Thursday, August 28

CAN THE END OF SUMMER BE FAR OFF?

Photo by Green Tallahassee

Sunday, June 15

GMO's -- IT'S COMPLICATED

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

STILL BUYING THE LABEL 'NATURAL?'

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: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/05/09/business/kellogg-agrees-to-change-labeling-on-kashi-line.html?hp&_r=0&referrer=

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

GROWING FOOD IN CUBA



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: http://www.fao.org/ag/agp/greenercities/en/GGCLAC/havana.html 

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 – mineral fertilizer and pesticide – Havana 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.

URBAN AND PERI-URBAN AGRICULTURE IN CUBA TODAY
























ALL PHOTOS BY GREEN TALLAHASSEE 5/2014

Thursday, March 13

ON THE READING TABLE


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

CONVERSATIONS AROUND THE TABLE


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

URBAN FARMS TAKING HOLD IN APOCALYPTIC PLACES



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

MAKING HOT STUFF





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

FARMSTAND APP

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

HE KNOWS GMO's



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".

Sunday, October 13

THE NEW CAFE



Although we all miss the Wild Greens Cafe, the better news is that the folks at Bread and Roses Food Coop have stepped up and created a lunch cafe that offers many of the same vegetarian and vegan menu items.

Check it out,--it's open 11 - 4 Tuesday through Saturday in the same location as Wild Greens on Railroad Avenue across from the Amtrak Station.  For more places to eat, check out the Where to Eat tab at the top of the page.  

As always, your suggestions are welcome!



ASK AND YOU WILL BE ANSWERED


photo by Green Tallahassee
One of the two plum trees planted by the City died--I thought.  The leaves turned brown and fell off.  While they were still green--just turning brown-- I wanted to take some of the leaves to the Leon County Extension Office.  A Master Gardener there could possibly tell me what was going on and hopefully propose a solution.  

As is the case with most of us, we get busy and before I got to the Extension office, the leaves went from green, to brown tinged, to brown, to dark brown, to the ground.  

At the recent Extension's Fall Garden Expo, I stopped at the Master Gardener table and shared my tree problems.  They counseled what I knew I should have done--bring in an example for someone to examine.  But, now there's a great resource for us busy amateur gardeners:

The Ask-A-MasterGardener program provides you an opportunity to E-mail a question, together with a picture, if needed.  They do their best to respond within 48 hours!  So, don't delay if you have a question:

E-mail:  ask-a-mastergardener@leoncountyfl.gov

And the tree I thought was dead has mysteriously begun to send out green sprouts from its trunk.  So glad I procrastinated and didn't take it out of the ground!  

ask-a-mastergardener link  is posted 
in the right side bar for future reference  

Saturday, September 21

KEEP IT SIMPLE



WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THAT BASIL


Now that I learned from a Tallahassee Master Gardener that Fall, not spring, is the time to plant cilantro I may yet have some prolific plants for my future guacamole.  

In the meantime, the basil plants, loving the rainy warm summer, have been prolific.  Despite my frequent snips of my shears to incorporate fresh leaves into my lunch and dinner dishes, I have more basil than I have energy, time or appetite to make more pesto.  


photo by Čuda Janez

What to do with your basil bounty?













  • chop up the basil in olive oil (or another light-tasting oil) to preserve the basil and put it in the freezer and use it in your recipes that call for basil. Using ice cubes trays is a convenient way to freeze portion sizes. You can also pulse the leaves in a food processor, drizzling in the oil and then pouring the mix into the ice cube trays.  
  • some say to freeze the leaves in a plastic zip bag.  I have had no luck with the method
  • hang the basil to dry. Tie the basil into small bunches with kitchen string or thread. Tie the other end to a clothes hanger and put the whole thing in a closet. The less light it gets, the better it will preserve the taste. After a week or so, the basil will be dry and you can crush it into an airtight container (a jar or even better, a tin).
  • the bright green pesto we all know is pesto Genoese.  For non-Genoese pesto that is chopped parsley or basil, chopped toasted blanched almonds, and chopped peeled and seeded tomatoes. You don't actually cook it, but mix it together at room temp and then toss with hot pasta; its good on bruschetta too
  • make basil infused oil or basil vinaigrette 
  • use it like Thai basil--mix together lime juice, sugar and fish sauce. Stir fry some scallions and garlic and (optional chicken or seafood) a hot pepper.  Add the sauce, stir in the basil at the last minute and serve with rice. You can also freeze the mixture of lime juice, sugar, fish sauce, peppers and basil and use later with the other ingredients
  • basil beer bread?
  • take a cutting from your plant and root it in water indoors.  Nurture the plant in a sunny window and hope for the best--to have fresh basil when it's cold outside
  • Use that mortar and pestle sitting in the back of your cupboard and make basil iced tea or basil mojitos or juleps
  • basil hummus
  • chilled summer squash and basil soup
  • candied basil this link includes a recipe for Lemon-Mascarpone Cake Balls - you have been warned



Wednesday, September 18

WILD GREENS CAFE CLOSES ITS DOORS



Wild Greens Cafe  Sadly our friends at Wild Greens have closed their doors.  Look for a new cafe concept at the same location, soon.  
915-2 Railroad Avenue, Tallahassee
next door to Bread and Roses Food Coop

LOCAL FOODS ARE ALL FOODS



. . .almost any meal I eat on the patio knowing that everything on your plate was grown, caught, grazed, fermented, baked or cooked within one mile of where you are eating it.  trendy concepts like 'local' and 'sustainable' are simple facts of life in Greece.  They always have been.  
~ Christopher Bakken, Honey, Olives, Octopus: Adventures at the Greek Table Available through your independent bookstore and University of California Press.   

















Tuesday, September 17

COVER CROPS, DEMONSTRATION GARDENS AND FALL



The master gardener folks, VegHeadz, are planning a Fall vegetable garden at the Leon County Extension office.  The garden will operate this Fall under a plan for rotation of cover crops.  A graphic of the rotation schedule is here [opens as PDF].  The Guide gives specific recommendations about the importance of cover crops:  
There may be short periods in which there are no plants within a particular bed. This should be minimized by the use of cover crops. Cover crops provide food for the microbes (an essential part of your soil health) in your garden which feed off the sugars secreted by plant roots. During periods when there are no plants, the microbes will eventually starve. Cover crops also mine the soil for nutrients
and interfere with the reproductive cycles of insect pests. When chopped down and composted on site, they furnish essential elements for the ensuing crops. Cover crops should be cut down and chopped up about half way through bloom and before any seeds form, and left on the ground under mulch or lightly worked into the soil, leaving roots in ground.

Check out the Fall Gardening Expo on Saturday, September 28th from 
9:00 AM - 1:00 PM at the Leon County Extension Center, 615 Paul Russell Road, Tallahassee.  The event is free and open to the public. There will be tours of the demonstration gardens, the popular "Ask a Master Gardener," booths with information on composting, hand pollination, Florida Friendly landscapes, container gardening, wildlife, micro-irrigation and much more.  

Details at the Green Calendar or call the Extension office at 850.606.5202.


FALL GARDENING - LESS HEAT MORE VEG





Saturday, September 21st
10:00 AM - Noon
Dunn Street Youth Farm
514 Dunn Street, Tallahassee 

iGrow Fall Gardening workshop.  


Learn to choose a good location for your garden, construct a raised bed, identify quality soil mix, understand organic fertilizers, create a garden plan, plant seeds and starts, learn how to water properly and how to manage pests!

Registration: $20 Adults ($25 at the door), $10 Students, $5 youth. Pre-register:



Monday, September 16

WHAT'S FOR DINNER ON MEATLESS MONDAY?






Checking out some new recipes in The One-Dish Vegetarian cookbook by Maria Robbins.  
What's for dinner? 

Tuesday, September 3

Legendary Seminole Pumpkin



photo by Green Tallahassee
The legendary Seminole Pumpkin at this week's Edible Garden club meeting.  The fruit seems to last 'forever' and is sweet and delicious. 

It seems to be hardy and resilient  a characteristic noted by Seminole Indians who planted the seeds along their travels, returning later to harvest the plant.   Also called the 'wild squash of the Everglades," it is said to last a year in moderate temperatures and has a sweet taste.  

The Edible Garden Club meets in Tallahassee once a month on the first Monday.  The next meeting is October 7th at 6:00 PM, at the Winthrop Park Pavilion. Check the Green Calendar for more information.  




Saturday, August 31

PHOTO CREDITS



Friends and Readers:  Discovered a photo collage I recently made posted on another blog. Here's the attribution policy which appears at the bottom of this page:  

All photographs on this blog [unless otherwise noted] are taken by & property of Green Tallahassee.

Please do not repost without proper trackback or use for other purposes without proper permission. Follow Creative Commons License at the top of this page.

Questions?  Here's the link to the Creative Commons License.  It's pretty easy to follow and it's polite to give credit where it is due in this online world.

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/

Thank you!

Friday, August 30

FOOD MEMORIES


Food memories give people something to talk about--our food, our culture, our journey. 
               ~ Marcus Samuelsson, Yes, Chef

IS TALLAHASSEE A TOP VEGAN-FRIENDLY CITY?


While Tallahassee's not in the top ten, as listed below, our eating options continue to grow.  Click the Where to Eat tab above to check out local Tallahassee restaurants that are vegan friendly and share your favorites where you have found yummy dishes. 

If you're traveling out-of-town, check happycow.net for vegetarian restaurants.





photo by: http://mjr.earthbalancenatural.com

Wednesday, August 28

I NEED MORE ROOM FOR COMPOSTING


categorize this as: 'phrases we wish we heard more often.'
Talking with founding members of compost community at the Dunn Street Youth Farm and iGrow project, they mentioned that with the success of collections of food and plant debris, they may soon run out of composting space at the Farm.  That's a good problem to have.  

Utne Reader recently posted an article highlighting the high use of nitrogen fertilizer on farmland.  In Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes, the nitrogen from run-off has resulted in 27% of Minnesota's lakes (actually 12,000) and rivers are too polluted to be used for drinking water. 

Utilizing cover crops and good compost builds soil for growing without the use of chemical fertilizers.  The commercial industry, looking for quick fixes, continues to ignore this well documented evidence.  In fact, the USDA seems to have to issue and reissue information on the benefit of time honored farming methods such as cover crops.  

Remember the movie Dirt? Maybe you got to see it last year when it was shown as a part of the Transition Tallahassee's movie series. It reminded us of the vitality of this living organism we call dirt.  When will the farming industry return to low-tech agricultural practices, growing in dirt, so that cities like Des Moines, Iowa, no longer have to spend over $525,000 in just three months to remove nitrates from its drinking water supply?  Locally, we continue to see increasing levels of nitrates in our springs, including Wakulla Springs, although from increased urban development and residential lawns, rather than farming.  





*This film series about the environment, peak oil, climate change and other topics of interest will resume in Tallahassee in the Fall.  The schedule has just been released click the Green Calendar.


Friday, August 23

I DON'T CARE IF IT'S BROWN


Thanks to the insightful blog post in the recent New Leaf Market newsletter on the newest GMO invention that we don't need:  the Arctic® Apple.

The only thing this biotech invention will do is allegedly preventing a sliced apple from browning before one eats it.  This means that sliced apples can be produced and shipped and sit on shelves without going brown, so longer shelf life seems to be the goal.  Despite this, the promotion of the apple is targeted to the consumer.  Most of us take a whole apple and eat it.  No time to worry about browning!  If we are slicing apples, we know a simple sprinkling of lemon juice works wonders to reduce the browning effect.  


A quote from the Canadian company, Okanagan Specialty Foods' website says "let the consumers decide," however it's unlikely that the apples will be labeled as genetically modified (GMO), so how, exactly will the consumer decide?  
Let consumers decide about Arctic apples
Give the marketplace a chance: Third-party research* suggests that consumers are in favor of genetically modified foods when the modification benefits the consumer. Our own consumer research also shows that not only are consumers interested in a nonbrowning apple, once they learn more about the science behind Arctic apples their interest in purchasing them increases further!
* the research appears to consists of the company's survey of 1,000 people rather than a study conducted by an independent third-party who conducted research.  Evidently, an internal survey is research when used for producing marketing copy for a website:

First, we asked the pool of 1,000 survey respondents (all self identified apple eaters like yourself!) how likely they would be to buy Arctic Apples, the nonbrowning apple developed through biotechnology. We were pleased to learn that the number of consumers interested in buying Arctic Apples was much larger than those who didn’t. Once these same respondents learned just a little bit about how we produce Arctic Apples, we asked them the same question again and found that their interest in buying increased significantly!

Saturday, August 3

FARMER'S MARKET



National Farmers Market Week is August 4th-10th.

According to the USDA, there are 8,144 farmers markets listed in USDA's National Farmers Market Directory, up from about 5,000 in 2008.

View the directory at www.farmersmarkets.usda.gov


In recent years, USDA has stepped up efforts to support local and regional marketing opportunities for producers.  Locally, Florida A&M University supports growers and markets including the ones listed in the right sidebar.

When you shop at a local farmer's market this coming week, stop by and thank your farmer for sharing her bounty.

Last week, I visited the farmer's market pictured above in Radford, VA. This week, I've visited the biggest community garden I've seen in a long while in New Paltz, NY and farmer's markets there and in Woodstock.

Some of the produce in season are cherries, peaches, kale and loads of tomatoes!

Wednesday, July 3

SUNLIGHT ORGANIC ORCHARD


photo: Organic Orchard peach orchard in bloom
New listings to our ever-growing compilation of farms within the 100 mile radius of Tallahassee include:

Organic Orchard in Quincy.  

See this link for a complete listing of local farms, with links to websites where available, or click the "Local Farms" link at the top of this page.  

If you know of one that is not listed, let us know and we'll add it!  

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GREEN FOOD TALLAHASSEE

Organic, locally grown, slow food and just plain home grown good-for-you