Urban Agriculture Expo is April 20
The growing, business and people sides of urban agriculture will be the focus of an Urban Agriculture Expo from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. April 20 at the Sabathani Community Center in Minneapolis.
The event, which includes educational seminars beginning at 9:30 a.m., is for those who currently have an urban farming enterprise, are considering starting one, are supporters of urban farming, or are just curious to learn more.
The growing topics will include water management, unique growing systems, and soils management. The business topics will include record keeping skills and tips, understanding your cost of production, and assessing which market option is right for you. Lastly, people topics will include updates in local food policies, the Urban Agriculture Alliance, and engaging communities around you.
No pre-registration is required for the event. There is suggested donation of $5 to attend.
For an informational brochure about the Expo, with a schedule, visit www.misa.umn.edu and click on the "Urban Ag Expo" pdf.
There will be vendors to visit with as well. Vendors will include governmental agencies, businesses and non-profit organizations that support urban agriculture in a variety of ways. Those interested in reserving a vendor booth may do so online for $40 at http://www.regonline.com/UrbanAg. Credit cards or checks are accepted.
Sabathani Community Center is located at 310 E. 38th St., Minneapolis, MN 55409. Directions are located on their website at www.sabathani.org/contact_us.aspx
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.
Amy Migliaccio joins Edible TC staff
Edible 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 email@example.com.
Lappé: Food facts contradict perceptions
Author 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.
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.
Edible Twin Cities: The Cookbook
We’re delighted to announce the pending arrival of our cookbook.
More than a year in the making, Edible Twin Cities: The Cookbook, will be available in bookstores and online in early May 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.
In fact, you can pre-order the book directly from us if you are interested. The price is $26.95, which includes shipping and handling. Click here to pre-order the book from Edible Twin Cities. Also, check our Facebook page in the weeks ahead for more book details and book-related events.
-Angelo Gentile, Editor
Michael Pollan coming to Twin Cities
Edible 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.
Debate about urban ag alliance revived
Food 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.”
Riddle, Ford win Sustie Awards
A pair of Minnesotans – Jim Riddle and Joyce Ford – were recently recognized as sustainable agriculture heroes.
They were among recipients of Sustie Awards from the Ecological Farming Association (EFA), a California non-profit educational organization committed to sustainable farming.
As organic inspectors for 20 years, Riddle and Ford founded the International Organic Inspectors Association in 1991 and co-authored the International Organic Inspection Manual, Organic System Plan, and inspection report templates.
In the United States, Riddle saw a need to reduce regulatory barriers on organic farmers, according to EFA, and he advocated for a national organic certification cost share which was established in the 2002 Farm Bill. For the past seven years he has worked for the University of Minnesota as its organic outreach coordinator.
Ford served on the Organic Growers and Buyers Association (OGBA) board in the late-1980s. She served two terms on the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Services (MOSES) board; co-authored OTA’s Good Organic Retailing Practices (GORP) training manuals; was a site monitor for pipelines crossing organic farms in Minnesota; and established a training program for this unique occupation. She currently does work for the International Organic Accreditation Service (IOAS).
According to Agri-News, the couple also helped organize the Winona Farmers Market in the 1980s when they were raising vegetables. The publications also said they have gotten back into organic production, starting Blue Fruit Farm on four acres. They have more than 1,600 blueberry bushes, hundreds of elderberries, 300 aronia berry bushes, black chokeberry, black currants, honeyberries, 80 blue plum trees and various other perennial blue fruits.
CSA advice from Minnesota Grown
Are you thinking about buying a CSA membership to keep a steady flow of healthy, locally-grown food coming to your home? Minnesota Grown’s recent newsletter offered some information and advice to guide your decision:
Community Supported Agriculture (often abbreviated as CSA) farms are an ever popular way for consumers to get fresh, healthy and local food directly from the farm. A CSA farm sells subscriptions or memberships to their farm before planting begins, generally in late winter or very early spring. These members pay up front and then receive a share of that farms produce, generally once a week for 14-18 weeks. These shares are either picked up on the farm or delivered to an arranged drop site.
Joining a CSA is a great way to connect with a local community and your local farmer. Each farm varies in what it offers, how much it costs, the delivery/pick-up locations and the length of its season. If you are thinking about joining a farm, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
1) Compare farms and what they offer. Not every CSA farm will be a good fit for your family. Of course, begin by looking at their deliver/pick up locations – is there one that is close and convenient for you? If swinging by the farm once a week sounds like a great activity for your family, then find a farm that offers on-site pick up (lots do!). See what types of produce they grow and if they offer any additional products.
2) Stay open-minded. Most farms will include a few vegetables that you may not be familiar with – this is OK! Don't be afraid to try the new recipe your farmer or fellow member shared with you. Also, try the vegetable a few different ways before you decide if you like it or not. You tell your kids to do this anyway, so set the example.
3) Plan prep time. It's important to plan some time on your pick-up day or the day after to prep your share. You may need to wash, separate, cut or freeze your produce right away. Taking some time right away will make preparing your foods much easier and faster throughout the week. Exploring the contents of your box can be a fun family activity.
4) Get connected. Give feedback to your farmer about what you like and don't like. Talk to other members about their experiences. If the farm allows, get out for a visit at least once. Read the newsletter to find out what’s happening and what's changing at the farm. Truly make it "your farm."
Best of Edible: Living off the grid
(Edible Twin Cities occasionally places its best magazine stories online. Here's a story by Carol J. Butler -- pictured at right -- from the January/February 2013 issue of Edible that focuses on how living "unplugged" changes the way Butler cooks.)
By Carol J. Butler
Ten years ago, our family left the comforts of Minneapolis because it was a dream of my husband’s to build furniture from his own trees. So we came—young, idealistic, wearing our city shoes, and carrying our small appliances—to an off-grid homestead in the woods of northern Wisconsin. Our house sits out where the power lines end, the only electrical bright spot for two miles in any direction. We split our firewood, pump water from a well and make our own electricity.
When you are no longer connected to the public utility lines, you set up your kitchen a whole different way. At first I was eager to be shod of all my modern conveniences. I imagined it would be good for me to whip up cookie dough with a fork and knead bread by hand. We have been researching wind and solar but for now, our electricity is made by a diesel generator that charges and stores power to batteries. This means that certain appliances such as toasters or blenders should only be run when the generator is on, or you risk burned-out capacitors and a total electrical shut-down. Other appliances, such as microwaves, should not be run at all.
We went through a series of experiments involving coffee makers that don’t use electricity. In our early morning stupors with baby on hip, we fumbled and shattered at least three of those pretty glass press pots, and the thermal kind never stayed hot enough for me. We settled on a stainless steel espresso maker that brews what my friends call “big girl” coffee. We secured an old 1940s gas range that doesn’t contain a single hidden micro-chip. All those little electrical clocks on appliances really add up when running off batteries and I always preferred cooking with a real flame anyway. I have become attached to my beat-up old stove, but I have to say, I didn’t always feel this way.
Truth is, the biggest learning curve thrown my way as we set about growing our family and conserving our resources was the lack of available take-out.
It didn’t matter how tired I was at the end of the day, ordering out wasn’t an option. There’s simply nothing down my road but deer and porcupine, and who wants to drive 60 miles round trip for a cold meal at home? I had to figure out some way of coming up with dinner and I had to do it night after night. The temptation to order out was removed and because of that, something wonderful happened over the course of 10 years. I got pretty good at cooking.
My definition of good, however, is a bit different from the one I had when living in the city. My focus out here is efficiency. I consider a meal a success if there aren’t a lot of dishes to wash and if I somehow manage to start another meal at the same time. For example, when baking lasagna, I throw in a couple of potatoes to grate for hash browns the next morning; when making chili, I reserve two cups for a later batch of enchiladas.
Really all this requires is something called planning. I’m not a naturally organized person, but my dinky refrigerator runs on propane and my freezer is the size of a shoebox. So I spend about 15 minutes a week writing down what we will have for dinner, and when, so I can rotate my food properly. I find myself relying on tricks and customs employed by our grandmothers. I can’t run to the store when I run out of something, so I learned how to make the things my kids consider essential, such as pancake syrup and ketchup. Basically my kitchen is simple and no fuss. The natural result of cooking this way is a reliance on the goodness of whole foods for nearly every meal.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t give myself little breaks. As a working mom, I’ve realized that I don’t have to do everything the long way. There are some modern conveniences available to me that our grandmothers didn’t have, and on busy school-nights, I use them. Frozen peas, baked fries and vegetables already cut-up are my version of “take-out” foods. I don’t always cook a big meal, but I am always planning ahead. That might sound like a lot of work, but it has become second nature to me now, and a way of life. In my off-grid kitchen, dinner doesn’t have to be complicated to be good.
Winter markets planned at Bachman’s
Vendors from the Kingfield and Fulton farmers markets in Minneapolis will be participating in winter events from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, Jan. 26 and Feb. 23, at Bachman’s, 6010 Lyndale Ave. S.
Fresh, locally grown and locally produced foods, crafts, clothing and gift items will be available at the indoor events, which are being called “Fresh from the Freeze: Winter Farmers Market.”
Entertainment is also planned.
More information is available at www.kingfieldfarmersmarket.org.
Three food trends to watch for in 2013
In Edible Twin Cities' first-ever forecast of key local-food trends for the coming year in Minneapolis and St. Paul, we’ve identified three issues to watch for in 2013. These include:
-- A continuing push for healthier school lunches in K-12 cafeterias
-- A growing desire to cook more meals and rely less on processed food; and
-- An emerging passion among urbanites to get closer to the land and the food they eat, through expanding backyard and community gardens and even raising chickens in the city.
These trends are not based on a scientific study. We identified these trends through our on-going coverage of local food and sustainability topics over the past year, plus conversations we had about food trends with rural small farmers, urban growers, restaurateurs, caterers, chefs and home cooks.
1. Healthier lunches, healthier kids
The movement toward healthier school lunches will get stronger in 2013. As
Lenny Russo, owner and chef of Heartland Restaurant and Farm Direct Market in St. Paul, recently commented to us, “I think the push for more nutritious school lunches will continue to outpace other concerns.”
Jane Peterson, a turkey farmer near Cannon Falls, who, with her family, also runs Ferndale Market, agreed. “We think K-12 schools will continue to emerge as leaders in local food sourcing...both (Minneapolis and St. Paul school) districts are continuing to look for innovative ways to increase their local purchasing.”
This trend also connects with Michelle Obama’s national healthy school lunch initiatives.
2. Cooking: Back to basics
More people than ever are “learning and wanting to cook again, and buying and eating less processed foods,” said Beth Fisher, chef at Wise Acre Eatery in Minneapolis, who also has taught cooking classes in the Twin Cities for the past 20 years.
3. Local seeds, city chickens
Young gardeners in the urban core are transforming their lawns and yards into giant vegetable gardens. Others are keeping bees and raising chickens in the city. Still others operate urban farms on vacant lots. Community gardens are also expanding. Fisher predicts these activities will increase as residents here and elsewhere see that “directly connecting to their land has a payoff outside of what they harvest. That direct connection closes the gap between blind consumerism and responsible consumption.”
As Greg Reynolds, an organic farmer who runs Riverbend Farm near Delano says, more succinctly, the trend is toward “local seeds.”
This city farming trend also fits with ongoing efforts by both Minneapolis and St. Paul to rewrite their zoning ordinances to accommodate more urban farms and gardens.
At the same time, though, you may see an end to the surge of farmers’ markets in the area, because there aren’t enough small farmers to supply them.
Local eating carries on at winter markets
By Kristin Holtz
The fresh tomatoes and succulent ears of corn may only be a distant memory in this landscape of white, but several Twin Cities markets continue going strong – no matter the winter weather.
Four markets in Minneapolis and one in St. Paul continue to offer customers fresh, locally produced options despite the cool temperatures.
The Mill City Farmers Market runs the second Saturday of the month inside the Mill City Museum from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Vendors hawk their fresh-ground flour, pickles, breads, granola, meats, cheese, goat yogurt, artisan chocolates and more in the warmth of the downtown museum. The market is open Jan. 12, Feb. 9, March 9 and April 13.
Mill City Farmers Market founder Brenda Langton says customers will find unique products this winter, as vendors look for creative ways to preserve the harvest.
“We really are working and encouraging our farmers [to do more] because it’s so much better for them to be more sustainable and sell year round,” Langton says.
The Mill City Farmers Market will also be setting up shop at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska on March 16.
Also open is the Minneapolis Farmers Market on selected Saturdays throughout the winter months. The market, located at 312 East Lyndale Ave. N., will be open from 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 22 and 29; Jan. 12 and 26; Feb. 9 and 23; March 9, 23, 30; and April 6, 13, 20 and 27.
What will you find at Minneapolis Farmers Market’s winter markets?
“The hardiest farmers in town,” says Susan Berkson of the Minneapolis Farmers Market. “Our farmers show up and stand outside with their wares. We have farmers in parkas with ruddy cheeks who can see their breath and are happy to see their customers.”
The Minneapolis winter market offers a variety of unique meats and cheeses from Tollefson Family Pork, Bar Five Meat and Poultry, Wild Run Salmon, Blue Gentian Farm and Sleeping Cat Organic. Customers can drive right up to growers’ sheds and can find the products out on the table, not tucked away in refrigerated cases, Berkson said.
There’s also the occasional surprise vendor, like on a recent Saturday when New French Bakery showed up unannounced.
Locals can swing by the Kingfield and Fulton neighborhood markets from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, Jan. 26 and Feb. 23, at Bachman’s, 6010 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis.
The Northeast Minneapolis Farmers Market will be setting up shop at the Eastside Food Co-op, 2551 Central Ave. N.E., from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 12, Feb. 9, March 9 and April 13.
Across the river in St. Paul, the much-loved St. Paul Farmers Market never slows down. The outdoor Lowertown market is open every Saturday (with the exception of March 16) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. You’ll find a variety of meat, bakery items, honey and cheese.
Inside, find a wider selection of maple syrup, salsa, strudels, hot sauces, barbeque sauces, chocolates, pickles, mushrooms and more.
While winter farmers markets might not draw the same numbers as in high summer, they have a flavor all their own and it’s one of good cheer, Berkson says. “We’re beating the season at its own game.”
(Photo courtesy of Mill City Farmers Market)
Photos from Garlic Festival 2012
Here are some photos from Minnesota Garlic Festival held Saturday, Aug. 11, in Hutchinson, Minn. by the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota, Crow River chapter. Visitors were able to buy the newest gourmet garlic crop, visit with a wide array of vendors, be entertained and educated, and eat local food.
Among the performers at Garlic Festival were the Roe Family Singers.
Joanne Kudrna of Plum Creek Garlic showed some of her farm's wares.
The garlic choices? Well, they were almost too numerous to mention.
Sonya Ewert of Seven Story Farm helped customers with their garlic bulb questions.
A variety of recently harvested gourmet garlic bulbs were available at the Aug. 11 Minnesota Garlic Festival in Hutchinson.
WHO WE ARE:
Edible Twin Cities is a six-times-per-year publication that promotes the abundance of local foods in the Twin Cities area and surrounding communities. We celebrate the family farmers, chefs, food artisans, farmers' market vendors and other food-related businesses for their dedication to using the highest quality, seasonal, locally grown products. The lovingly produced foods they bring to the table are what makes our community an interesting and healthy place for us to live, work and thrive.
Our mission is to transform the way residents of the greater Twin Cities area shop for, cook, eat, and appreciate the food that is grown in our region. Through our publications and website, we connect consumers with local growers, retailers, chefs, and food artisans, enabling those relationships to grow and thrive in mutually beneficial, healthy and economically viable ways.
Edible Twin Cities
is for those who are interested in:
||Learning more about what's available in the greater Twin Cities area in terms of restaurants, farmers' markets, food events and festivals; informative and entertaining books to read and wonderful products to try.
||Eating delicious, well-prepared seasonal foods
||Getting to know the people who grow, produce, cook and sell those foods