Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.
The first season of the Netflix hit show Orange is the New Black featured a series of prison food posters, with recipes attached. Among the highlights: Prison Pad Thai (four ingredients: ramen noodles, peanut butter, peanuts and hot sauce) and Prison Tamales with a beef jerky filling.
For those of us who haven't binge-watched all of the second season yet, there's no word yet on what the prison food situation will be (beyond that the show’s cookbook comes out in October). I wonder if the star of the series, Piper Chapman (played by Taylor Schilling), will start a garden. Because that’s what’s happening at a lot of prisons around the country.
Farm programs, like the ones below, teach inmates about nutrition, how to grow food and related life-skill lessons. The programs supply healthy food for prison cafeterias as well as for nearby restaurants and homeless shelters. Not only that: These gardening programs have been shown to reduce the rate of repeated incarceration. Bring on the #OITNB Cellblock Caesar Salad.
Eatocracy's Managing Editor Kat Kinsman attempts to vegetable garden on a roof deck in Brooklyn, NY in USDA Hardiness Zone 6b. Feel free to taunt, advise or encourage her efforts as this series progresses.
I have a rotten knack for turning any pleasurable pastime into an exhausting and pricey project and in doing so, sucking all the joy and fun out of it. Gardening is no different.
It started in college as a cheap, meditative hobby that kept me grounded in the midst of academic mayhem, and occasionally introduced a vitamin or two into my ramen-based body. The undertakings grew grandiose and far less calming as I got older and set down roots in futon-free apartments with my name actually on the lease.
What was once a matter of nestling dollar store seeds into soil-filled buckets on the roof, or poorly deer-proofing my $15-per-year community garden plot next to the town's sewage treatment plant, became an expensive indulgence. Then it became an obligation.
The partial government shutdown has left the White House garden overrun with weeds, with fewer gardeners to maintain first lady Michelle Obama's pride.
Regular maintenance has stopped on the garden and only periodic watering is being done, a White House official confirmed to CNN. That's consistent with landscaping being performed on all National Park Service areas crippled by the shutdown throughout the country.
For more than a decade, Robin Emmons felt helpless as her older brother lived on the streets, eating out of garbage cans.
She tried repeatedly to get him help for his mental illness, but authorities told her there was nothing they could do.
After he was arrested in 2008 for damaging someone's car during a schizophrenic outburst, she was finally able to become his legal guardian and get him into a halfway house with psychiatric services.
But as she watched his mental health improve, she noticed his physical health getting worse.
"I learned that he was becoming borderline diabetic," she said. "He wasn't like that even when he was homeless."
She investigated and found out that the nonprofit facility was mainly feeding him packaged and canned foods because it couldn't afford fresh fruits and vegetables.
Editor's note: Darrin Nordahl is the author of "Public Produce: The New Urban Agriculture." Aiming to increase food literacy in America, Darrin also pens the daily food blog Today is...Fava Beans! Follow him on Twitter.
What's better than fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables? How about fresh, locally-grown, free fruits and vegetables, all within an easy walk of your home or office?
Such is the philosophy behind the growing movement of public produce.
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