Through unity, we find strength

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In August, a group of Gallaudet University alumni, staff members, and supporters traveled to Port-au-Prince to work with deaf and hard of hearing survivors of the earthquake. I traveled with them, as a reporter for the university. During the week-long effort, from August 5 to 12, the group helped to address problems facing deaf people and their families in a tent community in Port-au-Prince, and made connections with others who wanted to forge a better future for people with disabilities in Haiti. Continue reading

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.

Here–drink this

I never drink soda, usually prefer red wine, and one beer takes me an hour. But my drinking habits have diverged from the norm lately, as my food adventures broke off from this blog and my usual topics. I still slurp the juice from farmers market peaches, yes, but I quit my gig writing about it for Examiner.com (farewell post here) and took the summer to try a few new concepts.

White wine was one. Drinking beer two bottles in one sitting (or boat ride) was another. And if you want to know more… Continue reading

Washington Jewish Week publishes my food blatherings

One afternoon in late December, Danny Abruzzese, the executive chef of Asilomar Conference Grounds charged with preparing glatt kosher food for the 2009 Hazon Food Conference, ushered me into a side dining room to talk. On the way, he pointed one thick hand toward a slim man in a hat and tzitzit, ritual fringes. “This is my brother right here,” the Italian American said, grinning.

So begins the piece “Heated differences lead to brotherhood” in the January 27 issue of Washington Jewish Week. WJW now joins the likes of Jewcy.com, The Jew and the Carrot, and The Washington Post in the ranks of publications that find my Jewish food ramblings worthy¬† of publication. Check out the full piece in the Community Voices section of last week’s paper.

15 minutes on…?

Again, let’s see what emerges in 15 minutes of writing.

10:55 p.m.

Today, I had the pleasure of talking with a woman doing interesting work with international ag. (We were going to and from a triathlon, but more on that and the food of sport later). She is working to negotiate fair and sustainable agricultural practices overseas, particularly in Brazil. The problem she faces is the good old invisible hand.

Companies that buy and sell commodity goods (think soy and palm oil) want the cheapest prices possible. Yet the cheapest prices are often reaped from the backs of exploited workers, and grown from environmentally damaging practices (monoculture, clear-cutting). So some negotiation needs to happen. This work¬† brings her face-to-face with ADM and Cargill execs who simply don’t see a sound financial case for higher wages or green practices–never mind that these practices are dictated by law.

So this triathlete/negotiator’s approach is to address the companies. But of course they’re not the only ones involved! There are whole countries (China, India) full of middle men happy to buy the cheap goods with no questions asked. So where does one start? How does an international body enforce this law-abiding and do-gooding? Continue reading

Roots=?

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It’s 10:32 p.m. EST. What can I write about food in 15 minutes?

Let’s see.

Today, I spent a couple of hours in the garden. As the light waned and we relied increasingly on the glow of a remote street lamp, we weeded and transplanted. The plot never fails to serve up metaphors. Today, a poignant one came care of some dandelion roots. These sneaky things had lodged themselves under the soil, snaking out beneath the surface of the arugula patch. No leaves whispered their secret. Not even a sprout hinted at their proliferation. Yet all the while these roots grew.

What are these things? Continue reading

Hello Examiner

IMG_0644A little “hiya” to weekday farmers markets and “howdy” to the Rosslyn Farmers Market launched my part-time career as Examiner.com’s DC farmers market examiner. Might a greeting to the new Anacostia Farmers Market be up next? Or coverage of Penny Karas’s demo on making Hello Cupcake-style strawberry cupcakes at the Dupont Circle market?

Stay tuned to my page to find out. You can subscribe, too!

Organic agriculture, James Beard Awards, sourdough, and a new “examiner”

What a week!

On Monday, May 4, sustainable foodies triumphed at the 2009 James Beard Awards. Among the winners of these Oscars of the gourmet world are Michael Pollan (for his “eaters’ manifesto” In Defense of Food) and Dan Barber (for his chefing, which gives a whole new meaning to local ingredients).

Then organic farming got a $50 million boost as part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (a.k.a. EQIP). The USDA will use these funds to support certified organic producers and those transitioning to organic practices.

Next came a more personally positive story when a Hopkins writing classmate published a wonderful tale of fermentation and family in the Post.

In another YaD-level bit of news, this blog writer got set up as the DC farmers market examiner for (you guessed it) examiner.com–not the newspaper, but an online publication with all kinds of useful, insider information… and completely useless procrastination reading (you’ll have to be the judge of where my info falls) . More on my farmers market scooping soon.