Archive for the ‘food/drink’ Category

will barter for skills

January 28, 2010

This post is also featured on Greenopolis.

Skillsharing is hot right now. Maybe it’s because most everyone is on a budget or perhaps there’s been a great awakening where people feel compelled to share resources, time, and abilities.

If you’ve never been to a skillshare, here’s the gist: A group of people with various skills come together in the spirit of sharing. The skilled people teach a group of eager learners who either pay a small fee (like $10) to learn new skills or barter with their own skills or services.

Back in October, I attended the Brooklyn Skillshare and learned some great skills which I’ve since applied at home: upcycling glass bottles into vases, drinking glasses (and more) and making butter and ricotta. (You can check out the results here.)

Learning how to cast silver jewelry at the Brooklyn Skillshare.

If you’re interested in trying out one of these skillshares and you live in NYC, you’re in for a treat. From now until February 28 at Grand Opening (139 Norfolk St), you can learn a new skill every night at Trade School – as long as you’re able to give (barter) in return. There are some really cool skills being offered up, including foraging and preserving foods, fabric-making, community engagement, and composting.

Once you’re bitten by the skillsharing bug, it’s hard to quit. In fact, last year, after learning how to make soap, I felt compelled to teach others at a soap-making party. You can read more about my case of soap fever on the Handmade Soap Coach blog.

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learnings for a new year

January 5, 2010

Happy New Year! Happy New Decade!

Taking the time to reflect back on 2009, I’ve realized that it was a very full year. I launched myself into so many different worlds: permaculture, food culture, crafting, Twitter, a new business endeavor, a renewed website. Along the way I’ve gathered skills and met some amazing people. Thinking back, it’s hard to believe that all of this happened in only one year (click on the pictures to visit related posts)…

Permaculture

Block printing


Jewelry making


Soap making


Glass bottle upcycling


Ricotta & butter making


Canning


Tweeting & meeting
I’ve met some amazing people & have had some great experiences because of Twitter


Brooklyn Food Coalition


Launching


So what will 2010 bring? Or maybe I should say, what will I bring to 2010? I’m not one for resolutions, especially at the beginning of a new year. I resolve to do things all year long, without really giving it a label. I try to have healthy expectations for what I can achieve. Here are a few things I have mapped out for this year…

  • A visit to Costa Rica
  • A learning experience in Milwaukee with Will Allen of Growing Power
  • The launch of a new endeavor – The Library of Trash (stay tuned!)
  • Blogging for Greenopolis & Aribra
  • Finding room to garden

I’ll be blogging about all of these developments as they happen, so keep your ear to the ground!

my upcycled, diy, homemade holidays

December 29, 2009

This season was busier than most in the crazy ‘prepare for the holidays’ crunch. We decided to invite 10 people over for Christmas dinner (that makes 12 total) – a feat we had yet to attempt in our modestly sized Brooklyn apartment.

We started in November. Using no-VOC paint by Mythic, we gave a fresh coat to the living areas (still have to work on the rest of the apartment!). The stuff worked great – went on super smoothly & didn’t stink much, unlike traditional toxic paint. Painted interior, check.

One of our dining chairs was getting kind of ratty and I didn’t think we had the time to send it out to be reupholstered so I decided to tackle the task myself. I consulted my pile of fabric to be repurposed and found a curtain that we ‘inherited.’ Now all I needed was a staple gun. Easy peasy. (Here are the instructions.)

Reupholstered chair, check.

Another thing getting a lot of wear and tear was the throw pillows on our couch. I know I can make one, so why buy? Throw pillow, check.

We wanted to create a warm & cozy mood for our holiday festivities. So I went out and got my favorite beeswax candles from Big Dipper Wax Works. (They’re available at Whole Foods or on Amazon, too.) I didn’t have any candle holders and I’d been wanting to try out my Ephrem’s bottle cutter so I grabbed some old kombucha bottles I’d been saving up to upcycle into drinking glasses, or in this case, candle holders. It’s so ridiculously easy to do. Here are some rough instructions (the kit has more detailed info).

1. First, clean the bottles of all labels (this may require soaking in hot, sudsy water).

2. Next, lay the bottle on the wheels of the cutter and, holding firmly, turn the bottle towards you until you’ve met the beginning of the etch.


3. Then, hold the etched part of the bottle over a flame, turning slowly at first and speeding up. There should be soot building up on the spot.

4. Get it good and hot and then dip it in a bucket of cold water. The top of the bottle magically pops off, et voila! You’ve got a new product! (Actually two new products – the top can be used to make a lantern or turned upside down with the cap on to create a little dessert bowl or cup.

5. To finish the rough edged, get yourself some wet/dry sand paper, wet it down and smooth around the cut edge.

Candle holders, check.

I’d recently learned the art of soap & lotion making and wanted to show off my new skills to my family & friends. So I made a couple of batches of melt & pour soap and some bath fizzy bombs. We gave our party guests goody bags (see below) full of clean goodness. Handmade gifts, check.

I don’t really like to buy new wrapping paper, so I either reuse it for years or make my own. This year, my boyfriend got in on the act and we made a whole batch of paper together. I carved out some stamps (I learned this skill from Make Workshop last year). Using unfolded paper from some mailings we received, we stamped away in red, gold, and green (red, gold, and green!). Handmade blockprinted wrapping paper & gift bags, check.

This was all my bf’s doing, but I just had to mention it. We (he) made butter & ricotta (with some help from Brooklyn Farmhouse!) for the party. With the ricotta, he made Italian cheesecake. Delicious!

grass-fed cream makes all the difference

A very Merry Christmas, check.

How did you spend your holidays?

farming brooklyn – youth edition

December 21, 2009

BK Farmyards – the decentralized urban farming network (that also happens to have been founded by my friend Stacey) – is kickstarting a youth farm in Crown Heights. The thing is, they need a little help from their friends.

Would you like to help city kids learn about the amazing world of growing food? You can. Visit the BK Farmyards Kickstarter page and give (generously) – you may even be rewarded for it.*

*If you…

Pledge $20 or more

A big thank you for your support on Twitter, http://www.bkfarmyards.com, and our newsletter

Pledge $50 or more

A stylish, reusable grocery bag crafted by bk farmyards and made from all recycled materials. We’ll include a satchel of aromatic cooking herbs from one of our farms.

Pledge $100 or more

Adopt a Chick! You will receive postcards from one of our hens over the course of the year. Watch how fast they grow and know that you made fresh eggs available for the neighborhood.

Pledge $500 or more

Dinner for 2 in a New York City restaurant that features local organic produce. We know some great chefs: your taste buds will love you forever! Prior to meal, we will inquire about your dietary requests.

Pledge $1,000 or more

You and a friend will tour New York City’s urban agriculture scene with one of our farmers for a day. Take a behind the scenes look at urban farmers day-to-day life and discover some hidden treasures throughout he city.

Pledge $2,500 or more

Do you want to develop your own farmyard? Enjoy our consultation services for a growing season. Send us photos of your yard as well as your dietary preferences, and we will draw up a crop plan for you along with a schedule for starting seeds. During the season, consult with us about any pest or disease concerns in your new farmyard: we will give you information about pest cycles you should be aware of for your crops. We will also provide consultation to improve your soil health: your crops are only as healthy as your soil!

give the gift of nutrition

December 14, 2009

It’s hard to eat well during the holidays – with all of the preparing and shopping and making goodies for family and friends. So what’s better than giving the gift of nutrition during this often gluttonous (and glutenous) time of year?

Diamond Organics has these great fruit and veggie gift samplers that make those other holiday gift baskets look stale.

Picture 2

The Organic Family Pack offers a family of 4 a week’s worth of fresh fruits and veggies.
Here’s the description:

A Family Pack is like our Original Organic Fruit and Vegetable Sampler but with larger quantities- enough to feed a family of four for a week. Organic produce availability changes with the seasons, but tends to be things that most families eat on a regular basis: 2 heads of lettuce, 1/2 lb mesclun, 1/2 bunch of each basil and parsley, 1 lb carrots, 1 lb broccoli, 2 lbs tomatoes, 1 lb onions, 2 lbs potatoes, 1 lb green beans, 1 lb zucchini, 1/2 lb mushrooms. Summer fruit may include peaches, strawberries, grapes, and bananas and in the winter, citrus, apples, pears and tropical fruit, a total of 5 lbs of fruit. Net wt. 16 to 17 lbs. Includes overnight delivery to most areas.

Picture 3

Another option is The Original Organic Sampler Pack. The details:

A unique gift that’s sure to surprise and please – open the box and out pop gorgeous greens, lettuces, mesclun, fresh herbs, vegetables, and colorful fruit.
The Original Organic Sampler contains a unique selection of organic specialty greens and lettuces, mesclun salad greens, fresh herbs, vegetables, and seasonal fruits. The selection will vary according to availability at time of packing.
Net wt. 9 lbs. Price includes overnight delivery to most areas.

Diamond Organics has all sorts of other goodies, but to me, the fresh produce is more unique, and may be more welcomed than candy.

classy classie does the can-can

December 14, 2009

This past weekend I attended the NYC Food & Climate Summit. I saw a lot of familiar faces, was graced with video messages from eco-ethica heroines Wangari Maathai and Vandana Shiva, as well as some other motivating food movers and shakers. But the highlight of the day was not talking about food waste policy, it was preserving food to reduce waste and extend the seasons. I signed up for the food preservation session not knowing who was leading it. When I opened up the program for the day’s events, I was excited to see Classie Parker’s name next to the session I was attending. Woohoo!

Want to know why Classie warrants this kind of response from me? Check out the following video and read the HuffPo post about canning with Classie from Lorna Sass, the Queen of Pressure Cooking.

Canning with Classie great way to spend the afternoon. I even volunteered and got to take home my own jar of pickled veggies that I made. I just have to resist opening them for another 30 days or so.

Watching Classie 'shake her foodie'

Watching Classie 'shake her foodie'

Martha Ma also led the session with her style of lacto-fermentation. My favorite quote from her: “Screw probiotics, go eat some pickles, man.” Learn about the benefits of lacto-fermenting foods here.

Related post
Red Hook Harvest

permaculture hedonists presents (hands-on workshops)

November 10, 2009


Mmmm… kimchi [image: Wikipedia]

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Permaculture Hedonists Presents
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Hands-on workshops by Permaculture designers, educators and hedonists Andrew Faust and Adriana Magaña.

Who says you need a homestead to practice Permaculture? We’ll show you how to live the good life by putting your hands and kitchen to work! We think our bodies deserve the best and as permaculture hedonists believe that what we create with our hands is far superior to anything you can buy on the shelves of any store.

Last year we ran this series of lactoferment classes along with a Handcrafted Beauty series to great success. Many sold out fast with our cap at 10 students for each class. We checked our busy teaching and parenting schedules and set aside some dates to present these learning opportunities once again. Join us for these three fermented foods classes that will increase your vitality as well as your self-sufficiency. Come learn why they are so incredibly nutritious and how they can fit into your life.

The Handmade Beauty series will take the mystery out of formulating your own safe and cheap beauty necessities. We will explore a host of different ingredients from ones found in your kitchen cupboard to exotic floral waxes found via the internet. This series will now include household cleaners as well. All of these will be great for gift giving!

Start crafting today and share your creations with friends and family!

Lactoferments
Wednesday, November 18
6:30- 8:30-pm $40

This workshop will walk you through making a variety of lactoferments including: kim chee, sauerkraut, ginger-carrots and other root crop lactoferments. Bring 2 wide mouth 1 pint glass mason jars with lids if you would like to take home jars of our finished products. Also bring a good cutting knife a cutting board and the Organic vegatables will be supplied. Handouts of recipes will be provided. IMPORTANT!!! Please register at least one day in advance so we can insure the correct amount of ingredients. This is sure to fill up fast!

Sourdough Bread
Wednesday, December 9th
6:30-8:30pm

In this, our second fermented food workshop, we will harvest Brooklyn’s wild yeasts to make bread rise into a fluffy loaf that is truly delicious! We will show you the ins and outs of making and baking sourdough bread so that you can get started with confidence! We will also cover sourdough pancakes. Delicious! Participants should bring a small jar to take home some sourdough starter.

Handcrafting Home Brews
Thursday, December 17th
6:30- 8:30 pm $40

This third workshop will cover: malting whole grains for superlative home brew beers and will include sources for organic whole grains; preparing herbal tonics and sacred beers with wild dandelion, yarrow, rosemary and others; culturing wild yeasts. Kombucha preparation will also be covered and kombucha “mothers” will be given away to make at home. Handouts of recipes will be provided.

Handmade Beauty Part 1 and 2
Saturday, December 19th
Part 1 – 12am-2pm $40
Sunday, December 20th
Part 2 – 4pm -6pm $40

In this class we will craft a variety of body care products made from ingredients easily found in your kitchen cabinet or local heath food store. You will expand your knowledge of herbs, save money and feel your beautiful best by making and using your own handmade beauty products. Are you spending wads of cash on eco-household cleaners? Well you can stop! We will be providing recipes and samples for some of the most often used cleaners. Bring small containers (washed take out condiment containers work great) if you’d like to take some samples home.

Part 1

For your Face…
*Face Cleanser *Face Scrub
*Herbal Face Toner *Moisturizer *Tinted Lip Balm

Plus Household Cleaners!

Part 2

*Herbal Shampoo *Herbal Hair Rinse
*Body Scrubs *Tooth Powder/Paste
*Mouthwash *Shaving Cream

Plus Household Cleaners!

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Handcrafting Herbal Tinctures, Salves and Extracts will be offered after the new year. So get ready!

All of these classes will take place in our small apartment so enrollment in limited to 10 people for each class. Allergic to pets? We have two cats and a dog FYI.

Please pre-register so we know how many people to expect dreikycaprice@gmail.com

We can and will offer these classes again so please inquire if the dates don’t work out for you.

Be well,

Adriana and Andrew

P.S. We are accepting registration for our Permaculture Design Certification from March 27th through June 5th. Sign up early to get a discount and save your spot!
To register email Andrew@HomeBiome.com


The Center for Bioregional Living
Ellenville / Brooklyn, NY
www.homebiome.com

green books campaign: the raw milk revolution

November 10, 2009

This review is part of the Green Books campaign. Today 100 bloggers are reviewing 100 great books printed in an environmentally friendly way. Our goal is to encourage publishers to get greener and readers to take the environment into consideration when purchasing books. This campaign is organized by Eco-Libris, a a green company working to green up the book industry by promoting the adoption of green practices, balancing out books by planting trees, and supporting green books. A full list of participating blogs and links to their reviews is available on Eco-Libris website.

The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America’s Emerging Battle Over Food Rights
by David E. Gumpert
(with foreword by Joel Salatin)
Chelsea Green Publishing
Printed on recycled paper

What do government regulators have against raw milk?

The Raw Milk Revolution is an exploration of this and other relevant questions in a time when the entire industrialized food system is coming into question.

Based on his blog, The Complete Patient, David Gumpert provides a reasonable, balanced, and straightforward account of the pros and cons of raw milk consumption and the legal constraints placed on its production.

The book provides historic context of the dairy industry, from about the time of the Industrial Revolution to more recent regulatory history regarding food safety. It balances past events with the current trend toward consuming raw dairy, explaining both the purported risks and benefits of the product that comes unadulterated from the cow (or goat or sheep).

A taste of the past
Pasteurization was a response to the increasingly deplorable conditions and industrialization of dairy farming. As dairy operations crowded into cities and were coupled with distilleries for “efficient” use of grain (as cow feed, something cows do not naturally eat), cows became sicker, farms became a breeding ground for pathogens.

An emotionally charged debate
But is the method of pasteurization – slow on the uptake at the turn of the century, yet widely used today – still valid? Is it making us safer? The answer is somewhat unclear. The rates of raw-milk–related illness are debatable, depending on who you ask. According to some groups, like [grass-fed] raw-milk advocates the Weston A. Price Foundation, the rates are inflated, while state and federal agencies argue that raw milk carries an inherent risk to health. As do parents of children who may have become seriously ill from it.

Raw milk is outlawed in 28 out of 50 states. But the incidence of other food-borne illnesses is just as high, if not higher, than that of raw milk. Even pasteurized milk carries some risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the highest rates of listeria illness are due to deli meat. If deli meat is 10 times more likely to expose you to listeria illness than raw milk, why isn’t it restricted or outlawed?

Another question I kept asking is: Why can’t we just put a label on raw milk and let consumers decide whether they want to take the supposed risk? Or more to the point, why don’t consumers have the right to choose their foods, raw or treated?

A question of rights
Joel Salatin, now famous farmer of Polyface Farms in Virginia, posits in the foreword,

The only reason the right to food choice was not guaranteed in the Bill of Rights is because the Founders of America could not have envisioned a day when selling a glass of raw milk or homemade pickles to a neighbor would be outlawed. At the time, such a thought was as strange as levitation.

Indeed, what good is the freedom to own guns, worship, or assemble if we don’t have the freedom to eat the proper fuel to energize us to shoot, pray, and preach? Is not freedom to choose our food at least as fundamental a right as the freedom to worship?

Due to the current laws regarding the sale of raw milk, people who choose to produce it are putting themselves at risk of government crackdown in order to fulfill a growing demand. Something is compelling consumers to, in many cases, cross state lines to obtain raw milk. Often, these consumers are pregnant women and mothers. Why are people putting themselves and their families at risk of breaking the law in order to potentially put themselves at risk of illness?

Having tasted raw milk and, unknowingly, carrying it over state lines illegally, The Raw Milk Revolution left me wanting to take the risk again, maybe in order to prove that the benefits are worth the risks.

I think I now have more questions than answers regarding the raw milk debate, but perhaps this is the point – to keep the questions coming with regard to food and our right to choose what we consider healthful to eat.

For more on the raw milk debate, visit The Complete Patient.

Founded in 2007, Eco-Libris is a green company working to green up the book industry by promoting the adoption of green practices, balancing out books by planting trees, and supporting green books. To achieve this goal Eco-Libris is working with book readers, publishers, authors, bookstores and others in the book industry worldwide. Until now Eco-Libris balanced out over 110,000 books, which results in more than 120,000 new trees planted with its planting partners in developing countries.

milkweed and stinky piglets

September 30, 2009

Rainy days have their benefits. The first, most obvious benefit is the replenishment of available water for plant, animal, and human use. The second is that rain keeps people from enjoying outdoor activities. Why is that a benefit? Well, if you’re visiting Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture and want to go on a vegetable tour, you may just be the only one on the tour on account of rain. And being the only ones (bf & I) on the tour last Sunday, we got special attention. Or at least that’s how it seemed to me.

We went on a whim, despite the rain and forecast for more of it throughout the day. Looking at the clock, we realized we’d have just enough time to grab a bite from the cafe and go on the two o’clock tour. So up we went, to Pocantico Hills, just north of Tarrytown. It’s lovely up there, just an hour’s drive from Brooklyn, the leaves along the Saw Mill Parkway just starting to change into their autumnal habits. Here are some of the magical things we encountered on our tour of the educational, experimental, sustainable agricultural center:


A tasty lunch at the cafe


What’s on today?


Selling the bounty at the farm market


Asclepias gomphocarpus, a type of milkweed, attracts butterflies


Happy bees on past-peak artichokes in the dooryard garden. These delicious thistles are apparently difficult to grow in the Northeast, but Stone Barns is figuring out how.


Go ahead, try one! Stone Barns encourages sampling


Super-juicy Asian pears growing in the main field are an experiment. A very tasty experiment.


Self-seeding sunflowers take over where the arugula leaves off


Purple brussel sprouts in the field…


…and yummy purple mustard greens in the greenhouse


The expansive greenhouse allows 4-season farming


Seedlings in custom compost are kept warm through water-filled, compost-heated tubes


Hoop houses on tracks also extend the seasons


Four kinds of compost are cultivated at Stone Barns


Berkshire pigs, right home in the forest mud


Hey little piggy


Sorry, we’re too busy to look at your camera


Oh, hello there. These pigs sure are cute, but they were also a little stinky.

Stone Barns is a magical place where everything is grown for a reason, everything is harvested, nothing is sprayed with pesticides or grown in artificial fertilizers. And everything is repurposed, from food scraps to plastic tarps. You can visit Stone Barns for a tour, to volunteer, or to enjoy an 8-course meal at the amazing Blue Hill restaurant.

This Saturday, October 3, is their 6th Annual Harvest Festival. Get your tickets here.

Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture
630 Bedford Road
Pocantico Hills, NY
914.366.6200

fresh: the film

September 22, 2009

If you didn’t get your fill from Food, Inc., Fresh looks like it takes the story of sustainable agriculture one step further. Featuring Will Allen (Growing Power), Michael Pollan (the man who needs no introduction), and Joel Salatin (Polyface Farms), Fresh looks at the solutions to the problems of our current food system.

Fresh will be screening at BAM, Tuesday, October 6, 7pm, followed by a panel discussion moderated by Gabrielle Langholtz (Editor of Edible Brooklyn) with the director/producer, Ana Sofia Joanes, plus Reverend Jackson of Brooklyn Rescue Mission, David Shea of Applewood Restaurant, and Letitia James, District 35 – Council Member.

Check out the official site.