Are schools focusing on healthier food options?

This guest post is contributed by Cindy Cullen, who writes on the topic of culinary art college. She welcomes your comments by email.

Obesity and disease are more evident now than ever before; the numbers are rising as the days go by, and health is no longer something we can take for granted. Unless we take steps to preserve it and nurture it from childhood, we risk falling prey to illness and poor health as we grow older. We all know that the key to holistic health and wellbeing are diet and exercise – watch what you eat and work out five days a week. However, we fail to encourage our children to adopt this way of life, and because of this, we fail at providing them with a healthy life. Continue reading

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Blue cheese with apricots

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The title of this post is one of the delicacies I ate last Friday at the Center for Green Urbanism in far northeast D.C. The title is also the one and only bit of this post focused on food.

I ate these chunks of goodness at the opening of ReCREATE, an art exhibit using materials saved from landfills and recycling plants. And then I wrote about it — the art, that is. Read my article about this mix of funky, salty, and sweet creations on the Washington City Paper Arts Desk blog.

Remembering Carlos Guardado

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There was a sweet article in the Post today, made the front page. It’s about Carlos Guardado, a food truck vendor who sold burritos at 17th and K for 20 years and then died suddenly of a heart attack. Regular customers wept into their tailored suits and perfect strangers hugged one another in the spot where Guardado’s truck used to sit, the reporter wrote. I found myself sniffling as I read my newspaper on the Metro, but then I folded it up and pretty much forgot about it. Continue reading

The Fear of Raw Ingredients (my latest post on The Jew and the Carrot)

My generation was raised to fear cookie dough. Salmonella could lurk in every rubber spatula, and terrible things would befall the child who ate a bite of a raw confection. Only baking could render the dough safe.

Thanks to the recall of millions of eggs from Iowa’s Hillandale farms and Wright County Egg this past summer, the fear of uncooked eggs has intensified. According to The Washington Post, an estimated 2.3 million of the 47 billion eggs produced each year — by my calculations, one in about 20,000 — are contaminated. I worry that pretty soon even a well-cooked kugel will go the way of the Rocky Balboa-style smoothie.


Read more: http://blogs.forward.com/the-jew-and-the-carrot/131763/#ixzz11LzHdrRG

Keswick Creamery reaches to save business

Family farms often face an uphill climb just to reach level ground. For Keswick Creamery, that hike just got steeper. Rather than give in, the popular artisan farmstead cheese makers who sell at six area farmers markets have devised a way to keep their livelihood going.

Mel and Mark Dietrich Cochran, who run the creamery, recently learned that they have until September 1 to raise $300,000. If they do not hit the goal, Mel’s father will opt to continue with his plan of selling off the equipment and shuttering the operation. The Dietrich Cochrans have looked to a community-supported agriculture (CSA) model and an online ordering tool to sell shares in their business. Each purchase of a Keswick Creamery Cheese CSA share brings them closer to continuing the family business.

Read on at Examiner.com.

For more information about Keswick and the CSA, visit the Keswick Creamery website.

Columbia Heights marketplace opens

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The Columbia Heights Community Marketplace opened Saturday, June 5, with a kickoff that hit more than a few hallmarks of a community event. The market, which debuted its regular time of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in its home at 14th Street and Park Road NW, brought together individuals of different political stripes, shoppers of varied tastes, and members of several generations.

Eight sellers offered everything from strawberries and garlic scapes to bratwurst and blue cheese, with some sunflowers, wine vinegar, garden-ready plants, and French pastries as well. Not only did mayoral race foes Adrian Fenty and Vincent Gray stand on the same stage, but nearly the whole City Council (as well as the Ward One representative to the school board, Dotti Wade Love) turned up to make an appearance or sent volunteers to collect signatures get them on the ballot. A gravely-voiced resident who had lived on Kenyon Street for 55 years stood yards away from a pint-sized poet who had barely been walking for five. Dance and music, from performers of every age in between, rounded out the entertainment.

Click over to the full article, including video and a photo slide show.

Q & A with food and agriculture policy veteran Kathy Ozer

(Note: I originally posted this on DC Food for All)

Anyone who thinks living in D.C. precludes any chance to influence national food policy should meet Kathy Ozer. Since 1987, this Adams Morgan resident has been representing farmers and fighting to fix what she calls a “broken” national food system. She currently serves as the executive director of the National Family Farm Coalition on Capitol Hill. Last month, she keynoted the Future Harvest conference, the annual gathering of the Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture. This year’s gathering also included a special presentation by Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan on the USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative.

As a long-time resident of D.C., Ozer also strongly supports local initiatives to make healthy food accessible to low-income consumers in the District, and bringing fresh, nutritious food to the city’s school cafeterias. I recently spoke to Ozer about what she does, and how anyone—with or without a vote in Congress—can help put the pieces together.

How did you get involved in farmers’ rights?

I came to the coalition from the perspective of how important it was to have different voices represented on Capitol Hill, but I definitely did not grow up on a farm. I grew up in Bethesda, Maryland. In the 1970s and the 80s, my family was supportive of the Bethesda Food Co-op. So since then, I’ve always had a real interest in food access issues and where food fit into some of the broader sets of issues that we all confront. Continue reading

Michelle Obama highlights familiar tools in the battle against obesity

(This is cross-posted from my Examiner.com site. But in this one, photo credit goes to moi.)

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On Tuesday, sixth grader Tammy Nguyen brought down the White House with her thoughts on produce. Leading up to a much-anticipated announcement in the State Dining Room, Nguyen described how she helped grow a rainbow of vegetables in a kitchen garden on the “first lawn.” “My friends and I have learned a lot about change, about eating healthy food, and making the right choices,” the former Bancroft Elementary School student explained. “My classmates and I plan to keep that color on the plate–and I don’t mean M&Ms,” she said.

Nguyen then introduced First Lady Michelle Obama, who summoned all hands on deck to bring the Bancroft students’ experience to every American child to promote better health. She outlined a detailed initiative, called Let’s Move, to curb the startling rate of childhood obesity (about one in three children is overweight or obese, she said), and save the nation’s kids from preventable diseases. Such an initiative can also create jobs and help fish the budget out of a deficit. That can only happen, Obama said, if many sectors work together and the action starts immediately. Continue reading

Five actions food lovers can take for Haiti

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Image: Creative Commons/Robert Huffstutter

(Cross-posted from my Examiner.com site)

With aftershocks still rocking Haiti, Washingtonians struggle to grasp the losses the earthquake has claimed. Deciding how to help is yet another challenge. Why not start with food? Here are five ways to take action as a food lover in the D.C. area.

5. Go to one of the establishments owned by D.C. restaurateur Ashok Bajaj. As The Washington Post’s Going Out Gurus and the DC Restaurant Examiner Lisa Shapiro report, Bajaj is offering a month-long fundraising deal at his seven restaurants. He will also match any donations his employees make to relief efforts. Stop by 701, ArdeoBardeo, Bibiana Osteria-Enoteca, The Bombay Club, Oval Room, or Rasika. From January 19 to February 19, and one dollar from the sale of each featured menu item will go to American Red Cross relief for Haiti. Continue reading

Valentine’s Day film fest loves local foods

Nora Pouillon selects veggies at a farmers market.

Washington D.C.’s FRESHFARM Markets’ new year started with good news: A mini documentary about the organization would be part of Yachad‘s Our City Film Festival slated for February 14 at D.C.’s Goethe Institute. Not only that, but the film would appear alongside “Nora!” featuring a restaurateur who embraces local and organic food.

“I’m thrilled to have a film about FRESHFARM Markets and to document in some way how the markets were created and what vision was behind it,” said FRESHFARM co-director and co-founder Ann Yonkers.

Yachad, which mobilizes the Washington-area Jewish community to repair and rebuild lower-income neighborhoods, selected 14 films for the third annual festival and divided them into four categories—Our Body, Our Mind, Our Heart, and Our Soul. “FRESHFARM Markets” will appear in the body category and is, of course, about FRESHFARM and its nine producer-only markets in the D.C. area. Their markets include such favorites as the Dupont Circle farmers market and the farmers market at the White House.

Read the whole story…