Posts filed under Local

Rediscovering Recycling

Recently in the United States, the recycling movement is under attack. The federal government is dismantling one major environmental policy after another, and new quality-based restrictions by Chinese scrap buyers have sent the value of many recyclables into a free fall. This is hurting all recyclers, but especially those in Michigan, where landfill overcapacity had already put recycling at a disadvantage. 

Posted on January 8, 2019 and filed under Columns, Green Living, Issue 71, Local.

An Interview with Billie Wahlen, practitioner of the Sat Nam Rasayan® Healing Technique

Sat Nam Rasayan is the name of a sacred healing technique that has recently become available in Ann Arbor, through Billie Wahlen (also known as Mohinder Singh). Wahlen is a gifted healer and massage therapist, and is well-established and known in Ann Arbor’s healing and bodywork subcultures.

Posted on January 1, 2019 and filed under Healing, Interviews, Issue 71, Local, Wellness, Yoga.

The Crazy Wisdom Interview with Dr. Molly McMullen-Laird and Dr. Quentin McMullen, Founders of the Rudolf Steiner Health Center, on Anthroposophic Medicine

Quentin McMullen and Molly McMullen-Laird are a husband-and-wife doctor team and the founders of Rudolf Steiner Health Center, which is one of Ann Arbor’s leading alternative medical practices. Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, Steiner Health is unique as a “community-supported medical practice,” and it focuses on anthroposophic medicine, which combines conventional and integrative approaches to medicine and is based on the teachings of Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner.

Marrying Dance and Yoga--An interview with Navtej Johar

Interview with Navtej Johar (E-RYT 500) a senior and longtime student of TKV Desikachar. A dancer by profession, he has been teaching yoga since 1985.  He is the founder of the Poorna Center for Embodied Practices and also teaches at Inward Bound Yoga in Ann Arbor.  

Posted on January 1, 2019 and filed under Art & Craft, Calendar Essays, Exercise, Interviews, Issue 71, Local, Yoga.

Strike Up The Band ~ The Right Time, And Some Unusual Options, For Kids Music Lessons in Ann Arbor

If you have never had a kid leave trombone spit on your floor, you haven’t really lived. Seriously though, parenting kids through music lessons can be a unique and rewarding experience. Music lessons really teach kids a different set of life skills than they could get from any other activity — from self-awareness to fine motor skills to better listening and introduction to meditation. Today there are tons of options that fit every family, schedule, and kid.

Posted on January 1, 2019 and filed under Children, Columns, Issue 71, Local, Music, Parenting.

Support Your Local Farmers and Growers--Even in the Winter!

Artwork by Caitlyn Muncy

Artwork by Caitlyn Muncy

By Angela Madaras 


Yes! You can support our local farmers and growers even in the winter months. Most of us know that eating fresh food grown locally is better for both our bodies and our environment and like to support farmers during traditional growing and harvesting seasons. We also know that the average backyard farmer can’t grow produce in the snow. However, there are many local farmers who can grow all year long due to having hoop houses (greenhouses) that keep the air and soil warmer than what most Michiganders are experiencing in mid-January. BRRR! This technique of greenhouse growing allows the consumer to benefit from locally grown food even in the cold months.

So what kind of produce can you expect at a winter farmer’s market? Potatoes, greens, sprouts, herbs, garlic, spinach, sprouts, lettuces, carrots, as well as pork, beef, lamb, chicken, and honey to start! By shopping at a local farmer’s market you will eat seasonally fresh and ripe produce. What could be better than that? They also sell storable foods such as winter squash, dried beans, grains, and dried herbs. Think of your grandma’s root cellar. Jams, jellies, canned goods, baked goodies, cheese and dairy products, pickles, and even jerky can be preserved along with sauerkraut and kimchi. Most markets also carry art, handmade crafts, furniture, jewelry, and body care products.


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What are you waiting for? Find a winter market near you!

Ann Arbor Farmers Market
315 Detroit St.
Ann Arbor, MI
Winter hours: Saturday, 8 AM - 3 PM www.a2gov.org/market

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Saline Farmers Market
At the Liberty School
7265 Saline Ann Arbor Rd. (turn on Thibault Lane)
Saline, MI
Winter Hours: Saturday, 9 AM - Noon (Nov. - April)
No market Nov. 10th or Mar. 16th www.cityofsaline.org/farmersmarket

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Ypsilanti Farmers Market •Downtown
16 S. Washington St.
Ypsilanti, MI
Winter Hours: Tuesday, 3 PM - 7 PM growinghope.net/farmers-markets/ypsilanti

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Chelsea Farmers Market
At the Washington St. Education Center, Building 100 cafeteria
500 Washington St.
Chelsea, MI
Winter Hours: Saturday, 10 AM -2 PM (Nov.3-Dec.29) chelseafarmersmkt.org

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Webster Farmers Market
At the Crossroads Community Center
5501 Webster Church Rd, Dexter, Michigan
Dexter, MI
•Winter Hours: Sunday 12 PM - 3 PM, except third Sunday www.websterfarmersmarket.org


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Argus Farm Stop
Two locations!
1200 Packard Rd or 

325 W Liberty St Ann Arbor, MI
Year Round, Weekdays 7 AM – 7 PM, Saturday 7 AM – 6 PM, Sunday 8 AM – 6 PM www.argusfarmstop.com

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Crysta Goes Visiting

By Crysta Coburn

Hitting the Stage with Kristin Danko

You could not meet a more upbeat and passionate person than Kristin Danko, the executive creative director of Ypsilanti’s newest theatre company, Neighborhood Theatre Group (NTG). Kristin and her partner, Aaron Dean, founded the company after spending years in Chicago’s experimental theatre scene. Kristin, who holds bachelor’s degrees in both theatre and music and a master’s degree in arts administration from Eastern Michigan University, brought her talents to Ypsilanti in 2013. Why did she leave the Windy City for our little Ypsi? I sat down with her at Sweetwaters Coffee and Tea in Ypsilanti, across the street from her alma mater, to find out.

After seven and a half years in Chicago, Kristin had tried her hand at everything from storefront theatre and musicals to improv and comedy. She loved it all, but …“I got really tired of acting,” she told me. “I wasn’t feeling challenged, and I wanted to challenge myself in theatre in a new way.”

So when she was accepted into EMU’s graduate school, she and her partner packed up and headed to Michigan. They originally looked at living in Ann Arbor but were shocked to discover that rental prices were comparable to what they had been paying in Chicago. They found themselves more attracted to the DIY-vibe of Ypsilanti, and also liked the quirkiness of the city. They’ve lived in Ypsi for over two years now and have no plans to leave.

“There is so much talent here!” Kristin gushed, but she also lamented that there aren’t enough outlets for actors to pursue after graduation. She and the whole NTG crew hope to change that by becoming the “premier experimental theatre for Ypsilanti,” a place where actors can get their start and experiment with original shows. “New theatre companies are a dime a dozen in Chicago,” she said. “[Ypsilanti has] more opportunity to explore the art form.”

The NTG will be performing a cabaret show March 24 to 26 at Ypsilanti’s Back Office Studio, where Kristin is also Artist in Residence. They will also perform a weekly sketch show at the same studio starting Fridays in May. The goal is to get their own space, but for now they are thrilled with the support they’re receiving from the community.

What Kristin finds so magical about theatre is the “connection of energy” between the audience and the performers. “You’re creating something with a group of people that’s bigger than you. Once you perform, we get to all go through this together.” The excitement is contagious. I can’t wait to see what Kristin and NTG come up with next!

Contact Kristin at neighborhoodtheatregroup@gmail.com. Follow NTG on Facebook at facebook.com/neighborhoodtheatregroup, on Twitter @NTGYpsi, and on Instagram @NeighborhoodTheatreGroup.

Crafting Up Something Fun with Celena Lopez

Celena Lopez of Ypsilanti is an independent, clever, and crafty lady. She has made handcrafted blankets for all of her friends’ babies, mostly knitted, but “the last one was quilted because I ran out of time.” I don’t generally think of quilting as a quick and easy task. That’s the kind of can-do attitude that Celena brings to her projects. She may not always know how or when a project will get done, but it will get done, and in my opinion, it will be beautiful and carefully and professionally finished.

After her first year in the world of D.I.Y. craft fairs, Celena had already graduated from sharing a table at Ypsilanti’s twice yearly show DIYpsi to having a full table all to herself. She has also traveled for out-of-state craft fairs, such as Handmade Toledo Maker’s Mart. She sells under the name Diosa de la Luna. Her wares can be found year round through her online shop and at the Eyrie located in Ypsilanti’s historic Depot Town, a store that features only Michigan-made products by local artists and crafters.

It was the Eyrie’s owner Janette Rook, a friend, who initially started Celena on her path to selling. As Celena puts it, “She said one day, ‘I know you’re a crafty person, why aren’t I selling your stuff?’” Another friend and independent artist Marcy Davy of All Things Grow also encouraged Celena to get involved in craft shows.

After thinking hard about what she could sell, Celena settled on her beloved Ypsilanti’s iconic (and infamous) water tower, knitting its image into dish cloths and sewing felt pieces onto fabric framed in wooden embroidery hoops. The tower has also been turned into a stuffed toy and anthropomorphized with big eyes and a “hair” bow for a female tower or a bow tie for male. Both are adorable. She has branched out into other hoop designs since. (I purchased one depicting a jar of fireflies that made the perfect housewarming gift for a friend who moved to California, where they don’t have fireflies.)

Recently, Celena has moved into becoming an independent sales rep for other artists “specializ[ing] in connecting wholesale buyers with artists of trendy paper goods and gift items.” She explained to me that with her finding the buyers, the artists can concentrate on creating, allowing them more time to meet product demands.

This hasn’t slowed her down too much, though. She still works on her own art while also holding down an hourly part-time job and finds time for outdoor adventuring with her husband, Ben, and their too cute Pomeranian, Asher. This last year, Celena successfully trained for and completed Ypsilanti’s Color Run despite the arthritis in her ankle caused by an injury, which just proves this woman will take on anything! And win.

You can email Celena at contact@celenalopez.com and find her online at both diosadelaluna.weebly.com and celenalopez.com, or like her on Facebook at facebook.com/DiosadelaLunaDecor.

A Look at Ayurveda with Andrea Ridgard

The word Ayurveda is made up of two Sanskrit words, ‘ayur’ (life) and ‘veda’ (study or science). Andrea Ridgard is a bright and passionate local Ayurveda healer and practitioner who was gracious enough to sit and talk with me. She explained that Ayurveda goes beyond just “the study of life” — it can also mean the study of one’s self. As Andrea put it, Ayurveda is “asking yourself ‘Who am I?’”

“The base line is the five elements,” said Andrea, which are earth, water, fire, air, and ether. They come together in pairs to make the three vital energies called doshas. As a healer, Andrea is looking for what has come out of alignment, something that “feels off,” between these energies. She pays particular attention to skin, eyes, and digestion. “A healthy digestion equals a healthy constitution!” (This is why Ayurveda is so frequently tied to diet.) When something feels off, such as sluggishness, sudden insomnia, and constipation, “you’re not aligning with yourself.”

When a patient sees Andrea for the first time, she has them fill out a form that asks many questions about lifestyle. She told me this is often enlightening for the patient because they start to notice patterns and habits in their lives that they never realized before. Sometimes it’s, “Wow! I have no routine!,” which can be stressful on a body.

Andrea is not likely to prescribe treatments like taking herbs, which she has less knowledge of. As a hatha yoga instructor (yoga is a sister study of Ayurveda), she is more likely to suggest that a patient practice a certain posture for a 30-day stretch and take notice of any changes that occur in his or her body. She described Ayurveda as a “slow science,” not a magic pill. “Patients need to take on some responsibility,” she said. “It can be a very big lifestyle change for people to slow down. There’s a lot to miss when we’re rushing.” She sees being an Ayurvedic healer as “an invitation to stand beside someone and help them on their healing.” She will refer patients to others who are more capable of helping when possible.

One simple practice Andrea advises for anyone is to start the day with a cup of hot water. (The amount and temperature is up to how much the individual can stand.) This will warm up the digestive tract, making it easier for the body to process food, and it will ease constipation better than coffee. I started it myself. I’m not a morning person and often skip breakfast. Now I feel more settled and ready for food in the mornings. Try it and see what you think!

Contact Andrea at andrea@groundedhere.com. For more information and a list of her class offerings, head to groundedhere.com.

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