Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

NOFA – NY Winter Conference Jan 21st – 23rd

January 2, 2011

Diggin' Diversity

Farming events on the horizon: NOFA-NY Winter Conference 2011 Diggin’ Diversity taking place January 21st-23rd in Saratoga Springs, New York. The conference offers a variety of workshops & the ones (at first glance) that I’m most excited about are: Getting Healthy Food into the Hands of Low Income Eaters: Nutrition Programs and Farmers Markets, Institutional Markets: Setting Up Relationships with Schools, and Alternative Pricing Structures & Strategies.

If you want to kick off the conference with a little socializing, The Greenhorns are throwing a Beginning Farmer Mixer Thursday, January 20th from 7-11pm.

Beginning Farmers Mixer

Where do you, the eater, want your food to come from?

December 11, 2009

I think the question is: where do you the eater want your food to come from? A farm or a factory?

If the answer is farm, put down your fork and ask this question aloud:

Where did my food come from?

Then, go to an urban farm, community garden, working farm, or farmers’ market and ask the growers the following:

How do I either grow the food that I eat or how can I help you grow the food that we eat?

This is the beginning. This is the beginning of the food justice movement started by the people. The people that eat and grow the food. Join together and stop shopping, stop eating factory food, and start farming together. Start growing our food. Find out who your community organizers are and then help them get better organized. Demand farmers’ markets in every neighborhood. Ask for what you and your community need. Not tomorrow but today. Start fighting and fight hard and don’t stop until everyone, and I mean everyone is given, or has asked for, or demanded the freshest, healthiest local food that our bodies, all of our bodies, and minds, and spirits deserve and need in order to function and survive and thrive.

This is where the movement begins . The movement begins with the people. With our people. With us.

Brooklyn Grange Holiday Party!

December 10, 2009

Brooklyn Grange comes to Manhattan!

Join Brooklyn Grange and a slew of NYC chefs, restauranteurs, food enthusiasts, and farmers for cocktails and dinner next Monday at bobo restaurant (

Come sip on drinks and snack on canape, talk about food and farms, and enjoy some live bluegrass music by Free Advice. And it’s all in support of Brooklyn Grange, our one-acre rooftop farm slated to open this spring.

Monday, December 14
7pm – 10pm
180 West 10th St. at 7th Ave
Tickets: $50

Tickets are limited so order in advance at

Happy Holidays!

About Brooklyn Grange:

Brooklyn Grange is planning to build the country’s first sustainable soil rooftop farm in New York City in the Spring of 2010.

The Grange consists of an ambitious crew from Roberta’s Restaurant in Bushwick, teaming up with Ben Flanner, a founder and farmer of Rooftop Farms in Greenpoint.  The farm will sell its vegetables directly to the community, localizing the economy, and bringing people closer to a sustainable food source.

Brooklyn Grange’s principles will set an example to the nation and community at many levels:

– Making use of under-utilized urban rooftops to grow nutritious organic produce to be consumed in New York City
– Reducing carbon emissions on food transportation
– Increasing availability of healthy produce in communities with limited access to nutritious organic produce
– Educating school groups, volunteers, and aspiring urban farmers on nutrition and farming
– Creating green roofs to reduce energy usage in heating and cooling, and to catch rainwater, reducing the strain on New York City’s expensive sewage system.

All proceeds from the party at bobo will go towards the new rooftop farm, Brooklyn Grange.

Food Security Roundtable & The Brooklyn Farmers Ball

October 22, 2009


Tuesday, October 27, 2009  7:00 pm – 12:00 am
Brooklyn Lyceum, 227 4th Avenue at President Street, Brooklyn, New York

Eat, drink, and celebrate Brooklyn’s Urban Agriculture and Food Justice Community with the Food Security Roundtable. All proceeds support the New York Delegation to the Growing Food and Justice Initiative gathering in Milwaukee, WI.

Tickets are $12-$25 at the door, and include a local, seasonal dinner and live music.

The Rude Mechanical Orchestra

Brooklyn’s Finest Radical Marching Band

Spanglish Fly
The only band in NYC recreating the sounds of El Barrio circa 1968: Latin soul and bugalu.

Apocalypse Five & Dime
A little bit brassy, a little bit folky

Beautiful, soulful indy-folk music featuring piano and acoustic guitar

Organizations and individuals from throughout NYC are working together to send a delegation to the Growing Food and Justice Initiative gathering in Milwaukee at the end of October. This year GFJI is not just an event, it’s the beginning of a national coaliton dedicated to building leadership, growing food justice, dismantling racism, and empowering communities. The New York delegation and their northeastern colleagues will be in attendance in Milwaukee this year learning how to bring that movement home. The delegation is a diverse collection of folks ranging from organizers with Mothers On the Move in the South Bronx to Just Food staff and volunteers working for (you guessed it) food justice all around NYC. From the farmers who grew organic vegetables for MOM in Vermont this year to New York City farmers and community food justice organizers, the bus will be packed with grassroots food people, eager to return home and share the Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative with their community. More at

Growing Food and Justice for All has offered a partial scholarship for the thirty or so delegates, who must raise an additional $5,000 to pay the remaining costs and travel. This event is an opportunity for Brooklyn and New York City to show their will to have a better food system and their support for those hard working people who are making it happen.

Sponsoring Organizations include:
Community Vision Council
Just Food
Mothers on the Move
Vehicles for Radical Organizing and Other Madness (VROOM)
The Food Security Roundtable

Those who cannot attend the Farmers Ball but would still like to support this work can do so easily at the Food Security Roundtable Website –

Jen Datka, BK Farmers’ Ball coordinator cell: 646.498.4682
Henry Harris, GFJI Delegation Co-organizer cell: 917.922.5430

Brooklyn Farmers Ball!

October 19, 2009


The Brooklyn Farmers Ball!

The Brooklyn Farmers Ball!

Come out to the Brooklyn Lyceum on Tuesday, October 27th, to help the Food Security Roundtable raise funds to send a delegation of urban/rural farmers and food justice activists to the Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative gathering in Milwaukee, WI from October 30th – November 1st at Will Allen’s Growing Power.

How do we start a food democracy (now)?

September 8, 2009


The Nation Food for All

The Nation Food for All


Are we preaching to the choir? Who is listening? When are we going to start taking action to make this food democracy happen? I am confronted with questions like these when I talk to fellow food justice activists, urban and rural farmers, and other friends. I mean they get, they just do. For a long time, I just thought it was all pretty simple – buy farm, fresh food, then cook it up, and eat it, enjoy it with friends. Be healthy. What else is there to say?

Then, I started to encounter people who were not of this mindset, meaning they shopped at grocery stores, didn’t think about whether or not a tomato, pepper, strawberries were in season. Or to take this conversation further – they didn’t think about whether or not the cow that their steak, hamburgers came from was raised on pasture and ate grass like nature intended it to do. Or whether or not the cow that their milk was coming from was raised on pasture and ate grass. I mean these are questions you must face when shopping at a grocery store because a grocery store is like a confusing maze of abundant looking aisles upon aisles of . . . food? Or is it? Are those aisles really filled with what we could call food?

Yes, I know that Michael Pollan has written In Defense of Food and that Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis moved to Iowa to grow corn for their documentary King Corn. Okay, these texts and pictures definitely got the ball rolling and the conversation moving. The White House has planted an organic garden on it’s front lawn partly due to the fact that Roger Doiron from Kitchen Gardeners International and Daniel Simon Bowman, who drove the White House Organic school bus cross country, campaigned to make this garden happen. The Nation’s latest issue “Food for All: How to Grow Democracy” offers up many articles by many food activists including: Dan Barber (chef/owner of Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Blue Hill in the city), Alice Waters of Chez Panisse, author/journalist Michael Pollan, Anna Lappe, LaDonna Redmond – many of whom attended the Brooklyn Food Conference this past spring. Change is happening; change is evident. Now what? What’s next? How many more books, movies can we read, see?

If you are like me (and you live in Brooklyn, a city, in an apartment), perhaps you have some herbs growing in pots on your door-stoop, fire escape, backyard, community garden, urban farm. So I can feed myself some herbs, great. But, what I am doing to educate my community about why & how to eat farm, fresh food? Why it’s important to talk to our farmers? Why it feels good to get your hands dirty and plant, weed, compost – I could go on.

Gardening, farming is about community. Eating is about community. Sharing. What could be better than sitting down at a table with you neighbors? Family? Friends?

What I want to know is – where is the action, the movement in all of this? Is it the Slow Food movement? Is it the victory garden resurgence? What is it? Where is it? Are Michael Pollan, Alice Waters, Dan Barber community gardeners? Do they go out and work with their hands? Well, I know Michael Pollan is a gardener, Alice Waters has made major changes in the Berkeley school system’s cafeteria menus and her book Edible Schoolyard details growing the garden at the Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Berkeley, and Dan Barber’s restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barns works with the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. Who am I leaving out? Will Allen.

In 1993, “Will Allen was a farmer with land” and “Growing Power was an organization with teens who needed a place to work.” (Growing Power). Wow. I am in awe of Will Allen and all that he has accomplished in such a short time. This fall marks the 2nd annual Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative gathering in Milwaukee, WI from October 30 – November 1. This year’s gathering focuses on Food and Spirit: Building Cross Cultural Understanding for Systems Change.

In my opinion, this is the movement. Join the movement, join this movement. Find other to join with you. Grow. Farm. Garden. Eat. Teach. Share. Come to Milwaukee in October. Help us grow food and justice for all. Write me and tell me what you are doing. What else you know. I will write more in the coming months about upcoming plans for farming at a community farm up in Wassaic, New York with farmer Ben Schwartz. I will write more about my work with the Food Security Roundtable. Next year will be an exciting one, but this fall I have plans to attend the Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative gathering, as well as planning a film screening at City College in Harlem on October 2nd, and assisting with a food shipment donated to Mothers on the Move. All of this as well as working at farmers’ markets in Brooklyn and Manhattan four days out of the week.

I will keep you posted on all of the exciting goings-on . . . keep me posted on food & farming events that you would like me to share. I look forward to hearing from you!