Posted on March 15, 2011 - by Lisa Madison
What do spear fishing, a picnic operetta, and an epic road trip have in common? These are all topics covered by The Perennial Plate, a video series by Daniel Klein devoted to local and sustainable food. From its beginnings as a small Minnesota-based series, the show has developed a national following and received accolades from thousands of fans.
Recently, Klein announced that The Perennial Plate would be hitting the road, with plans for a cross country series beginning this spring! We’ve given him an opportunity to introduce his project to you here, and hope that you will follow his adventures as he travels around the country. In addition, if you happen to live along his travel route and have a sustainable food story to tell, you can submit your idea to Perennial Plate.
Starting as a small Minnesota-based series, The Perennial Plate has grown into a nationally watched show with over 12,000 weekly views, and the series is syndicated on Huffington Post, Grist, Cooking Up A Story and Serious Eats. Each week Daniel Klein (former Chef: Bouchon (Thomas Keller), Fat Duck (Heston Blumenthal), Craft (Tom Collichio)) covers topics as diverse as Squirrel hunting, community gardens, wild winter teas and harvesting road kill. With 52 Episodes under its belt, all taking place in Minnesota (and a few in Wisconsin), the show is a unique accomplishment in bringing Minnesota culinary, agricultural and outdoorsmanship to viewers around the country.
Building off the first season’s success, the obvious next step is to move beyond Minnesota to the great stories around the country. For this six month journey, Daniel Klein and his cameraman (and vegetarian) Mirra Fine, will be continuing their ambitious weekly video format from state to state. They will be farming, hunting, cooking and eating with food heroes from Minnesota to Louisiana, Oregon, New York and Maine. The “Good Food” road trip will begin on May 9th, but not before collecting a big bag of morels for the journey.
The Perennial Plate
Good luck to Klein on his travels; we’ll be eagerly following from our armchairs!
Posted on October 22, 2010 - by Lisa Madison
We are pleased to present the winner of this year’s FRESH 1% grant, Our School at Blair Grocery (OSBG), an incredible organization located in the the New Orleans Lower 9th Ward. You can see the 9 other organizations that were up for the grant on this page, and read more about why we started the FRESH 1% grant here. We asked OSBG to write a big about who they are so you all could get to know them! Below is their message to you.
Please consider donating to OSBG – you can do so directly from their front page. :)
-Lisa Madison, FRESH
Driving over the Claiborne Bridge into New Orleans Lower 9th Ward, you’ll see a gas station, the Dr. Martin Luther King Charter School – the first and still only public school to return to the neighborhood and the Magnolia Corner Store. North of Claiborne, the view resembles a jungle. Thousands of lots remain vacant and hundreds more are neglected and overgrown. A mere 10 percent of the neighborhood population has returned since Katrina demolished New Orleans in 2005.
Take a walk down our street and the complex, intersecting challenges to resilience are impossible to ignore. Education, food security, safe spaces for after-school learning, meaningful employment opportunities, decent affordable housing and health care for folks who are themselves trying to lead a healthy lifestyle – none of these are in place in our neighborhood, and many individuals can’t quite seem to plug into the limited systems that are in place to make it work out for themselves. There remains a great deal of work to be done.
Amongst this landscape appears an oasis. Tall banana trees tower and lean into the street, a golden sun made of plywood scraps hangs on the fence. Flowers and green edibles abound. In the face of neglect, a handful of teachers and students have constructed beauty, growth, and potential. Our School at Blair Grocery (OSBG) is an independent community school, sustainability education center, and food producing urban farm. Our mission is to create a resource-rich safe space for youth empowerment and sustainable community development. We envision a community where empowered youth work together in a reflective practice to actualize local, environmental justice based solutions to global challenges.
Our School at Blair Grocery (OSBG), founded in 2008 by Nat Turner, is located in the old Blair Family Grocery. Turner came to the neighborhood with a black dog, a blue bus, and $12 in his pocket. He saw a need for a safe learning environment in a unique neighborhood that had one of the highest poverty and highest homeowner rates in New Orleans.
Our students, ages 13-19 are young people who have not found success in traditional public education, but need and deserve a supportive environment to learn and grow. They face serious life challenges, learning difficulties, and other educational obstacles, and if it weren’t for OSBG, most would not be in school otherwise. Despite the challenges our students and community face, together we are learning, growing and taking leadership in the development of sustainable community food enterprise.
We apply personalized learning strategies, and hands-on approaches to helping students connect to the curriculum while building real-life skills and developing the knowledge, capacity and agency to achieve their goals. Local challenges become the lens through which we work with students to understand larger lessons about education, society, environment, and economy. On any given day at OSBG it is possible to see students planning, planting and harvesting sprouts and micro-greens, analyzing the racial and economic history of New Orleans and its relationship to current challenges to food access, composting, learning construction skills to build a greenhouse or plumbing for aquaponics or water catchment, building vocabulary through studying hip-hop lyrics, researching ideal conditions for worms to redesign our vermicomposting system, or meeting with one of New Orleans top chefs to talk about their work at OSBG and sell them food they grew to sustain their school.
Despite the difficulties we have faced, and continue to face in our work, we have a lot to be proud of right now:
* During the Summer of 2010, Our School at Blair Grocery hosted nearly 500 high school and college students from around the country for 12-day intensive service-learning experiences as part of “Food Justice Summer”;
* We are in the final stages of renovating our building for final inspection, the old Blair Family Grocery Store, which sustained the damage of 15+ feet of water;
* We are growing and selling nearly $1500 per week of sprouts and microgreens to local restaurants and projecting $3000 per week by January, getting us closer to financial sustainability;
* We are providing meaningful and educational employment opportunities on the OSBG farm to 10 local youth, who work with us after-school and on weekends;
* We recently received notice that our grant proposal to the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA was approved providing us with support “Toward a Viable and Sustainable Community Food Economy”;
* We will be participating in and hosting many elements of the 2010 Community Food Security Coalition’s conference in New Orleans this weekend;
* We hare begun our 2010-2011 school year with 5 full-time students, and anticipate 15 by Thanksgiving;
* and we are very proud to have won the national online vote for the FRESH 1% grant thanks to all of our supporters who helped spread the word about the contest, and the movie.
As we continue to push forward in our struggle for economic justice, food justice and educational justice for our community, we continue to need support in many ways. Make a donation by credit card on our blog at www.ourschoolatblairgrocery.org. Donations of equipment and materials for both the farming and educational aspects of our work are always welcomed and appreciated too. We could always use more shovels, pitchforks and wheelbarrows. Classroom supplies like notebooks, computers, printers, books and other resources that our students can take advantage of to learn and grow are wonderful. Dedicated interns and volunteers are always welcomed. Services like printing, website development, etc. could be helpful. Vehicles that aren’t in constant need of repair would be great….but anyways, we could go on and on. When you are building something like we are, there is always more things you could use, and more work to do. Without all of the support we have received so far from those that believe in our work, we would never have made as much progress as we have.
What we really need are mass-based political movements calling citizens of this nation to uphold democracy and basic human rights for everyone to be educated and have enough good food to eat, and to work on behalf of ending subordination and domination in all its forms – to work for justice, transforming our educational and food systems. In Will Allen’s Good Food Manifesto for America, he challenged us all to “demand [and take] action… [so that collectively], we can move along a continuum to make sure that all of citizens have access to the same fresh, safe, affordable good food regardless of their cultural, social or economic situation.” Our School at Blair Grocery will continue to take up that challenge in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans and beyond.
Posted on October 7, 2010 - by Lisa Madison
Hi there FRESH activists!
Today’s blog post is a little cyber pat on the back because we’ve won an important victory and it wouldn’t have happened without your continued support!
With your help, we sent nearly 3,000 letters to Gov. Strickland of Ohio demanding that he cancel the law which banned the use of the “rBGH free” label on dairy products. Just last week, a federal judge struck down the law, ruling that milk from cows treated with rBGH is compositionally different from untreated milk, and consumers have the right to know if they’re buying milk with synthetic hormones in it.
We believe that this ruling has the potential to set a serious precedent for labeling, and it has fired us up to push even harder in our battle against genetically modified salmon. We will keep fighting! Will you please donate just $5 today to help FRESH keep doing what we’re doing to make our food safe?
Recombinant bovine growth hormone (also known as rBGH and rbST) has been condemned by the American Public Health Association as well as the American Nurses Association due to its potential for increasing cancer risk and has already been banned from use in cows in countries around the world such as Canada, Australia, Japan and the 27 countries of the European Union.
Check out the Center for Food Safety’s summary of this complex and important issue here : http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/rbgh2.cfm
Monsanto’s former attorney, Michael Taylor, was in charge of FDA policy when rBGH was approved and proposed that all milk labeled “rBGH free” also said ‘According to the FDA, there is no significant difference between the milk from cows injected with rbST compared to those not injected.’
Ohio, along with four other states, made Taylor’s suggestion a labeling requirement. Because of Ohio’s high dairy production, the rule would have impacted national dairy standards had it been upheld. Your opposition to this rule helped bring attention to this important issue. For more details about this ruling, read the NPR story here : http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2010/10/01/130270131/court-give-hormone-free-label-on-dairy-products-an-ok-in-ohio
A big thank you from all of us, and keep up the great work!
Distribution & Outreach Coordinator
Posted on September 16, 2010 - by Lisa Madison
Post by: Ezra Winston, Cinema Politica
Note: Post below was written by Ezra Winston, Founder of Cinema Politica, a very cool, non-profit media arts network of campuses and communities that organize free screenings of Independent films. They’re doing it the grassroots way, which we at FRESH are obviously fans of. :)
-Lisa from FRESH
Fresh was screened by Cinema Politica as part of a sustainable food festival at Concordia University under the Montreal night sky on Monday night (Sept 14). More than 300 people crowded the terrace, snuggling in for the show (with popcorn and hot chocolate), despite the lack of chairs for everyone. It was a fabulous screening – so many people stayed after and talked in groups about the film, as well as sustainability, food security, organics, farming, and more. The film provided new information for some, compelling support for the organic and sustainability movement, while for others it reinforced a resolve to keep organizing, to keep building community, and to keep fighting corporate food and farming culture.
A lot of people had asked us why we weren’t showing Food, Inc this semester, and after watching Fresh I think many understood why we passed on that film. Food, Inc is well-made to be sure, but the underlying message is hardly transformative: at one point the film basically advocates shopping for organic foods at Wal-Mart!! Fresh on the other hand explores the many community-based, small-scale alternatives for growing and buying.
And that’s what makes Fresh such a great film for Cinema Politica: it’s a film about presenting solutions and celebrating the champions out there doing the hard work of taking back the commons. Progressive, radical and alternative food and farming practices are under-represented in the mainstream media, a muzzling effect that keeps solutions and alternatives out of the public sphere (and therefore out of policy). Films like Fresh ensures that these issues, problems, and those committed to tackling them, have a voice.
The outdoor screening of Fresh at Concordia had people buzzing, plotting, planning and committing to push against the industrial food complex toward a sustainable, equitable and community-oriented future.
Cinema Politica is proud to collaborate with a documentary that can facilitate that kind of engagement, energy and inspiration. And thankfully there are more screenings to come…
Posted on August 4, 2010 - by Lisa Madison
“Women Nourish Us” is FRESH’s femme-focused blog series. Every week, we turn to a leading woman in the good food movement for ideas and inspiration. Be sure to check us out every Wednesday for a new write-in. Then pass the post!
Jacqueline Church is an independent food, wine & spirits writer whose work often focuses on “sensible sustainability” issues. She delights in helping people make practical choices to improve their lives and reduce their impact on the planet.
Her work appears in national and regional print media, including Culture: the World on Cheese and Edible Santa Barbara. She is a contributing writer to Nourish Network, writes the gourmet food column for Suite101, and publishes two blogs, The Leather District Gourmet and Pig Tales & Fish Friends.
She came to writing from a career covering diverse fields including the practice of law, high tech and management consulting. Her commitment to conservation issues precedes it all and began with a love of Jacques Cousteau and National Geographic. Since discovering Julia Child as an adolescent, she’s been devoted to good food and today combines all of these in the examination of global food issues and the nature of being a responsible gourmet.
She’s the founder of Teach a Man to Fish and Teach a Chef to Fish sustainable seafood events that engage people in the work of making more sustainable seafood choices for their families and restaurants.
I was the kid who always wanted to know “why” and often asked “why not?” I was always sure something better was just behind that closed door. I was always certain more fun was going to happen the minute I fell asleep.
I was the wrong kid to try to keep entertained during a childhood on a sterile, redundant, stifling military base. Three things diverted me from a life of crime: the National Geographic Society magazines on the coffee table, Jacques Cousteau specials on the television, and later, the discovery of Julia Child and cooking. If not for these, I’m quite sure I’d be asking you to bake me a cake with a file in it by now.
Lucky for me, my parents piqued my curiosity with legal but intoxicating ideas about the world. I vowed young that I would learn to dive so I could see that “undersea world.” I was probably still in jammies with feet when I promised myself that one day, I’d see Machu Picchu and visit the Terra Cotta Warriors. I knew in my travels I would eat exotic things, meet interesting people, and see wonderful ruins. I also knew I’d have to be a careful steward of the world out there that looked so very different from the one I lived in – the one that hardly seemed worth noticing at all.
Life happened. I got big girl PJs, big girl jobs and moved on to work that fed me in some ways and left me hungry in others. A couple of mixed blessings (AKA pink slips) left me wondering when I’d work at something that fed me more completely than law, than consulting, than hi tech bus dev gigs I’d enjoyed.
Eventually, I found writing and am learning to scratch out a living at it. More importantly, I discovered I could combine the things that are most important to me with writing. I could help people learn about these things through writing.
A few years ago, I hit upon the idea of sustainable seafood. Back then, it was still something not many folks in the mainstream were talking about. Many of us were still eating bluefin tuna and wondering if we really should. I’d been following the work of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program and decided to use my blog to host an event called “Teach a Man to Fish.” During a limited period in the late Summer-Early Fall, I invite chefs, food writers, cookbook authors, home cooks, bloggers, everyone with an interest in sustainable seafood, to share recipes, resources, tips and questions.
Each participant sends me a recipe, a photo and a short blurb about how they chose that seafood or what they learned about sustainable seafood they prepared. I tidy up all the disparate emails, re-size the photos and add resource information about the seafood used, the challenge presented, to each entry. Then I post one mammoth round up of them all. The recipes are there for everyone to enjoy. I’ve built a resource guide that includes guides for purchasing sustainable seafood, sites with more information, scientific reports, fun clips and related news. Bloggers share their URLS and everyone gains new knowledge about more sustainable choices for their table.
In the 3+ years that I’ve hosted this event I’ve been invited to the Sustainability Institute and Cooking for Solutions, met some hard-working advocates for ocean conservation and sustainable food issues. I’ve met some wonderful chefs including some “Top Chefs” and my blog has been graced with some terrific stories by people around the globe. I’ve been to Cordova, AK to learn about salmon fisheries management and to meet actual fishermen.
I’ve seen the growth of sustainable sushi restaurants and helped to introduce chefs to new tools and resources for restaurant professionals through workshops for chefs I added last year. “Teach a Chef to Fish” will likely take a different shape this year, and I have been thrilled to introduce some new tools to chefs who were starting their inquiry or looking to deepen or broaden their reach.
When I was asked to contribute to this Women Who Nourish Us series, I was humbled. What could I have done or said to catapult me into this amazing cadre of women? Then I realized that the line I toss off when describing Teach a Man to Fish is at the core of this series’ intentions.
I often say my blog event is “simply an example of what one woman — armed with a little determination and a lot of caffeine — can do.” This is exactly the point, I think. I am not a marine biologist or a conservation expert with a degree. I’m simply someone who cares about these issues and is determined to help others build their own confidence and competence with them.
Each of us can pull up a big cup o’ Joe and get down to the business of whatever we think it is that needs to be done. All it takes is the willingness to ignore the odds, to disregard whether it’s been done before, the patience to explain a vision that may not at first make sense to anyone else. And when someone says it can’t be done, the willingness to ask — “why not?”
• Teach a Man to Fish began as a small blog event in 2007 with about 2 dozen recipes.
• In 2009, I designed and presented chefs’ workshops and delivered them in Boston &
Chicago. I delivered a shorter version at the International Boston Seafood Show with
chefs Andy Husbands and Barton Seaver.
• I speak regularly on the topic and recent engagements include a Slow Food Panel,
screening of The End of the Line and presenting at Tufts Friedman School on a panel
“Farm, Fish and Fowl: Exploring Sustainability.”
• TAMTF has been cited in Utne Reader’s Sustainable Seafood Report, noted by the
Sustainable Ocean Project and nominated for a Seafood Champions Award by the
Time Magazine 2009 Environmental Hero himself, Casson Trenor.
• Join in this year’s Teach a Man to Fish event on http://JacquelineChurch.com.
*If you believe in the power of women’s words and our growing sustainable food movement, please spread the word about our Women Nourish Us blog series via email, Facebook & Twitter (http://fdl.me/d1nqNe). If you would like to host a screening of FRESH for your friends or organization, please – be in touch!
Posted on July 23, 2010 - by Lisa Madison
Guest Post by: Bill Couzens, Founder Less Cancer
Market Salamander is designed as an open marketplace that caters to contemporary demands and lifestyles by offering a selection of local, organic, chef-prepared foods.
With a focus on healthy cuisine and an endless assortment of high-quality fresh ingredients, Market Salamander is attracting patrons near and far. The market offers an unrivaled selection of seasonal produce, prime aged meats, fresh caught seafood, artisanal cheeses, homemade breads, fresh baked pastries, boutique wines, and imported packaged goods. And while quality often comes with a high price, Market Salamander is a best deal for a local breakfast. In fact, breakfast never tasted so good!
Market Salamander’s team in Middleburg is led by Vaughn Skaggs, the Chef de Cuisine, who began his culinary career at a young age in Virginia. Originally inspired by his mother, an inventive cook and restaurateur, Skaggs’ tireless conviction and support of gastronomic, local, organic, and sustainable foods makes him the “backbone of Market Salamander.”
Skaggs’ philosophy about the origins of the ingredients Salamander uses reveals his passion for the art of healthy cooking and living. “Whether it is produce or fresh meats, buying local helps many aspects of our business. It gives our guests a sense of trust and loyalty, knowing that they could trace which farm their food is coming from. The food is always more fresh and tastes better when it comes from the local farms. We also feel better about the food we are serving. We are leaving a smaller environmental footprint, instead of using transportation. In addition, we are supporting local businesses and helping keep our community economy strong.”
Skaggs’s culinary evolution has taken place in some of the best kitchens in the area – like Vidalia’s in Washington, DC; Potomac Grill in Leesburg, Virginia; and some of the most exclusive private homes of Virginia. His skilled culinary repertoire, coupled with his positive attitude and devotion to freshness and seasonality, has won him many acquaintances in the local farm movement. His combination of talent and commitment drives his passion for delicious and conscientious food.
Recently awarded the 2008 Front-Line Tourism Employee of the Year by the Loudoun Convention & Visitors Association, Jason Reaves is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY with a degree specializing in baking and pastry.
Before joining the staff at Market Salamander, Reaves worked at Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, Virginia; Postrio in San Francisco, California; and as Pastry Chef on board Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of Aloha, and Pride of America. Reaves specializes in custom wedding and special occasion cakes as well as delicious pastries.
Though young, Jason Reaves is already famous for his mouth watering Salamander’s Signature Butterscotch Scone. At just 2.00 per Scone, it is the most delicious thing you could ever eat at breakfast – especially delicious with Salamander’s bottomless cup of coffee!
Salamander often uses local and organic foods. One such supplier is Ayrshire Farm in Upperville, Virginia which has been growing healthy, beautiful foods since 1821. The present farm was purchased in 1912 by Brig. Gen. James A. Buchanan of Washington, DC. The historic property of approximately 800 acres was purchased from his descendants in 1996 by Sandy Lerner. The farm’s mission appropriately states, “To farm sustainably and profitably, promoting the benefits of locally produced, humanely raised meats and organic produce to the consumer, our community, and our children through education, outreach and example.”
Dr. Maryann Donovan, Director of the Center for Environmental Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, said, “Beyond the obvious benefits in freshness, quality, and flavor, eating seasonally and sourcing food locally can make important contributions to reducing carbon emissions. The local farms that are additionally certified organic, and the markets that sell organic foods, also have great potential for reducing exposures to pesticides and other chemicals, benefiting both the environment and human health.”
Salamander’s owner Sheila Johnson (musician, movie producer, sports team owner ) understands the importance of local and organic fare, often feeding the Washington Mystics a farm to table regime.
The good news is that you too can enjoy a breakfast of champions and not have to break the bank to eat healthy.
Posted on July 19, 2010 - by Lisa Madison
from Ana Joanes, director of FRESH
This week we decided to give one percent of all of FRESH revenue of 2010 to one of the incredible non-profits out there that are making a difference in the sustainable food movement. Although now doing so seems obvious, the decision did not come easy. Making FRESH was a labor of love, but the stress of unpaid debts and the responsibility to keep our office started to weigh me down. Soon I found, passion and faith were slowly replaced by an attitude of scarcity – a protectively closed heart and mind. My financial insecurity made it hard for me to truly appreciate what came out of what seemed to be a wild and out-of-reach dream 6 years ago.
For years, while making FRESH, I would wonder how my movie would ever get seen (the majority of independent productions never find their audience) and I would daydream of ways for my movie to contribute to the movement I was recording. And now, it’s happened. FRESH was released in May 2009, a little over a year ago, and against all odds — no money, no distribution company, no festival wins — it took off. FRESH has now been screened thousands of times around the country in people’s living-room, churches, libraries, school and universities, and, in independent theaters and art houses. And most importantly, FRESH has been used as a platform to raise awareness and transform inspiration into action. With our growing visibility (and mailing list) we decided to start our own activist campaigns, raising awareness and calling to action our supporters on a variety of issues around our food system.
With so much positive going on, I decided that I couldn’t wait for some secure financial future to start giving back. Hence came the idea to give 1% of our revenue to a non-profit that embodies the passion and hope that we believe will change the face of the sustainable food movement. We will accept entries for this grant through August 6th, choose 12 and then open up a voting process to our supporters (there are 50,000 of you!). Stay tuned!
APPLICATION PROCESS IS NOW CLOSED! SORRY!!!
photo from flickr user micah.e