Saturday, September 18, 2010
But I read a lot about Common Good City Farm, saw pictures of you guys there and learn a lot from your stories about this trip.
In my opinion, this idea about such farms in cities is really great and new! I have never heard about it before, so it was a surprise for me that it is possible to have a farm in the city such as Washington DC and grow healthy food there and have a lot of different animals. Also I was shocked that this food is for those who cannot afford to eat healthy, for poor urban communities. It is really sad, but not everyone can buy healthy food, and of course it is such a chance to everyone in the world to be healthy and happy! Because eating all the time in McDonalds is not fun at all.
And I hope that this “industry” will be more popular in next few years, because it is such a great thing, seriously. Also I am absolutely for teaching people how to grow vegetables, fruits, this education can help young people to understand that food is a treasure, we should have more respect for it and treat it right.
4 parts scaredy cat
2 1/2 parts lovable
1 part nail polish
3 part adventure
2 parts mom
2 part friendly
3 parts loyal
and a dash of sprinkles
Bake just like a cake or cookies, but you'll find I'm a bit different than that.
When I was younger I moved around alot, and have many memories of the different schools I went to, but I consider my home base Park View High. I went their all four years and it was great, I was in the science and Ecology club the last three years and became secretary the last two. It was in junior year I learned how much I enjoy psychology, and my teacher is the cause of that.
My favorite class in my entire High school carrer was Psych. We had so much fun in that class, with all the intresting things like sleep cycles and cool labs like which cookie tastes best blindfolded. It was great, and that's what started my interest in looking for something to do in Psychology.
Also I have always loved animals, if i listed all of them here I would have to tell all the stories though, and that would take some time. But currently I consider 1 dog and 3 cats mine. (the dog has other owners but she thinks I'm part of her family so who am I to say no?) And I am currently looking into getting 2 aquatic frogs for my dorm room (They so do count as fish!)
So that is what you need to start learning about who I am, I believe no person can be summed up in words, you must learn who they are and every moment with them is a new discovery. So there is a start for you, I wish you good luck and fun times!
PS: I'm not a mom but I sometimes act like it.
There are two stories the movies revolves arount, Julia's expieriance in France in the past, and Julie's story of trying to create all of her recipies while working and having moved to a new apartment and with her new husband. Both went threw the same trials and errors along the way. (And both were worried about the duck) And it was interesting how self motivated each women became, and that made both Julie's and Julia's story such a success. Knowing that these women, who found themselves misplaced or bored could do something so segnificant, threw something that they loved.
The big difference is between the movie and the blog posts by Julie. In just reading the 1st five posts you can tell that the movie cleaned her up quite a bit. I think she is still nice in the blog, but the movie focused more on her distress, and less on the food like the blogs, to me she seemed more girly than the blogs.
The scene that I thought made the movie was Julie's visit to the Julia museum, and her placing the stick of butter on the shrine type spot. After all she had been through, having her idol dislike what she did she still looked up to her, or the 'her' that she thought of when she did the whole ordeal. It was a very sweet and symbolic moment, showing she could move on and still look fondly on the past.
Did I love this movie? Yes, absolutely. It was great!
Strangely enough I found myself in awe with Julia Child unlike the typical that would sympathize with Julie Powell. Don’t get me wrong, there were times in the movie where I felt so deeply connected to Julie that it was insane! Let’s start from the beginning.
Apart from the beginning that is trying to gives us a background on the whole thing (Julie hating her life and Julia in France). When the full story is given on Julia I immediately feel drawn to there because she’s tall and she travels a lot and it’s also implied that she was a lousy cook at first (all 3 that I identify with). Anyways, apart from the little things, I love how she really had no idea where her adventure of cooking classes was leading her to, and how she made it up as she went. That was pretty awesome but it made me wonder about the image Julie was building of her (Julia) in her head. It was pretty insane to make the connection of having an idol and only accepting the good things about them (Next time before I lovingly stare at a picture of Taylor Lautner I’ll be sure to remember that he has faults too).
Julie. I personally thought she was crazy to want to go through a whole cookbook, but I really admired her for doing that and her reasons too. I thought it was hilarious every time she had a mental breakdown and thought the world was coming to an end, but I cried when she fought with her husband (ah, the things food does to people…). As for me, I never would have had the patience, courage, or diligence to do that. I mean, never.
Eid al-Fitr (The Festival of Fast-Breaking) of 2009 was a memorable time for my family and I. This holiday is celebrated after the month of Ramadan.
The day of Eid, my family and I get up extra early to start the day. First, my family and I get all dressed up in our new outfits and head off to the mosque for the Eid Prayer. After the prayer, everyone greets each other by saying “Eid Mubarak” which goes on for a while because there are so many people gathered at the mosque. Then, we go home and begin making phone calls to all the family members, wishing them a happy holiday.
Along with the phone calls, we enjoy many different dishes that are made by my mom. Some of the dishes include aalo chana chaat (boiled diced potato and chick peas) mixed with sliced onions, tomatoes, and freshly chopped coriander leaves, eggrolls filled with chicken and spices, and samosas (pastry-like) filled with boiled diced potatoes and spices. I can’t forget about the desserts we had, which were store bought not homemade. I don’t know how to explain some of them in English but I will list a few. Some of the desserts included all types of mithai, kheer (rice pudding), and zarda (sweet rice).
Dinner time was the most memorable time of the day, where all my relatives got together at a local park. Every family brought a home cooked meal. For the dinner dish, I helped my mom make the biryani. The biryani consisted of rice, chicken, a couple of different spices, chopped onions, and chopped tomatoes. Some of the dishes included biryani (rice, chicken, with many spices), kabobs, chicken curry, roti (bread-like), gosht (lamb curry), sag (spinach), vegetables etc. We also had pizza and spaghetti for the little kids who couldn’t handle the spices in the other dishes because we tend to eat spicy food. As soon as the lids of the dishes were lifted up, the smells of all of these foods and spices filled the air and it was very difficult to decide what to start off with because everything looked and smelled so good.
On a regular basis, I do not get the chance to see my relatives very often so spending the holiday with everyone really made it unforgettable; all my relatives were together in one place sharing a delicious dinner with many laughs. Throughout the entire day, everyone was getting phone calls and gifts which also made the day special.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Food as Muse
Taste… "buds or foes?"
Holiday Food Memory-- by Katie
Now I like to think of myself as a fairly reasonable human being. One who approaches things with an open mind and perhaps understanding, but Thanksgiving of '07 brought me to levels I was unaware existed.
I grew up in a home where holidays were celebrated with the whole kit and caboodle. The entire family was around, there would be an extravagant meal being prepared in the kitchen, and soft music played ever so lightly in the background. And on Thanksgiving in particular, we shared a Turkey.
So, early in the morning I awoke to the aromas of casseroles and pies being cooked in the oven as my mother prepared for the coming of family. And as I got dressed in my room, something had occurred to me… "What is Thanksgiving without fireworks?" Yes, looking back, it is quite an unusual quandary but it blossomed into my prepubescent head nonetheless. Naturally having an exciting idea to that extent, I conspired with my oldest brother Stephen to make it possible.
Stephen… he's great… but, he's not going to major in neuroscience any time soon. His plans and blueprints for things always seem to come out… for lack of a better word… like shit. So we got in touch with a few of his friends who happened to have left over fireworks from the summer before and they dropped them off in a suspicious looking duffle bag. I took the bag and hid it under my bed, without checking it, until later on in the evening.
Once everything was settled and my family started to arrive, I joined my other two brothers in the living room to discuss the plan. We were going to set them off in the back yard into the lake once dinner was over. At the time this seemed like a reasonable idea. So Steven came down from my room in a hood with a bunch of fireworks hidden underneath. He then handed something small to my brother Danny whose face lit up spontaneously as a result. Apparently, Stephen's friends left a cherry bomb in the bag from left over from a fishing trip… yes, a fishing trip.
The rules in my house, like most others I assume are anti-BOMB. So Danny ran through the kitchen with efforts to make it to the garage to hide the little sucker. But, through a chain of comically unfortunate events, he ran into my mother, slipped on the floor- into the air, tossing the cherry bomb up only to fall behind the over heating oven. Please, replay that in your mind for a moment and fully grasp the hysterically dreadful scene this had caused.
Yes. Daniel Holzman. A person of whom, at that very second, I could not believe shared my DNA. Was that not the worst thing a person could do while holding a BOMB?! Reasonable- no. Understandable- yeah, if he just escaped a mental institution.
With that, my over dramatic mother rushed everyone out of the house and into the yard while calling the fire department to have a bomb squad remove the cherry bomb. Before long, two fire trucks and squad cars arrived only to tell my mom that it would be a while until allowed back in the home. So my mom ordered a dozen pizzas to eat on the front lawn while we watched as the fire men stood idly by and the bomb squad wet their pants. And that exists to be the day, I remember pizza as a Thanksgiving staple, and Danny as the idiot that made it so.
Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice) is a holiday I acquired by marriage. A little more than two months after the end of Ramadan, Muslims commemorate Abraham's demonstration of faith by killing an animal (usually a sheep, if they can afford one), eating some of the meat and sharing the rest, with a full third reserved for the poor.
The details of the background story are a little different in each of the Abrahamic faiths, but the gist is the same: when God commands Abraham to kill his beloved son, Abraham obeys, but at the last minute an angel substitutes a ram for the boy.
My husband and I come from different faiths, so our holiday celebrations are very uneven. Often we don't make much of the eid. In Tunisia, though, it's always a big deal, with special food traditions. The night before the holiday all you hear are anxious sheep bleating in back yards as if they knew what lay in store for them. Some families do the sacrifice on their own while others hire a freelance butcher, but many, many Tunisians chop up the carcass as a happy group project. My husband's relatives use every bit of the animal, salting the inner skin to turn the coat into a rug, stuffing the intestines for sausages, and burning the hair off the head, which is a great delicacy (especially the brain).
One year here in America we decided to mark the occasion a la Tunisienne. Instead of buying a lamb chop from the supermarket, we contacted a farmer near Charlottesville, Virginia, and arranged to buy and slaughter a lamb there. We drove out to this beautiful farm on a rolling hillside and picked from the herd a lovely black lamb. And then ...
...we killed it. I felt if I were going to eat meat, I should face what I'm doing. I held the lamb's legs as my husband took a sharp knife, said "in the name of God," and sliced across its aorta. Actually he had to saw a little. We pulled the lamb's head back away from the body so its blood spilled quickly, a dark river running over the grass and soaking into the earth. Although the lamb did not cry--and did not feel pain, I believe--its body thrashed as its blood drained.
My husband was even more shaken than I was. We butchered the lamb and ate it the next day, grilled, with friends. It was delicious. But my husband said, "I'm never going to to do that again."
Taking a life is one of the most sobering experiences on earth. And people used to do it all the time. Were they more callous than we are? Or just more honest, facing up to what they were doing?
Back to lamb chops. My husband and I still eat meat, but not a lot.
Urban farming is a practice that involves the development of food in areas that aren’t considered one of the top farm-like vicinities. Urban agriculture really boosts up the availability of fresh and organic food in city like areas, where such food is in great need. Farms like Good City Farm help their neighbors by distributing food free in return for some handy work. The main problem with urban farming is that it isn’t an easy task to find good land to grow your food on. Some like Dr. Doshi might have luck and are able to grow numerous amounts organic fruits and veggies in their balcony’s or even city walls of Mumbai. Or like China where more than 70% of the food produced in the country comes out from urban farming. Is this some sort of new trend that has begun? Are we going back in time and bringing the old stuff to the new and better future? If so, I hope it brings us good fortune.
Thanksgiving Day begins as my mom puts the twenty three pound turkey in the oven after stuffing it with herbs and stuffing. The whole family contributes but my mom is the master chef. She creates a wonderful gravy by whisking flour with chicken broth. She makes homeade mashed potatoes by boiling the potatoes and then mashing them. Another amazing dish that she makes is creamy green bean casserole. This consists of green beans in mushroom gravy and topped with french onions. I cannot forget the sweet potato casserole which is made by baking sweet potatoes with a layer of marshmellows to give it that sweet and savory taste. Last but not least we have cooked corn and brussel sprouts. As the huge, juicy turkey comes out of the oven and these wonderful dishes are served, my family is reminded of our many blessings.
When we gather around the table to share this scrumptious food, each of us goes around the table and says what we are thankful for. A few years ago my dad came up with this idea where he wanted each of us to write a poem illustrating what we were thankful for. Looking back I remember that I had a lot to say about how I was thankful for my friends, family, and food. Thanksgiving is a time that cannot be beat because once you have partaken in the meal, you can sit and relax. We spend the rest of the day watching football and playing football out in the street. After a break we gather together again to share apple and pumpkin pies. Served with cool whip, these pies are the perfect way to end this glorious day.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
My mother usually takes on the brunt of the cooking with my sister assisting her in the kitchen. She pulls out all of the fine china so that our meal can be commemorated and made a tad bit more special.
The meal usually consists of a big bird, turkey, cooked to succulent perfection with the outside skins nicely browned and crisp. Every year my brother and sister each call a leg, while I will settle for any juicy slice of the turkey, which is my favorite meat. Next there comes some sort of carbohydrates, usually rice with bean and sweet potato casserole. The casserole is just sweet potatoes mashed to creamy perfection. After it is mashed into submission the sweet potatoes are topped with marshmallows then placed in the oven to brown. When we cut into them after they come out of the oven the marshmallows are nice and gooey with the outer shell having a distinct crispy texture.
These two dishes are complimented with other delicious side dishes but these two are the ones that I remember the most. These two are the dishes that make Thanksgiving such a memorable holiday for me.
There are a couple of places around the world that follow thru urban farming; some of those places includes Havana, Cuba, Mumbai, India, Beijing, China, etc. In Havana, most of their food productions are done by urban farming. In 2002, about 3.4 million tons of food was produced in the urban gardens. Then, in 2003, many Cubans decided to expand their urban sector because so much food was produced in 2002. In Mumbai, they experienced a huge growth in their population due to economic development; the amount of people continued to increase. So, in this area, urban farming was difficult to follow thru on due to the huge population and they had to deal with real estate developers for the land. But, Dr. Doshi had come up with innovation techniques of farming which the people could follow thru on. In Beijing, there was a land increase within two years. So, they decided to adapt the concept of urban farming. Changing to this technique, helped to improve the quality of the food rather than the quantity of the food which was good because this meant better nutrition for the people.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Memo to Mrs. Obama from Ley
Dear Mrs. Obama,
I recently hear about the campaign “Let’s move” that you are currently promoting for kids’ health in America. Just Saturday my class and I visited a farm in DC named Common Good City Farm and based on their goal, and their location, you should take the time to go visit.
Common Good City Farm is located in DC, in a neighborhood where the people don’t have the means to easily get to a grocery store. The farm was created to help the community, which is said to have a high number or people who suffer with diabetes among other weight related diseases. The farm grows vegetables and fruits without any chemically enhanced soil or fertilizers. After it’s grown, the products are distributed to the people in the community who volunteered to help out in the garden.
The farm isn’t very big, but I think it’s a fantastic project. The soil itself could use some work, and I think it would be a great idea to expand the farm because the purpose is to help the people of the community. Although the project is very small and it’s not very popular, it’s a great way to reach out to the community.
I believe that using this farm, as a model for other communities is a great way to both get people involved directly with their nutrition and give back to others. I strongly urge you to visit the farm. It has a promising goal and I think it’d be a great blueprint for other communities.
Monday, September 13, 2010
The hosts of the farm were very active and excited for us to get there. Even though it was very early in the morning when we arrived the hosts were ready to have us begin working on the farm.
After some preliminary icebreaker exercises, we broke up into two groups one of those who wanted to figure out the social effects of this farm and another that wanted to actually do some work on the farm. I opted for the manual labor.
The odd jobs on the farm were interesting and sometimes I didn't know if I was pruning the tomatoe bushes precisely or if i was just butchering the whole thing.
It was a great time working hard for a non-profit organization. They seem to have a firm foundation of what they want to do for the residents of the First Ward. I enjoyed working with my peers and I applaud the hard work that the volunteers at Common Good City Farm do for the residents of Washington DC.
To spur my students to reflect on our field trip to Common Good City Farm, I asked them to write you a memo. Imagine that you work as an adviser for Michelle Obama. Common Good City Farm has contacted you because it wants Mrs. Obama to visit the farm as part of her Let's Move campaign for healthier kids. You visited the farm on Saturday, 9/11. Now you must write a memo to Mrs. Obama. Should this busy first lady put Common Good City Farm on her crowded schedule? Why or why not?
Let me add my voice to theirs. Do shine a spotlight on the farm. We need places like CGCF for both the food it produces and its food for thought.
I wanted my first-year college students to experience sustainability issues firsthand. What did they come away with? I won’t know until we debrief today—and even then I may not know because ideas may percolate all semester and beyond. Also, students are hard to read; they meet questions so impassively that I can’t tell if I’m boring them or challenging them. But as I saw Ysabelle sifting compost, Ley staking raspberries, and Jose pruning tomatoes, I felt encouraged: at least the class was experiencing something. (Probably Andrew is never going to forget being stung on the palm of his hand.)
I learned a lot. As we rode into DC in our Reston limousine van, we passed a panhandler at an intersection with a hand-lettered cardboard sign:
We were there to learn how CGCF was trying to improve the eating habits of people living in the LeDroit “food desert” (meaning it’s a long way to market): 1 in 5 is overweight, 1 in 3 has hypertension, and in 1 in 10 suffers from diabetes. Yet during the introductions I learned that a fair number of my students hadn’t eaten breakfast (because I’d rousted them out of bed for a 9:45 pickup). The mom in me said, Haven’t they heard of the Iowa breakfast study? The picture stayed complicated.
Before our visit we had split into two groups: those who preferred physical work and those who wanted to do interviews. The Laborers got right to work, directed by director Pertula, one of CGCF’s two paid staff. Although sweaty, they seemed satisfied, their mission clear: water those logs to make them mushroom friends, dump those wheelbarrel-fuls of clay mud to improve the drainage, be of service. We sociologists had a murkier mission: discover. We had talked about interviewing the neighbors, but even two-year-old CGCF is still in the early stages of outreach, so we stuck to the volunteers on site. I saw some students strike up conversations, but I also found a small group interviewing each other under the sunflowers. It reminded me that knowledge building is also very hard work.
I was very interested in the race/class issues surrounding the farm and food issues in general. CGCF has a farm-share program for low-income neighbors, who can receive harvest in return for modest labor. According the director, about 10 local residents have taken advantage of “Green Tomorrows” while a couple of dozen more have expressed interest. Local “buy-in” is high among the farm’s priorities. Although the city, not CGCF, tore down the elementary school, not all residents note the distinction. One volunteer told me that a resident had hissed at her in passing, Education is more important than food. She and other volunteers also appreciate that they have fenced in an open social space, the ball field. The farm is still a social space, but more so at the moment for yuppie volunteers, some local, some not. An interesting, complicated picture.
(l. to r.) Bobbie, Asia, Ysabelle, and Hannah turn compost.
Washingtonian and live very close by the farm but for some reason I had never heard of it which is astonishing since it was so amazing and innovative. This farm is what the city needed when so many people have been diagnosed obese and diabetic with poor eating habits. You would love their mission because it compliments your Lets Move campaign.
The farm is located in the heart of the city in the historic Ledroit Park area. The farm is placed on what use to be a baseball; a place that brought life and promoted outreach into the community. However, long after the diamond field is gone Common Good is not only bringing but delivering a better way of life You can find town homes, a college, and now produce thanks to Common Good City Farm in the community. Their volunteers and two salaried workers have researched, created, and sustained a natural habitat that produces gorgeous flowers such as sunflowers to ready-to-eat fresh fruits and vegetables; fruits and vegetables which has not been chemically-enhanced and sprayed with pesticides ensuring the healthiest and purest produce.
They also live up to their name "Common Good" with their Green Tomorrow Program which allows low income individuals (according to their website there are 1 in every 3 people impoverished in Ledroit Park) to volunteer their services a few hours throughout the week and in return they are allotted an umpteen amount of food harvested.
Mrs. Obama I know you would love the Common Good City Farm. I am sure being the First lady keeps you with a hectic schedule but this is something you would not regret. I know there aren't too many places in the city where you see 15 butterflies around one bush, people working land with no pay for a greater cause, and squash ready to be picked and eaten just below a window of an apartment Common Good is simply 1 in a million. They enrich, provide, and are hopefully leading the way to other farms being created in urban settings.
I recently have been contacted by Common Good City Farms and they have requested you to visit their farm. Accepting this invitation could potentially be part of your Let’s Move campaign as well as providing publicity for the campaign. Common Good City Farms holds several of the same ideals as the Let’s Move campaign does. They are an urban farm seeking to get rid of “food deserts”. They have been supplying local residents with fresh produce at no cost but their volunteer time at the farm. Not only is this organization providing fresh, healthy, and pesticide free produce, but they also have workshops where people can learn how to prepare these foods in a healthy manner. Nothing goes to waste on Common Good City Farm. The plants that are passed their prime are recycled through their natural compost piles and used to create fertile soil for the crops and plants. This group also focuses on sustainability. They ensure that the land they plant on may be used again by fertilizing it with natural compost and not placing harmful chemicals that may stimulate plant growth, but deteriorate the quality of the soil. This farm is placing fresh food on tables of those who might otherwise not be able to afford it. Also, if we allow this program to expand it may work hand in hand with the Let’s Move initiative by providing the needed produce to increase healthy eating and choices. In visiting this farm we may be able to create a beneficial working relationship.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Personally, I believe the Common Good City Farm is very important for the Let’s Move campaign. While visiting, they explained that many people in DC die from obesity related problems. The Common Good City Farm is there to give the people in the area healthy and fresh fruits and vegetables in order to prevent this. They also talked about a program in which people volunteer at the farm and in return they receive free produce. Basically, they are working for food.
During my visit, I learned that the nearest grocery store is very far away. Many people don’t have cars and would have to walk there. Many of them don’t want to walk or can’t due to health-related concerns. That is why the Common Good City Farm is in the heart of the neighborhood. It provides people the fresh produce they need without having to go very far to get it.
The Common Good City Farm only has a few paid employees. For the most part, they depend on volunteers. Personally, I think this is very good because its obvious they care more about the good their doing than money they’re making. However, this also provides a problem. I had interviewed a few volunteers. They said it’s hard to keep volunteers coming regularly. They usually get enough volunteers but it’s harder to plan things when they don’t have regulars. Because of this, I don’t think the Common Good City Farm is ready for media scrutiny.