February 17, 2010: I crawled out of bed in a stupor this morning. The electricity blew out in my shared room last night, and by 8 o’clock, the bedroom—usually just tolerable enough to sleep in with the fan constantly whirring overhead–had turned into a sweatbox. I stumbled towards the kitchen for coffee and fruit. It wasn’t until I sat down and took my first sip that I realized it was finally over: Carnaval. Read more

February 11, 2010: I’m sitting on the terrace of my temporary home in Rio, Casa Amarelinha in the Santa Teresa neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, feeling remotely cool for the first time in over a week. It’s been hard to think much in this heat—we’ve been topping 110 degrees regularly this past week, in one of the worst heat waves Rio has seen in recent memory (to exacerbate what has been an unusually hot summer all around), with about 75% humidity. When the mercury rises to about 90 back in New York, everyone retreats into their air conditioned offices and apartments or flees to the beach or countryside. But here in Rio, life in the streets goes on in full force, despite the blazing sun. I am so grateful it does, for what life courses through the streets of this city! However, the oppressive weather has made my volunteer work challenging to bear, even for a seasoned farm gal. Read more

This is the first in a series of posts from our new Foodshed Nomad column.

January 29, 2010
It’s difficult to explain, and I’m certainly aware that I’m still in a phase of first impressions rather than any sort of intimate. But in short, I find this city absolutely magnificent. There’s a phrase in Brazilian Portuguese that has no literal translation: saudade. It connotes a sense of longing, a deep yearning and nostalgia for a person or place, and is often used when expressing your love for something or someone while you are still with it or them (perhaps the sentiment Toni Morrison was trying to express when she wrote, “It is sheer good fortune to miss somebody before you leave them” in her book Sula). I’ve been here just a week, but it already feels like much longer. Rio’s languorous pace draws you in very quickly, and running around Brooklyn packing up and saying goodbyes already seems months behind me. One of my new friends and I were just discussing the intoxication that comes from being in Rio, the sense that you are living in Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, a place with no life or time outside its limits. Here we all move as one, and even those of us who move at the quickest pace in our outside lives are forced to give up the hurry here. It is as giving in to love. Read more

This is the first in series of posts about food systems issues in and around Brazil. Sara will contribute to a new column called The Foodshed Nomad. Look for her updates regularly.

I’m on the floor of my father’s Manhattan apartment, surrounded by luggage, paperwork, books and a sprawl of clothes and toiletries. It is a mere two days from my departure for Brazil, and it feels like there are mountains of tasks to complete before I get on the plane. Sitting here, pounding away at my keyboard, catching up on emails and typing up loose ends, I finally forced myself to find a moment to write.

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Sara Franklin. I have worked in food systems for several years now in a variety of capacities— I have studied nutrition and agriculture; I have farmed; I have worked for anti-hunger organizations dealing with a lack of healthy, accessible food in urban areas; I have worked to build capacity among community-based groups across the U.S. using agriculture as a tool of empowerment to work towards eliminating hunger and poverty; I have been a restaurant critic, a freelance writer, and consultant for various organizations; and I have built gardens in cities and the countryside. But what has, perhaps, taught me most about food systems issues and their pervasiveness is travel. In visiting farmers and activist groups working in food and agriculture in the U.S. and abroad, I have learned that the issues related to food systems are a universal language. Read more