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Showing posts from 2015

It's back to Collards and Cornbread

After 16 months traveling, Mary Elizabeth and I are Florida bound. Our home base will be Jacksonville, and I look forward to rooting in a new community. I will, however, continue to support the good food work in Tallahassee. I remain on the board of Tallahassee Food Network (TFN). (This past year I served as TFN ambassador to connect with and learn from community-based good food efforts around the world.) More than remaining connected from afar, I intend to be in town monthly for TFN's Collards and Cornbread Gatherings, which means I'll be in Tallahassee on the 2nd Thursday of the month, 1:30pm, Oct 8th at TFN's iGrow Whatever You Like Youth Farm (514 Dunn Street). Will you join me?

On a side note: if you would like a food gardening consult, a garden built, or you are dreaming of a community gardenin Tallahassee, or, of course, in Jacksonville, by all means, send me an email or ring me: 850-322-0749. To the extent that my ability and location allows, I'll jump right on…

Visit to Mondragon, THE COOP of Coops

Posted by Man in Overalls on Thursday, June 25, 2015
Mary Elizabeth and I have been back in the country for three weeks -- long enough to...  attend a best friend's wedding in WNC; visit my herb-tea-farming buddy, Rachel in Virginia; catch sunrise on the Brooklyn Bridge; go berry u-picking with friends and put my overalls to work shoveling at a community garden in the Philly area; participate in a fellowship at the Wake Forest Food and Faith Conference in Asheville, NC; blur through Jacksonville for my wife's high school 10-year reunion; and stop in Tallahassee long enough to learn about the iGrow Southcity Grand Opening happening 2:30pm, Friday, June 26th. Folks, we've been on the move.
But what about Europe? We were there for two months. Other than good, seemingly untainted bread, what stood out?

There was this coop in Spain... A network of coops. THE COOP of coops! I gotta tell you about it.
It's called Mondragon. It's a "federation of worker cooperatives&…

Why Can I Eat Bread in France, but not the USA?

Updated 10/31/2017 as the National Organic Standards Board meets in Jacksonville, FL. This may well be the most important thing you read this year for your health. (Originally written in 2015 while I was traveling-- and eating bread-- with my wife in France.)

I've got a food riddle for you from Paris, France: Why can I eat bread over here when it makes me sick at home?

I'll share my best guess in a minute, but first, a little personal background.

Since my senior year of high school, I've not been able to eat much bread at all. For five years, I was severely hypoglycemic, and everything I ate had to have more protein than carbohydrates. That meant, in effect, that I spent my years of college beer-less and eating lots of salad with meat on top. I ate tons of vegetables, very little fruit, basically no carbohydrates to speak of, meat, nuts, eggs, and cheese. If I accidentally ate, say, meat loaf that was, unbeknownst to me, made with bread in it, I'd spend the next 2-3 da…

Greetings from Switzerland

Just a quick note to say hey from Switzerland. On this leg so far, we flew into Madrid, and then spent two weeks with friends in the south of France. Tomorrow, we're headed to Zurich, then to Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, and back to France, where we'll spend a couple weeks in Paris before we head back to Madrid at the beginning of June to catch our flight back to the States.

Everywhere we go we're learning! In Madrid: Spanish recipes (Tortillas, yum!). In France, bread making, stone walls, old architecture (that orients towards the south to maximize passive solar... that then informs where the garden goes: also to the south), home-made, gravity pressurized irrigation, cheese, and did I mention cheese! We saw countless coops, one example of how businesses can operate pairing the ideas of community benefit and economic viability, a way to to ensure sustainability for the long haul-- which reminds me of the economic development happening in N F…

Many expressions of the Food Movement in Nicaragua

I'm back in Tallahassee! (for two weeks). As I mentioned in previous posts, my wife, Mary Elizabeth and I spent the last two months in Nicaragua and Ecuador studying spanish, culture, dance, history, and community-based good food systems. Though we're back, there are more stories to tell.

If you need a food garden consult, compost delivery, garden design, or a couple raised beds, let me know. Send me an email with subject line "Food Gardening Work" or ring me at 322.0749, and I'll get right back with you.

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In addition to the household-level food economy smarts of folks in Nicaragua, we also learned of many organized efforts to "alimentar" their communities, i.e., to ensure their communities are taken care of and are eating well. The good food movement, indeed, has many expressions!
Take the the spanish language school, Hijos del Maiz in el Lagartillo where we studied for example. On the surface, it is simply a community-based language school for t…

Rural Nicaragua Household Economy

Mary Elizabeth and I spent 3 weeks of our stay in Nicaragua as students at Hijos del Maiz spanish language school in El Lagartillo near Achuapa. We lived with a homestay family, shared meals, conversation, riddles, day-to-day life, and lots of laughs.

Everyday we received 4 hours of 1-on-1 language instruction with professional teachers who rotated weekly. Our classes were comprised of formal grammar lessons or informal conversation- based on our personal preferences. Typically, any given class was a mix of grammar, exhanges of personal & family stories, and stories about their community's history that is rooted in a farming cooperative that brought them together in the early ´80´s and the US-backed Contra's attack on their community in '84 that cost many in the community the lives of their brother and sisters. Beyond our classes, we were free to visit with others in the community, go swimming at the community's cascada (waterfall), help our homestay family around …

See You in March

And we're off!  Mary Elizabeth and I are hopping on a plane this afternoon for a two month stint in Nicaragua and Ecuador to learn spanish, culture, dance, as much about history, and, of course, community-based food systems as we're able.

We'll be back in March for the month. While I'm around, I'll be partnering up with Sundiata Ameh-El of iGrow to put in and ramp up as many food gardens as possible (which means, if you've got food gardening work that needs doing, send me an email with subject line "March Food Garden Work" to get on my list asap. Compost deliveries, consults, new gardens, edible orchards, workshops, & community garden developments all apply).

My other major goal during March is to grow Tallahassee Food Network's financial base. Tallahassee Food Network is our regional coalition of the global movement that works to grow community-based good food systems. I'm eager to see its internal capacity grow through staffing and a de…