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Gardens offered to low-income persons

We Can Grow will provide roughly 150 Twin Cities families with raised bed gardens this spring.

With garden delivery to begin early in May, We Can Grow is looking to fill several openings for families to participate in its April and May class sessions.

The program – the focus of which is to provide low-income families a garden and tools, free of cost – begins with a series of four classes designed to help participants succeed. Instructors cover topics such as basic gardening skills, healthy cooking, safe preservation, and environmental stewardship/community engagement. Program Director Mike Smieja believes that these efforts will strengthen community bonds and bring people together over food.

We Can Grow teamed up with Gardening Matters to provide their participants with a Resource Hub Membership. The Hub Membership provides We Can Grow’s clients with seeds, seedlings, access to a tool lending library, further educational opportunities and other resources to ensure success.

After participants complete the course, We Can Grow delivers and installs the sub-irrigated raised bed and soil. The sub-irrigated system is designed to reduce water use and ensure success.

For further information contact Program Manager Martin Gordon at (612) 789-0078.… Read the rest

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LSP play addresses farm stewardship

Nettie (Nadine Schmidt) and Gerald (Kurt Schulz).

Nettie (Nadine Schmidt) and Gerald (Kurt Schulz).

“Look Who’s Knockin’,” a one-act play about the future of farming, will be presented by the Land Stewardship Project (LSP) Friday and Saturday, March 22 and March 23, at St. Catherine University Recital Hall, 2004 Randolph Ave., St. Paul.

Both performances begin at 7 p.m., and will be followed by an audience discussion centered on the issues raised by the play. The cost is $10, payable at the door. For more information, contact LSP’s Amy Bacigalupo at 320-269-2105.

The one-act play presents an ethical dilemma faced by an older farming couple, Nettie and Gerald: Do they follow the trend and sell their land for top dollar, or pursue a path to help the next generation of farmers gain secure, long-term access to land?

“Many landowners and farmers are in the same tough situation Nettie and Gerald are, particularly at a time of record-high farmland prices,” said LSP organizer Karen Stettler.

The play was written by LSP organizer Doug Nopar and was created out of numerous interviews and stories of beginning farmers as well as retiring farmers and landowners. It uses humor, storytelling and the common everyday tension in an elderly farm couple’s relationship to prompt personal reflection and community discussion about what it is going to take to secure a future for stewardship farmers on the land.

“Look Who’s Knockin’” has played to packed houses in southeast and western Minnesota during the past two years. It has also been presented in Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota and Illinois.… Read the rest

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James Beard finalists are named

Jack Riebel, the chef and co-owner of Butcher & the Boar in Minneapolis, and Michelle Gayer, the chef and owner of Salty Tart in Minneapolis, are both finalists for the best chef in the Midwest, an award given by the James Beard Foundation.

The winners will be announced May 6 in New York City.

Finalists for the 2013 James Beard Awards were announced March 18, and several members of the Minnesota media are still in the running. They are:

  • Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, Mpls.-St. Paul magazine writer, who is a finalist for the MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award.
  • Daniel Klein and Mirra Fine, producers of “The Perennial Plate: Real Food World Tour,” who are nominated for the best on-location video webcast.
  • “Bizarre Foods” TV host Andrew Zimmern, who is a finalist for Outstanding Personality/Host category.
  • Zimmern and co-producer Colleen Needles Steward, who are finalists for Best On-Location TV Program award.

The winners in the media categories will be announced May 3.

Kramarczuk’s sausage shop, Minneapolis, will also be honored this year with a James Beard American Classic Award, one of five restaurants in the country to be recognized as such.

Minnesota does not have any 2013 finalists in the national Outstanding Chef or Outstanding Restaurant categories.

The James Beard Foundation is a New York City-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to celebrate, nurture, and preserve America’s culinary heritage and future.… Read the rest

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Amy Migliaccio joins Edible TC staff

amyMigliaccioEdible Twin Cities is pleased to announce that Amy Migliaccio has joined the staff. She will serve as a multimedia sales specialist, helping businesses and individuals who are interested in advertising in Edible Twin Cities magazine or on its website.

Migliaccio (pictured here) has served as a copywriter, editor, promotion manager, sales coordinator, and associate sales manager for various media companies. She lives in Minneapolis and has a strong interest in local, sustainable food, having been a food co-op member and CSA subscriber.

“Amy is a perfect fit because of her knowledge of and passion for the local-food scene,” said Mark Weber, publisher. “We’re excited about having her on our team.”

She can be reached at amigliaccio@swpub.com.… Read the rest

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Lappé: Food facts contradict perceptions

annaLappeAuthor and activist Anna Lappé on Thursday said a new way of viewing sustainable farming – and food overall – is necessary in order to create healthier people as well as a healthier economy and planet.

Speaking at a Westminster Town Hall Forum in downtown Minneapolis, Lappé said our frame of mind when it comes to food is so well-established and leans so heavily toward industrial agriculture – which includes herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers – that we overlook the facts.

We view sustainable farming – which uses natural methods to build the soil and deal with pests, and eschews animal confinement – as an ineffective way to feed a growing world population, she explained. And the media, Lappé added, often does the same, portraying farmer’s markets, for example, as “nice to go to … but not practical.”

But after 12 years of researching food systems in the United States and worldwide, Lappé has uncovered research that says otherwise, facts that tell “an incredible good-news story.”

She maintains that sustainable farming can deliver the food yields the world needs without the “incredible cost” that industrial agriculture levies against health, the economy, food security, the environment, women’s rights, and more. As evidence, she cites a leading scientific report produced by the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), which maintains that it’s time to rethink our approach to agriculture and turn our focus to sustaining natural resources, empowering marginalized stakeholders, and providing fair market access for farm products.

She suggested it’s time to embrace those moments of “cognitive dissonance” – those times when we experience contradictions between what we have believed and what we actually see. One such moment she has witnessed is when farmers recognize that the use of chemicals has led to family illness, and as a result they change their practices, “showing us a different path” – one of sustainable farming, creating soil that retains moisture and promotes biological diversity.

We may feel trapped in the dominant view that industrial agriculture is necessary, Lappé said, when in fact “serious paradigm-shifting work” is possible. Just look at how society’s attitudes toward smoking have changed. We may not alter our views toward food overnight, she added, “but the shift is already happening.”

Take one small example: Bhutan recently announced plans to become the first country in the world to grow all of its crops using only organic agricultural practices.

“There is incredible hope,” Lappé said, “and we can all be part of it. It starts with how we think, and I’m here to tell you: It’s already begun.”

Lappé, a founder of the Small Planet Institute and the Small Planet Fund, has co-authored three books, including “Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do About It.” The Westminster Town Hall Forum that she was part of March 14 is a speaker series held at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis.… Read the rest

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Whole Foods GMO announcement

Whole Foods to require GMO labeling

Whole Foods Market, the grocery chain that has stores in the Twin Cities area, said Friday that it is giving its food suppliers five years to eliminate genetically modified ingredients or clearly label products with such ingredients.

The store chain said the move equates to “full GMO transparency” by 2018. GMO stands for genetically modified organism.

According to a New York Times report, the company is the first U.S. retailer to require the labeling, and executives received a standing ovation when they made the announcement at a trade conference being held in California this week.

A video of Co-CEO Walter Robb making the announcement was also on the Whole Foods Market website Friday afternoon.

The New York Times said labels now used on Whole Foods products disclose when a product has been verified as free of genetically engineered ingredients by the Non-GMO Project, a non-profit certification organization.

The labeling of food containing genetically engineered or genetically modified ingredients has become an issue in a number of states, and especially last fall in California, where Proposition 37 – which would have made such labeling mandatory by state law – was defeated by voters after a bitter debate.

Just last month, bills were introduced in the Minnesota Legislature that would require food manufacturers to label their products to indicate whether they contained genetically engineered ingredients.… Read the rest

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‘American Meat’ screenings return

americanMeatA number of additional screenings of the documentary film “American Meat” are coming to Minnesota college and high school campuses, including two in the Twin Cities area:

• 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 13, at the Bell Museum of Natural History, University of Minnesota, 100 Church St. S.E., Minneapolis.
• 3 p.m. Friday, March 15, at the University of St. Thomas, in St. Paul.

Screenings are also planned for Saint John’s University in Collegeville, St. Cloud State University, and St. Olaf College in Northfield, as well as high schools in Princeton, St. Peter, New Ulm, Lindstrom (Chisago Lakes High School), and Little Falls.

For details and to RSVP, go to the “American Meat” schedule of screenings.

The Minnesota premiere of “American Meat,” directed by Graham Meriwether, was held last July at Edina Cinema and included a panel of Twin Cities-area food and agriculture experts who discussed the local, grass-based agri-system advocated by the film.… Read the rest

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Edible Twin Cities: The Cookbook

edible_twincities_bookshot_forwebsiteWe’re delighted to announce the arrival of our cookbook.

More than a year in the making, Edible Twin Cities: The Cookbook, is now available in bookstores and online from Sterling Epicure Publishing Company.

The book showcases Minnesota dishes and features nearly 100 tasty recipes by local chefs, farmers, food artisans, food writers, bloggers, home cooks, and friends of the magazine.

You can also order the book directly from us if you are interested. The price is $26.95, which includes shipping and handling. Click here to order the book from Edible Twin Cities. Also, check our Facebook page for more book details and book-related events.

-Angelo Gentile, EditorRead the rest

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Michael Pollan coming to Twin Cities

michaelPollanEdible Twin Cities magazine is a promotional partner for a May 2 appearance at Beth El Synagogue in St. Louis Park by Michael Pollan.

“Cooked: An Evening with Michael Pollan” will have the world-renowned author and food activist guiding the audience’s minds and palettes through “a natural history of transformation.”

Exploring the previously uncharted territory of his own kitchen, attendees will be inspired by Pollan to discover the enduring power of the four classical elements – fire, water, air, and earth – to transform the stuff of nature into delicious things to eat and drink.  In doing so, we are altogether more conscious of the world around us.

Presented as part of Beth El’s “Inspiring Minds” Series, tickets are available at www.besyn.org/pollan or by calling (952) 873-7300. The event is expected to be a sell-out.

A portion of the proceeds of this event will go to benefit Appetite for Change, a north Minneapolis non-profit which seeks to build individual, family, and community capacity to use growing, cooking and eating food as vehicles for social change.… Read the rest

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Debate about urban ag alliance revived

abelmanFood activist Michael Abelman’s appearance Feb. 16 at the 2013 Sustainable Agriculture Summit has reignited discussions about creating a Twin Cities urban agriculture alliance.

Abelman (pictured here) helped start the Sole Food Street Farms in urban Vancouver, an effort to employ disadvantaged persons on large-scale urban farming projects. He was a keynote speaker at the recent Agriculture Summit held by the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota (SFA) and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

The idea of creating a metro-area alliance that would help designate and protect Twin Cities urban land for the purposes of farming and gardening – or an alliance that would have other purposes – has been a discussion topic since at least 2008. The framework of such an organization was debated, and a strategic plan was written. Leaders even secured foundation money to hire a coordinator. But when that foundation decided to direct the grant money elsewhere, the alliance idea floundered.

What the next step will be is uncertain, but SFA’s conference on Feb. 15 and 16 got people talking once again about what an alliance might do and, in the words of Gardening Matters co-founder Kirsten Saylor, whether local food activists should “step it up a little bit.”

What Abelman has suggested is a broad alliance that wouldn’t be limited to urban residents, but also include farmers, gardeners and experts in rural areas near the Twin Cities, as well as on the “urban fringe.” That would help connect food-minded urban folks with rural and semi-rural folks who have the farming and gardening expertise. He even suggested getting real-estate experts involved in the process, since securing urban land for agriculture – and making certain the soils aren’t contaminated – is a real challenge.

“It’s hard to enter that realm if you don’t know how to navigate it,” Abelman explained.

What will happen with the Twin Cities alliance idea remains uncertain, but Abelman said the issue is both important and timely, considering the worldwide questions about food security.

“It’s a great time to be doing this,” he said, “(but) you’re going to have to find your own way.”… Read the rest

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