Editor's note: The Southern Foodways Alliance delves deep in the history, tradition, heroes and plain old deliciousness of Southern food. Today's contributor, Emilie Dayan, writes a weekly SFA blog series called "Sustainable South" about food and the environment, nutrition, food access, food justice, agricultural issues and food politics.
To some, Bonita Conwell is a farmer. To others, a butcher. For rural Southern women and youth in agriculture, she is an advocate for economic and social justice. No matter how you frame her, Conwell is a tour de force in the Delta region of Mississippi, and her influence extends up the Mighty Mississippi to Chicago and westward to Houston, Texas.
Based in Mound Bayou, Mississippi, Conwell is the driving force behind Robert’s Meat Market. Built in 1985, the market found success in providing Mississippi-made meat products to Southerners living in Chicago. To the west, Conwell sells the greens of her sweet potato crops - a part of the root that is usually discarded - to an African market in Houston. SFA director John T. Edge is such a fan of Conwell's sweet potato greens that he included them on his list of the top ten dishes of 2012 for Garden & Gun magazine.
Editor's note: Ron Finley is an artist, designer and co-founder of lagreengrounds.org. He spoke at the TED2013 conference in February. TED is a nonprofit dedicated to "Ideas worth spreading," which it makes available through talks posted on its website.
As a lifelong resident of South Central Los Angeles, I refuse to be part of the social system that breeds problems rather than solutions. South Central is a "food desert" where the lack of healthy food alternatives leads to obesity and preventable disease.
I have raised my sons in South L.A., and it is heartbreaking to see so many young kids on a trajectory to nowhere, potential high school dropouts prey to gangs, drugs, violence and incarceration.
So where do we start to create positive change?
About six months ago, I found myself standing in the middle of the International Rescue Committee’s New Roots community farm in the City Heights section of San Diego. It was there that I met Luchia, a refugee from Uganda who now lives with her daughters in City Heights. She is one of the strongest, most determined women I have ever met, so beautiful and proud.
She was there to meet me, show me her garden plot, and then, take me home to cook traditional Ugandan fare. When we met it was actually a little chilly out and her natural instinct was to wrap her arms around me, making sure that her scarf was wrapped around me too. Needless to say, it was an instant connection and she welcomed me within a heartbeat.
Over the past five years the IRC has been building its New Roots program – a program which connects refugees, newly arrived in the United States, with the land and helps them integrate into their communities. To date, the IRC has been able to establish community gardens and farms in 11 of the 22 cities where they help refugees restart the lives.
Stacy Cowley is CNNMoney's tech editor. She's in a complicated relationship with her CSA and explores the odd vegetables that show up in her haul in CSI: CSA. Previously, she fended off a stampeding herd of zucchini.
The vegetables I've been writing about this season - the invasive purslane weed, inscrutable kohlrabi and endless bushes of leafy greens - all came from Added Value, an urban farm located on the edge of Brooklyn's Red Hook waterfront neighborhood.
By Monday night, the farm was buried under almost three feet of water. Sandy's storm surge sent a flood of river water, mud and industrial sludge cascading through Red Hook, drowning hundreds of homes and local businesses. The farm lost its fall crops, some of its physical structures, and an estimated $10,000 to $40,000 in equipment.
Bees, bees, everywhere! 50,000 of them - on purpose.
After some pressure from the online home brewing community that included a petition on the White House website and a Freedom of Information Act request, the Obama administration gave in Saturday and released its homemade beer recipe.
In a post on the White House Blog, head chef Sam Kass posted the recipes for two beers brewed on the grounds of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the White House Honey Ale and Honey Porter. Both beers are made using honey harvested from the White House bee hive.
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.
Very early one summer morning, my husband crept into my home office, and was alarmed to find two rabbits staring at him. It wasn't the lagomorphic presence that rattled him - just that there should have been a third pair of eyes blinking back.
He ducked down and peered deeply into the cluster of old potato chip boxes that Claudette had fashioned into into a makeshift warren. No bunny. It was then he noticed that the dog fence cordoning off her living quarters had been nudged apart just wide enough to let her tiny body slip through. She'd made a break for it, and there was only one place she could have gone.
Eight years ago, 52-year-old flight attendant Louise Tremblay thought she had finally found her dream home tucked into the woods in the Quebec countryside. But, as she attempted to draw a relaxing bath her first night in the house, she realized quickly that something was amiss. The tub filled a scant two inches and she realized to her horror that she had poured her entire life's savings into a home with no viable source of water. The house, as it turned out, had been built atop an old garbage dump.
The nearest neighbor was unwilling to work with her to fix the shared, faulty well and city officials would not allow her to dig a new one. Drained of financial resources, she looked around to take stock of her surroundings. "I had my garden to keep me alive," she said. "I had my vegetable garden to keep me healthy."