This project began as a personal archive to organize experience–people, places, books, music, ideas–and got put on hold soon after I planted my first seedlings in a community garden plot in Somerville, MA.

After a brief hiatus (4.5 years, 3 moves, 2+ kids, a marriage, a dissertation, and a global pandemic), I’m back with a sharper focus on one specific aspect of my experience: bioregional awareness. Or, at least, I’ll be exploring what it means to attempt cultivating that awareness. It’s an exercise in placefinding, with the resources, limitations, inclinations, and identities I have at hand.

Hence, Laurentia.

Laurentia is a bioregion spanning, by some accounts, from around the Great Lakes (where I grew up) to the New England Atlantic coast (where I now live).

Level II Ecoregion 8.1: Mixed Plain Forests

Also classified as the “Northeastern American Forests” subrealm and the “Laurentian mixed forests” biohabitat, the region has been called various names by the people who have lived here for millennia—though many of those words have been lost or actively destroyed during the long process of European colonization.

For me, the word “Laurentia” has become a synonym of “utopia,” though with the added complexity that it names a real place with a storied and violent history. I use it to evoke both the biogeographical realm I call home and a loose ideal of more balanced, integrated, and sustainable existence.

This digital space will record my encounters with Laurentia, as place and ideal, along with other aspects of my life in and around Cambridge, MA. And it will include recipes, more or less attuned to my bioregional surroundings. After all, the fact that most of what I buy and cook and consume comes from who-knows-where is one of the main issues I’ll be reflecting on here. The point isn’t necessarily to cut ties with distant places; it’s to develop a bioregional awareness of things; to see and evaluate the ties between places as they intersect in my life and, specifically, in my kitchen.