The exotic nature of local: or why generic foreign gifts suck

On Christmas Eve, why not discuss gifts.

For, what, the past few hundred years, the more far-flung and exotic the purchase or discovery, the better. Those emotions are mixed up into colonialism and exploration and Manifest Destiny and so many human and American spirits that I don’t care to explore them.

But I think there’s something changing there.

In 2005, I spent a small fortune in the local currency on hand-crafted wood carvings and jewelry from new friends and acquaintances in a Ghanian mountain village, all to be given to friends and family at home. I was back home for no more than two weeks before I showed off a necklace I was particularly fond of and someone remarked how similar it was to something she had seen at Target.


I was brought back to this thought and what it means by a great last-page essay in the strong Philadelphia sustainability magazine Grid.

Continue reading The exotic nature of local: or why generic foreign gifts suck

Grid magazine: Dansko, a responsible shoe company


Earlier this summer, I did some reporting for sustainability publication Grid magazine about Dansko, a suburban-Philadelphia durable footwear company that specializes in clogs. Unfortunately I couldn’t finish the story for some personal reasons.

Still, you should see the final product by Natalie Hope McDonald on Page 10 here, and check out the whole mag, which is an interesting niche news startup in Philadelphia.

Below read some of the content that I didn’t get the chance to use.

Continue reading Grid magazine: Dansko, a responsible shoe company

Grid magazine: Philadelphia factories are repurposed sustainably

Courtesy of Grid magazine
Courtesy of Grid magazine

The sustainable renovation of the Globe Dye Works, a former manufacturing complex in the Frankford neighborhood of Northeast Philadelphia, is the focus of a story I have in Grid magazine this month.

For five generations and 140 years, the Globe Dye Works dyed and wound yarn, and employed hundreds at its peak. In 2005, unable to continue fighting the globalization and outsourcing that moved other businesses, Globe closed, ending another vestige of Philadelphia’s past as the Workshop of the World. Its 11 buildings and 165,000 square feet, located off Torresdale Avenue in the Frankford area of Northeast Philadelphia, were shuttered and left vacant. Read more here [PDF].

Check out the PDF and read the story on Page 18.

I also did a small feature on Globe Dye Works for NEast Philly. Grid is a fairly new magazine focused on Philadelphia sustainability and environmentalism, and it’s quickly growing attention for good reporting and sharp design. I’m proud to be a part.

Below see what didn’t make it into print.

Continue reading Grid magazine: Philadelphia factories are repurposed sustainably