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The Though Kitchen - Dedicated to Stirring the Pot

On The Road with Truck Farm

Posted by Alex | November 24th, 2010 | Filed under Grant for Change, Sustainability


[TruckFarm, and its founders Curt Ellis and Ian Cheney, are the 2010 recipients of our $10,000 Grant For Change. They sent us this update from the road, where they're growing and educating on the go. Learn more about the farm, and their upcoming film, at their website, truck-farm.com - Ed.]

Screen shot 2010-11-22 at 1.53.59 PMIt’s been a busy month for TRUCK FARM!

On October 19th , we participated in a small fundraiser for our friends at New Amsterdam Market, a new outdoors market near the Old Fulton Fish Market in Manhattan. For the fundraiser, Truck Farm produce was part of a festive autumn meal held in a small restaurant in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Ian Cheney gave a short presentation about the film & food project to a dozen invited guests.

A week later, Ian brought the truck to an after-school program at a local public school in Brooklyn, where kids tasted the truck?s sage, basil, tomatoes, arugula and other treats, before heading off to begin planting their own vegetables in an indoor greenhouse.

On Friday, November 5th, we were invited to share a sneak preview of the film TRUCK FARM at the Smithsonian in Washington DC, as part of their Food for Tomorrow symposium. The event was an enormous success; Truck Farm Screen shot 2010-11-22 at 1.53.45 PMmusician-in-residence Simon Beins played a set of music before the show, and several hundred people joined for the screening itself, which was followed by a cocktail reception in one of the museum’s Halls of Invention.

Returning back to New York City, we are now putting the final touches on TRUCK FARM the film, and we’re pleased to find our first saffron crocus emerging from the chilly November soil!

Design Eye: Getting Down

Posted by Alex | November 8th, 2010 | Filed under Design, Design Eye, Outdoor Sport


Today in The Thought Kitchen, we sit down with our Director of Design Peter Kallen to talk about the new down jackets in the Fall ’11 line. For the complete Design Eye series, click here.

The Thought Kitchen: How do you approach designing with down?

Peter Kallen: The main inspiration for working with down has always been that it’s this airy, cloud-like material. When designing around down, you just have to allow for that kind of soft volume, which is a great attribute to have since it makes things have a bit more presence to them. That can also be a negative a times if it can make you look like a Michelin man, but we’ve always prided ourselves in sculpting and tailoring the down so you get the benefit of the insulation, you get the sensation of the cloud-like experience where it surrounds you, but you don’t get this visual cue that you look like a stay-puff marshmallow.


The Men's Rheostat Down Jacket

TTK: What do you get about down that other designers miss?

PK: Most people think that if a little down is good, then more is better. For us, it’s about the quality of down that we use, and then using only as much as a silhouette needs. Finding that fine balance is what makes a down piece not overbearing or overwhelming visually. It goes back to how we tailor things and the quality of down that we use: we can use a smaller amount because the quality of the down we use is so high.

TTK: What’s unique about Nau’s new down jackets, the Rheostat and the Fathom?

PK: In the case of the Rheostat we baffled the inside of it and left the outside completely unstitched so that it could be completely waterproof, and it didn’t make you feel like you were in a traditional down jacket. It’s like putting a three layer waterproof jacket on top of a down jacket, but in one silhouette. For women, the Fathom has this stylish, sexy silhouette, but designed so that it doesn’t take away from providing the insulation that women—who are just so much more susceptible to the cold—really need. So the Fathom represents the best of the down world, combined with this very sleek and sculpted vibe that doesn’t look like a down piece, but warms like one.


The Women's Fathom Down Jacket

TTK: What have you learned about down through designing at Nau?

PK: At Nau, we work with the highest quality down, which has this somewhat unpredictable quality: you can squish it down flat as a pancake, and it will just loft itself back into this airy volume. So the key has been to understand how that volume translates onto the human body. But once you understand that, you see that the quality of down that is used in a jacket is the key to a great silhouette. That’s what we aim for.

10% Giving Guest Post: Ecotrust

Posted by Alex | November 8th, 2010 | Filed under Partners for Change

[Today, on the final day of our week-long pledge to donate 10% of sales on nau.com to our Partners For Change, The Thought Kitchen is pleased to share a  guest posts from Seth Walker from Ecotrust, a unique Portland-based organization inspiring fresh thinking to create economic opportunity, social equity and environmental well-being. -Ed.]

ecotrust_logo08We at Ecotrust were honored as one of Nau’s original change partners because, like Nau, we too believe in the need to build long-lasting communities that are more in tune with nature and the needs of local citizens. Our efforts over 20 years include founding the world’s first bank to lend money on social, economic and environmental priorities; we’ve also created a range of programs to help farmers, fishers, timber harvesters and others create more sustainable economies for themselves.

What inspires us toward this work? Many things, but perhaps nothing more than the lessons we learn from America’s original inhabitants. Tribes and First Nations are more than an ethnic or minority demographic – they hold long-range vision, sustainable societal values and a history of the land and marine ecosystems that goes back to “time immemorial.” Ecotrust works to marshal what resources it can to support tribal leaders because their leadership — and deeply expressed responsibility to community and homeland vitality — is necessary for a long-term sense of place in the growing global economy.

Press-RobertaEcotrust uses financial support from Nau’s Partners for Change program, in part, to support what is perhaps Ecotrust’s most important indigenous program – the Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award. This award has quietly become one of the most important resources for supporting tribal leaders in the West. Since its inception in 2001, the annual award has recognized more than 40 tribal leaders for their work as catalysts for better conditions in their communities.

The award itself makes a modest investment in the community and/or personal initiatives of these amazing leaders ($25,000 to the awardee, $5,000 each to four additional honorees). But the award is much more than money. Ecotrust invests in the involvement with a wide range of indigenous people from California, Nevada, western Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and the Canadian Provinces of British Columbia and Yukon Territories, because of a strongly held belief that the resulting cooperation and knowledge is beneficial for the entire bioregion. Recipients of the Ecotrust Award for Indigenous Leadership have accomplished great things, including founding an embassy in Washington, D.C. dedicated to the needs of Native Americans.

Without support from organizations such as Nau, efforts such as the Ecotrust Award for Indigenous Leadership simply wouldn’t be possible. Nau’s support is a positive catalyst for change, and it passes thru Ecotrust and to some of the most deserving and inspiring people in our bioregion. The next award ceremony will be held at Ecotrust in Portland on December 2, 2010. Please consider purchasing a ticket on our website and joining us as this important, annual cultural event.

The Provacateurs: New Portrait Films

Posted by Alex | October 28th, 2010 | Filed under Bikes, Design, Personal Reflection, Positive Change, Who We Are

Have you caught the film profiles accompanying Nau’s new portrait series, The Provacateurs? Going behind the scenes of photographer Eden Batki’s location shoots, filmmakers Thomas Oliver and Jordan Strong capture the subjects of this seasons portraits at work. Check out the first four profiles, launched last week at nau.com, or have a look at these two new clips, which just dropped Tuesday:


What’s not to love about Daniel Sharp? We first hired him to shoot with us three years ago, and he’s been the principal photographer for Nau ever since. His photos are spontaneous and real, smart and unfettered, which, we’ve found, is a lot like him.


Designer by day, cyclist all the time, Shannon Holt doesn’t draw a line between her work and her play. After designing a cycling jersey four years ago that spun the notion of cycling attire on its head (goodbye corporate logos), a new anti-brand was born.

You can find all of Nau’s Portraits at nau.com: Men’s here, Women’s here.

On Repeat: Caribou

Posted by Eugénie | September 23rd, 2010 | Filed under Music

Caribou[An occasional update on what we're listening to now. - Ed]

For reasons I won’t go into here, I live in a place dubbed the Caribou Cottage. The name hails from the animal itself, which is, in my opinion, among the most magnificent on the planet.

Caribou is also a fun word to say (especially when loud, and with a long drawn-out boooo at the end), and it has over the years inspired some very badass musical moments. Moments that I have been playing on repeat lately. Who knows why. None of this music is new. I am thinking it is because of the place where I live. When I hear mention of the mighty Caribou, I listen.

For some newer funky beats, try Odessa, by Caribou (the band). And for a classic, give Caribou (the song) a listen, by The Pixies.

G4C: An Update From The Truck Farm

Posted by Alex | September 21st, 2010 | Filed under Grant for Change, Partnerships, Sustainability

Screen shot 2010-09-21 at 1.15.20 PM

[In July, we named TruckFarm, and its founders Curt Ellis and Ian Cheney, the recipients of our 2010 Grant For Change. Recently they've been on the road, swinging through Portland for our upcoming Portraits photo series (see Eugénie's blog post from last week for more) and seeking out a West Coast Truck Farm cousin. Readers of The Thought Kitchen with an old truck and an interest in getting involved with this great crew should get in touch with us—we'll put you in contact with Ian and Curt. Once you have the truck, setting up the farm costs a mere $300.) - Ed.]

Screen shot 2010-09-21 at 1.15.42 PMTruck farmer Ian Cheney traveled to Denver, CO with cinematographer Taylor Gentry to visit Truck Farm’s first sibling: Denver Urban Truck Farm. The owners of this beautiful ’66 Ford, Ashleigh and Ryan, provided a quick tour of the bed (which featured tomatoes, parsley, hot peppers, and a va- riety of herbs), and then a joyride through downtown complete with a visit to a suburban farmer’s market. Ian noted that the Denver Truck Farm was much more organized than his Brooklyn farm, which at the onset of fall was beginning to get jungly.

Screen shot 2010-09-21 at 1.15.49 PMEditing continued on the documentary film, with songwriting and animation galore. Although only at a rough cut stage, the film is being sent off to festivals in the hopes of landing a strong premiere early in 2011. We are exploring ways of heating the greenhouse in case the old Dodge needs to make a winter appearance at a film festival somewhere…

Cooler weather on the Brooklyn streets allowed Ian to plan another round of lettuces, kale, and swiss chard, in addition to this year’s experiment: saffron! Saffron crocus bulbs will allegedly bloom in October, yielding, if all works out, our tiniest crop yet…stay tuned!

Kiva Walk

Posted by Alex | September 10th, 2010 | Filed under Partners for Change, Positive Change


Our Partners For Change at Kiva.org recently shared an update from Jonathon Stalls, whose KivaWalk cross-country trek is a great example of an individual inspiring a community to create change. Along with his dog Kanoa, Jon has completed 173 days and over 2,100 miles of KivaWalk, a cross-country walk raising awareness of Kiva’s work and engaging people to build lending communities.

From the people he’s met on the road to the readers who follow his daily blog updates, Jonathon’s built a lending community of 334 people, who, through Kiva’s micro-loan program, have generated over a quarter million dollars in loans. (Seriously. $282,950! That’s amazing.) From Cambodia to Senegal to Peru, Jonathon’s walk is having an impact in the lives of people around the globe.

Want to lend a hand? Become member 335 of the KivaWalk Team and make a loan to one of Kiva’s many worthy entrepreneurs. You can also aid Jon in completing his walk: in a few weeks, he will be crossing into Eastern Nevada and looking for help with food and water drops; if you know anyone between Eureka and Fallon, NV, drop Jon a line at kivawalk@gmail.com. Also, all are encouraged to join him for the final miles walking into San Francisco on Saturday, November 13th. Denizens of the Bay Area, mark your calendars!

(via Kiva)

On Repeat: Go Outside

Posted by Eugénie | August 24th, 2010 | Filed under Music

Screen shot 2010-08-23 at 6.15.08 PM[An occasional update on what some of us are listening to now. - Ed.]

I am addicted to this song. I play it right when I wake up, and just before I go to bed. And then I dream about it.

<a href="http://cults.bandcamp.com/track/go-outside">Go Outside by Cults</a>

This song, along with the rest of The Cults new album, is available as a free download here.

Five Questions For The G4C Finalists

Posted by Alex | July 20th, 2010 | Filed under Grant for Change


The 2010 Grant For Change has entered its final stage, with ten finalists vying for the $10,000 award. Five of the ten were chosen by you, the public, by garnering the highest vote counts. Nau chose an additional five, for the integrity of the projects and their relationship to design. Each of the top ten Finalists deserve a place in the spotlight.

To help our judges make their decision, we’ve asked the finalists tell us more about themselves, their project goals, and their dedication to design as a tool for positive change. And to help you learn more about each of these worthy groups, over the next week, The Thought Kitchen will share their responses to these five questions:

1) What projects and changemakers inspire you in your efforts? 
2) If you could meet with anyone in the world to talk about your project, who would it be?
3) What’s playing on your mp3 player these days?
4) Making lasting change requires long term vision. Where would you like to see your project in 5 years?
5) What inspired you personally to become involved in this project? Why is it meaningful to you?

Check back every day between now and July 27th, when we’ll announce the 2010 Grant For Change recipient.

Infographing the Deepwater Horizon

Posted by Alex | July 14th, 2010 | Filed under Uncategorized

It’s been twelve weeks since the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig blew up and began spewing oil into the gulf. Here, to put some perspective on the spill so far, are two great infographics on the spill, and what it’s costing to clean up.

Just more evidence that a picture can be worth a thousand words. Especially when that picture has numbers on it.

The Ecological and Health Consequences of the Oil Spill

Who is Cleaning The Oil Spill
Via: Travel Insurance