Ariana Vaeth

Photo by Lois Bielefeld

“I am never removed from this viewpoint,” Ariana Vaeth says about painting herself as a painter. She is acutely aware of her need to include images of herself in her paintings, what she describes as a “pungent place,” a constant reassurance of her identity and place as a Black woman painter. She possesses a keen consciousness of the role people play in her work; friends, companions, and lovers “lend themselves” to her for the creation of her mythologies of human interaction in dense, decorative, and exquisitely defined space.

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The Sanctity of Safe Spaces

Welcome back to our series the “us” in inclUSion, where we talk about how all of us need to take responsibility in the things we do and say every day to make our society a more inclusive place for everyone. We’re in this together, but we all have to do some work individually too. It’s our responsibility, and it will take all of us contributing to make real change.

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Migrants in Madison

Photo by Eric Tadsen

It’s hard to think of a food that has celebrated and betrayed a culture more than the hype and expectations surrounding tacos and burritos. To some, knowledge of Mesoamerica doesn’t extend beyond fast-food tacos—a go-to for myself after hotboxing in college. But then there’s a deeper appreciation for the food found in rolled out blue corn tortillas filled with ripe ingredients from a backyard garden. Though I’ve no problem with the Americanized take on Mexican food, I think what’s lost in translation deserves to be discovered through authentic indulgence, and the best place to experience it just might be Migrants in Madison.

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Ugly Apple Cafe

Photo by Eric Tadsen

Wasted…fruit. Wasted…fruit.

Today we know better than to judge our food on looks.

But not too long ago we were produce-shaming crooks.

Sorry. I apologize to Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf for defacing their music. I also apologize to Laurel Burleson, owner and chef of Ugly Apple Cafe, because this is an article about her Ugly Apple Cafe. But my lyrical offense has a point: the name Ugly Apple is meant to spark conversation aiming to educate patrons that food waste goes beyond just what we throw away after a meal. Even though a lot more of us are coming around to ignoring harmless deformities in our food, the message of waste is plenty relevant, and Ugly Apple is using it to make food that’s as mindful as it is tasty.

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Troy Farm

Photo by Patricia Espedal

Rooted, a nonprofit dedicated to “collaborations rooted in food, land, and learning,” emerged in January 2020 from the joining of two community-based nonprofits: Community GroundWorks and Center for Resilient Cities. One of the organization’s longest-standing projects is Troy Farm.

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Historic Downtown Sun Prairie: Vibrant Past, Vibrant Present

Photo by Eric Tadsen

Comprised of portions of four city blocks consisting of 28 buildings facing onto the 100 and 200 blocks of East Main Street, the Sun Prairie Downtown Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2019. According to the National Register nomination, “Collectively, the buildings in the district have a significance that is even greater than the merit they possess individually because surviving streetscapes of such buildings are rapidly nearing extinction in the changing economic and social reality that characterizes the downtowns of Wisconsin’s cities today.”

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Decriminalization of Mental Illness in Dane County

On Monday, September 27, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced $10 million in funding to construct the Dane County Crisis Triage Center (CTC) as part of his 2022 budget. Joe is also creating a brand-new division within the county government, the Division of Behavioral Health, to oversee these new changes. CTC will follow the creation of the Community Alternative Response Emergency Services (CARES) team. Both will work together toward the decriminalization of mental illness, aiming to work together to deter and limit the involvement of armed law enforcement and the criminal justice system for individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis.

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Wonderful Ways to Welcome Winter Birds

Photo by provided by Lesley Haven

February is National Bird-Feeding Month, and for good reason! Unpredictable weather means many birds, both year-round residents and winter visitors, can benefit from supplemental sources of food. Plus, taking time to enjoy the beautiful, interesting, frisky birds at your feeder can help minimize the cabin fever that tends to set in this time of year. Whether you’re a seasoned backyard birder or just getting started, there’s no such thing as too much information when it comes to accommodating avian visitors.

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That Crazy Thyroid!

There are a lot of diseases that dogs and cats have in common with people. Diabetes, allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, and obesity, to name a few. Both species also can have thyroid gland problems. The interesting thing is dogs and cats are at different ends of the thyroid disease spectrum—cats only develop an overactive thyroid gland and dogs almost exclusively develop an underactive thyroid gland. People can have either, but not both.

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A Note from Madison Essentials

In our September/October 2021 issue, we ran Part I of a two-part series featuring the homes in Shorewood Hills. It was meant to be an interesting addition to our ongoing landmark series, but we realized there was more to it when we received an email from a reader:

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From the Publisher

Photo by Eric Tadsen

Déjà vu. It was this time last year when I wrote of the hope and promise for a new year. I had long awaited the end of 2020, and even though I didn’t anticipate a snap-of-the-fingers change on January 1, I thought that 2021 couldn’t possibly be as bad or worse. Others’ opinions may vary on the outcome of that specific detail, but certainly none of us could have imagined the year that was.

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Wisconsin Cutlery & Kitchen Supply: Knives Out

Photo by Eric Tadsen

Wisconsin Cutlery & Kitchen Supply is the one stop kitchen store stocked with the essentials for any home chef, from the everyday cook to the master chef. Owner Michelle Dietz not only aims to provide quality products and services in her store—avoiding the frivolous and trendy—but a lot of attention is focused on teaching the proper usage and care of knives. She assures me she’s not trying to show off or knife shame anyone.

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Uncovering Wisconsin's Hidden Gems: Northern WI in the Winter

Photo by Travel Wisconsin

Where exactly is “up north?” Trust me when I say that you’ll know when you get there! Wisconsin’s northwoods are an unmistakable treasure, overflowing with breathtaking natural landscapes, thousands of lakes, streams and rivers, over half a million acres of public forest, a vibrant art scene, one-of-a-kind places to eat and drink, cozy accommodations, and friendly folks excited to welcome you.

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