Saturday, December 5, 2009

NY Times Article on Food Stamps

On Nov 29th the New York Times had a front page article on Food Stamps in the US, and the growing food epidemic. Additionally, this article discussed the different mentalities towards food stamps themselves, and how a different kind of people (who used to see food stamps users as abusing their government) are now using them and forced to redefine their associations with the program. There is also a GREAT map that show statistics on the program's usage.

"Food Stamp Use Soars Across U.S., and Stigma Fades"

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Reference

I like this approach to understanding food ecology:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

bring your music

making instruments and noises for next class let's rock

bring your music

making instruments and noises for next class let's rock

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Truths and Trials of Our Daily Bread

As some of you may know, I have started volunteering at Our Daily Bread, the largest soup kitchen in Maryland that happens to be located near my house. Every Tuesday, for the past two weeks and hopefully every week in the future I am in Baltimore, I work there from 9 am - 12:45 pm.

I have started publishing my experiences and observations from this on another website run by the same people. Below is the link to this. Enjoy!

Entries about working at ODB!

- Katherine

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wrapped Bananas?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Future of Food

A short Film on the subject of Genetically modifying food. It keeps with our method of looking at the different ways of filming a documentary, it is very interesting too!

Here is the link:

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Diet and Drink in Nineteenth Century Maryland

This article would be helpful to anyone doing research on historical Baltimore/Maryland food traditions. Talks about the different influences on Maryland cuisine, and the types of resources available to the area that influenced the diet- local wildlife, local crops, different imported products.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Nutritional Guide to Traditional Baltimore Foods

Here is an article by the City Paper, investigating and evaluating the nutritional value of various traditional Baltimore dishes. Their list includes popular Baltimore delicacies such as scrapple, muskrat, lake trout, pit beef, Lady Baltimore cake, and even Natty Boh beer.

What is the Baltimore Lake Trout?

The Baltimore Lake Trout, sold at every single corner store across Baltimore, is neither a trout nor does it come from a lake. The following article goes into detail exploring the reasons for this popular misnomer.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Real Food Farm

The farm is having a Ribbon Cutting ceremony this Friday the 9th. This might be a shot that we will want. Who can go out there on Friday? I'm inquiring into the time.

heres a link

The Future of Food, One Seed at a Time (TED Talk by Cary Fowler)

Very pertinent ted talk about the need for preserving agricultural crop biodiversity in the face of climate change...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Baltimore Recent Food Establishment Closures

I thought this was pretty interesting:

It lists all the restaurant closures over the past 4 years, sorted by date. It tells you the reason for closure, and also has an interactive map that allows you to see the locations of the restaurants in Baltimore. You can view all the restaurants that closed during a particular month, or a particular year.

This information is part of the Baltimore City Health Department's website, which I found to be a good resource. I would recommend browsing the food and shelter section, lots of good information there.

On board

I just found Graham's invite in my junk carnivorous junk mail.Lots of good information already on this blog.

Heres whats up for Thursday
camera workshop with Jon,wiki tutorial with Pilar and Graham, discussion of Closing the Food Gap/ End of Cheap Food

1-2 visit from OSI Fellow Joyce Smith, community organizer SW Baltimore

2-3 anything else?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

The End of Cheap Food

Check out the wiki's future section to read the economist article "The End of Cheap Food," it's a good overview how policy is affecting food prices.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Excerpt from the Baltimore Sustainability Plan on Food Systems in Baltimore

Baltimore's Sustainability Plan (link)

From Page 33, "Greening Goal #2: Establish Baltimore as a leader in sustainable, local food systems"

Strategy A: Increase the percentage of land under cultivation for agricultural purposes
Increase the amount of food production within Baltimore City through a variety of approaches. Modify
zoning regulations to accommodate urban agricultural production and sales. Increase the number of City
farms and gardens in parks, on vacant lots, school grounds, and other appropriate and available areas.
Promote community gardening for food production through programs such as the existing Master Gardener
Urban Agriculture Program. Lastly, develop incentives and support for urban farm enterprises.
Timeframe: Mid-term
Type: Policy/Operations Changes
Funding Source: Grant Programs; City, State and Federal Funds; Partnerships
Lead Partners: DPR, DoP, Parks and People, Cooperative Extension, Urban Agriculture Task Force

Strategy B: Improve the quantity and quality of food available at food outlets

Implement innovative models and invigorate existing ones that improve the quantity and quality of food
available at food outlets. These efforts can be aided through the use of food mapping to link food outlets to
local farmers. Successful models to consider for expansion to underserved areas of the community include
the Baltimore Healthy Stores model, farmers markets, and Baltimore’s unique heritage of Arrabers.
Timeframe: Mid-term.
Type: Partnerships
Funding Source: Private Sector
Lead Partners: MD Department of Agriculture, DoP, Johns Hopkins University

Strategy C: Increase demand for locally-produced, healthy foods by schools, institutions,
supermarkets, and citizens

Work with existing initiatives such as Baltimore City Public School System’s Fresh Start Farm and MD
Hospitals for a Healthy Environment to increase purchasing of local, organic food. This effort can be
faciliated by a mapping resource to help institutions and supermarkets identify what local farms are interested
in direct marketing. Developing a consumer campaign on the benefits of eating and buying food locally can
help spur demand for such products.
Timeframe: Mid-term
Type: Education/Marketing
Funding Source: Private sector; Grant Programs; City Funds
Lead Partners: DoH, BCPSS, Maryland Hospitals for a Healthy Environment, Chesapeake Sustainable
Business Alliance, Other Institutional Partners

Strategy D: Develop an urban agriculture plan
Develop a plan that will promote healthy, local, and, where possible, organic food production and food
professions and include multiple stakeholders currently involved in food production and job training. The
plan should identify the predicted demand for urban farmed food and recommend location and distribution of
urban agricultural institutions. It could also identify the best distribution of existing food networks and
identify gaps that need to be filled.
Timeframe: Short-term
Type: Policy/Operations, Partnerships
Funding Source: Grant Programs
Lead Partners: DPR, Civic Works, Parks and People, City Schools, Cooperative Extension, Urban Agriculture
Task Force

Strategy E: Implement Baltimore Food Policy Task Force recommendations related to sustainability
and food

Utilize the work of the Baltimore Food Policy Task Force which is charged with reviewing food issues
throughout the city. The group is scheduled to produce a report mid-2009 with a series of recommendations
to increase access to and demand for healthy, nutritious food.
Timeframe: Short-term
Type: Policy/Operations
Funding Source: TBD (will depend on recommendations)
Lead Partners: DoH, DoP, Local Institutions

Strategy F: Compile local and regional data on various components of the food system
Create a mapping resource for those working on local food and agriculture programs. Map will include
information on local farms and agricultural institutions, processing facilities, distributors, farmer’s markets,
community gardens, supermarkets, hospitals, schools, restaurants, zoning and easements, economic census
data, and nutritional health data. This will be used to identify additional land available for agriuculture, help
link suppliers and consumers, and identify geographical areas with insufficient access to fresh, healthy food.
Timeframe: Short-term

Type: Partnership

Funding Source: Private Sector
Lead Partners: DoP, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Friday, September 11, 2009

2 News Articles from the USDA

Via the USDA website [ link ]


WASHINGTON, September 3, 2009 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced USDA's intention to purchase an additional $30 million in pork products in FY 2009 for federal food and nutrition assistance programs. USDA will survey potential suppliers to seek the lowest overall cost by publicly inviting bids and awarding contracts to responsible bidders. Altogether, USDA will purchase approximately $151 million in pork products for food and nutrition assistance programs this fiscal year through annual appropriation and Recovery Act funding.

"These purchases will assist pork producers who are currently struggling due to depressed market conditions and reflects the Obama Administration's ongoing work to support struggling producers," said Vilsack. "This action will help mitigate further downward prices, stabilize market conditions, stimulate the economy, and provide high quality, nutritious food to recipients of USDA's nutrition programs."

The pork products scheduled for purchase will reflect the variety of high-quality food products USDA provides each year to support the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Summer Food Service Program, the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program and The Emergency Food Assistance Program. USDA also makes emergency food purchases for distribution to victims of natural disasters.

Government food experts work to ensure that all purchased food is healthy and nutritious. Food items are normally required to be low in fat, sugar and sodium. The commodities must meet specified grade requirements and be USDA-certified to ensure quality. USDA only purchases products that are grown in the United States.

For more information on purchase details, interested suppliers should contact Duane Williams, Contracting Officer, Livestock and Seed Program at (202)720-2650 or by e-mail The AMS Commodity Procurement Web page can be found

Grants Will Help Improve Access to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

WASHINGTON, September 9, 2009 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced almost $5 million in grants for seven State agencies to simplify the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) application and eligibility systems and improve access to program benefits for America's low-income households. Formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, SNAP helps ensure that people have access to healthy and nutritious food; the program is currently serving 66 percent of all who are eligible to participate.

"The federal government plays an important role in combating food insecurity and hunger, but it is through special partnerships that we can reach people who are most in need of assistance," said Vilsack. "These grants will achieve our goal of increasing program access and participation among America's most vulnerable citizens."

This year's participation grants focus on modernizing and streamlining the application process and eligibility systems or measures to improve access by eligible households. One priority for this year's grants is to fund projects designed to improve the retention of eligible households at the point of recertification. A number of the projects are receiving funding that will support development or enhancement of on-line application systems that will facilitate both initial entry and retention of eligible households. The other priority area is to fund a partnership between a State agency and one or more private non-profit organizations. FNS continues to encourage relationships with private nonprofit organizations with strong community ties to enhance communication between the State agencies and the communities they serve.

SNAP is the cornerstone of the Nation's nutrition safety net. It is the largest of the USDA's 15 domestic nutrition assistance programs and provides crucial support and a vital supplement for low income households to buy the food they need for good health, and helps many make the transition to self-sufficiency. Public, private, non-profit, and faith and community-based organizations play an important role in ensuring that all eligible people know about SNAP and USDA's other nutrition assistance programs.

The six grantees benefiting from today's announcement are:

Florida Department of Elder Affairs

Georgia Department of Human Resources

Michigan Department of Human Services

New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

Oklahoma Department of Human Services

Ohio Department of Job and Family Services

City of New York Human Resources Administration

SNAP supports individuals and families in need by putting healthy foods within reach. For more information on the SNAP and FNS, visit

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272(voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tony Geraci

Someone mentioned that Tony Geraci will be giving a talk this Wednesday - here are the details if anyone is interested in going:

Tony Geraci, “From the Farm to the Cafeteria: the Revolution in the School Lunch Program”

The days of gray, unhealthy school lunches are over as top chef Tony Geraci serves up tasty, locally-sourced meals. Mr. Geraci will chronicle the revolution in city school cafeterias, bumbling bureaucracy and urban student farmers, and benefits won for Baltimore students and the wider community. Try catering donated by Woodberry Kitchen using produce from the City Schools’ Great Kids Farm, and stay after the talk for conversation on this very hot topic.

Refreshments 7:00 pm, Presentation 7:30 pm

Weather permitting, this event will be held in our community garden.

Wednesday Sep, 9th from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Location: VLP Library and Garden

Village Learning Place


I have sent out invitations to all of you, and I'll crosspost whatever was put onto the other "blog."

I was at Lexington Market today after we left the library and found a guy who makes his own scrapple. Fresh! I think it's turket though which I wouldn't normally eat, but this tastes wonderfull.

Blogger isn't letting me upload images. Otherwise you'd be looking at one tasty hunk of "meat."