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Sunday, April 24


Special thanks to event organizer Dr. Jennifer Taylor for the insightful and delicious Earth Day feast and conversation with internationally known agrarian elder, Jim Gerritsen at the Indigo Bistro Restaurant in Tallahassee.

A crowd of about 50 people, including many small, local farmers attended to hear Jim speak on organic farming, growing the best organic potatoes, building resilient agriculture and food systems, the role of organic farms, and threats to organic food security and organic food integrity:

"Organic farming IS the traditional agriculture, going back 10,000 years. What is recently termed as "conventional" agriculture isn't that at all, but it should be more correctly called chemically enhanced agriculture.
Organic farming is good food systems that are economically, politically and environmentally sustainable. 
It's propaganda that organic farming cannot feed the world.  It's the only thing that can.
The world also has to deal with its enormous food waste problem.  Of the food that is produced, at least 40% goes to waste.   
Remember, hunger is not a food problem, it's a problem of poverty."   

Jim Gerritsen has been a successful organic farmer for more than 30 years. He and his wife Megan own and farm Maine’s Organic Wood Prairie Family Farm.

He spoke frequently of the many times here his children and his neighbors helped in plantings and harvests. Noting his successful farm, some of the nearby farms in Maine are adopting many of his organic farming methods

He has served for over twenty years on the Certification Committee of Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA). He co-founded and now serves as President of the national farmer-run membership trade organization, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA). He has cooperated in numerous on-farm research trials with scientists, including those from the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the University of Maine.

The OSGATA has published a Farmer's Handbook to help protect organic farmers and their organic crops from genetically engineered (GE) contamination. Written by the national farmer-run membership organization for the organic seed trade, the book serves as a one-stop mitigation tool. It is available as a free digital download here or a print edition can be ordered for $5.00 shipping and handling.

Support your local farmers! To farmers who contributed to the feast, a Special Thanks:
Bumpy Road Farm, Crescent Moon Farm, Full Earth Farm, iGrow Youth Farm, Little Eden Heirloom Farm, Owen River Farm LLC, Ripe City Urban Farm, Sanguon's Garden, The Ragged Glory Farm and Turkey Hill Farm.

Thanks also to Trader Joe's for their donation of certified organic potatoes.

This Earth Day event was a collaborative effort of our community including FAMU StateWide Small Farm Program, IFAS/Cooperative Extension-Leon County, Sustainable Tallahassee, Florida Organic Growers, local small farmers and Indigo Bistro, an organic restaurant. Located at 1690 Raymond Diehl Road, #Tallahassee, they serve local, organic food until 2:00 PM, Monday through Saturday.

Friday, April 8

The Importance of Food Policy

How do we create a food system to make healthy, affordable food accessible for all?  Often called 'the good food movement,' people around the world are reviewing existing food systems and identifying barriers to access and recommending changes to improve access for all.  

Challenges include: 
  • Overcoming structural barriers to create a food system that is equitable for producers, consumers, and workers alike
  • Elevating the voice of disadvantaged communities in food system efforts
  • Gathering more data on the current infrastructure and gaps in the supply chain, and enhancing coordination of regional food initiatives
  • Opening and influencing mainstream, institutional markets
  • Strengthening the advocacy capacity of organizations engaged in food system work

For the past year, a small group of people in the Tallahassee area have been meeting and discussing this question and developing a template for the creation of a food policy council.  Looking at systems and barriers in all aspect related to food is the first step. Where does the food we eat come from, how does food move from farms to consumers, how is food sold, how do people consume food, how is food waste handled? 

The group has met with a number of stakeholders in order to identify policy changes that can make our system more equitable, sustainable, and profitable. 
Partnerships have formed within the greater food community in the Tallahassee/Leon County area, networking through non-profits, governmental agencies, universities, food retailers, small farmers, composting businesses, health advocates, food entrepreneurs and community development activists.  

Moving forward, the group will formalize its organizational structure, identify and prioritize policies as the best places to focus first efforts, seek funding and administrative support.  

As that effort moves forward, the larger, statewide council has been resurrected with the renewed energy of food advocates, growers, consumers, academics, retailers, health professionals and other institutions. 
Called The Florida Food Policy Council, it will encourage the development and expansion of the capacity of local food systems (foodsheds) to meet food security needs in communities across Florida through advocacy, network-building, training and providing tools designed to increase production, distribution and consumption of healthy, local food for the planet, ecosystems and people.  
It will be representative of all the regions of the state and all walks of life – farmers, distributors, consumers, chefs, policy makers, and other stakeholders. This breadth of diversity is needed, since everybody will bring their gifts to the joint work. The final outcome of this collaborative effort is that everyone within the system will be more successful.
“We live in a regulated, regimented society, there are rules for everything…Some of these rules and policies, be they at the state, county or local level, severely inhibit an individual’s or organization’s ability to grow food locally and sustainable.
"I realized that I can either change the system or sit on the sidelines and complain.” ~ Rachel Shapiro, member of the Florida Food Policy Council and the Executive Director of Heal the Planet and founder of Integrous Health Solutions.
Here's how you can become a part of this important community movement and work to change the systems:

Become a member of the Florida Food Policy Council, a year's membership is $25 and supports a quarterly newsletter, the website and online resources, discounts to future food policy events and most importantly you are supporting efforts to develop a more sustainable and just food system for all.

Here's the link to the website and membership sign-up:
The next statewide meeting is tentatively scheduled for July.

Join the Florida Food Policy Council Facebook Group:

For more information about the Tallahassee/Leon County group developing the beginnings of a food policy council e-mail:  Michelle Gomez.

Tuesday, September 1

A Recipe For Longevity? Beans, Friends, Purpose And Movement


Can Tallahassee/Leon County cultivate a climate where a farm can grow and sell produce? What does zoning mean for local farms?

The Land Use Division of Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Department is taking a look at 'urban agriculture' zoning and the future of farms such as Ripe City in #Tallahassee.

A fledgling Food Policy Group has been meeting since last year's Sustainability Summit to look at food systems and policies affecting access to food, affordability of food, food deserts and regulatory barriers to food production in our area.

The interest of the Planning Department also came directly from the Leon County Sustainability Summit - Food for Us, held in January 2015.

While community gardens have existed in the area for years, the need for the zoning changes happened after business like Ripe City Urban Farm started to sell for a profit. Planners feel this draws additional traffic and people to an area. Ripe City is on the site formerly farmed as Ten Speed Greens. The former farm owners ended their business there because of uncertainties about their ability to farm there long term.

The Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Department plans to post a survey on its website for people to submit and give their input about urban agriculture.  

You can read the full summary from the 2015 Summit (in PDF)  here

More on Ripe City Urban Farm:

Friday, April 3


photo by
Renee at Twin Oaks Farm shares her tips for coloring eggs without using chemicals at this post.

Here are some colorful tips over at Mommypotamus all using natural, every day ingredients.  

Boiling the colors with vinegar will result in deeper colors. Some materials need to be boiled to impart their color. Some of the fruits, vegetables, and spices can be used cold. To use a cold material, cover the boiled eggs with water, add dyeing materials, a teaspoon or less of vinegar, and let the eggs remain in the refrigerator until the desired color is achieved. In most cases, the longer you leave Easter eggs in the dye, the more deeply colored they will become.  Below is a chart from on natural Easter egg dyes:  

Natural Easter Egg Dyes

LavenderSmall Quantity of Purple Grape Juice
Violet Blossoms plus 2 tsp Lemon Juice
Red Zinger Tea
Violet BlueViolet Blossoms
Small Quantity of Red Onions Skins (boiled)
Hibiscus Tea
Red Wine
BlueCanned Blueberries
Red Cabbage Leaves (boiled)
Purple Grape Juice
GreenSpinach Leaves (boiled)
Liquid Chlorophyll
Greenish YellowYellow Delicious Apple Peels (boiled)
YellowOrange or Lemon Peels (boiled)
Carrot Tops (boiled)
Celery Seed (boiled)
Ground Cumin (boiled)
Ground Turmeric (boiled)
Chamomile Tea
Green Tea
Golden BrownDill Seeds
BrownStrong Coffee
Instant Coffee
Black Walnut Shells (boiled)
Black Tea
OrangeYellow Onion Skins (boiled)
Cooked Carrots
Chili Powder
Cranberries or Juice
Red Grape Juice
Juice from Pickled Beets
RedLots of Red Onions Skins (boiled)
Canned Cherries with Juice
Pomegranate Juice

Friday, February 27


William McCluskey and I have several things in common, even though we don't know each other. One, we love flowcharts and we wanted a simpler way to find resources about Tallahassee's emerging local food scene.

Enter Proper Channel, a visual wikipedia of sorts filled with a wide variety of information and resources. One example is the chart he and his team developed for the local food movement. You can see the chart here.

Will and his team have built a simple, collaborative tool that helps people create, share and use process maps to maneuver through any task. There's even a page to explain how to make a page! In this case, the food system channel, Food For Us, lists categories such as community gardens, food sales and distribution, food in schools and much more. The screen shot below shows an example of the Food For Us channel. This is open-source software, which means that anyone can go in and enter their information, building a wealth of resources, similar to the way Wikipedia is built.

If used by many with knowledge about the components, the Food For Us channel can be a great resource for all the segments interested in finding information about food in our Region.

Sunday, January 25

Agroecology- Examining the impacts of GMOs

Coming off the amazing discussions and presenters at the Food For All Conference at the Leon County's Sustainability Summit, here's another great opportunity to build your learning curve: 

2015 Sustainable Development Session
Examining the impacts of GMOs and glyphosate, on environment, animals, and public health:
Best management practices
Presenter: Dr. Don Huber
Two-Day Session: January 26 - 27 2015
3:00pm – 6:00pm
Venue: FAMU Center for Viticulture and Small Fruit Research
6505 E. Mahan Drive, Tallahassee

This capacity building session with Dr. Don Huber, Professor Emeritus of Plant Pathology at Purdue University is an internationally recognized plant scientist who has been very outspoken about the potential dangers of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

During our session Dr. Huber will share insights on mineral nutrition of plants, mineral nutrition for disease control, glyphosate and GMO crops, remediation, and the impact of glyphosate and GMOs on soil, crops, animal and human health with respect to best management practices. Registration: $20.00/person.

Farmers, community gardeners, and consumers encouraged to learn more about these critical issues that impact the sustainability of our food and our organic farming communities.

This capacity building session is a collaborative effort of FAMU Statewide Small Farm Program, PGG, Florida Certified Organic Growers and Consumers (FOG), and Local Small Farmers .

For additional information about this and other sustainable development efforts contact:
Dr. Jennifer Taylor, FAMU StateWide Small Farm Programs.

Thursday, October 30


Persimmons. What do you do with them?  One farmer told me she just stands over the kitchen sink, cuts them open and eats them down to the skin.

I bought some at the Lake Ella Growers Market yesterday afternoon. This morning I had persimmons in my frig. Thinking of adding them to a mixture for topping gluten free waffles. . .but, cold fruit's a no go on hot waffles.  I warmed a skinned persimmon in a pan, scraping the inside skin to collect all the juicy fruit I could. I added a pinch of cinnamon. Done!  

I layered one toasted waffle with half a sliced banana and half of the warmed persimmons, added the second waffle and the rest of the topping.  Goodness ensued. I thought briefly of taking a picture, like a true foodie, but hunger prevailed. 

The local fruit will be available for only a short time. Go invent some goodness with yours!

Monday, October 27


The think tank, Food Tank, collected this list of , most of which have been previously posted on Green Food Tallahassee.  Here's eleven apps all in one place. Each can help increase the impact of your visit to a farmers market for buyers and sellers alike.
Dirty DozenFree. Published by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit environmental research organization. This app focuses on which types of conventionally raised produce are the lowest in pesticides and which types are the highest. Lists include the Dirty Dozen, like apples, spinach, and grapes, and the Clean Fifteen, like sweet corn, asparagus, and cantaloupe. The app helps decide when finding an organic alternative is especially important. The Dirty Dozen Plus, an expanded app, includes a list of hot peppers and leafy greens.
FarmstandFree. The app lists more than 8,700 farmers markets around the world and connects shoppers with markets for locally grown food. It supports local communities by supporting linking users to each other by allowing them to take and post pictures of markets and vendors, alert others to great finds, and browse information posted by fellow market-goers. Markets can be sorted by location and opening times.
Good GuideFree. A wide-ranging shopping app that includes everything from produce to pet food, the Good Guide rates products and producers according to their health, environmental, and social benefits. In the case of fresh produce, dairy, and meats, items can be sorted using filters such as organic, vegan, and specific nutrition aspects (low sodium, etc.). The app can be tailored to highlight shoppers’ personal requirements.
HarvestPaid. The app provides a list of pesticide levels on fruit and vegetables while instructing shoppers on methods for picking the best and ripest piece in-season produce - from shaking blueberries to knocking on watermelons. It also provides information on the best means of storage for different kinds of produce.
HarvestMark Food TraceabilityFree. Participating fruit, vegetable, and dairy brands label their products with a 16-digit HarvestMark code or QR code; shoppers use the app to scan the code, retrieve the product’s harvest information, and give feedback. The app connects food producers with their customers and offers food production transparency.
LocavoreFree. Locavore has a large database of local farmers markets, farms, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), and vendors selling organic produce and in-season foods. It showcases recipes using in-season ingredients and also allows users to tag local sellers, share reviews, and post new finds.
Love Food Hate WasteFree. Produced by the United Kingdom-based organization WRAPthe app helps shoppers reduce food waste by better organizing their kitchen, cooking, and shopping habits. It helps eaters keep track of what’s in their cupboards, posts alerts where there are duplicate items, highlights recipes for how to best use the food that’s already there, and cuts down on unnecessary purchases.
Seafood Watch (U.S.) / Good Fish Guide (U.K.). Free. Optimized for use in the United States or in the United Kingdom respectively, these two apps help shoppers identify the most sustainable seafood options at the market. Seafood Watch highlights best choices and indicates the options to avoid. The Good Fish Guide uses a traffic light rating system.
SeasonsPaid. The app lists natural growing season data and local availability of hundreds of kinds of produce, from herbs to mushrooms to fruits. It also includes the import seasons of produce, photos, and the location of farmers markets around the world.
True FoodFree. Some countries, including the United States, do not require mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This app, created by the nonprofit environmental advocacy organization Center for Food Safety, helps shoppers identify which foods contain GMOs, including dairy products, meat, and meat alternatives.
What’s on my food? Free. Created by the Pesticide Action Network (PAN), this app accesses an extensive and up-to-date database of all pesticides used on various kinds of produce. Pesticide residues remain on some fruits and vegetables even after washing. Watermelon in the United States, for example, can have up to 26 different pesticide residues by the time it reaches market, according to PAN. The app illuminates the health effects of each pesticide, from the relatively benign to the downright dangerous.

Saturday, October 18


Food Day is October 24, 2014.  This year will have a special focus on food access and justice for food and farmworkers. If we're buying more local, getting to know our farmers, feeding our families less processed foods, we're contributing to our health and to the local economy.

Most food in America comes from large farms. Most farmworkers earn well below poverty wages and often endure dangerous conditions.

The Agricultural Justice Project, co-founded by Florida Organic Growers as Food Justice Certified sets up a certification process that covers fair conditions and relationships for farmers and buyers while protecting the environment.

graphic by:

Food Justice Certified is a label based on high-bar social justice standards for farms, processors, and retailers, including every link in the food chain from farm to table. The approach is to ensure fair treatment of workers, fair pricing for farmers, and fair business practices.  

This is intended to be a domestic fair trade food label backed and governed by food system stakeholders. The process includes farmworker organizations in the inspections required for certification. This third-party label means the highest standards of equity and fairness have been met respecting all those who labor together to bring food to our tables.

AJP’s food justice certification covers fair conditions and relationships for:
  • Farmers and Buyers,
  • Farmworkers and Food Business Workers, 
  • Farm Interns, and 
  • Children on Farms, in addition to requiring 
  • Protection of the environment (organic and sustainable farming practices)
Food Justice Certified is designed for all agricultural production systems, fiber and cosmetics as well as food.

More information is available here.  

This series of posts was inspired by Food Day, October 24th, its principles and mission of good, fair food for all.  


The uniqueness of the New Leaf Market as a cooperative enterprise is often overlooked and many of us think of New Leaf as the oldest, long standing grocery where we can buy fresh, local and organic products and where we might go for a workshop on making kimchi or green cleaning techniques.  But, unlike the larger chain groceries which have recently adopted Tallahassee, New Leaf and the smaller Bread and Roses Food Cooperative on Railroad Avenue offer unique opportunities as a co-op.  

When practiced as a business model, cooperative principles provide a different way of doing business that benefits the community.  It's more than simply providing members with a discount or other financial incentive.  Members of the co-op are actual owners and assist in decisions of the business. It is a democratic model which provides opportunities for economic participation.  In following cooperative principles, it places an emphasis on education for the community as a part of its mission. Co-ops set out to establish mutual goals, including, in New Leaf's case, a concern for the environment and social justice. You can read more about New Leaf's cooperative principles here.  

When we talk about the importance of keeping the dollars we spend in our local community, the cooperative model is a structure that allows that to happen.  

Tallahassee may well benefit from other types of cooperatives in the future.  It's a model that is not often considered when contemplating starting a business enterprise.  

You can read more about the Evergreen cooperative founded in the '70's in Ohio, a business model with several different types of operations,  here and here,

This series of posts was inspired by Food Day, October 24th, its principles and mission of good, fair food for all.  

Friday, October 17


Friday, October 24th is Food Day, is celebrated nationally to recognize real food, just food. On October 25th and 26th we will embark on the adventure that is the 7th Annual New Leaf Market Farm Tour.

We'll be exploring one or more of the 34 farms, meeting growers, tasting delicious food.  It's the weekend, we all hope for clear skies and cool temperatures as we wander  a bit off our beaten path.

This great event is brought to our community by the New Leaf Market, a cooperative grocery serving the Tallahassee area.  

This series of posts was inspired by Food Day, October 24th, its principles and mission of good, fair food for all.  


Thursday, October 16


This is my cautionary tale of two tomatoes.  A couple of weekends ago, I visited a local outdoor market and there among the kales, the eggplants and crook necked squash was one little tray holding two large, round tomatoes.  Except for a couple of blemishes they looked very much like the ones I don't buy in Publix.*
photo by Green Tallahassee
tomato bounty 2013 Ten Speed Greens Farm

I tried to be wary, but the taste of a home grown tomato laid longings in my taste buds that over ruled my head. I asked the person at the stand, "are these your tomatoes?"  The person looked me in the eye and said "yes."  I asked how and I was told there was a greenhouse where tomatoes were grown practically year 'round.  [I filed this information with my skeptical brain to check out in person on a later date.]  I lifted the tomato and inhaled.  Ahh, it smelled like a tomato.  I inspected its near perfect shape, not the oval I'm familiar with in home grown tomatoes, but more that boxy-bottom shape of commercially grown fruit.  But, it I was committed, so I paid and slipped them gently into my bag.  

You know how this story ends.  The first tomato, sliced onto the plate and eaten plain were a distinct, tasteless disappointment.  The second, I cut into chunks and ate with hummus and rice crackers.  They tasted exactly like the ones I used to buy in the grocery.  No better, no worse.  

*Look for my future post, why I don't buy tomatoes in Publix  (and you may not choose to either).

This series of posts was inspired by Food Day, October 24th, its principles and mission of good, fair food for all.  

Wednesday, October 15


Why I shop at Whole Foods, Tallahassee's New Leaf Market, Trader Joe's, Earth Fare and the local growers' markets has to something to do with buying fresh and organic, but even more to do with perception and personal prejudices.  

The recent article in the NY Times Whole Foods to Rate Its Produce and Flowers for Environmental Impact highlights the store's increased efforts to bring customers into the store and have them return.  They have started a program called Responsibly Grown which rates produce and flowers according pesticide and water use, treatment of farmworkers and waste management and other issues.  They ratings are 'good' 'better' and 'best.' Ratings look at things like how plastic waste is handled and whether they provide conservation areas to foster bees, butterflies and other pollinators.  Whole Foods calls is 'transparency and sustainable agriculture.'  It already has programs that rate animal welfare practices, and 'eco scale' it applies to household cleaners and a program that assesses the sustainability of seafood.  It plans to label all food that contain GMO's (genetically modified organisms).

Stores and growers' markets that I perceive as selling fresh, wholesome food get my shopping dollars. I have perused the WalMart produce aisles and have looked over their organic veg.  Sure, it wasn't presented as prettily as the stores where I shop, but the customer pays for the aesthetics of cute displays, special lighting and large spaces. As a consumer, I can overlook how produce is stacked and look at the product itself.  Yes, it is labeled organic.  Yes, it looks mostly fresh.  Yes, I'm not going to buy it.  And that is based on personal perception alone. If one is a customer in WalMart and if one removes conversations about all the other issues related to this corporation, is devoting a small section to organics giving consumers a choice in a store in which they already shop?  Yes.

Now that Whole Foods and New Leaf Markets are introducing things like growing food sustainably, including important things like the treatment of the workers who grow our food and use of water, hopefully other retailers are going to raise the bar on their products.  Large retailers like WalMart have recognized they need to carry organics for some of their customers.  Is that enough to get more customers through their doors?  Probably not. Will Whole Foods move to publicize their Responsibly Grown moniker encourage other stores to do something similar?  

What are your thoughts on where you're buying organics?  

This series of posts was inspired by Food Day, October 24th, its principles and mission of good, fair food for all.  

Sunday, June 15


Many people's favorite ice cream, Ben & Jerry's, announced they are finally going GMO free (and Fair Trade) in all their ice creams. 

Located in Vermont, where a labeling requirement on GMO food was recently enacted, the Ben & Jerry's company took some long overdue leadership in helping fund the lobbying efforts to get the legislation passed. 

They will soon release new flavors to replace things in ice cream such as Coffee Toffee, made with the commercial product, Heath Bar candy. The company says its conversion of all products should be completed by the end of the year. 

To be considered Fair Trade,  common ingredients such as sugar, cocoa, coffee, vanilla and bananas have to come from farmers who receive a fair price, pay fair wages and offer good working conditions.

So, this is great, right?  Yes and no. 

How non-GMO is it?  While no added ingredients to the ice cream will contain GMO's, the ice cream itself could be up for debate with some. Ice cream made from milk comes from cows that eat corn. Almost all corn grown in the US is genetically modified.  

Ben & Jerry's argues that it's the corn they eat, rather than the cows or the milk they produce, that are genetically modified.

Also, there's that whole multi-national corporation thing. Remember that what once was a cottage industry, Ben & Jerry's was bought out several years ago by Unilever Corporation--which is a member of the National Grocery Manufacturer's Association (GMA).  Unilever spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, joing the GMA in helping to defeat the California GMO labeling ballot initiative.  Now, the GMA has filed suit against Vermont over the GMO labeling law. The Organic Consumers Association called for a boycott of all GMA members over the lawsuit. You can read more about the suit at their website. 

It's hot and we're ready for some ice cream. What do you think?  

Friday, May 23


The Kashi Company owned by Kellogg said the company used the terms 'all natural' in products that contained ingredients like pyridoxine hydrochloride, calcium pantothenate and soy oil processed using hexane, a component of gasoline!

Because of a lawsuit filed in 2011, it now says it will stop calling the products all natural.

Although wheat germ and flaxseed are sources of pyridoxine hydrochloride, for example, food companies, as well as makers of vitamins, often use synthetic versions to control costs and ensure consistent supplies.

No word on when they will remove these synthetic ingredients from our food.

Read the entire article here:

Wednesday, May 21

How to Grow Mushrooms

How to grow Shiitake and Oyster Mushrooms
WHEN:            May 29, 2014/Thursday
TIME:             11:00am - 3:00pm
LOCATION:     Artzi Gardens
                      14 Artzi Drive - Thomasville, GA
Registration: $15/person includes lunch.

Sunday, May 18


A real life adventure in urban and peri-urban agriculture, permaculture and farmers' cooperatives was undertaken when Green Tallahassee visited Cuba in April and May of 2014.  [see photos in the post below.] 

Excerpts from Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture by Growing Greener Cities.
Read the entire article at: 

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 deprived Cuba of its main trading partner and source of fossil fuel. That ushered in what Cubans call the período especial, an extended economic crisis which led to food rationing and rising rates of malnutrition. With agriculture affected by shortages of fuel and of two key petroleum derivatives Рmineral fertilizer and pesticide РHavana residents began planting food crops wherever space was available.
At first, yields were low, owing to lack of farming experience and inputs. But with strong government support, urban agriculture was rapidly transformed from a spontaneous response to food insecurity to a national priority. In the process, Havana has added a new word, organoponics, to the urban agriculture vocabulary, and has become a pioneer in a worldwide transition to sustainable agriculture that produces “more with less”.
Crop and animal production is recognized as a legitimate land use in the city’s strategic plan, which allows agriculture in areas where construction is not foreseen, while its Land and Urban Management Scheme of 2013 sees peripheral areas as highly suitable for agriculture. UPA is supported by a Technical Advisory Board, representing 11 agricultural research institutes, by a network of agricultural supply stores, municipal seed farms, composting units, veterinary clinics and centres for the reproduction of biological pest control agents, and by the city’s College of Urban and Suburban Agriculture, which coordinates the training of producers and technicians, and helps to introduce new technologies, crop varieties and animal breeds.
Although organopónicos have become emblematic of agriculture in Havana, the city has developed other high-yielding production systems. It has 318 intensive gardens planted directly in the soil, and 38 ha of semi-protected gardens under awnings in soil enriched with vermicompost.
The city’s urban and peri-urban agriculture sector includes five agricultural enterprises, which manage some 700 crop farms, 170 cattle farms and 27 tree production units, two provincial companies specializing in pig and livestock production, 29 agricultural cooperatives, and 91 credit and service cooperatives that grow flowers and vegetables and raise small animals.



Thursday, March 13


Who knew the creators of the wonderful documentary, Forks Over Knives, had a cookbook?

This film was screened as a part of last year's Transition Tallahassee series and it was excellent.  Now, I'm able to enjoy the cookbook of the same name by author Del Sroufe.  It's filled with 300 yummy recipes.  I start out with one and then end up tweaking it with my own herbs or whatever I have in the refrigerator.  Of note, is their recipe for "cream" sauce made with a cauliflower base.  The book is available at our public library.  

Here's the movie trailer, if you missed it.  The full version is available on iTunes and Amazon.

Thursday, February 6


How has Tallahassee fared with the arrival of the new Whole Foods and Trader Joe's markets?  How has the pie been redivided among those stores we shopped previously and have farmers and growers' markets been affected positively or negatively?  Do locally owned cooperatives such as New Leaf and Bread and Roses make a more positive financial impact on our community?  

This article from The Atlantic asks "Can Whole Foods Remake Itself in the Middle of a Food Desert?"  Given its location in Tallahassee, has Whole Foods even made an impact in increasing accessibility to fresh produce in this area's food desert?  

For locations of this region's food deserts, see this previous post.  

Share your thoughts in the comments.  

Saturday, December 14


Roaring down the Interstate and veering off to the Florida Turnpike toward a town made of many plastic bits called Orlando, I optimistically insert CD's of audio books that seemed appealing when plucked from the shelves of the local library. Some are winners and others--not so much.  

I'm not sure how I missed this one, but have been delighted by the audio version of Novella Carpenter's 2009 memoir, Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer. The book describes her extensive garden in Ghost Town, a neighborhood about a mile from downtown Oakland, California.  The trip wasn't quite long enough to finish all the discs, so I'm listening to the final one while driving around town.  So far, I haven't taken to sitting in my driveway to listen, but I've been tempted.  She's up to the part about raising two pigs in her backyard, having gradually progressed through bees, chickens, ducks, turkeys, and rabbits.  

Check out her book or audio book.  She also writes a blog called Ghost Town Farm.

The section of Oakland where she lives includes abandoned warehouses, stripped cars and gun violence.  In a syllabus for a writing class she is teaching at the University of San Francisco called Tapping the Apocalypse, she notes how urban food movements start in places like Detroit and Oakland--places that have experienced poverty and neglect.  This urban farm movement is not the first in places like this and past generations have seen cycles of city farming, urban 'renewal' with growth and building development, and deterioration repeating over many decades.  

How similar does that sound to the Frenchtown area of Tallahassee?  

Tuesday, November 19


Recently met one of the two enterprising ladies behind the making of Hot Stuff and More, a seasoned condiment. 

Latosha and Linda, The Tallahassee Pepper Ladies, grow their peppers locally and make their product at home. They were selling at the Frenchtown Heritage Market and I bought a jar of the 'crab' seasoning--not their spiciest brand.  It is delightfully flavorful and fun to think that I met these young women who took their idea and made it a reality!  

Check out their Facebook page, Hot Stuff and More!   

Sunday, November 17


New to town or traveling to another town and want to find a farmer's market? The Farmstand app for iPhone just may come to the rescue!  

I added a couple of our local Tallahassee markets to the data base when I downloaded the app and tried it out.  Here's a clip from their twitter: 

Tuesday, October 15


A rare opportunity!  Don't miss it.  You've seen these words before, but in this case, if you have any interest in the effect of genetically modified organisms (GMO) in your food, want to learn more, what to find out what all the recent marches against Monsanto were all about.  Come to this event:

Speaker:  Dr. Don Huber
November 11, 2013
Noon - 5:00 PM
FAMU Center for Viticulture and Small Fruit Research 
6505 Mahan Drive, Tallahassee 

Dr. Huber will be speaking about Glyphosate and GMO, the impact on soil/farm and gardens, seeds, plants, animal health, human health, the environment and pollinators.  Through his research and findings, he will discuss how to eliminate the contamination from our food systems and why this is important. 
How this effects corn, the most common food Americans ingest.  Glyphosate is a strong organic phosphate chelator that immobilizes minerals such as manganese, cobalt, iron, zinc, copper, etc. that are essential for nor functions in soil, plants and animals.  In the US, it is permitted in our food and therefore Glyphosate products such as Round-upTM can be used on crops.  

To read more on Dr. Huber's work:  see GMWATCH.ORG

Dr. Huber is Emeritus Professor of Plant Pathology at Purdue University and and senior scientist on USDA's National Plant Disease Recovery System.  he has worked in plant physiologist and pathologist for over 40 years. 
For the past 20 years, he has conducted extensive research into the effects of glyphosate on crops, in response to the increase in crop diseases on glyphosate-applied fields.

In 2011, he wrote a letter to the US Secretary of Agriculture,Tom Vilsak, that was leaked to the press.  There has been a great deal of controversy over what Huber described as a pathogen “new to science” and abundant in glyphosate-tolerant GM crops.  He concluded in the letter:
"We are now seeing an unprecedented trend of increasing plant and animal diseases and disorders. This pathogen may be instrumental to understanding and solving this problem".

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