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A Civil Tongue

Friday, June 17, 2011

Slow Money Entrepreneur Showcase Brings Money Down to the Soil

Posted By on Fri, Jun 17, 2011 at 4:15 PM

Brentwood's Frog Hollow Farm. - BEYONDTHEPLATE.NET
  • beyondtheplate.net
  • Brentwood's Frog Hollow Farm.

Most people are familiar with Slow Food, the organization founded by Carlo Petrini in 1986 to encourage a return to traditional foodways and reconnect with the sources of our food. So what if we took the same mentality and applied it to finance and investing?

Slow Money is the product of exactly that thinking, and the Northern California chapter hosted its first Entrepreneur Showcase at Fort Mason Center on Sunday, June 12. Of more than 50 submitted proposals, Slow Money Northern California selected the 12 it felt were the most deserving of airtime in front of potential investors, who registered to attend.

"The time is different in the way of thinking about investment," MC Marco Vangelisti said in his introduction. "Slow Money is about bringing the money down to the soil." In fact, the national organization flowed $4 million to entrepreneurs and causes within the last year; this was the local branch's opportunity to make a difference here.

All of the presenters' projects centered on making positive changes to local food systems, whether converting conventional land to organic farmland, or introducing small farms or fresh markets to underserved urban areas. What follows is a rundown of some of the projects presented.

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tonight: Sneak Preview of PBS Food Show

Posted By on Thu, Jun 2, 2011 at 11:59 AM

foodforward.jpg

Where: Goldman Theater, 2150 Allston (at Oxford), Berkeley

When: Tonight, 6-10 p.m.

Cost: $10 in advance, $15 at the door

The rundown: We imagine there is a Venn diagram that would show a wide crossover between foodies and public TV supporters. Tonight in Berkeley, there's an event geared toward that overlap. Fresh from its recent debut at the Sonoma Film Festival, the pilot of the new PBS series Food Forward is being screened at the David Brower Center's Goldman Theater, followed by a meet-and-eat with the show's creators catered by Lagunitas Brewing, Annie's Organics, and other sponsors. The show looks to be a powerful exploration of the evolving food movement in America, so tonight's event should be a winner.

New York refugee Jesse Hirsch tweets at @Jesse_Hirsch. Follow SFoodie at @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Tonight: Free Double Feature, with Bi-Rite Snacks

Posted By on Fri, May 20, 2011 at 1:40 PM

In Search of Good Food/The Greenhorns Double Feature

Where: Recology HQ, 900 Seventh St (at Berry)

When: Tonight, 6-10 p.m.

Cost: Free

The rundown: Tonight, Recology is throwing open the doors to its headquarters (finally!) for a double feature movie night. Nope, it's not The Parent Trap and Freaky Friday, but this pair of documentaries on the state of American farming should prove equally gripping. First up it's In Search of Good Food, which follows Antonio Roman-Alcalá, an urban farming activist from San Francisco, on his search for the "sustainable" food system in California. Next is The Greenhorns, exploring the lives of America's young farming community ― "its spirit, practices, and needs." Of course it wouldn't be movie night without some snacks, and Bi-Rite has stepped up to provide popcorn and other goodies. Clear your calendar!

Scroll through other upcoming food events.

New York refugee Jesse Hirsch tweets at @Jesse_Hirsch. Follow SFoodie at @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Supes OK Farming Ordinance, Giving S.F. the Nation's Most Progressive Urban Ag Rules

Posted By on Wed, Apr 13, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Urban farms like Little City Gardens are now able to sell what they grow without having to obtain a costly zoning exemption. - DAVIDSILVER/FLICKR
  • davidsilver/Flickr
  • Urban farms like Little City Gardens are now able to sell what they grow without having to obtain a costly zoning exemption.

After yesterday's unanimous vote by the Board of Supervisors, San Francisco now has the most progressive laws on urban agriculture in the nation. The new rules ― introduced by Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor David Chiu ― make it easier and cheaper to grow and sell produce on private land in the city, wiping out the need to obtain a conditional-use permit and opening up every city neighborhood to urban ag.

"There's nothing quite like this anywhere else," Dana Perls, co-coordinator for the San Francisco Urban Agriculture Alliance, tells SFoodie. "This really puts San Francisco at the forefront." The new rules allow urban farms like Little City Gardens, Brooke Budner and Caitlyn Galloway's 3/4-acre farm in a residential neighborhood in the Outer Mission, not only to sell to restaurants and at farmers' markets, but to set up a farmstand on their property. And in an amendment approved last month by the Land Use Committee, farmers are allowed to sell value-added products, jam or pickles, say, made from the things they harvest.

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Tuesday: Supes Vote on Easing Restrictions for Urban Farmers

Posted By on Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 2:31 PM

If tomorrow's amended ordinance passes, it'll mean small urban farms like Little City Gardens will be able to sell produce without securing zoning exemptions. - LITTLE CITY GARDENS
  • Little City Gardens
  • If tomorrow's amended ordinance passes, it'll mean small urban farms like Little City Gardens will be able to sell produce without securing zoning exemptions.

In February, S.F.'s Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve new rules for urban agriculture, allowing small growers like Little City Gardens to sell produce grown within city limits. The proposal (introduced by Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor David Chiu) passed the Land Use and Economic Development Committee last month, and tomorrow, April 19, the proposal faces its final vote before the Board of Supervisors. As it stands now, you need a special (read: expensive) permit to legally sell any food you grow in San Francisco (Ghost Town farmer Novella Carpenter has run up against similar rules in Oakland). After moving to a larger urban farm in the Outer Mission last year, Little City's Brooke Budner and Caitlyn Galloway learned they'd need to spend several months and several thousand dollars to get a conditional-use permit to sell. If passed, the new urban ag ordinance will allow commercial gardens smaller than one acre in all parts of the city, and allow those gardens to sell their produce. Eventually, that should make it easier for both restaurants and home cooks who shop farmers' markets to source foods grown locally -- like, city-and-county-grade local.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook. Contact me at John.Birdsall@SFWeekly.com

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Pilot for PBS-Bound Food Forward to Air at the Sonoma Film Fest

Posted By on Mon, Apr 4, 2011 at 5:23 PM

Robert Lemon's ¿Tacos or Tacos? isn't the only food-filled short slated to debut at this week's Sonoma International Film Festival. Also premiering this Thursday: The 32-minute pilot for Food Forward, which emphasizes positive changes swirling around America's soul-sucking food system.

Last July, Greg Roden ― Food Forward's co-creator, producer, and director ― was in mid-scrabble, trying to raise enough cash to finish the pilot. He and his partners did, and in January they showed it to KQED's 10-person new-programming committee. They loved it. Now, Roden tells SFoodie, KQED wants a dozen episodes to air and distribute nationally. All Roden and his partners need to do: Raise even more cash, which, thanks to a growing list of corporate sponsors that includes Annie's Homegrown, Lagunitas Brewing Co., and Purity Organic, is looking more and more likely.

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Q&A with Katie Sullivan Morford of Mom's Kitchen Handbook

Posted By on Mon, Apr 4, 2011 at 10:59 AM

Kid nutrition blogger Katie Sullivan Morford. - JOE MORFORD
  • Joe Morford
  • Kid nutrition blogger Katie Sullivan Morford.

Registered dietitian Katie Sullivan Morford is a food and nutrition writer with more than 20 years of professional writing experience. She's been published in the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Cooking Light, Bon Appétit, Self, and Parenting, to name only a few. With her brother Mark Sullivan, chef/partner at Spruce in San Francisco, and partner at the Village Pub in Woodside, Morford co-wrote a regular recipe feature for the San Jose Mercury News. Her new blog, Mom's Kitchen Handbook, focuses on quick and healthy recipes busy parents can make for their kids. SFoodie sat down with Morford recently to find out more about the blog, microwaved sponges, and why birthdays mean Cheetos time for her three daughters.

SFoodie: How did you come up with the name Mom's Kitchen Handbook? In a city like San Francisco, where lots of dads are interested in cooking, was there a concern that you were shutting them out?

Morford: Let's start with the "handbook" part. I like the idea of a handbook because it cover lots of non-recipe-related things, like how to best sterilize a kitchen sponge. It's not purely a cooking blog. As for the "mom's" part, I wondered if I was essentially shutting out 50 percent of potential readers, but honestly, I find that it's mostly moms who ask me questions about nutrition and cooking. Moms are mostly who I hang out with so I felt that was my natural audience.

What's been your biggest surprise so far? A post that got a big response?

Well, going back to the sponge thing, it was a silly little post about microwaving sponges to keep them clean. Unsexy, uninteresting, right? But people loved it, I think because it was functional. I did a simple piece on do-it-yourself microwave popcorn, just a brown paper bag, popcorn and olive oil, and people talked about it like it was Zen. A lot of moms I know were doing cleanse diets and I wrote something about the potential pitfalls of that. I was actually surprised that most of my response was positive. Nothing too angry.

Do your kids ever just want a bucket of Popeyes?

Absolutely. My girls give me eye rolls and say, "I wish mom wasn't a nutritionist," but overall, I think they like that I can cook well.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Alice Waters' Big Twittery Announcement? Give Money to Edible Schoolyards

Posted By on Tue, Mar 29, 2011 at 11:37 AM

CHEZ PANISSE FOUNDATION
  • Chez Panisse Foundation

That momentous announcement we hinted at Friday, the one so big it would drive the charmingly Luddite Alice Waters to begin tweeting? Turns out it was merely biggish.

Waters served up the news at Twitter HQ late yesterday ― Inside Scoop has a point-by-point report that suggests the event was as infuriatingly oblique as it was illuminating. Bottom line: Chez Panisse is celebrating its 40th birthday on Aug. 28, and Waters is marshaling interest in the event to spotlight her career's signature achievement (besides inventing the modern salad, putting goat cheese on every restaurant menu in America in the '80s and '90s, and driving interest in slow food both uppercase and lower), the Edible Schoolyard. The initiative: Eating for Education.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Queen of the Sun: Stinging Bee Documentary Comes to the Roxie

Posted By on Tue, Mar 22, 2011 at 3:07 PM

Queen of the Sun Filmmaker Screenings

Where: Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St. (at Valencia), 863-1087

When: Fri., Mar. 25, 7 and 9 p.m.

The rundown: On the screen, bees used to be only slightly less menacing than Chucky. Nowadays ― as colony collapse has gone from something thick-lensed culture critics warned about to a crisis for California's megabillion-dollar agricultural industry ― bees don't look quite so scary. Taggart Siegel's bee documentary, Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?, is filled with awe for the busy little creatures, and real alarm about their disappearance. Siegel will be on hand for both showings Friday, as his film begins a weeklong run at the Roxie. Even if you're terrified of bees, something tells us that by the end of Queen of the Sun, you'll be buzzing about the little things. Slow Food San Francisco will be on hand, too, with a table in the lobby.

Check out other upcoming events on SFoodie.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook. Contact me at John.Birdsall@SFWeekly.com

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Q&A with Jamie Feuerman of School-Lunch Bagger KidChow

Posted By on Thu, Mar 10, 2011 at 8:15 AM

Jamie Feuerman is not the lunch lady you grew up with. - REMI FEUERMAN
  • Remi Feuerman
  • Jamie Feuerman is not the lunch lady you grew up with.

Jamie and Rob Feuerman started KidChow in 2003 as a school-lunch delivery service targeted at busy, health-minded San Francisco parents. The company started out serving three local schools and daily deliveries of 100 lunches, made from mostly organic ingredients. KidChow now delivers over 3,000 lunches each school day to 40 schools, from Palo Alto to San Rafael, and caters for various summer camps.

The company operates out of a 6,500-square-foot facility in Dogpatch with 20 employees. Like many working couples we know, my wife and I use KidChow a few times each week, both to give ourselves a break (there's no better feeling on a Thursday night than knowing that Friday's lunch is taken care of) and to mix up lunch options for our daughters. They love KidChow's Indian food offerings, Caprese sandwiches, and hummus- dipped vegetables far more than than the turkey sandwiches, baby carrots, and fruit strips my wife and I usually pack.

I recently sat down with Jamie to discuss the challenges of managing a business that deals with perhaps the most difficult of all consumers: Bay Area parents and their kids.

SFoodie: Parents are often pickier about their kids' food than the kids themselves. What complaints do you get?

Feuerman: We're set up to order online as if you're in your own kitchen, so that minimizes the complaints. We can cut crusts, do gluten free, whole or refried beans, offer lots of bread choices, lots of condiments. The complaints usually tend to be things like, "Your tomato sauce tastes different than mine so my son isn't used to it," or, "My little girl likes the breadcrumb type of mac 'n' cheese and yours is creamy." If we see that something is seldom ordered, we'll just yank it off the menu. We average roughly five food complaints per day, which, when you consider our volume, is pretty amazing.

So what's been taken off the menu?

A lot of our Asian dishes. I think that they taste much better a la minute. Our chow mein was gummy. We tried an Asian-style apricot chicken but, for health reasons, I wouldn't put enough sugar in to make it taste sweet enough to be a a sure-fire hit with kids. Also, for some reason, our chilis and beef stews never resonated so we've given up on those. Challah French toast was popular but simply too expensive to make. We received many complaints when that came off the list.

What are some of the most popular items?

Mac 'n' cheese, pasta, taquitos, really anything Mexican.

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