organization Lynch conceived when she was just 12 years old. It all started in 2008 when her father, Tom, won a trip to South Africa at an auction.
The father-daughter adventure began with a stay on a wild game reserve in KwaZulu-Natal. Assuming it would be the only time he and his daughter would set foot in South Africa, Tom wanted Miranda to see more than the commercialized landscape of the reserve.
"It was important, as she was turning 13 that year, for her to see that the world that she knew was not the entire world," Tom says.
Bees, bees, everywhere! 50,000 of them - on purpose.
Editor's note: Dr. Aaron E. Carroll is an associate professor of pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine and the director of the university's Center for Health Policy and Professionalism Research. He blogs about health policy at The Incidental Economist and tweets at @aaronecarroll.
I like to joke that the difference between other places I've lived and Indiana is that seeing a goat or a chicken used to be a field trip; now it's my commute. Humor aside, though, one of the perks of living much closer to farmland is the access that we have to amazingly fresh food. I haven't always been the healthiest of eaters, but in recent years that has changed. Two summers ago, we participated in a "farm share," where every week we would get a box of organically raised produce.
It's not an understatement to say that this completely redefined the eating habits of my family. We went from a meat-heavy diet to a much more vegetable-oriented one. My wife became much more concerned with how our food was raised and processed. Before long, she was near-obsessed with whether our food was "organic."
Stacy Cowley is CNNMoney's tech editor. She's in a complicated relationship with her CSA and explores the odd vegetables that show up in her haul in CSI: CSA. Previously, she fell in love with the weirdness of kohlrabi.
I have a zucchini the size of a baseball bat lurking on my fridge’s bottom shelf. It has a pack of cousins jammed into the veggie drawer, and my freezer is stuffed with roughly seventeen zillion pounds of squash creations.
It’s the problem every CSA subscriber or veggie gardener faces all summer long: The zucchini explosion.
These things are the rabbits of the plant world. During a long, dry July stretch when practically nothing else was coming up at my CSA’s farm, the zucchini merrily ran rampant. We got massive hauls of it each week; the leftover squash took to leaping off the vines and accosting those who wandered past. I’ve known home gardeners who become like drug pushers: “Oh, you have to take some of my zucchini home with you! No really, take some damn zucchini.”
After some pressure from the online home brewing community that included a petition on the White House website and a Freedom of Information Act request, the Obama administration gave in Saturday and released its homemade beer recipe.
In a post on the White House Blog, head chef Sam Kass posted the recipes for two beers brewed on the grounds of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the White House Honey Ale and Honey Porter. Both beers are made using honey harvested from the White House bee hive.
Stacy Cowley is CNNMoney's tech editor. She's in a complicated relationship with her CSA and explores the odd vegetables that show up in her haul in CSI: CSA. Previously, she discovered the weedy joys of purslane.
If you’ve got kohlrabi in your fridge, you’re probably in a CSA. I’ve never met a single person who has procured a kohlrabi in the wild*.
I’d certainly never run across one until my CSA started sticking them in its shares. With most new produce, I can at least take a guess at its likely texture and taste. With kohlrabi, I had absolutely no clue. Its appearance has famously been described by nutritionist Jonny Bowden as “a cross between an octopus and a space capsule."
Lacking any idea where to start, I hit the Internets. First step: Figuring out what to make. Kohlrabi turns out to be obscure but incredibly versatile - you can use it in pretty much anything that works well with root vegetables, but it will also stretch in unusual directions.
What hometown food do you crave like crazy? How far out of the way have you gone for an idiosyncratic food? Let us know in the comments below.
From affiliate WHDH.
Tracie McMillan adapted this essay in part from her reporting for The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table. She is a Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism and a 2013 Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan . You can follow her @TMMcMillan.
A few months ago, a small farmer in the Northeast approached me at a conference, intense and red-faced. How could I say that Americans shouldn’t pay more for their food?
She sold lettuce and beets to well-heeled women, their ears dangling gold and fingers sporting diamonds. Yet many of them balked at the prospect of paying an extra dollar per pound. To grow her food without extensive chemicals, and to sell her wares at market, she needed to fetch a higher price. Surely, couldn't these women could pay more?
Well, yes, I conceded, those women could probably afford to pay more. That doesn’t mean we have to. Because it’s not the farmers who get most of the money we spend on food. It’s everyone who's standing past the farm gate.
“I’m not going to eat the purslane,” my friend Amy announced as we collected our CSA shares. “I grew up weeding that ^%$#.”
My CSA often coughs up veggies and greens you don’t usually see in the supermarket, but until Amy foisted her purslane share on me, I hadn’t realized the haul would include actual weeds.
Amy, who comes from rural Colorado, says she used to spend hours each week as a kid hunting down purslane shoots and fighting their attempts to take over her family’s vegetable patch. The USDA classifies it as “invasive and noxious.” Google its official name, “portulaca oleracea,” and you’ll get a long list of advice on killing it; Google “purslane” and you get tips for cooking it.