Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category
Looking for a gift this holiday season? If you’re hoping to stick with local gifts this year we have a great idea for you. Our holiday gift baskets are full of local goodies, wrapped in reusable containers, and crafted to make your holidays full of joy.
We love options, so we have a tea themed basket and a coffee themed basket. Check out the pictures below for more details.
They’re available in.store now, happy holidays!
in.gredients Coffee Holiday Basket
in.gredients Tea Holiday Basket
At in.gredients, you don’t have to stress over product labels. We make finding healthy food with pure ingredients easy for our customers by, well, only selling healthy food with pure ingredients.
While many stores sell healthy food with “real” ingredients, few will carry only real foods. It’s common to have to constantly read product labels to make sure you’re buying something without artificial fillers or color dyes, since real foods are mixed with other products that wouldn’t fit the same bill.
We want to make it easy for you to shop at our store – easy to make good decisions. So we’ve weeded out what’s not “real” (for our definition of that, read here). Having a small store helps a lot with that. Don’t worry, we’ll still have product labels – but you won’t have to read them to learn what chemicals you’re eating.
(image: Patrick Lane Photography)
According to the The New York Times, while “local farm sales are becoming more stable, predictable, and measurable,” big agriculture’s struggling to find labor, causing its price advantage over locally-grown food to slowly shrink. Indeed, the local food movement‘s creating a “vibrant new economic laboratory for American agriculture.” Just another reason to, as they say, “go local”!
We’re looking forward to supporting local food producers when we open. Soon.
(image: Napa Farmhouse)
Christopher’s an all-star developer and partner/consultant with Praecipio Consulting and a part of in.gredients‘ founding team.
Basic programming: how computers make decisions
Computers are great at solving certain problems – and terrible at solving others.
In its classic model the computer was programmed to make a “choice” given a set of rules that are obeyed. If anything changed, a program wasn’t equipped to adapt. This is great if the computer is, for example, playing chess – it just needs to know the few million possible configurations, play out every game to the end in its head, and choose the move that means it’s most likely to win.
Many computer programs implement an algorithm or a repeatable set of “choices.” They aren’t really choices, though, because the computer will choose the same way every time. To get a program to behave a particular way it has to be programmed to pick exactly the right path. For example, if you’re hungry, get some food – unless you have to go to the bathroom, and in that case go to the bathroom first. Given this flow, the program will never consider if the house is on fire and will burn up. It will also never deviate from its path even if what it “chooses” doesn’t make sense given the bigger picture.
What’s behavioral programming, and why’s it different?
Behavioral programming, however, is bio-mimicry – a way of programming computers to act more like plants and animals so they’re better suited to adapt to change. A set of behaviors are programmed in and depending on the most pressing need, a behavior emerges. Think of The Sims. If you’re hungry, go get food. But if you have to go to the bathroom food may need to wait… that is, unless the house is on fire. You’re still limited by the behaviors you’ve learned, but are more free to choose which behavior best fits your current environment. As the environment changes, so may the best choice.
So what could this possibly have to do with in.gredients?
Glad you asked!
We’re often asked how we select our products – i.e., what criteria’s most important in choosing products for the store. It’s hard to say “Term A” is more important than “Term B” because in the real world few things are so cut-and-dry. Today’s world is a complex array of terms both positive and negative, often with loose definitions like “natural.” Terms like organic, beyond-organic, biodynamic, local, heirloom, sustainable, green, natural, free-range, cage-free, pastured, grass-fed, grass-finished, GMO, chemical, big-ag, and toxic are thrown around. Organic actually has a legal meaning, but there’s a lot of variation in how it’s applied. Most of the others vary wildly in what they mean. Often times, a non-certified organic small farm may be a better environmental steward than a large national organic brand. It’s a complex field to navigate.
At in.gredients we take each product into consideration and inspect it from every angle. Where does it come from, what are the ethos of the producer and the rest of the supply chain, are there alternative options we can compare it to…and, like in behavioral programming, make a calculated decision based on the decisions unique environment and the variables within it. And just like real-life, those variables may change in the future, and our decisions may have to react and adjust.
Not too long ago, one of our readers let us know about a philosophy she and her family have adopted that reduces waste and encourages them to be better stewards of the natural world. It’s the mindset is that there is no “away.”
Discarded materials of various sorts continuously leave our residences – in trash bags, through drains and pipes, etc – and go to destinations we often think of collectively as “away.” Too often we don’t conceptualize “away” as what it actually is, or what it could be: landfills, lakes, streams, creeks, drainage ditches, water treatment facilities, natural habitats, parks, junk yards, neighbors’ yards…etc.
When exposed, the true physical location of “away” (such as a landfill or a body of water) doesn’t seem so insignificant anymore. Ultimately, “away” could be anywhere, and what goes “away” doesn’t necessarily go far. Pollutants in the air, contaminants in streams, and garbage in the oceans illustrate that there’s no magical place called “away” where things go to become inconsequential. Whatever we discard is likely to linger back into our lives in some form, so it’s in our best interest to do away with the idea of “away!”
Transforming a plastic water bottle that’d otherwise be landfill-bound (or possibly recycled) into a source of much-needed indoor lighting is one phenomenal example of turning a perceived problem into a solution. Today we know we need to drastically reduce the amount “waste” we produce, but what about all the “waste” that we’ve already generated?
This video, by the Liter of Light project, shows that a plastic bottle isn’t just a plastic bottle – it’s a valuable resource to those living without the luxury of indoor electric lighting. How can we re-imagine and re-invent other items that we have come to recognize as single-use, disposable products? Human ingenuity has the potential to lead us to surprising and innovative solutions, if we let it do so!
“The problem is the solution” is one of the key principles of permaculture – a design strategy (and philosophy) for creating self-perpetuating, sustainable (i.e. zero-waste) systems. Making a problem into a solution could look like this: instead of seeing a pile of rubble/rocks as an undesirable burden, ask “how is this rubble/rocks useful?”Potential uses could include making a rock garden or pathway. But we might not come up with an answer to this question if we don’t first think to ask it. See no problems, only solutions (a “re-allocation of resources”) and nothing goes to waste!
(image: Pinnacle (Near Hamburg, PA))