Posts Tagged ‘local food’

Urban Food Visioning for 2011

What a fantastic and exciting year 2010 has been! I could list all the cool things we’ve done this year, but I’ll save that for another post. But needless to say, we’ve got some great momentum on local food action in Greensboro, and we know you’re itching to get involved with a local grassroots organization to keep that momentum going! I’ve personally been inspired and energized by the CFSA (Carolina Farm Stewardship Association) Sustainable Agriculture Conference that took place last weekend in Winston-Salem. I was again reminded of my dedication to urban food systems and the possibilities that lay before us. (We are particularly fond of Toby Hemenway and the amazing things going on in Portland, OR like CityRepair.org.)

This is why we want to invite you to our first Urban Food Visioning Session. So many of you have expressed interest in getting involved with Urban Harvest, and as you know we are currently an all-volunteer organization. We’ve been successful at small steps and small victories with a small number of people, but we have power in numbers. So we’d like you to join us around the “kitchen table” to tackle something a little larger. Come with your project ideas, and an open mind to others’ project ideas, and we’ll create an action plan to forge a greener, healthier Greensboro! Since this will be a “kitchen table” session, plan to eat with us!

What: Urban Food Visioning
Date: Saturday, January 15th, 2011
Time: 3-5 pm with dinner to follow
Place: TBD (depends on how many people will attend)

Please RSVP by Jan 8th to urbanharvest.gso@gmail.com

Paper vs Plastic? How about Basket vs Canvas?

OK, we’ve had our first couple of frosts and a long Thanksgiving holiday. Work in the garden has slowed quite a bit. Perhaps we can take a moment for a bit of a debate around the fire? Or more simply put for the purposes of this blog: which route is the better one to take – Local or Organic? Of course, the ideal answer to that question is BOTH! But what about those times when you really do need to make a choice? Not many of us here in the Piedmont are growing our own wheat for bread, for example, and our seafood, though kinda local (regional really), mostly gets here from the coast. Thanksgiving at my house included lots of locally raised and organic selections, but not all were, by any means. So what’s a responsible omnivore to do? Not exactly The Omnivore’s Dilemma (thank you, Michael Pollan!) I know, but a question that seems to keep coming up in our food discussions.

Urban winter garden with beet sprouts and onion transplants

In this blog, of course, the “basket” refers to harvesting out of our own backyards, small farms or community gardens (yay, Dunleith!) and “canvas” seems to be the bag of choice at the local organic food store (well, maybe at the local farmers’ market, too, but you get the idea). Many of us who grew this year, took great advantage of all of the good fresh choices that came out of our gardens. Some of us even canned, froze or otherwise processed some of that goodness in preparation for the long winter ahead. But now that Fall is here, the fresh-out-of-the-garden selections are, in most cases, fewer and less diverse. What’s a person to do? Continue reading

Calling all gardeners without a garden

As many of you know, our main project thus far has been at the Dunleith Community Garden in the Aycock neighborhood. The garden was installed in June of 2009, and since then we’ve had 2 successful seasons of CSAs (community supported agriculture) and 7 neighbors renting plots.

Well, when it comes to the garden, the time to think about spring is in the fall! We’ve got some winter “cash crops” (edibles) in the ground, as well as some winter “cover crops” (to help improve the soil). This fall, we are opening the garden up for more folks to rent a plot in the spring.

In the past we have offered the option of participating in the garden through a CSA or by renting a plot. This year, we hope to fill up more of the garden with plot renters, and from there determine whether or not we will run a CSA. After all, it is a community garden, and we want our community to have ownership.

A community plot rental is a small financial investment but a large time commitment. Plot rentals give you 10 months to tend your own community plot. Spring plots will be available Feb 1, 2011 for you to prep and plant those super early spring crops (like snow peas)! If you are interested in renting a plot at the Dunleith Community Garden, please send an email to urbanharvest.gso@gmail.com and we well send you a sign-up form.

Here’s to spring veggies!

Summer/Fall CSA

Now that fall is finally here, I think I can rest a little! As far as I can tell we had a very successful Summer/Fall CSA with 7 subscribers. I can tell you, they are probably also relieved to not have to deal with several pounds of eggplants every single week! We also were successful with many kinds of sweet and hot peppers, okra, cucumbers, watermelons and winter squashes (pumpkins, spaghetti and butternut squash) in the hotter months. Despite the fact that hot weather lasted well into September, we were also able to provide broccoli raab and hakuri turnips, a gourmet salad mix with lettuces, arugula and early mustard greens.

This was our second CSA season, lasting 12 weeks (the spring CSA was 10 weeks) and we sure are learning a lot about growing, harvesting and sell food! In between our CSA seasons, we sold produce at a small farmer’s market. And as most farmer’s already know, the CSA brought in more money. I won’t necessarily say that it was more profitable, because we have a lot to learn in terms of efficiency (harvesting, washing and packing a gourmet salad mix is WAY more involved than harvesting eggplants and tossing them in the CSA crate). Continue reading

We’re baaaacckk…

One of the challenges of any not-for-profit organization, particularly one that is growing, is finding the time, resources and people to perform the ever-growing list of tasks that need to be done to maintain the momentum of the overall effort. One of those tasks is keeping all of the stakeholders informed. We are blessed in this information age with a convenient way of doing this – the Internet and this wonderful thing called a blog. But the copy doesn’t write itself and most of the many volunteers already involved with Urban Harvest (or any other such worthwhile organization) have things like “day jobs”, families, and “the rest of their lives” to deal with meaning the blog may sometimes slide down the priority list. Ergo, another volunteer steps in – locavore11… Continue reading

Eggplant Carpaccio

Eggplant Carpaccio

Rosa Bianca Eggplant

Pingtung Long Eggplant

“The Recipe”

Ingredients:

3 skinny eggplants
juice from 1 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste
feta cheese, to taste
half cup pine nuts, toasted
1 teaspoon fresh mint, chopped

Assembly:

Slice the eggplant into very thin, round pieces. The thinner, the better. If you have a slicer or a mandolin, you may want to use that.

Lay the eggplant in a thin layer over a large plate.

Make a dressing with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. You can add herbs and spices that you like. Then either toss the eggplant in the dressing before you lay it on the plate, or you can drizzle it over the top of the eggplant.

Finally, top with crumbled feta cheese, pine nuts and mint. Remember that feta can be salty, so be careful not to overdo it.

Growing more than veggies

We’re all aware of fads. They seep into our fashion, our reading, and our vocabulary. Most fads I can do without (leggings, IM-speak, side ponytails) but a new awareness of the environment mixed with an urgent call to action has produced a fad of new vocabulary that’s creeping into every corner of our lives. The terms “green”, “organic”, and “local” have become staples in this ecologically minded movement and are next to impossible to avoid.  Though there’s much debate about the determining values behind these words, the only word that this particular post concerns itself  with is ‘local.’

Greensboro, though typically slow to jump on the proverbial bandwagon, has really embraced the ideology and production of local food. (Our definition of “local” is within a 150 mile radius of Greensboro. This food is typically considered coming from small production farms and may or may not be grown in a certified Organic environment.) From an increase in foot traffic through the Curb Market to several restaurants featuring locally grown produce, Greensboro is keeping step in a movement that will last longer than snap bracelets or Tickle Me Elmo. I’m glad to support the efforts of the “Gate City” and want to highlight a few local establishments that have gone above and beyond to promote a localized food movement.

Mentioned first (and properly so) is the Curb Market. This is a place where farmer’s come to sell their veggies and vendors tote their local produce. Here one can find a variety of vegetables, fruits, prepared goods, breads, cheeses, meats and flowers. Table 16 is a restaurant located in downtown Greensboro. The menu is constantly changing and touting many local, in-season dishes. If your taste buds haven’t yet delighted in the cooking of chef Graham Heaton, I strongly recommend checking it out. For locally milled flour (not lucky enough to have it locally grown – yet) visit The Old Mill of Guilford. The Old Mill is a great resource for flour, cornmeal and GREAT recipes; I always leave with something new to bake!

Those are a few of the MANY Greensboro hot spots dealing in local food. Please check out Slow Food Piedmont for a list of more restaurants, farms and stores that carry local products. We’re always looking for more recommendations—let us know if you have a favorite place that has local food.