Happy National Gardening Week

Gardening can be a fantastic outlet for those looking to play a part in sourcing their own food.  It can be a rewarding experience and although it takes time and attention, it is also a way to relieve stress and get your hands dirty.  I have to admit that I have no green thumb but I've always enjoyed growing a few small herbs for cooking.  

Here are some resources paying homage to the world of gardening.  Whether you're an avid gardener or considering just getting started, I encourage you to start small and see if it works for you!

National Gardening Association: http://www.garden.org/

Urban Gardens:  http://www.urbangardensweb.com/

And in case you're not interested in doing the gardening yourself, but want to participate in local agriculture: http://www.localharvest.org/

Any other resources you've found helpful?  What are you growing this spring/summer?

Local Farming - Way to go Stamford!

Stamford: The City that Works

Most of you who know me, know that I grew up in Stamford; a 120,000 person-or-so city in southwestern CT that is just close enough to NYC to have great commerce, culture, and Fortune 100 business, but also just far enough to be suburbia away from the big city.  I am very proud to say that in this 'city that works', we have a local farm going in (close to downtown) that is challenging the way most think about food and food production.

Sclafani Brands Farm is currently farming fresh produce for this city - fresh tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, winter squash, etc.  Produce that you essentially can watch grow in your backyard, purchase in your backyard, and then eat in your backyard.  While this is not revolutionary, I absolutely adore the philosophy behind this farm and the way in which Bruce Sclafani is able to so eloquently verbalize it in simple fashion.

RT RT RT  |  Read This!

I usually provide links in my blogs to things I feel are important and that are one of a few things: 1. Will help you learn something in greater depth.  2. Will help you understand why it's important to challenge the status quo.  3. Will help you to take the next steps in making your health a priority.

This is one article that hits the bulls eye for number two.  Please read and let me know your thoughts!

And for you local Fairfield County folk... See you at the farmstand!


Farm to Fork


So this past spring I read Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma and have currently turned to Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.  While both of these books are thoroughly researched and definitely biased, I find it fascinating the extent to which the food industry is detached from our lives and impossibly opaque.  

What is Agriculture?  Photo courtesy of www.chefandchauffeur.com

I know we've all heard of the organic movement (buying organic produce/meats/coffee/tea) and the locavore movement (buying products made within x miles of where you live), both of which take on a keen awareness of food production, but I find that as educated as I am on nutrition, I barely know the first thing about farming and agriculture.  

Alright I could probably tell you that a potato grows in the ground and oranges on trees, but that's about the extent of it.  I don't know that understanding farming or agriculture could help to change our nation's food choices in the grocery store but both authors seem to push the idea that increasing the transparency of the process could lead to healthier choices.  

A Little Challenge

Can you name one food item that you've eaten today where you know it's true origin and entire journey to your plate?  Did you grow it in your backyard?  Do you know a local farmer and get it from their stand at a farmer's market?  Can you even name the country your salad vegetables were grown in?  An array of them I'm sure... 

Now I'm not suggesting you overhaul your eating and purchasing habits... just try to break through some of the opacity of our food supply chain.  Maybe, like me, you'll even get to learn a little about gardening and agriculture in the process.