Mountain Valley Water

Considering all the chemicals and toxins the average person consumes in the course of a day, we at The Moderns take solace in knowing that that we keep only the most natural, organic food and beverages stocked for ourselves.  And it’s not just the mid-day snacks, we’re looking at with a critical eye, it’s everything from the quality of the air in the office space to the water in the water cooler.

That’s right, the water. And as we’ve come to learn, not all water is the same. From concern about BPA and other plastic chemicals that leak from bottles into water, to concern about the source of the water and the effectiveness of any filtration done to the water, we’re lucky to have a found a source of clean water that is environmentally sound and all natural – Mountain Valley Water (

Water is delivered to us bi-weekly in reusable glass waters, while old bottles are picked up for future use. Packaging is as minimal as possible, and the water, which comes straight from a natural spring in Fayetteville, AK, has naturally occurring traces of calcium, but includes none of the additives added by many other companies, like salt.

Maybe it’s just the summer heat, but knowing they we are quenching our thirst with a natural, sustainable source is refreshing!

Happening at The Moderns:Yoga

Everyone at The Moderns has an acute sense of their self lately, as we wrap a 40-day program in movement-focused yoga. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, we took an hour to step away from the natually hectic New York work environment we find ourselves in, to regain focus, balance and energy, all with the benefit of not having to leave the office.

Yaprak Buyukteoman, our instructor, guided us through the various poses that worked on re-balancing our physical, mental, and spiritual bodies. The physical exertion made us more aware of our bodies and its limits, coupled with consistent breathing exercises with a goal on clearing the mind and regaining lost energy.  Finally, the mediative portion of the class, helped us wind down the week and re-center our creative juices.

We’ve had some experience with movement classes and yoga before, so while this is a great way to get a new perspective on yoga for us,  it also allowed us to help our instructor with coping with the unique difficulties that working in an office environment can be – like interruptions! The mutual collaboration between students and teachers made for an eye-opening, authentically collaborative experience for everyone!

It’s left us with a sense of calm that allows us to come together and truly be present in the day before us.  Namaste!

On The Moderns’ Menu: Growing Heart Farm CSA

Our Share!

Here at The Moderns, we are advocates for food justice, food transparency, and food access. Always poised with a permaculture lens, our attention and energy towards the goal of food autonomy offering healthy, organic, and local food for as many people as possible, no matter what their socioeconomic status, results in an interesting and promising journey for us at the Moderns.

The latest step of this journey is our participation with Growing Hearts Farm CSA, at, run by fellow permaculture students of Andrew Faust. We got involved with this CSA through our mutual teacher, and his wife, Adriana Magana, both of the Permaculture Center for BioRegional Living, at They introduced us to Growing Heart’s vision of holistic and spiritual farming and we are thrilled to support it.

Each week we, and other “share holders”, get a portion of the farm’s crops and get to share in local, organic, and seasonal food, supporting and protecting the local food shed and having an alternative to the corporate food machine.   We also get the “warm fuzzies”, knowing that the farmers, having received payment from the shareholders in advance, get to farm without the worry of their financial base. For them, this translates to the ability to buy seeds and labor without the concern of taking high interest loans or being forced into compromising the integrity of their farm or the local farmer’s product. (And if you need a refresher on large corporations deserve a skeptical eye, take a moment and search out food corporate giants like Monsanto and the work that activist movements like Occupy Food,, are producing to expose their corruption).

“As summer kicks off with Growing Heart, the CSA is kicking me into action – into going back to preparing my own food and into cooking with fresh ingredients,” says Janine James, founder of The Moderns. We’re just excited to try out some of Founder Janine James’ recipes. She’s a big fan of cooking and we’re big fans of eating, particularly when she shows up for lunch with a fresh meal made with local, sustainable crops! (How often do you get to say that about what you eat!?)

Good eats, everyone!

This week’s crops: arugula, spicy mustard mix greens, spinach, pac choi, kale, head lettuce, mint, and kohlrabi.

Happening at the Moderns: Spark* Speaker Series

The Power of Community

This week marked the first of (hopefully) many weeks of The Moderns hosting, in partnership with Green Drinks NYC, Spark* Speaker Series, a monthly round-table  with a focus on a specific environmental topic. This weeks’ focus was on the power of community, moderated in conjunction with ShopYourValuesWeek (, with speakers Juan Carlos (Founder of the White Roof Project), Anjie Cho (Founder of Holistic Spaces and Co-Leader of the EcoBiz program at the Lower East Side Ecology Center), and Phoebe Stern (Director of Operations of Forth Arts Block).

This particular topic really interests us, as The Moderns often finds itself working with communities, and we understand how different engaging a community towards a common goal can be as compared to the individual. Often, successful tactics in engaging an individual on an activist or environmental level, will not be sufficient to drive a community towards that same goal. Particularly due to the reality that different social groups of a community are driven by different means, i.e. social media versus face-to-face, it is important to research and engage with a community authentically and continually. We were happy to contribute and learn in the spirit of an engaging conversation with other thought leaders on this very nuanced topic.

We’re thrilled to co-host this series and can’t wait to discuss the future topics to be held. Of course, we hope to see many of you readers there as well!  You can follow us on Twitter or Facebook (via the links at the end of this post) to be up to date on all events happening at the Moderns.

From the Green Drinks and the Spark* Speaker Series website, : ”Since 2002, Green Drinks NYC has been hosting lively monthly networking events to connect and unite the environmental community of New York.  These events are friendly and upbeat.  Many people have found employment, made friends, developed new ideas, and had moments of serendipity. It’s a force for the good spreading to over 800 cities around the world!”

Office Made™ Mushrooms

With the motto “Sustainable is Delicious,” UC Berkeley grads Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora started the company Back to the Roots which sells grow-at-home, or grow-at-office, mushroom garden kits that can grow up to one and a half pounds of oyster mushrooms in ten days. The Moderns could not resist the urge of jumping in on this DIY trend and we’re now growing our second batch of delicious oyster mushrooms. Not only are the mushrooms easy to grow (only mist twice daily!) and yummy to eat, they’re also helping the environment; they’re grown on 100% used coffee grounds that would otherwise be piling up in land fills. For 2011 alone, Back to the Roots is well on the way to meet its goal of saving 1 million pounds of used coffee grounds from going to land fills. Back to the Roots is also helping spread the word about sustainability to the most influential generation, today’s children. If you buy a Back to the Roots mushroom kit and post a picture with your kit on their Facebook page, they will donate a mushroom kit to an elementary school of your choice. What better way to introduce sustainability to children? Back to the Roots says it best; “Easy. Fun. Delicious.”

Help support our Office Made™ movement! Post your pictures and ideas about your
Office Made™ projects on our Facebook page.