Posts Tagged ‘wellesley college’

Good news for scavengers who collect fruit they see going to waste in cities.

A new study reveals that, unlike urban root vegetables or leafy vegetables that grow close to the ground, fruit is not in danger of contamination by lead and, mysteriously, contains more nutrients than most grocery-store fruit.

Bella English writes at the Boston Globe that Amy Jarvis, of Boston’s League of Urban Canners [LUrC], was concerned about fellow forager Matthew Schreiner, who had tested positive for high levels of lead. She “went online and found [Wellesley College geoscience professor Dan] Brabander, who since 2003 has been working with the nonprofit Food Project, monitoring lead in urban soil.

“In the past year, LUrC members have given Brabander and his students 197 foraged food samples to analyze, including berries, cherries, apples, plum, peaches, and pears. Both groups believe it is the only such ‘citizen-scientist’ collaboration in the country.

“ ‘It’s an example of a successful approach to doing applied science that matters,’ says Brabander. So far, he and his students, including Wellesley juniors Ciaran Gallagher and Hannah Oettgen, have analyzed 40 samples for trace elements, both toxins and nutritents.

“Their results startled many, including themselves. Urban fruit not only doesn’t absorb high levels of lead, it has more than twice the amount of calcium concentrations as commercially grown fruit. The results were the same for washed and peeled fruit as they were for unwashed and unpeeled samples.

“The primary source of lead in an urban environment is the soil, and leafy vegetables and root vegetables, which grow close to the ground, take up lead in more significant amounts than fruit. ‘If most of the fruit is high up [on trees], that minimizes the likelihood that re-suspended soil, or soil with lead in it, will reach up there,’ Brabander says.” More here.

Photo: Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff
Wellesley College student Ciaran Gallagher checks the lead content in an apple tree in Cambridge.

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Suzanne has always admired Madeleine Albright, an interesting woman before, during, and after her stint as U.S. Secretary of State.

One thing that appeals to me about Albright is her sense of humor, a playfulness seen in the pins she collected for special occasions and to express both diplomatic — and not so diplomatic — thoughts.

The brooches on view through July 20 at her alma mater’s Davis Museum include an eagle pin that she wore to her swearing in, the serpent pin that was a response to a hostile Saddam Hussein observation, and a bee pin with a stinger to warn Yasser Arafat she was losing patience.

Jill Radsken recently toured the collection with Albright and recorded her recollections about her pins, including a pin that went over like a lead balloon.

“She [recalled] her foreign policy pin faux pas when she wore a three-monkey ‘Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil’ set to a summer summit with Vladimir Putin. When the Russian leader inquired about the monkeys, Albright forcefully told him: ‘I think your policy in Chechnya is evil.’

“ ‘That was a time when I thought I’d made a mistake with my pin,’ she said.”

Read more here.

Photo: John Bigelow Taylor
Saddam Hussein published a poem calling Madeleine Albright, then ambassador to the United Nations, an “unparalleled serpent.” She decided to have fun with comment and got herself a serpent pin for her next meeting with Hussein’s officials.

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