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100 Mile Challenge on Food TV

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The first episode of Food Network Canada’s 100 Mile Challenge starts April 5th. Based on “The 100-Mile Diet” by Alisa Smith and J.B. Mackinnon and hosted by the authors, the show challenges the citizens of Mission, BC to live for 100 days eating only foods that originate within 100 miles of their home.

Episodes will be available online the day after they air in Canada (which is good for me because 1. we don’t have cable and 2. even if we did, I don’t think Food TV Canada airs in Philadelphia). I’m curious to see how the show plays out and if the network shows that eating locally is not only possible, but pleasurable. Because it is reality television, not reality, the six families that sign on for the challenge are forbidden from eating household staples like beer, coffee, tea, chocolate, olive oil, pepper and most spices. (Notice where my priorities are- no beer!) While that makes for great television, I hope that at some point it’s made clear that eating locally isn’t an all or nothing proposition. Supporting the local economy and local farmers is ideal, but it is not necessary to deprive your family of coffee or bananas simply because they don’t grow in a 100-mile radius of your home.

In addition to bits about the 100 Mile Challenge show, the show’s blog features recipes and tips as well as information about different vegetables.

Posted by Jackie on 03/26 at 04:20 PM


The Presidential Garden!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Although not local to us, still a pretty big deal worth celebrating here at Farm to Philly!
White-House-garden-plan
The Obamas are digging up the White House lawn for a big garden! Here’s a link to an article in the New York Times. More of the great backstory is here at the WHO farm site (“White” “House” “Organic”). As a teaser: “TheWhoFarmMobile is two school buses fused together with an organic edible garden on the roof. It was originally designed by Stefan Sagmeister and Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s, built by Tom Kennedy, and named Topsy Turvy.  TheWhoFarm acquired the bus, ripped off the roof and planted an organic edible garden….”

Maybe the next stop for the WhoFarmMobile should be Harrisburg!

Posted by Allison on 03/20 at 10:58 PM


Locavore iPhone application

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I have never really been all that interested in getting an iPhone…until now:

An application that helps people locate local, in season food has just been released for the iPhone. Simply titled Locavore, it determines your location when you open up the app (and depending on where I am in the house it says I’m in Pennsylvania or New Jersey; I live right on the border). It then gives you information in four categories[...]: in-season, markets, food, and states.

Just being able to find out what’s in season could be a really big help, particularly for people just getting started in eating the local foodshed and don’t know where the find that information.  The local markets locator is apparently a joint venture with LocalHarvest.

Posted by Nicole on 03/19 at 11:24 AM


All politics is local

Monday, March 16, 2009

Things have been pretty quiet around here lately about milk and growth hormones.  Just because the issue isn’t in the news very often doesn’t mean there isn’t activism happening.  Food and Water Watch has mounted a nationwide campaign to convince schools to source their milk from farms that do not inject their cows with rBGH.  The Philadelphia School District sources its milk from Wawa (you might remember that Wawa, who I believe gets their milk from local farms for the most part) went rBGH-free just a few days before Pennsylvania banned rBGH labeling) but do not currently have any rules regulating what the school district is able to serve students.

The Food and Water Watch folks are working to pass a School Reform Commission resolution making Philadelphia school officially rBGH-free.  It would make the Philly school district the biggest district in the country to make this step - and that sends a powerful message.  Susan Hildebrand, the local Green Corps organizer for this initiative, got in touch recently about some nationwide initiatives she’s working on that may impact Pennsylvania, like the Children Nutrition Act.  She said,

Senator Casey sits on the Agriculture Committee and we want him to champion the issue and make sure the Child Nutrition Act includes language giving schools to explicit right to preference rBGH-free milk.  On March 12th, as a part of a national “Know Your Milk” Day of Action, we generated over 110 calls into his office letting him know that his constituents care about this issue.  I’ve attached a photo of that event.

casey

Posted by Nicole on 03/16 at 04:25 PM


Alice Waters on 60 Minutes

waters

If you missed the 60 Minutes segment with Chez Panisse owner Alice Waters last night, you can catch it online.  One of my favorite parts:

The centerpiece of the event was a sprawling, urban victory garden - a real vegetable garden in front of City Hall. Waters called it “the ultimate symbolism.”

The garden, Waters’ idea, was planted to encourage people to grow their own.

There are all sorts of things going on in this article of interest to me.  I love the idea that there’s an edible garden at City Hall in San Francisco, and I wish they would do something like that in the gardens at City Hall (or in Love Park!) here in Philly.  Yes, of course the flowers are lovely…but how cool would it be to raise crops that could be given to local food banks?  Tending a vegetable garden doesn’t take any more time and effort to take care of then the flower gardens, really.

[Photo from the SF Gate]

Posted by Nicole on 03/16 at 11:13 AM


Farm to City CSA shares available

Monday, March 09, 2009

This email arrived in my inbox today. If you haven’t already chosen a CSA, now is your chance.

FARM TO CITY ANNOUNCES THE OPENING OF ITS CSA MEMBERSHIP DRIVE FOR THE 2009 SEASON

Please forward this announcement to others you know who may be interested. This is the best way to spread the word about these CSA farms.

This year Farm to City is assisting 5 farms to find members for their CSAs:

  * Lancaster Farm Fresh - certified organic, 200 shares available, ready for sign-ups

  * Wimer’s Organics - certified organic, 200 shares available, ready for sign-ups

  * Pheasant Hill Farm - no synthetic chemicals, uses organic methods, 50 shares available, ready for sign-ups

  * Red Earth Farm - no synthetic chemicals, uses organic methods, 70 shares available, ready on April 1 for sign-ups

  * Dancing Hen Farm - no synthetic chemicals, uses organic methods, 50 shares available, ready on March 23 for sign-ups


Go to our website and select the CSA you are interested in; pay with PayPal or check:

http://farmtocity.org/MarketList.asp?view=csa

Each CSA delivers to different locations in and around Philadelphia as well as at the farm or close by. They differ in products offered and cost. The first three are farmer choice CSAs; Red Earth Farm offers member choice. Details on our website.

Wimer’s Organics CSA is looking for hosts for the locations listed below. Site hosts get a free share, provided their site has at least 15 members, good security, shade, and access for delivery and members. Contact info at farmtocity.org if you are interested.

· Ardmore
· Bryn Mawr
· Center City, Philadelphia
· Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia
· Eagle/Downingtown area
· Fairmount, Philadelphia
· Havertown
· Morgantown area
· Mt. Airy, Philadelphia
· Northern Liberties, Philadelphia
· Phoenixville/Kimberton area
· Pottstown/Limerick area
· Radnor/Wayne
· Reading
· Society Hill-Queen Village, Philadelphia
· South Philadelphia
· Villanova
· West Philadelphia
· Wynnewood

Bob Pierson
Farm to City

Posted by Jackie on 03/09 at 08:45 PM


Farm to Philly in the news!

Friday, March 06, 2009

grid

We’ve been keeping a little secret around here, but now that the latest issue of Grid magazine has hit the streets we feel safe letting the cat out of the bag: Farm to Philly is featured in this month’s issue (see page 5)!  If you haven’t heard of Grid, it’s a new monthly mag that focuses on what all of us can do to live more sustainably in the Philadelphia area.  This is their third issue.

A few other things in this month’s issue: a recipe for turnovers featuring the really fantastic canned peaches from Three Springs Farm (I tried them a month ago while volunteering at the Fair Food Farmstand - they are amazing!), a primer on home brewing, and an article about Southwark restaurant (they have a seasonal menu focused on locally grown foods!).  You can get the entire magazine online, or you can pick up a copy in your neighborhood.

Where The Locals Eat featured blog

We also have more good news: Farm to Philly will be a featured blog when Where the Locals Eat launches its online list of “The Best Food Blogs in Amerca”.  You’ve probably seen dining guides from Where the Locals Eat - they’ve been publishing yearly guides since 1996.  Recent editions include New York, Los Angeles, Nashville and Las Vegas. Last September they released an iPhone application called LocalEats (look in the Travel categories to find that app).

Posted by Nicole on 03/06 at 11:25 PM


In the News…

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Having been a hectic few weeks preparing for vacation, I haven’t done too much cooking.  I did, however, find time for some reading, and few interesting pieces come through my Inbox, The New York Times’ Dining section, and from Plan Philly. 

First, Wednesday’s Dining Section had a long article on artisanal products handmade in Brooklyn (where else?).  These craftsmen are all coming at this from other careers; for some, these products are just a side business.  Far from being in competition, they promote each other’s work, and even barter amongst themselves.  There is definitely a defiant, you-could-never-do-this-in-Manhattan strain to it - not to mention the New York-centric attitude of the writers and New York Times in general.  Nonetheless, it’s worth reading.  I’ve had fun try to imagine which local producers would appear in a similar article on Philadelphia.  Are you listening Inquirer

Second, from Plan Philly, there is an exciting announcement about the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (RDA) permitting urban greenhouses on RDA land for the short-term (three to five years).  The first project could be up in running as soon as this Spring.  Yet more evidence that we deserve far more credit than we get for local food.

Finally, I was excited to learn that Michael and Charis, of Red Earth Farm, are coming to Philadelphia to meet CSA members in late March.  The meeting will be at Mugshots Coffeehouse, on 21st and Fairmount, from 5 - 7pm..  For all Red Earth members, this should be an enjoyable experience.  Going on my third year as a site host and having had many e-mail and phone conversations with Charis, it will be nice to meet them face to face.  Incidentally, Red Earth Farm - if you can believe it - is expanding.  They’ve offered advanced purchases of 2010 shares to help finance the purchase of an adjacent tract.  Amazing to think that a local farm is actually growing in size. 

Posted by Kevin on 02/28 at 01:25 PM


The People’s Garden…maybe

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack took a jackhammer to the concrete in front of USDA headquarters in Washington to begin construction on the inaugural People’s Garden earlier this month.

The new garden will add 612 square feet of planted space to an existing garden traditionally planted with ornamentals. The garden will showcase conservation practices that all Americans can implement in their own backyards and green spaces. As a component of the garden, pollinator-friendly plantings will not only provide important habitat for bees and butterflies, but can serve as an educational opportunity to help people understand the vital role pollinators play in our food, forage and all agriculture. The garden plot is adjacent to the site of the USDA Farmer’s Market.

vilsack

According to Vilsack, the People’s Garden illustrates President Obama’s commitment to “responsible stewardship of our land, water and other natural resources, and one way of restoring the land to its natural condition is what we are doing here today”.  The garden will contain fruit trees and vegetables (although the larger project includes things like window boxes on adjacent buildings and conservation techniques), the output of which will be donated to soup kitchens in the D.C. area.  And we hear that more of these little gardens are scheduled to pop up at other USDA facilities across the country.

Michele Obama supported the initiative by dropping off a heritage breed Magnolia seedling to the ceremony, saying “I’m a big believer in community gardens, both because of their beauty and for their access to providing fresh fruits and vegetables to so many communities across this nation and the world.”

Apparently, none of us should get too excited, though - the pavement that was torn up by Vilsack won’t really be a garden: it’ll just be grass.  Yes, grass is better than concrete, but how about some edible landscaping?  And there are some who say this entire initiative was little more than a photo op gone horribly, horribly awry.  There’s not much of a plan for the garden: there’s no budget and the growing of any vegetables or fruit will be a volunteer gig and there’s no real plan to determine how food banks would get these theoretical vegetables.  So what’s the bottom line?  Well…a garden may or may not be planted.  That’s kind of a bummer.  To quote Fox Mulder, I want to believe.

Posted by Nicole on 02/24 at 01:02 PM


Philly in the NY Times - Again!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I’m not sure I can believe it, but Philadelphia has made The New York Times again, and there isn’t a hint of condescension.  Don’t get me wrong; our house is devoted to the “paper of record.” However, the Times can occasionally take a “the-natives-are-surprisingly-sophisticated” attitude when they venture outside of the five boroughs (or is it just Manhattan?) and act like when something is new to the New York Region, it must be new everywhere (i.e., nothing happens anywhere else first). 

Nonetheless, there is a feature on some of our finest local beer.  Between the article and the accompanying slideshow, they touch on many of the best local breweries.  Couple this with a fawning review of Vetri by Frank Bruni, and it’s starting to look like Philadelphia is earning some respect. 

P.S. Local food is the subject of this week’s Splendid Table

Posted by Kevin on 01/17 at 09:55 PM


Local Green Heroes: The ChallaMan

Friday, January 16, 2009

As a compliment to Jackie’s post about making bread and Four Worlds Bakery, I bring you a video clip. I am a loyal patron to Four Worlds Bakery. I generally buy a half loaf of bread a week (my favorites are the multi grain levain, cranberry-walnut levain and spelt levain), along with the occasional bulk order of local flour, sucanat or bran litter. Customers receive a couple of emails a week concerning news, updates and order information. This week’s email included a five minute video showing interviews of the ChallaMan himself and documenting the move from baking in his own basement to a professional baking space behind Kaffa Crossing at 45th and Chestnut. This move was orchestrated not by U-Haul, not by Philly Car Share, but by the Pedal Co-op—bicycles! Michael Dollich has the noble goal of going carbon neutral, and moving via bicycles is an excellent way to support that goal.

Indeed, Michael Dollich offers the community with his bakery a true sustainable business model. He bakes to order. Bread that is not sold is frozen and sold at half price. He mills his own grains to ensure freshness and sells the remaining bran as kitty litter (my cats are living proof that this litter is just as good as S-Wheat Scoop, only much much cheaper at $0.25/lb, and perhaps a bit more powdery). To save waste in terms of packaging and payment envelopes, there is a reusable bag system into which regular customers can buy (a one time $10 investment), and for drop off payments, envelopes are offered, which are constantly reused and recycled for future order payments. All of this waste reduction is not for naught. After one month of baking out of the professional kitchen, Four Worlds Bakery produced one single bag of trash. If that is not commendable, I don’t know what is!

In the ChallaMan and his Four Worlds Bakery Philadelphia finds a true, green, community-oriented hero! Keep up the inspiring work, Michael.

Posted by Melanie on 01/16 at 02:36 PM


A localvore’s wishlist for Obama

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Yesterday the New York Times ran a column about how federal food policy may change in an Obama White House.  Many point out that since Obama is taking office during a time of economic recession and crises for the financial and auto industries, recent attacks on women’s health care and human rights, as well as those two wars we’ve got going on and the energy/environmental cluster&%#@...well, maybe the food policy might not be right up there on his list of things to overhaul.  And Obama’s choice of Tom Vilsack doesn’t exactly speak to his interest in small scale farms.

Still, it doesn’t stop many of us from fantasizing what this could mean.  The column writer speculates that Obama is more of a ‘foodie’ than the current occupant of the White House (something tells me that wouldn’t take much - I envision private moments in the White House as such: the President in his boxers sitting around in a lounge chair, one hand in his waistband, the other clutching a Bud Light, a plate of Triscuits with Easy Cheese at his side), and Michele Obama has put it out there that she buys organic produce whenever possible.  The new Chief of Staff belongs to a synagogue that runs a CSA program.  The local foods movement is not entirely foreign to these folks.

My gut tells me that of all the things people would like to see happen, the one that may have a chance of getting tackled is the issue of school lunch programs.  If you have a kid who regularly buys lunch at school, you know that the lunches are generally not the highest quality (who can forget the “catsup is a vegetable!’ fiasco during the Reagan years?).  As an alumni of the reduced cost and free school lunch welfare program (we were fairly po’ growing up), I vividly remember school lunches of dismal, grey mystery meat “salisbury steak” and fake mashed potatoes. 

There are a million studies that have looked at alternative school lunch programs where the cafeterias focus on healthy meals, fresh produce, and even sourcing locally grown foods - all say the same thing: kids who eat better have better focus and do better in school (not to mention it helps combat the growing obesity epidemic).  Considering how badly U.S. school students lag behind other countries in math, science, etc., and given President-Elect Obama’s commitment to education, overhauling the federal school lunch program might be a possibility.

An overhaul could not come at a better time for Philadelphia.  In October of 2008, the USDA decided to terminate Philadelphia’s Universal Feeding Program.  The UFP is a model that many other cities around the country were looking to adopt - it basically eliminated the paperwork needed to opt into the school lunch program.  In a school system in which at least 75% of families qualify, it seems like a good idea.  It saved the school district a lot of money in paperwork processing fees and the stigma of getting a free lunch was reduced.  The new schools superintendent also began a program to offer breakfast that depended on the continuation of the UFP.

Now granted, the Philadelphia program was by no means a healthy program.  Like all school programs, it relies on giant quantities of frozen and prefab foods that aren’t exactly super quality (and the Philadelphia school district never has the kind of money they need to provide quality education to its students, let alone quality nutrition).  With our wealth of local farmers and the many organizations in the area devoted to sustainable agriculture, my guess is that it wouldn’t be all that hard to put together a more healthful program focused on fresh and locally sourced foods - if the federal government were backing such an initiative.  And taking Philadelphia’s dismal high school graduation rates into consideration, this kind of an overhaul could help at least a little bit.

[graphic is from the NYT column]

Posted by Nicole on 12/24 at 02:00 PM


Locally grown: a coming trend in the NFL?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It’s practically sacrilegious to admit this in the Philadelphia region, but I am not much of a sports fan.  While many are bemoaning the latest Eagles loss, I can barely bring myself to even notice that the Eagles are actually in the midst of football season.  Even though I don’t really care about sports so much, I was tickled to see an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the executive chef for the Pittsburgh Steelers football team and the team management’s commitment to locally grown foods and environmental sustainability:

Most pro football players don’t sing the slow-food mantra of local sustainable food. If you ask them, they might say it is nice to eat an apple from a local farmer. But most football players aren’t talking about it the way the students did at Carnegie Mellon University, where Chef Hayes worked as a sous chef for Parkhurst Dining.

Buying local is important for Dan Rooney, owner of the team.

About 20 percent of the food used at the Steelers training facility is locally sourced, but most is not organic, said Jamie Moore, Parkhurst’s director of sourcing and sustainability.

[...] Chef Hayes also grows his own herbs just outside his kitchen. What’s the herb of choice of Steelers? “Football players don’t have a favorite herb,” he said. Then he added: “Pepper.”

I couldn’t find any information about whether any of the chefs for our local sports teams (or the team management) embrace those same ideals.  For all I know, the Eagles, Phillies, etc. are awash in locally and sustainably grown foods.  It’s nice to imagine that the local sports team who rely on community support are giving back by supporting area farmers.

Posted by Nicole on 12/23 at 03:12 PM


Obama: A Model For Farmers?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

This past election, Obama led what many are calling the best campaign of all time. It was tight, well-run and well-organized as well as being the techie-est campaign ever. And, according to a seminar I attended a couple of weeks ago, farmers (or any community group) would do well to pay attention to the tools that the campaign used, namely, the use of online organizing.

A couple of months ago I wrote a piece about how farmer’s need websites. It got some responses, most of which, understandably, had to do with being able to afford it as well as cold feet about the technical aspect. So first, let me talk about the seminar that I attended because I believe that this alone could be a huge help in both respects. BarCamp Philly was a free seminar that creates a real-life equivalent of the online experience to push and reciprocate knowledge. It’s free-form, open discussion groups that lasted all day and (see picture below) came with some nice booty. Anyone can lead a “class”: you can either be an expert OR someone who simply has a question and would like to pick the brains of others. This would be the perfect opportunity for local farmers (or an emissary) to post a class to discuss whatever tech questions concern them. In addition, it would give anyone a great chance to network. You could, possibly, find out information about, say eCommerce and find a programmer or consultant. There is such a community aspect to this that the people you find here want to help, as opposed to seeing you as just a great big dollar sign.

BarCampPhilly

So, what does this have to do with Obama being a model for farmers? Well, as I mentioned, one of the seminars discussed online organizing and how the Obama campaign really blew the lid off of this. Their techniques, their databases, their technology was A++. The seminar leader compared this model to traditional, offline organizing (this model, although made for a campaign, is just as applicable to any community-building needs). He predicted that those community-based organizations who don’t adapt to this model will quickly either be locked out and made irrelevant, taken over by a competing group or, and this is most dire, replaced by corporate structures that co-opt the goals of these community groups but do so to sell a product or agenda. This is, unfortunately, what’s at stake: as the local foods movement becomes larger, corporate interests will move in. And when they move in, guess who moves out? In order to keep the basic spirit of local foods (the ability to actually see and talk to the farmer that produced your food), this group needs to organize and use the very best tools at it’s disposal. I envision an umbrella organization of all area local farmers who, through the strength of pooling their resources, can set up the necessary online devices to keep this movement relevant to it’s customers. Then, that organizes it’s customers. Farmers will now have a database of those interested potential customers and can set up efficient and relevant ways to reach them. Marketing can now be microtargeted, rather than a shot in the dark.

So, let’s take my previous post a step further: not only do farmers need websites, but they need a collective, umbrella site whose main function is to be the “go-to” place for anyone seeking information about local PA. There are already sites that attempt to be a go-to place (Local Harvest, Farm To City). But we should consider these Web 1.0. We need an upgrade. First off, create something that is PA based. Then, give it enough useful and pertinent information so that potential customers will willingly give their email and other contact (and demographic!) info. Then you can take that info and tailor events, growings, everything to how to best reach those that want to be reached. It would be the best money ever spent. I mean imagine: reaching people who want to be reached! See, this is the big advantage to community-based marketing as opposed to corporate marketing. No one gives a crap about what Tide can do for them. But there are groups of people willing to spend (and spend!) on sustainable agriculture and well-made food. Microtargeted marketing is perfect for small groups such as local-foods producers.

The fact is, these are rough economic times. People want value for their dollar. Stay in their minds through marketing. And market by using the best tools available. Times like these can be a downer or they can be the best opportunity ever. Market, state value, partner up with anyone with a plot of land and a stand at a farmer’s market. And don’t be afraid of tech seminars. Most of these people are the nicest people that you will ever meet. Get the most bang for your buck. I know that it’s hard to find dollars to spare. Go talk to your neighbor. Tell him or her to group together. Get an umbrella organization and use that as a portal for personal websites. In these times, that’s the wisest use of marketing dollars. I won’t lie to you: these types of websites are expensive. But in addition to tapping the resources of your neighbors, also tap into the resources that the web provides. Go to seminars such as Bar Camp Philly. Heck, feel free to write me for advice on where to turn to next. There are great resources out there. There are people that truly believe in what you are doing. And we want to help. Just tap us on the shoulder and say “I got great farm products!”. After we’re done salivating, we’ll give you advice. Just keep making that delicious raw milk cheese. Deal?

Posted by Charlotte on 12/18 at 10:53 PM


Introductions!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

My name is Melanie and I am the newest contributor here at “Farm to Philly.” I have been avidly following this site for the last few months and am incredibly excited to join the team! For my first post I would like to offer an introduction to myself and, more specifically, to my food beliefs.

To precisely describe what I am in terms of what I eat is tricky. Vegetarian is not 100% accurate. I do eat fish (eco-best). Had I a real hankering, I might consider eating meat that comes from a local farm which observes sustainable practices. Locavore might fit. I strongly believe in eating local and thereby supporting local small farms and the local economy. I do not eat 100% local, however. And I do not believe that eating only local is necessary. Supporting free trade and buying organic products that travel to my table in environmentally responsible ways contradicts in no way my food beliefs. The most appropriate nomenclature for me would be, perhaps, ecovore. The environment and my impact on it informs what I eat, how I eat and how I live. That being said, I probably eat 75%-95% local. Thanks to my local food co-op, frequent visits to the farmer’s market and a CSA share, this takes little effort and costs much less than you would imagine.

This might be the appropriate moment to slip in that I am a graduate student living off of a modest stipend under the shadow of an immodest student loan debt. Eating good quality ingredients and connecting with your local businesses and farmers is not a privilege of the wealthy. My co-op, Mariposa, (which accepts food stamps, as do the majority of area farmer’s markets) allows me to set up a monthly food budget by paying a self-determined amount to my account each month and shopping off of it. The decision to join a CSA (Keystone Farm) was largely a financial one. I do love to eat and I love to cook. Beautiful, local, fresh produce thrills me. The colors, smells, new flavors—I can not get enough. But I, admittedly, would sometimes go overboard at the farmer’s market and spend far too much. Thus a CSA share structured my purchases. At the moment I pay approximately $20 a week to receive one dozen eggs, a local cheese, farm-made granola, and a large assortment of fruits and vegetables from Keystone Farm. This is an organic farm, mind you. I actually share half of this with a friend, as it is really intended for a family (I live alone). So for $10 a week I have more local, organic food than I can sometimes eat. For the winter share (starting December 13th) I will do a half share for, again, approximately $10 a week. Half-dozen eggs, one cheese, one bag granola, fruits and vegetables. I don’t know that there is a better bargain.

I have resided in Philadelphia for the last one and a half years. Philadelphia: The city of brotherly love. The city that loves you back. A city with one of the highest murder and crime rates in the country. A mecca of slow food and its locavore followers? As a matter of fact, yes (to all of the above). A grand, gritty, city, Philadelphia indeed has shown itself to be an ideal place for those who care about food and who want to make a difference through food. Since May I have resided in the eco-haven of Philadelphia, West Philly. Here can be found my farmer’s market, my co-op, as well as many a liberal, green, progressive type. Clark Park, acting as the cornerstone green space of my neighborhood, serves as an interesting intersection of academics, artists, hippies, punks, African-Americans, Eritreans, and more. And it kind of works.

It’s probably about time that I say something that might cast some light onto why I think any of this matters. I vividly recall a conversation with a dear friend in which said friend acknowledged my food beliefs—he does respect, humor and even partake to some extent in them—but made the point that there are greater issues: poverty, abuse, violence, war, whatever. Of course. These are real issues and they are of great importance to me and should be to all. I would be deeply insulted to think that anyone who knows me would ever imagine that I do not care about these things (and this person was not going that far). But my food beliefs (which I do not intend to push onto anyone, though perhaps some might take note of my example) reflect a certain mindset. Approaching food thoughtfully, being aware of where it comes from, informing oneself about production and environmental impact, limiting waste all have greater implications. Everyone has to eat. Changing the way you address your diet affects the way you address the rest of your life and the world. This may sound idealistic, but encouraging people to be thoughtful, aware and informed could really bring about radical change. My thoughtfulness does not end with food, nor does my concern end with the environment.

I doubt I will make such “radical” statements in future posts, but I do believe very strongly in how I choose to live and eat. In the coming months, I intend to share recipes, gush over exciting, local food, and possibly rant about food politics.

p.s. I abhor high-fructose corn syrup.

p.p.s. My West Philly apartment has a great roof space, on which I had my first urban garden this summer! Here’s the current fall view from it:

Posted by Melanie on 12/04 at 07:39 PM


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Support a local farmer, crave the freshest produce, worry about what's in or on your food - whatever your reason for eating locally grown and produced food in the Philadelphia area, Farm to Philly is probably writing about it. We're focused on where to find it, how to grow it, and what to do with it!


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