While climate change remains a major societal issue still waiting to be addressed at a national level, more and more Americans are looking to see what they can do to make a difference, however small. Thanks to the popularity of books like The Omnivore’s Dilemma and documentaries like Food, Inc., interest in locally produced food as a way to both be healthier and friendlier to the planet has surged. In addition, there is growing interest in urban agriculture as an economic development and community revitalization strategy – with the potential to provide jobs, greenery, and healthy food to many inner-city neighborhoods that lack all three… Read more »
It’s the easiest thing in the world to step into Georgeanne Brennan’s nearby farmhouse kitchen.
The award-winning cookbook writer’s seven students keep up a friendly banter as they prepare a Sunday meal on day two of her “Provence in California” cooking class. It all starts with a glass of chilled rosé to accompany pizzas smothered in cheese, homemade pork sausage, garden vegetables and herbs baked outdoors in a wood-burning oven. It continues with a leg-of-lamb feast served with homemade zinfandel on a table set in the French country style with brightly colored linens under an ancient walnut tree located just outside the kitchen door.
There’s no resisting the symphony of aromas that beckons from inside as cumin and coriander seeds toast in a pan next to spring garlic sautéing in olive oil on an adjacent burner. The smell of beets… Read more »
One of the good things about the Sacramento restaurant community is that it really is a community. And the cooperative spirit is showing up in that most elegant of items: compost.
I know. How romantic. It’s why people go to culinary school.
Seriously, what makes this a cool story is that 10 of the big-name restaurants on the local scene have joined in a handful of environmental programs, and the biggest effort – the composting project – wouldn’t have worked without most of them playing along.
That’s because to make compost, you need a certain amount of, you know, garbage.
And not just any garbage. We’ll get to that… Read more »
It might sound odd to say this about something people deal with at least three times a day, but food in America has been more or less invisible, politically speaking, until very recently. At least until the early 1970s, when a bout of food price inflation and the appearance of books critical of industrial agriculture (by Wendell Berry, Francis Moore Lappé, and Barry Commoner, among others) threatened to propel the subject to the top of the national agenda, Americans have not had to think very hard about where their food comes from, or what it is doing to the planet, their bodies, and their society.
Most people count this a blessing. Americans spend a smaller percentage of their income on food than any people in history—slightly less than 10 percent—and a smaller amount of their time preparing it: a mere thirty-one minutes a day on average, including clean-up… Read more »
The peeling paint, chain-link fences and abandoned lots in central Oak Park belie what’s beyond a modern wood fence at the end of a driveway on Seventh Avenue.
Through the gate is a backyard oasis where two rows of seed potatoes have just been nestled into the ground. Sage, oregano and thyme grow in pots. And a two-story chicken coop houses five hens who don’t seem to mind that their eggs continually disappear.
This is the yard of Paul Towers, state director of the nonprofit Pesticide Watch, illicit chicken owner and grass-roots activist who believes everyone should be able to eat fresh food and drink clean water… Read more »