Tag Archives: India

Bamboo on the Internet for December, 2014 – my picks

bamboo tripod, lock the gate, gloucester

On site at Lock the Gate, Gloucester

Bamboo poles are a very handy tool for practical folk needing a structure that is fast to erect. In Mumbai, India, street hawkers outside the railway station are using bamboo to circumvent restrictive by-laws. It is illegal for hawkers to sell their wares directly on the pavement as it hampers the flow of the 65,000 commuters that pass each day. Instead, bamboo structures are erected to get the wares off the pavement and facilitate a fast getaway, should one be needed.

On the other side of the world, in Gloucester, NSW, Australia, bamboo tripods are used to created instant gate blockades. The beautiful and rich agricultural lands around Gloucester are under threat from a fracking project. The tripods are fast to erect but difficult for police to remove once a protester is installed.

More practical (?) uses for bamboo: Miranda Kerr has an exfoliating face scrub made with bamboo particles. And yes, you can get it on Amazon.

pork and bamboo shoots, recipeRecipe for Pork and Fresh Bamboo Shoots, from the Northeast of India. Simple and wholesome – if you like your chilli hot. The raja mirchi called for in this recipe is a hybrid chilli considered one of the worlds hottest.

Also this month, and nothing to do with the internet, Life with Bamboo is on the move. I’m on the road, somewhere in Australia, in a small silver van. Bamboo farms may be visited. Bamboo events shall be attended. The next event is a Freemite Bamboo Treatment Workshop on 17 January  2014 near Byron Bay. Details and the registration form are here.

Bamboo on the Internet for November, 2014 – my picks

It’s a slim month for things bamboo on the Internet that really grabbed my attention. There are, however a few things of interest,

  • bamboo wind turbine…like bamboo wind turbines. With developing nations in mind, engineers at the University of Vermont have designed a micro energy harvesting system. Incorporating a deep-cycle battery, the mini wind turbines can generate enough power to run LED lights and charge small devices like mobile phones.
  • burger makingIn case you were wondering how to make the Japanese black burgers that were seen all over social media recently, here is a pictorial guide. Amazon have some powdered bamboo charcoal if you don’t want to crush your own.
  • bamboo headphonesBamboo features again in another vegan product. Techly reviewed these gorgeous-looking $1,300 headphones very favourably. They are leather-free, so I guess that’s the vegan bit. If $1,300 has you choking on your egg-free carrot cake, Amazon have some used ones. Although they don’t seem to be the vegan version. [Disclaimer: I’m quite fond of pork with my bamboo shoots.]
  • Just plain weird department: 21 porcelain dolls on bamboo stakes in an Alabama swamp. (Read more here)

Bear Creek Swamp is a massive bog with a bit of a reputation locally. As a rite of passage, generations of teenagers have entered the area at night looking for creatures and haints said to roam the mist-covered realm. And it’s not unusual to hear reports of loud booms coming from its depths.

  • Big news for bamboo growers in the state of Maharashtra, north-eastern India. A new policy was approved  that removes the forest department restrictions on cutting and transport of specified bamboo species from private plantations. The implications are huge for employment potential. More here.

Bamboo on the Internet for October, 2014 – my picks

  • bamboo camperFrom Zenbox Design: A lightweight bamboo-clad mini camper. Towed by a Mini Minor. With a skylight to see the stars at night. More images at Zenbox. The dog looks happy.
  • Bamboo yarn got a mention here recently. I hadn’t thought of it before, but bamboo yarn is not only soft and silky, it’s vegan too! The PETA blog assures us that no cruelty is committed by using bamboo yarn.
  • bamboo, birdwatching towerThe Nagaland Bamboo Development Agency constructed a bamboo bird watching tower near Doyang as part of a bamboo promotion campaign.

bamboo and plastic greenhouse

  • Green Building Elements this month featured a lightweight greenhouse built from plastic drink bottles and bamboo – architect designed, no less. This one is now in operation on a farm near Hanoi.

  • More awesome bamboo architecture in Vietnam. This 750-seat hotel restaurant in Son La uses a local bamboo called Luong that grows to 8 metres high.

SonLa restaurant96 bamboo column units composed of 4 bamboos together induce the vertical expression of the bamboo structure like bamboo forest.

The bamboo was treated in a traditional method by soaking in it mud and then smoking it. I highly recommend a viewing of the other images on the Arch Daily website.

Fermented Bamboo Shoots

fresh bamboo shootsFermented foods contain beneficial bacteria that promote balance of intestinal flora. And they taste good. As a recent convert to fermenting, my next step in that adventure is fermented bamboo shoots. I’m just waiting for the bamboo to shoot.

The north-east of India, with the largest stock and diversity of bamboos in India, also has many different ways of preparing fermented bamboo shoots. Traditional methods of fermentation are often supplemented with more convenient materials.

fermentation, fermented bamboo shoots Mesu
Bamboo shoots are finely chopped and pressed into a green bamboo stem. The openings are covered tightly with bamboo leaves. Left to ferment under natural anaerobic conditions for 7-10 days. Eaten as a pickle.

Soibum
Thin slices of bamboo shoots are packed into a chamber, covered with plastic sheets and pressed with weights. The bottom of the chamber is perforated to allow for draining before being left to ferment for 6-12 months.

Soidon
Entire tips of bamboo shoots are submerged in water in an earthen pot. Liquid from a previous batch is used as a starter. Leaves from garcinia pedunculata (an acidic tropical fruit related to purple mangosteen) are often added for extra flavour. Soidon is eaten as a curry or a pickle.

fermentation, fermented bamboo shootsEkung
Chopped bamboo shoots are packed into bamboo baskets, covered with leaves and sealed. Heavy stones are used to press excess water from the ferment. The baskets are buried in a pit in the forest. Ekung is fermented for 1-3 months. Eaten raw or with cooked dishes.

Eup
Dry fermented bamboo shoots are prepared in a similar manner to Ekung. After the fermentation process, the bamboo shoots are dried in the sun for 5 – 10 days. Eup is eaten as a side dish.

The information here only covers broad methods of fermenting bamboo shoots in India. I’ll post again when I find the simple recipes I want try. Do you have any you’d like to share? In the meantime, I can highly recommend books on fermentation by Sandor Katz. There are heaps of other books about fermenting on Amazon and eBay, as well as a good range of fermenting crocks, to save you the trouble of digging a hole.

References:

Bamboo for social enterprise

social ent girlsHaving had some previous exposure to social enterprises, seeing this article, I was immediately struck by how apt bamboo is to base a business on that is operated for social benefit rather than shareholder profit.

Wikipedia defines a social enterprise as:

“an organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being, rather than maximizing profits for external shareholders.”

Bamboo covers all the bases here, brilliantly.

Human well-being

Only a modest capital investment is needed to generate a steady income from bamboo. Bamboo can create employment and training opportunities without large capital investment. Anecdotal evidence suggests that bamboo makes people happy.

Environmental well-being

Bamboo is a fast growing and sustainable resource. Agricultural chemicals are not needed. There is very little waste. All parts of bamboo can be used for something, from construction to enhancing soil. Bamboo helps retain water in the watershed and acts as a bio-filter for pollutants. But if you’ve been here before, you know all this.

Bamboo House India
social enterprise, bamboo

The co-founders of Bamboo House India

While India is undoubtedly a major producer of bamboo and bamboo products, market linkages for small producers are not easily accessible. This is especially so for tribal artisans. Social enterprise Bamboo House India is a link for small producers to the geographically diverse markets of India. The enterprise trains their artisans, provides cash advances to them to buy raw materials and, negotiates and pays wages. These producers are not at the mercy of market vagaries for their income. You can learn more about social enterprises at Social Traders, or Amazon and eBay have a good range of books available for purchase.

soc ent3 soc ent2 bamboo furniture, social enterprise, bamboo

Click on any of the images above to see more of the Bamboo House India furniture catalogue.

References:

Bamboo on the Internet for July, 2014 – my picks

bamboo shinguardsBamboo on the Internet for July (and some of June):

  • This deserves to come first. A wonderfully simple and effective idea: Bamboo shinguards for soccer players. Time is running out for your opportunity to invest in the project on Kickstarter (18 August).
bamboo modern japanese

Bamboo in modern Japanese architecture. Click on the image for more.

bamboo building

  • Inspired by tepees? This triangular modular hotel made with bamboo is getting lots of attention. The design is a flexible system allowing the bamboo structure to be expanded horizontally and vertically, they say. It’s hard to imagine you wouldn’t feel every movement within the building.
  • Another take on expand-as-needed architecture is inspired by bamboo scaffolding.

bamboo scaffolding buildingJust add more floors as required, using waste from other offices. “Each floor is made from an interlaced network of tube framing, with construction building materials being sourced from waste material produced by the offices, namely paper and plastics.

  • One for the painters: here is a review of a bamboo brush box. It gets a 4.8 (out of 5) star rating on Amazon.

bamboo hospital

  • A new hospital in India is clad with bamboo. The bamboo “acts as a natural insulator and allows the hospital to do away with air conditioning in common areas such as lobbies and receptionThis resulted in saving electricity and reducing maintenance cost.” It looks good too.
  • Here is a short video clip about the construction of a traditional Hong Kong bamboo installation. The ‘flower plaque’ is part of the Smithsonian Institutes 2014 Folklife Festival. Learn more about flower plaques here and here.

zchair

  • Precision computerised joinery and high-tech adhesives are all that hold these bamboo chairs together. There’s also some nesting tables of a similar construction.
  • In case you missed the YouTube vids of the awesome rocket festival in Northern Thailand here is a link. Not for the faint hearted.

woodford bamboo tunnel

  • Colossal has published photos of Wang Wen-Chih’s finished bamboo entry tunnel (mentioned here back in October) at the Woodford Folk Festival site.

 

Bamboo justice

bamboo sticks, lathi, gulabi gangBamboo sticks are the weapon of choice for the Gulabi Gang, a pink sari-clad group of female vigilantes based in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Bamboo sticks, or lathis, are a formidable weapon. In the hands of these angry women, the bamboo sticks are a rather effective way of encouraging change in a region where women have been victims of social oppression for centuries.

The Gulabi Gang, drawn from the dalit (untouchables) caste, was started in 2006. It was initially formed to punish oppressive husbands, fathers and brothers, and combat domestic violence and desertion.

“In cases of domestic violence, we go and talk to the man and explain why it is wrong. If he refuses to listen, we get the woman out of the house, then we beat him,” explains founder Sampat Pal Devi. “If necessary, we do it in public to embarrass him.”

Their list of achievements is inspiring:

  • storming police stations when officers have refused to register complaints of abuse against women
  • attacking men who have abused their wives
  • stopping child marriages
  • putting hundreds of girls in school, and,
  • In 2008, they stormed an electricity office and forced officials to turn back on the power they had cut in order to extract bribes.

bamboo sticks, gulabi gang, lathiNew recruits to the gang are trained in fighting with sticks. The sticks, or lathi, are traditionally bamboo. A quick Google image search for ‘lathi’ displays a prevalence of images of bamboo sticks as a weapon for riot control in South Asia, rather than the South Asian martial art of lathi khela.

The story of the gang is related in books, a Bollywood movie, and a documentary. There was an official website, but all that remains now are numerous dead cache links. I was not successful in locating a copy of the movie or documentary but you will find books about the Gulabi gang on both Amazon and eBay au.

Whomever wields the lathi keeps the cow
South Asian proverb

Sources:
The Star
Wikipedia – Gulabi Gang
Wikipedia – Lathi khela
The Guardian