local food

AmpleHarvest.org signs up 7000th pantry

This is straight from the press release:

Newfoundland NJ - (October 15, 2014) - AmpleHarvest.org, the nationwide program that enables tens of millions of home and community gardeners to donate excess garden produce to a nearby food pantry announces that more than 7,000 food pantries, food banks, soup kitchens, food closets, food shelves and food cupboards are now "visible" to nearby growers eager to donate their excess harvest.

6,000 food pantries and still growing

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I wrote a couple years ago about AmpleHarvest.org, which had the simple idea of making local food pantries more visible to the thousands of local growers who plant too much and can't use all their produce at harvest time.

Growers, many of the backyard variety, can go to the site, plug in their zip code, and see all the food pantries around them that accept fresh food. Well, all such pantries that are listed on the site, anyway.

Tanya Abraham: "Quality food that supports our local economy"

Welcome to another installment of “10 Words or Less,” in which I ask for short answers to short questions. Today’s participant just opened The Madrona Tree, a self-described "local eatery" in Arlington, Mass., that carries its commitment to local/whole even to its organic condiments. Please remember: No counting! 10 words is a goal, not a rule, and besides, let’s see you do it.

Name Tanya Abraham
Born when, where June 1, 1971, Weymouth, Mass.
Residence now North Reading, Mass.
Family situation Married, with a wife, Christie, and son, Frederick, 2
What did you want to be when you grew up "A coach and a restaurant owner."
A transformative event in your life "Working in hospice."
When did you do that? "For 10 years, until last year. I was director of business operations for Group Health Cooperative, Home Health & Hospice in Seattle."
Outside your family, someone whom you consider influential "Ruth Gregersen. She was a coworker of mine in hospice."

Locavorism and elitism

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Another snippet from Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal Vegetable Miracle":

... To the extent that it is understood, this [American] cuisine is widely assumed to be the property of the elite. Granted, in restaurants it can sometimes be pricey, but the do-it-yourself version is not. I am not sure how so many Americans came to believe only our wealthy are capable of honoring a food aesthetic. Anyone who thinks so should have a gander at the kitchens of working-class immigrants from India, Mexico, anywhere really. Cooking at home is cheaper than buying packaged foods or restaurant meals of comparable quality. Cooking good food is mostly a matter of having the palate and the skill. [page 31]

As in my first installment of this series, I am completely down with the author in spirit and intention, but I have a quibble.

To me, the foremost bar is neither palate nor skill. It is willingness to make the effort, which she almost gets to in her next paragraph when she raises "attitude."

Cooking for one's family and oneself has definite, quantifiable benefits — nutritional, relational, financial — but to get them, we'd have to bother, and it's just easier to hit the drive-thru.

Too many Americans think it's the same thing, and if so, they'd rather relax. The thing is, it isn't so.

Share your bounty

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At least a few words are due AmpleHarvest.org, which allows food pantries and food growers — including backyard growers who can't eat everything when the harvest comes in — to connect with each other. The site lists 4,100 pantries in all 50 states that accept gresh produce and is still growing.

If you have more than you can use, what better solution than to look up where you can share with families in need?

Walmart, the locavore

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Walmart is a giant in the world of sustainability — well, it's the giant in any world in which it strides.

Last week, it raised its sustainability quotient, vowing to "put more locally grown food in Wal-Mart stores in the United States, invest in training and infrastructure for small and medium-size farmers, particularly in emerging markets, and begin to measure how efficiently large suppliers grow and get their produce into stores," the New York Times reported.

Eating local

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For someone turning to the whole food, whole earth, locavore lifestyle, I still have some glaring "opportunities for growth," which is to say practices that could be a lot truer to my talk. (I've also heard those expressed as AFGOs: "another f'ing growth opportunity.") I know that, like all of us, I'm a work in progress, but still, I'm reminded of the quite irreverent-but-true epithet my college buds used to toss: "Let's see you do it, then spout off."

Film explores the local-food movement

The Coolidge Corner Theatre continues its Green Screens film series at 7 Thursday night with a one-night only presentation of "Ingredients," a documentary that explores the local food movement.

Tickets are $9.75, but $6.75 for seniors and free to Coolidge Corner Theatre members. You can get them at coolidge.org or at the Coolidge box office, 290 Harvard St., Brookline. You get a free reusable bag with admission (because you don't have enough of them already). Still, a freebie is still a freebie.

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