TEDx Manhattan Changing the Way We Eat: Live Webcast Features Chef/Activist Michel Nischan @ 4:00 p.m. EST Today

We are so happy today is a gloomy day in Miami!  It means there is no excuse why you shouldn’t plop yourself in front of a PC at 1:30 p.m. EST to let the greatest minds in food in America today feed your brain with the work being done to shift our food system from industrially-based agriculture to one in which healthy, nutritious food is accessible to all.

Today is Manhattan’s Changing the Way We Eat TEDx, an independently-organized, grass roots, and licensed TED event inviting and uniting individuals with different backgrounds in the food and farming movement, including farmers, chefs, researchers, academics, activists, artists/creatives, health professionals, educational professionals, foodies and “TEDsters.”  It’s all in an effort to bring different groups of people working on the same issue together to learn what each other are doing and to help create new partnerships and collaborations.   The best part for the attendees, in addition to presenting their work, is the time they are allotted to meet each other and look for new synergies and new ideas to help bolster the sustainable food movement.

The best part for us?  We will be proudly watching at 4:00 p.m. EST as chef, author, and food activist Michel Nischan shares the work that his foundation Wholesome Wave Foundation is doing to open up access to healthy, affordable food in communities across the country.  He will mention Miami’s Roots in the City and the Double Value Coupon Program active at its Farmers Market, of which we are a partner!

Click the screen grab image above to visit the live streaming webpage and get with the program!!  And good luck and congratulations to Michel for all of his hard, passionate work.  Knock ’em dead.

Recipe for Success in Overtown

An opportunity to make school cafeteria food healthier sprouts in Overtown .

Yesterday we invited our Chefs Move to Schools students from neighboring Phillis Wheatley Elementary School to the fall season opener of Roots in the City Farmers Market in Overtown.  They took a tour of what’s growing at the urban farm like eggplant, peanuts, and mustard greens, and also had an opportunity to serve from the Michael’s Genuine food cart their entry into the USDA’s Recipe for Healthy Kids Challenge.

Miami-Dade Public Schools Department of Food & Nutrition administrators Penny Parham, Carol Chong, and Susan Rothstein came by the market to taste it and were so impressed with fourth grader Gerald Johnson Jr.’s Grilled Rosemary Chicken & Chopped Garden Vegetable Salad, the recipe he co-developed with chef Michael, that they’re going to try to place on cafeteria menus system-wide.  Carol and Susan were also able to set up a Monday meeting with Margie Pikarsky of Bee Heaven Farm, Teena Borek of Teena’s Pride Farm, and others to discuss ways to expand the sourcing of Homestead produce into school cafeteria lunch programs.

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Monday is Planting Day at Phillis Wheatley Elementary!

Phillis Wheatley's garden beds.

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink will join Roots in the City on Monday, October 18 for an edible school garden Planting Day at Overtown’s Phillis Wheatley Elementary School.  The event signifies another milestone in our partnership with this urban farm non-profit to increase access to healthy, locally-grown produce in the community.  Now extending into education, work began last spring with food stamp recipients and the activation of Wholesome Wave Foundation‘s Double Value Coupon Program at the Roots in the City Farmers Market; the market will enter its second season in November.  Details to come on the re-opening, soon!

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In the Genuine Kitchen with… Frank McGee, Roots in the City Grower

Frank shows off his Georgia cane syrup. Hedy approved.

He had us at “cracklin’ bread.”

I’m speaking of Frank McGee, Dr. Marvin Dunn’s new grower at Roots in the City who is taking over responsibility of the day to day management of this Overtown non-profit’s urban garden plots.  Maggi Pons can now focus on sales and marketing for Roots’ growing produce business — and get her feet more wet in projects like reviving Phillis Wheatley Elementary’s edible school garden and her role as farmers market manager. Yay, we get more Maggi time!  Always a good thing.

When Michael and I met Frank for the first time about a month ago, at Roots’ new warehouse (which happens to nuzzle Phillis Wheatley’s athletic field on NW 20th Street and Northwest 1st Place,) he  talked a big game: stewed tomatoes, collard greens, ribs, and that heavenly sounding pork cracklin’ bread, made in a skillet on the stovetop.  No sooner did the words escape his mouth that Michael extended an invitation to Frank to join us one Saturday in the MGFD kitchen to see what all the hype was about.  That Saturday was yesterday.  Suffice to say that Frank walks the walk!  Check out his skills in the video we produced below.

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Video: Phillis Wheatley Elementary Students 86 MGFD Salad @ Back to School Night

Thrilling.  Inspiring.  Smile-inducing.  One can’t help but grin when bearing witness to a child’s excitement about something… anything…  But especially when that something is salad. And especially when it’s not one, but a school full of them!

Such was the case last night at Phillis Wheatley Elementary in Overtown.  As mentioned yesterday, its gracious Principal Catalina Flor invited us to present with Roots in the City our plans for a healthier, fun school year revolving around its Edible School Garden.  The result was a success!  Maggi from Roots in the City was able to collect some 20 names and contact information of parents interested in Planting Day for the garden — and we met some City Year Miami participants motivated to help.  All the makings of baby steps toward positive change.

A big thank you to chef de cuisine Bradley Herron for pulling together such a gorgeous salad on a moment’s notice!