Saturday, April 29, 2006
Spent the night throwing a Grub party for guests at Maverick Farms. Started by old friends who took over the family farm, Maverick is making a go of organic farming in rural North Carolina. Like most of the small farmers we've met, their income comes from a range of direct-to-consumer stuff, like their CSA, selling to area restaurants, and monthly farm dinners. For the Grub party we hosted, the Mav Team made a delectable sorrel soup, watercress salad with quinoa and lentil cold salads, too. For dessert we were served up blueberry tart and apple pie. Country living never tasted so good. After the Grub dinner guests left and the reading was over, we stayed up late watching this classic projected onto the wall of the farmhouse.
Posted by anna lappe at 11:02 PM
Friday, April 28, 2006
Asheville was rocking tonight and I had a great time at Malaprop's, another amazing indie on our tour. Emily Jackson from the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project told us about all the great work they're doing locally and we headed out to dinner here.
Posted by anna lappe at 11:23 PM
Spent the morning on the farm planting potatoes and visiting Leo's bees. Did you know that the widespread use of pesticides has killed off most wild bees in the U.S.? Now, every year for the California almond harvest farmers rent bees from around the country to pollinate their fields? (Leo tells me this while I stand by trying to act mellow as he adds a couple of stacks to his crew of them.) Leo has friends who spend their years following harvests with their bees--the insect world's migrant workers--stacked high in the back of their trucks. (Pictured at left: Mav-er Leo Gaev and Added-Value's Ian Marvy (on loan from Brooklyn) lug potatoes.)
Posted by anna lappe at 10:52 PM
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Got a great film on food change? Arts Engine wants to know. The folks who bring you the MediaRights Film Festival are seeking submissions for Media That Matters: Good Food, a nationwide project that will empower and educate young people about food and the environment. Good Food will bring a unique collection of short, inspiring films by youth and independent filmmakers to middle-school, high-school and college students around the country. Through web streaming, classroom, community and campus screenings, national broadcasts and DVD distribution, young people will be engaged by food and environmental issues and inspired to take action for a sustainable future in their own communities. Submissions open now.
Posted by anna lappe at 10:54 AM
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Had a meeting today with my new hero, Denise O'Brien. An organic farmer for thirty years, she's running for Sec of Ag in Iowa. Her state has the dubious claim-to-fame of being one of the country's most polluted--90 percent of which comes from ag. Every year, water contaminated with E. coli, nitrogen, and phosphorus from Iowa industrial farms run-off the land into the waterways, the Mississippi and eventually into the Gulf of Mexico. If she wins, she'll promote sustainable ag in the state and work on behalf of small family farmers. If you have a few bucks and want to support a critical political campaign this season, consider supporting Denise--whether you live in Iowa, or not. She is one of those rare candidates willing to step out and speak up on behalf of all of us. For the next forty days she and her homegrown campaign team (her daughter moved home to help on the campaign), will pull out all the stops. I, for one, will support her any way I can. --Anna
Posted by anna lappe at 11:31 PM
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Spending the week in Asheville with the Kellogg Food and Society Conference (part of my work for this). I realize pretty quickly that most of the people I write about in Grub are here, so I get to have nights like last one, when I had dinner here with people doing amazing work like Joani, Ryan, Jim, Mark, and Lilach. Later, we put on our two-stepping shoes here. --Anna
Posted by anna lappe at 1:35 PM
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Inspired by the folks in Columbia Missouri who put on the True/False film festival (housed in the super-cool art-house cinema our friend Holly helped to start), Michael Falter and Susan Tive put together a program of docs that rivals the big-name festivals (you know, like Sundance). They brought me up to give a talk after The Real Dirt on Farmer John. (A must see, about a farmer whose nearly losing-it-all story is as heart-wrenching as his revival as one of the most successful CSA farmers I've heard of). After I finished wiping my eyes, I pulled it together (slightly) and then joined everyone for the after-movie all-local food and wine tasting organized by Sustainable Connections. Altogether a hectic day, leaving Portland before the sun rose, heading up to Bellingham, and then going to bed just before it rose (again), but I somehow squeezed in a cat-nap in a cottage within eyeshot of Bellingham's beautiful bay and a night cap at a quintessentially Seattle dive bar with an old college buddy. --Anna
Posted by anna lappe at 6:23 AM
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Had a fun reading at the annex of the Powells independent bookstore empire at their Books for Home and Garden store and a great after-dinner at Fife, whose owner/chef gets the Grub message and forages locally for almost all of his ingrediens. Heading out to Bellingham at the crack of dawn... --Anna
Posted by anna lappe at 2:13 AM
Friday, April 21, 2006
From Congress: China added to the list of countries eligible to export processed poultry to the U.S. The final rule will allow export from China of processed poultry products made from poultry raised in the U.S. and slaughtered in other countries eligible to be re-imported back, which would make your chicken wings Silver Medallion frequent fliers in no time. --Anna
Posted by anna lappe at 3:21 PM
Thanks to everyone who turned out to Elliot Bay Book Co. tonight. If you're ever in Seattle you must check out this cozy, labrynthine bookstore and its downstairs cafe and booksignings. After, we headed to The Hideout (loved the walls of art & $3.50 Fat Tires) with folks from Grist and WorldChanging where we discussed the real meaning of growth, why "Eli Danger Hoffman" is the best name ever, and the trouble with the trendiness of eco-consumption. --Anna
Posted by anna lappe at 4:21 AM
Had a lovely night out in Ballard, a funky neighborhood on the Northern end of Seattle, to help celebrate and raise money for Sustainable Ballard, a local, volunteer-run group working on everything from transportation to food and health. Area farmers provided nettles, yummy eggs, and other tasty treats and chefs (including Seattle Art Museum's) even took a page from Bryant's recipes to make some Grub-inspired meals. Got into a great discussion with these women about the power of media and even pawned off a book on the bartender.--Anna
Posted by anna lappe at 4:12 AM
Monday, April 17, 2006
According to surf lore, when the waves were good local storeowners would drape "surf's up" signs in their shop windows and head out to catch a few. So, this isn't really about Grub, but got up at 6:00 to get my first surf lesson at Cowell's before hopping on a flight to Seattle
Posted by anna lappe at 12:30 AM
Friday, April 14, 2006
So, yeah, Santa Cruz has the rep of being hippie central, and maybe a little flakey, but the students we met last night were some of the brightest, most engaged I've met in a long time. We had a particularly delicious meal with the sun breaking through after days of rain and with all organic all local foods, including a freshly made desert with just-picked kiwis. Got a tour of the working farm where our tour coordinator had studied last year as an apprentice. If you're looking to get your hands dirty and learn from the organic masters, this is your place.--Anna
Posted by anna lappe at 4:30 AM
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Posted by anna lappe at 8:35 AM
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
We got to dine with some of our heroes tonight, including UC Berkeley professor Ignacio Chapelo, Jerry Mander (of Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television fame), and Deborah Koons Garcia, creator of The Future of Food. The event included a celebration of the work of Marin Organic, which among other cool projects in the county, gleans organic produce from area farmers and delivers it to public schools. In just a few years, they've upped it to 40,000 pounds annually. --Anna
Posted by anna lappe at 5:25 PM
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
When I was a kid, Diesel Books in Oakland was a bowling alley. It boasted 89 lanes. Once inside, you'd see lanes numbered, 82 to 89. Now, it's a gorgeous independent bookstore (we're only hitting indies on the tour). We had a great reading, got an impromptu poetry reading from Mike Molina that rocked. Got to see lots of old friends. Including my old high school buddy Zac Unger. --Anna
Posted by anna lappe at 2:01 AM
Sunday, April 09, 2006
Saturday, April 08, 2006
Meanwhile, on the other side of the city, 20,000 biotech execs and their wanna-bes gathered for the annual BIO convention. I applied for a press pass a few months ago. Although they gave me one last year (on assignment for the same magazine), this year the communications officer for BIO told me that the magazine's editorial line wasn't relevant to their conference. You can read about my run-in with the BIO communications team at last year's conference in Grub. It might help you get why they'd reject a request this time around.
Posted by anna lappe at 6:15 PM
Spent the weekend with folks from the BioETHICS conference in Chicago. They put together an amazing array of informational workshops and discussions exploring the ethics of ag biotechnology. I learned a lot from the farmers present, many of whom had been biotech farmers who were now outspoken critics. Among them was one farmer who discovered widespread health problems with his livestock after starting them on GMO feed. --Anna
Posted by anna lappe at 5:59 PM
Thanks to everyone who turned out for our standing room only crowd on Thursday night. And joined us at La Quinta and kept us dancing until 3 a.m. at Sutra. (You rock, Arielle!) We even sold out all our books. Next stop, Chicago! Head out to LGA in T-minus seven minutes. --Anna
Posted by anna lappe at 8:15 AM
Friday, April 07, 2006
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Join us tonight at our book launch! at Coliseum Books
Posted by anna lappe at 11:20 AM
I try not to make a habit of this, but I seriously grossed out my family tonight. As we checked out menus at a
Posted by anna lappe at 2:15 AM
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
I'm downing some erva mate at the local Ann Arbor food coop between events while Bryant is doing a cooking demo and hanging out with the young people that make up Growing Hope, a local group that uses community gardening for community empowerment. Despite the grey, bone-chilling weather, Ann Arbor has been an inspiring start to our trip. Last night, we met folks who are opening a community-based, organic supermarket in the heart of Detroit -- where there is little in the way of real food -- and folks helping to start an organic farming apprenticeship program at the Michigan State University in East Lansing. --Anna
Posted by anna lappe at 3:30 PM
Saturday, April 01, 2006
When the CDC stated if we don't change the way we feed our children, kids born today may be the first in the cuontry to die at a younger age than their parents, many people woke up to our food crisis. Woke up, yes, but most of the food we feed to our kids is still high-fat, high-salt, high-sugar time bombs. And while the CDC makes pronouncements like these, the USDA--the agency responsible for school food--continues to feed American kids junk food. (Come to think of it, why doesn't the CDC or the HHS run school food? The USDA's real mandate is finding a market for US ag products... and those kids are a pretty captive market).
But a movement across the country is working to change that. I spent today with four hundred of them. Their radical proposition? Offer food that makes kids well, instead of makes them sick. As Ann Cooper, head of school food in Berkeley, California, pointed out in a rousing talk that made me wake up from an otherwise bleary-eyed 9am blur: We spend billions on treateing obesity-related illnesses, at the same time we waste billions on feeding kids the very food that will make them overweight.
Most inspiring moment: When Dr. Roberta Sonnino from Rome said that 68% of all schools in Italy serve some organic foods and that they have a federal mandate (Finance Law 488) that explicity encourages public institutions like schools and hospitals to serve organic foods. Imagine that!
Best food moment: Eating lunch. It was delicious and prepared by the school food department in New York City.
Favorite quote of the day: "There are risks and costs to any program of action," said JFK. "But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction."
Working with kids? Have kids in school? Just plain care about what kids eat? Visit the Baum Forum's resource guide online to get involved in the school food revolution. --Anna
Posted by anna lappe at 8:23 PM