Building Community, One Bowl of Soup at a Time

Growing up in Solvang, California, otherwise known as the “Danish Capital of America,” I had a lot of exposure to Danish culture—slinging butter cookies and kringles at a Danish bakery, eating open-faced sandwiches on pumpernickel, learning to folk dance, and getting familiar with aquavit. But the thing that has stuck with me most over the years is the term hygge. Read more

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Faces & Visions of the Food Movement: Good Food Awards’ Sarah Weiner

Sarah Weiner has an impressive track record of making things happen. After college, she traveled to Italy to work at the Slow Food headquarters. It was there that she first met chef and food movement leader Alice Waters, who eventually hired her as an assistant. She and Waters co-created Slow Food Nation, a 2008 event that was seen by many as a watershed moment in the food movement. It was then, in her role as Content Director of Slow Food Nation, where Weiner’s vision of the Good Food Awards was born. Read more

Taking Kids on ‘A Trip to Delicious’ with Alice Waters

On a hot day in September, I gathered up my two-year-old daughter and took her to one of Berkeley’s most important places for young eaters: the Edible Schoolyard. While my daughter was busy smashing juicy figs into her face and chasing chickens across the lawn, I tuned my ears to Alice Waters, the pioneering chef of Chez Panisse. We were there to celebrate the release of Alice Waters and the Trip to Delicious, a new biographical children’s book by Jacqueline Briggs Martin that traces Alice’s journey to a life of good, healthy food. Read more

Bringing Back the Grange, the Farmer’s Gathering Place

I grew up visiting the local grange in the small town of Los Olivos, California. The lawn outside was always abuzz with activity. Picnic tables were laden with potlucks, babies lounged on blankets, and streamers were flying high. It was the place where everything in our town happened, at least that’s how it always seemed to me. We went to the grange to see films, attend dances, and sit through my parents’ boring grownup meetings. There was a close-knit spirit of support, collaboration, and family that I rarely see anymore. Read more

‘The Homemade Flour Cookbook’ Takes DIY Baking to a New Level

If you meander down the DIY road long enough, you will end up doing things that are far from easy or convenient. You stop thinking about the time it takes to complete a project and begin focusing on the value to the end result, liker the integrity in knowing that your entire dinner can be traced back to your own property. Part of the DIY thrill is that the steps encourage you to keep digging deeper. What starts one year as a nice gift to your neighbors of dried, home grown herbs might result in the decision to add salt crystals you harvested from local seawater to the next batch.

When it comes to baking, the next DIY frontier is grinding whole grains into flour. Read more

EcoFarm: 34 Years of Bringing the Organic Farming Community Together

Thirty-four years ago the very first EcoFarm conference took place in Winters, CA. It was called “To Husband, The Earth” and was the brainchild of Amigo Bob Cantisano. At the time, he was running the only organic farm supply company and thought it would be valuable to create an event for farmer friends to gather. So he sent out a mailing and 45 people showed up for a big potluck. Read more

A Farmer’s Almanac for the Young, DIY Set

If you’re up on sustainable farming, chances are good that you’ve heard of The Greenhorns. But, if by some chance you have not, let me fill you in. The non-profit organization was founded in 2007 by Severine von Tscharner Fleming with the primary goal of promoting and supporting the young farmer movement in America. Their first project, the eponymous documentary The Greenhorns brought attention to the plight of young farmers and introduced viewers to a myriad of grassroots endeavors. Through new media production, events, publications, workshops, and actual farming, The Greenhorns aim to organize, build, and bring attention to a network of budding agrarians. I’m happy to report that the latest Greenhorns project has arrived and it’s an impressive body of work that deserves some attention. The 2013 New Farmer’s Almanac is an adventure. Read more