• Posted by Califia Suntree on May 14th, 2012, 9:50 PM

    I knew something was up earlier today, when I walked past Mélisse (the haute cuisine temple whose chef raids my yard for edible weeds), and passed a small knot of tatted up, grim looking hipsters having some sort of pow-wow outside the restaurant. (Though I often exclaim like a grandmother at the parade of sloppy clothes on diners heading in for a multi-hundred dollar feast at Mélisse, the hand-knitted shawl and ripped Ts were a shade too funky, even by L.A. standards.) They hastily folded up what looked like a banner (which was, in fact, a banner) and rushed off, giving me conspiratorial glances. Next thing I know, the street is full of cop cars and TV news vans, and a full-fledged protest is going on outside. Turns out, tonight’s the night that big-shot chefs in Northern and Southern California got together to protest the upcoming statewide ban on foie gras by preparing six-course menus featuring the fatty delicacy in every course. July 1 is it for foie fanatics (though you can be sure there will be a lively trade in smuggled paté).

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  • Posted by Califia Suntree on November 17th, 2011, 10:47 AM

    “Word on the Street,”  a food-themed downtown L.A. block party on November 20, comes to you via the Cornerstone Theater Company, and is the finale for their month-long “exploration of hunger.” The block party will feature food trucks and local restaurant fare, a communal dining table, and a video booth to share stories about hunger. Their five-year project “The Hunger Cycle” aims to bring attention to world hunger and food justice issues, via theatrical performances and other events. Upcoming “Hunger Cycle” projects include a spring 2012 residency at the Homegirl Cafe and a spring 2013 residency in a school cafeteria.

    Where: Downtown L.A.
    Traction Ave. between Hewitt & 3rd

    When: Sunday, November 20, 2011
    12pm – 4pm

    The event is FREE.

     

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  • Posted by Califia Suntree on July 15th, 2011, 10:56 AM

    There is one day left to support this very worthy urban-agriculture film project on Kickstarter! Documentary filmmaker Karney Hatch has been traveling the United States and the world — Peru and China so far, with Vietnam, Uganda, Cuba, Japan, Ghana, and Ecuador still to come — interviewing and filming urban farmers and food policy experts. We’ve all heard of eating local, but urbanites have more capacity to take food production into their own hands than they may realize. City dwellers in these various countries serve as a model and an inspiration for Americans, who are lagging behind in this crucial area of our agricultural future. Donors at various levels get goodies ranging from copies of the DVD, seeds, and books all the way up to 50 square feet of raised beds in your yard, complete with three months of caretaking. Give now, and get growing.

  • Posted by Califia Suntree on July 12th, 2011, 10:12 AM

    It will come as news to no one that we Americans are a wasteful bunch. Research has shown that we throw out about 14% of the food we buy, and, due to supply-chain issues, about half of the food harvested never makes it to our tables. In all, says this excellent and thorough article on dumpster diving (the PC term is “freeganism”), “the United States generates 34 million tons, or 68 billion pounds, of food waste each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.” Obviously, a few tatty twentysomethings aren’t going to eat their way through this problem, but the article, by Arvin Temkar and published on Grist.org, is a fascinating portrait of some New Yorkers who subsist on what we throw out. (I would add the important work of City Harvest to this discussion, which “rescues” food from restaurants and farmers markets, and helps deliver it to New York’s 1.5 million hungry. They manage to keep thousands of tons of edible food out of the trash in the first place.) The freegans are admittedly at the fringes, but their approach does shine a light on an issue that is normally encased in black plastic, hidden from view. And you have to be impressed by anyone who can live in New York City for $800 a month.

 
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