local food

Greens Restaurant was a pioneer in establishing vegetarian cuisine in the United States. Long affiliated with the San Francisco Zen Center (for many years, Zen students were the only employees at the restaurant), Greens has traditionally been a place for students to work together, extending their Buddhist practice into the workplace. Serving local and healthy food goes hand-in-hand with the restaurant’s service orientation. "Sourcing locally, organically and sustainably is the heartbeat of Greens,” says Executive Chef Annie Somerville. “We support our local growers and producers, and they in turn support their families, employees and the greater community,” she says. Somerville has earned a...
A fascinating piece in the New York Times Opinion section sheds some light on one of the best reasons to eat local. Sure, farmers' markets are great for finding fresh produce and supporting your local food economy (and they're growing in numbers). But they’re more than that, argues Jeff D. Leach. Local farm-fresh food also provides Americans with an increasingly rare opportunity: to buy and ingest food that isn’t the “too-shiny produce and triple-washed and bagged leafy greens in our local grocery aisle.” But this piece could easily be misinterpreted by the hand sanitizer-toting public. Leach is not promoting any activity that would result in more food-borne illness, but rather a subtle...
At Duo Restaurant in Denver, the reputation for bringing local food from farm to table has been carefully cultivated since the restaurant opened its doors in the hip downtown neighborhood of Highland about seven years ago. Co-owners Stephanie Bonin and husband Keith Arnold have real food and community in their bones. “We are passionate about our restaurant being an extension of who we are and what our values are. Seasonal eating, sourcing locally and decreasing our footprint on this Earth are only some of those values,” says Bonin. For Bonin and Arnold, “building relationships with farmers is as important as building relationships with our customers, and both take a concentrated effort -...
An interesting interview in the Toronto Star piqued our interest recently. Pierre Desrochers, an associate geography professor at the University of Toronto and author of The Locavore’s Dilemma: In Praise of the 10,000-Mile Diet, was facing questions about his argument that a global food supply is better than a local one.   In the piece, the interviewer does a nice job of questioning Desrochers about his assertions, which end up being much narrower than they at first seem. He isn’t arguing against local food when it’s in-season, or apparently when it tastes better (as in the case of strawberries). Rather, he’s arguing against local food when it’s mandated, or promoted to the exclusion...
Seattle’s Café Flora, which recently marked its 20th anniversary, invited a group of local farmers and food producers to celebrate at the restaurant in a kind of local food hoedown not unlike the farmers markets where the producers sell their wares.  That’s the kind of respect this restaurant and its owners show for the farmers and artisans who make their vegetarian fare as popular as it is. “When it is your neighbors growing the food, I think you can taste the difference. Guests visit us from all over the country and all over the world to get a true taste of the Northwest because they know it's going to be fresh, local and flavorful," says owner Nat Stratton-Clarke. Since opening...
Home to the main campus of the University of North Carolina, the city of Chapel Hill is perhaps best known as a hotbed for college basketball. Lately, it has also become a recognized leader in farm-to-table restaurants, thanks in part to its proximity to fertile and abundant farmland.  Acme Food and Beverage Company is one of the beacons in the area, a restaurant located just outside of Chapel Hill in Carrboro, that strives to support local producers and the unique tradition of its North Carolina location. Chef and Owner Kevin Callaghan has been recognized in loads of local publications, but also in national press like Esquire and Bon Appetit. "The flavors and food traditions of...
Thanks to author and speaker Ben Hewitt, the small, rural town of Hardwick, Vermont, is now affectionately known far and wide as "the town that food saved," or to some, as the "Silicon Valley of local food." Ben's book, The Town That Food Saved: How One Community Found Vitality in Local Food, published by Rodale Books in 2010, tells the story of Hardwick's revitalization. Not long ago, the town struggled financially, but it has since reinvented itself through a dynamic local food economy. Be sure to read more about the book on Ben's website and pick up a copy of it at a locally owned bookstore near you.  As a member of the Upper Valley Food Co-op board of directors, I had...
NAME: Michael Meier FARM: Brooklyn Grange AGE: 25 Tell us a bit about your farm and how you got into farming: I’m Farm Manager this season at Brooklyn Grange, a multi-acre practicing-organic soil-based rooftop farm in New York City, with locations in Long Island City and the Brooklyn Navy Yard. We grow greens, tomatoes, herbs, and a variety of other seasonal fruits and veggies. We keep laying hens and bees and as a special project are developing a large-scale apiary this season with about 30 beehives. We have a CSA and sell at farmstands and to local restaurants, cafés and small food businesses. I’d been interested in food and agriculture for several years, spending more time at local...
Have you heard that Saturday, May 19, is Food Revolution Day? Started by the Jamie Oliver Foundation, it's a worldwide event designed to celebrate healthy eating and bring people together at dinner tables and local events. Here's from their mission: "Food Revolution Day is about connecting with your community through events at schools, restaurants, local businesses, dinner parties and farmers' markets. We want to inspire change in people’s food habits and to promote the mission for better food and education for everyone." As individuals, we can do something about the issues revolving around health, culture and the environment. There's a feeling of power, even revolution, about our food...
A new study called the 2012 Strolling of the Heifers Locavore Index, which uses USDA and census figures to rate states on their commitment to local food, confirms what Vermonters already know. In the Green Mountain State, the local food movement is alive - and thriving. Strolling of the Heifers is based in Vermont, which adds a small grain of salt to the findings. But it’s hard to find any inconsistency in the state’s 99 farmers markets and 164 CSAs, with a population of fewer than 622,000. Iowa, Montana, Maine and Hawaii join Vermont in the top five. Florida was last in the ranking. Read on for more from the AP in the Burlington Free Press. “A committed ‘locavore,’ Robin McDermott once...
The benefits of supporting independent local businesses over large corporations can be significant for the economic health of communities. A recent study by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance found that only 16% of the money spent at big box stores stays in the local economy. In contrast, local retailers in the study returned more than 32% of their revenue to the local economy.  One way some communities have devised to keep money close to home is through local currencies, where a community or association essentially develops its own money, which can only be used in a limited area at participating organizations. Berkshares and Ithaca Hours, in the Berkshires region of Western...
Founded in Boston in 1790, King Arthur Flour is America’s oldest flour company and has gradually become a pantry mainstay in many parts of the country. And while baking flour and progressive business practices may not seem like obvious bedfellows, King Arthur has been working hard to change that. In 1984, then-owners Frank and Brinna Sands moved the company from Massachusetts to Norwich, Vermont, where King Arthur is headquartered today. With the physical move came other significant changes at the company.  Among the changes, the company's prodigious growth is probably the most apparent. King Arthur has morphed from a small mail-order business with five employees in 1990 to a...
NAME: Kristen Johanson FARM: Blackberry Meadows Farm AGE: 37 Can you provide some brief background information about your farm? In your opinion, what makes it special or unique? Blackberry Meadows is an 85 acre organic farm run by a group of young people. The farm was purchased from the original owners as a turnkey operation six years ago and the current owners have been able to maintain its profitability. We are committed to growing healthy, nutrient dense produce, poultry and eggs, as we foster the vitality of our soils and our community. We grow for our 150-member CSA as well as local restaurants and farmers markets. Each season we mentor a number of young people as interns and...
According to the USDA, CSAs, farmers' markets, and other direct farm-to-consumer sales are spreading like wildfire. And now is the time of year when farms are signing up people to participate. For the uninitiated, CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture,” where customers essentially pay up front for a share of a given farm’s annual produce.  It’s important to do your research before signing on to a CSA, so here are some things to consider: Variations on the CSA Theme Some CSAs are tied directly to the farm, but others are run more like buying clubs where the CSA organizers buy from a number of different farmers, and you may be able to get fruit, meat, cheese and even fibers,...
Hello! My name is Anna Villarruel and I will be interning at Farmplate for the next few months. I’m a senior at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, but originally hail from Santa Barbara, California. My love affair with food started when I was suddenly separated from my mother’s cooking the summer before freshmen year of college. Suddenly, avocados, mangos, and oranges weren’t in season year-round and sunlight was completely out of the question for six or seven months. As I became more acquainted with the Northeast, words like “local food,” “sustainable agriculture,” and “CSA’s” quickly became a part of my vocabulary. My constant trips back and forth across the country have...