Category Archives: Orion

The Urban Kiwi

August 2006

A group of neighbors stood chatting by the side of the road in a leafy park in West Oakland, California. Though this is one of the poorest parts of the San Francisco Bay Area, a scene soon unfolded that calls to mind a happy yesteryear of milk delivery and Good Humor men: a boxy van turned down Poplar Street towards the group, who moved expectantly to the curb. But there’s a modern twist: hip hop beats thumped from the orange and purple van’s solar-powered speaker system. Graffiti-style lettering on the side announced “Fresh Produce! Natural Foods!”

This funky van is the Mobile Market, the most visible part of People’s Grocery, a young organization that believes food is the key to the future of West Oakland. The biodiesel-fueled van is cleverly designed so that, when it’s parked by the side of the road with its ramp extended, it is a fully-stocked but very tiny natural foods store. Sumptuous organic produce nestles under a row of bulk hoppers dispensing organic cereals. A small shelf of skin care potions hangs next to a little glass-fronted fridge that entices shoppers with juice blends and natural sodas. Customers wonder in and out of the van, maneuvering baskets as though it were any other food store. (more…)

Posted in Magazines, Orion

Leaving No Trace

Winter 2004

At the end of last summer, thirty thousand people gathered on the playa of Lake Lahontan, a dry Ice Age lakebed in Nevada’s Basin and Range. As we do each year, we brought enough food, water, and shelter to survive in the harsh and unpredictable Black Rock Desert for a week. (more…)

Posted in Magazines, Orion