The Seattle Japanese Garden turns 60 with fitting testaments to rebirth and resilience

THE SEATTLE JAPANESE GARDEN, a 3.5-acre public garden within Washington Park Arboretum, is celebrating a very special milestone: It’s turning 60. It takes 60 years to cycle through the Chinese zodiac calendar. In Japan, the occasion is called kanreki and is celebrated as a return to childhood, a rebirth. “This auspicious anniversary seems especially fitting for our garden, which is constantly renewing,” says Jessa Gardner, Seattle Japanese Garden Programs Manager.

Development of the garden, one of the most notable Japanese gardens outside Japan, was a collaborative effort between the Arboretum Foundation and Tokyo government officials in the 1950s. Working from site photos and a topographical map, plans emerged from a team of experienced Japanese designers for an Edo-style stroll garden — a landscape to be experienced from within. A storytelling garden with footsteps revealing a succession of landscape elements and views depicting nature, literature and art. The garden, which opened to the public on June 5, 1960, is managed in partnership by Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Arboretum Foundation.

The garden was designed and built around a traditional teahouse and roji (tea garden) donated to Seattle in 1959 by the people of Tokyo. The structure, which burned in 1973, was reconstructed in 1981 by a Hiroshima-born local craftsman hired to replicate the original teahouse. The new teahouse, named Shoseian (“Arbor of the Murmuring Pines”), opened that spring. Today, the Seattle Japanese Garden hosts one of the most robust tea ceremony programs in North America.

Due to COVID-19, a series of planned celebratory events marking this significant moment in the garden’s history has been rescheduled or shifted online, with rich historical content posting to the garden’s website (seattlejapanesegarden.org), blog and daily updates on various social media channels. As of mid-August, the garden was open to visitors on a

World Trade Center landlord Silverstein Properties turns to ghost kitchen Zuul in bid to return workers

“Food is a major concern,” Vardi said. “People are uncomfortable going between the office and outside, and ordering food still requires going down to pick it up.”

The best way to resolve those concerns is by delivering food directly to tenants’ offices, he said. But that raises issues of security and health screenings of couriers entering the building, especially within the World Trade Center.
That has opened an opportunity for Zuul, which operates a commercial kitchen in SoHo where established city brands such as Naya Express, Sarge’s Deli and Stone Bridge Pizza prepare smaller versions of their menus for takeout only. The food is produced from a single commercial kitchen, disconnected from any dining room, typically referred to as a ghost kitchen or cloud kitchen.

Workers can order lunch from those restaurants using a custom app for tenants. Orders must be in by 10:30 a.m. to arrive by lunch hour.

Zuul said it will rely on a small group of couriers who have been preapproved by Silverstein to ride the buildings’ freight elevators. Meals are delivered all at once to each separate office, where they can be distributed by the tenant company. The program will be offered to workers at World Trade Center properties as well as Silverstein’s other office holdings, such as 120 Broadway, Vardi said.

Pre-pandemic, Vardi said, the areas outside of office buildings included a “tsunami” of delivery couriers waiting for someone to come grab their order.

There are no such tidal waves now, at any building, as offices throughout the city are still sitting mostly unoccupied.

Safe food delivery has become part of the pitch from landlords to change that. The program is included in Silverstein promotional materials, which also outline the company’s air-filtration systems and social-distancing plan.   

RXR Realty, a major city office landlord whose

Indoor composter turns kitchen scraps into fertilizer

a woman standing in front of a box: Rubbermaid’s program addresses a gap left by recycling facilities that don’t take food-grade material.

© Provided by Ottawa Citizen
Rubbermaid’s program addresses a gap left by recycling facilities that don’t take food-grade material.

I know, I know, I know: This is the third time in the last 18 months I’ve written about reducing or redirecting kitchen waste.

Humour me please, because as an enthusiast home cook I’m evangelical on the topic. Righteously so, I think, given that the 2.2 million tonnes of avoidable household food waste created annually by Canadians is equivalent to 2.1 million cars on the road, according to Love Food Hate Waste Canada , an awareness campaign delivered by the National Zero Waste Council.

Love Food Hate Waste Canada has great tips for reducing food waste. But even the most careful cooks will have scraps. The good news is that products, programs and processes that lessen kitchen waste are coming to market.

a person standing in front of a stove:  The FoodCycler reduces the volume of kitchen food waste by up to 90 per cent.

© Supplied
The FoodCycler reduces the volume of kitchen food waste by up to 90 per cent.

I recently tested, for example, the FoodCycler FC-50 that Vitamix launched in July. It transforms kitchen waste into a nutrient-rich soil amendment (aka fertilizer) that can be used to enrich indoor or outdoor gardens, is free of pathogens, and can be stored pest-free for months.

Taking up about one cubic foot, the unit can live under a sink or on a countertop. The removable waste collection bucket has a snugly-fitting carbon-filter lid; I had no problems with odours from the basket or with pesky fruit flies.

The machine takes fruit cores, vegetable peels, dairy, chicken bones and more. The cycle is supposed to run between three and eight hours; it’s always been done in four or less with the loads I’ve made.

I first tried the FoodCycler ($500) in my home in the city. Feeding a family of four, with a diet