Posts Tagged ‘slow food’

Greening Cleveland Park: Organic Gardening for Beginners

Hey! I am just dropping this quick post for those of you in the D.C. area who like to garden and don’t already have plans for today. I won’t be attending because I have about 34 billion things to do today (hence, why I am awake at 6 o’clock on a Sunday morning…) but the executive director of Food & Water Watch, Wenonah Hauter, sent this out and I thought it would be of interest to some of you. It’s free, also, and anyone is welcome to attend.

Greening Cleveland Park: Organic Gardening for Beginners
Cleveland Park Club
3433 33rd Place, NW
Sunday, April 11   2-4 PM
Join us early in the gardening season for an exciting workshop and discussion on growing vegetables, flowers and other landscaping plants without toxic chemicals. Greening Cleveland Park is a subcommittee of the Cleveland Park Citizens Association.
Leslie Gignoux and Scott Fritz, Landscape Architects
Joshua Wenz, Owner, My Organic Garden

I hope to post a little something tomorrow—at some point—after my farmer’s market trip, so stay tuned. :]


Reporting back on food spending

Well. It’s the moment of truth. Last week, I told you I was going to keep track of all the money I spent on food. So I did. And here’s the breakdown.

Friday, March 12 – Went to Giant, bought too much really, intended to only get the “essentials” like peanut butter, bread (which, as I didn’t even need to get eat because I bought bread at the market so I froze this bread), jelly (again, didn’t need to get), pickles (I never buy pickles, not sure about the decision–never shop while experiencing strange cravings), salt (definitely needed that), soy milk, matzo crackers, cream cheese, cuc’s, strawberries. – $52.18

Saturday, March 13 – Went to Farmers Market and bought all that stuff I pictured last week – $33.75

Then Wednesday came and I was up late Tuesday writing a paper (and by up late I mean I slept from 10pm to midnight, then 7-8am, which apparently is now my customary routine.) The point is, I woke up and had to run to an interview and then meet with my dean to read him a speech I entered into this commencement speaker contest and so anyway I didn’t have a lunch prepared. My school is pretty awesome and unique in that we have a mini farmers market on campus on Wednesdays, which is rather fitting as that is the only day I’m ever on campus. So I went there and picked up some snacks (dried cranberries and apples–which I still haven’t finished–and challah bread which I shared with the Eagle office in part to prevent myself from consuming the entire loaf) and then later on I bought a salad with black beans because let’s be real, eating nothing but carbohydrates all day is just not fulfilling. So, salad plus farm goodies – $17

(Now, considering I started this tally on Friday, I would think the last day would be Thursday. So we will disregard the fact that I forgot the salad I specifically made to bring with me on Friday to work and instead had to go to Whole Foods and spend $7 at the salad bar. Oh well.)

This puts my grand total for March 12-18 at:


Which is pretty much what I estimated I have been spending.

All in all, I honestly think I am buying too much food. I don’t think I am spending too much on the food that I buy, I just think I am buying so much that I’m not eating everything I buy that week, and then I am also having to throw away the stuff that goes bad, usually veggies. I am overestimating how much I am going cook and eat. I need to just buy enough for one week at a time, (obviously except for things like spices or big bags of rice or whatever.) So I am glad I did this because it taught me three important things I need to work on to curb my spending and reduce and hopefully completely eliminate the food that I waste–while not changing the quality of the food I buy:

  1. I need to buy smaller quantities of food, especially bread and vegetables.
  2. I need to make my lunches/meals for the next day the night before and I need to remember to bring those meals!
  3. I need to plan better what I am going to make as my “main meal with leftovers” so that I only buy the ingredients I will use.

It’s still important to mention that my opinion still stands, I would rather spend more on food than other things. For crying out loud, half my paycheck this week went directly to the food I put in my mouth (I say 30 percent of my total “income” because my parents help me with most of my rent right now and I include that as income.) And a lot of times I share the food that I buy, or cook a meal that is shared. But usually that’s balanced out by the food people share with me.

Anyhow, it’s a gorgeous day. I think I will throw some things in the crockpot and go outside and read in the sunshine.

How’s the weather where you are? I hope wonderful. And I hope everyone at Fitbloggin‘ is having so much fun! I wish I was there meeting you all!

Chili #1: Finished product

And, through the magic of the Internet….ta da!

It came out well. I think next time I’d love to have something green in there like green pepper or broccoli. It was really tomato-y too. I actually ended up adding the rest of the beans (slow cooker faux pas?) because once it cooked down it lost some thickness. But I was relieved that everything cooked evenly, was afraid the cauliflower was going to get mushy. I wonder if roasting the veggies beforehand next time would make it even tastier…

Reasons why this dish rocks nutritionally:

  • all vegetarian, which means you avoid the bad fats that come with a meat-filled meal, and it has been proven that even if you are an omnivore, replacing traditionally meaty meals with vegetarian ones is a great way to up your vegetable intake and improve your diet
  • paired with rice, provides all your essential amino acids and offers a complete protein, so you can’t even say you are missing out on that from the meat
  • the carrots offer beta-carotene, aka vitamin A (though not as much as an uncooked carrot)
  • the cauliflower and kidney beans pack lots of fiber to fill you up so you don’t crave unhealthy foods after your meal
  • the tomatoes pack lycopene, which has been linked with reduced incidence of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and macular degeneration
  • I’m estimating one serving to be about 250 calories + 1 cup of rice = about 450 calories, a good-sized lunch or dinner

Basically it’s super healthy and super filling. And really not all that expensive. I think I spent about $7.50 on these ingredients (plus a few cents for the spices if we’re really being nit-picky). I will get about 5 meals out of it, making each meal $1.60. Take that, McDonald’s. And sure beats the crap out of that expensive $8/lb salad bar at Whole Foods.

Yay for not having to pack a lunch the rest of this week! =)

Can Slow Food be Fast Food?

Does fast food have to mean non-local, unhealthy, unethical, and not socially conscious? We are beginning to see some signs that maybe it doesn’t.

And I am very excited to say I have a guest post on this topic on today! You can check it out here.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful day.

Bon Appetit: My School’s Sustainable Dining Service

It’s not everyday we find things to praise private companies about with regards to sustainability in food. But tonight, I attended an event on-campus about the sustainable and socially responsibly practices followed by Bon Appetit, the dining service that AU has a contract with, and I am convinced now that it is possible!

Carolina Fojo, a fellow with Bon Appetit, spoke at the event and offered a very informative look into some of the great ways that they are striving to serve the most socially responsible, healthy, and eco-friendly food possible. The presentation she gave was informative for the average person, although I know about most of the topics she covered (sustainable farming and the hazards of salmon farming, etc.) Further, the information regarding Bon Appetit’s practices can be found on their Web site, so that wasn’t anything groundbreaking. However, it was nice to see a good turnout at the event. I wish more average students were there–it appeared most were there because they had heard about it from Ecosense (the environmental group on campus.)

You can find more information about specific changes Bon Appetit has made over time here on their Web site. One of the major changes, switching to cage-free eggs, was actually a change initiated by an AU student five years ago. I think that’s awesome–even though we are students, we can still make a huge impact individually, so think of what we could do as a collective. Here are some areas I think Bon Appetit can improve upon…


Bon Appetit doesn’t really have strict guidelines on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, however they do purchase only grass-fed, antibiotic-free beef. Which might mean that the percentage of CAFO’s is very small. However, it would be nice if they could expand on this and be able to offer strictly CAFO-free meet.

Free-Range Eggs

They currently have only free-range shell eggs in our kitchens, however their “liquid eggs”–so the ones that come in a carton that they use to make omelets and stuff–those aren’t free-rage. Yet.

The “Real Food” Challenge

They also said it’s hard for them to know exactly *where* the food comes from. So even though you are eating something from TDR, it could have ingredients from VA, or ingredients from Brazil. Carolina suggested students that really want to track their carbon footprint do the Real Food Challenge, which is a movement to make students more aware of exactly how far their food has travelled to get to their plate.

Expand the Percentage of Local Food

Right now, Bon Appetit purchases 20% of its food within a 150-mile radius, which is awesome. But, it would be great to see that number increase. I spoke to the BAMCo manager at AU and she said this is definitely something they hope to see in the future. Of course, this would require some “impractical” changes, like no berries or asparagus in the winter, which are a couple of the air-freighted food products in the world. The other day I bought blueberries at Giant, I looked at the carton last night–they were from Chile. Talk about shame. And, not surprisingly, they tasted awful. 😦 Never again.

Bon Appetit is one such company that shows “agribusiness,” as we know it, doesn’t necessarily HAVE to be a bad word. Bon Appetit is one business that is making strides to make the food they provide more local and sustainable, and that is absolutely encouraging.