Slow Food Columbus Blog

Living the slow life… one day at a time

Archive for the ‘Projects’ Category

Project: School Garden Startup

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Background. We have met with the Director of the Gan Menachem preschool at the Lori Schottenstein Chabad Center in New Albany to talk about school gardens. His goal is to start a garden for the preschool and then move it into a focal point to enrich the center, the programs they run, and the community at large.

State of Project Development. Planning stages.

What We Have. The Director has implemented much of the planning, and the school will supply necessary material.

What We Need. Volunteers for work parties to put the garden in place. Please email the committee chair directly to volunteer.

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Written by Bear

February 28, 2012 at 3:16 am

Posted in Projects

Project: Ark of Taste Nominations and Promotion

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Background. The U.S. Ark of Taste, like its counterpart in Italy, is a catalog of hundreds of delicious foods that have been deemphasized by the industrialized food system to the point that they are little-known and rarely consumed, even in the regions in which they are produced. A significant part of our mission is to find and nominate new products from central Ohio to the Ark of Taste. We also seek to help farmers, grocers, and restaurants promote the Ark of Taste products that they sell by offering versions of the Slow Food Ark of Taste logo for use on signs and menus.

We are interested both in reaching producers who grow existing Ark products and soliciting suggestions for new Ark products. Candidates for the Ark should have production that is confined to a specific geographic area (i.e., should convey a “sense of place”), should be delicious, and should be produced sustainably.

State of Project Development. Ongoing.

What We Have. An entire Committee of Slow Food Columbus is devoted to biodiversity, which primarily involves Ark of Taste products.  Slow Food USA has also created downloadable Farmer’s Market signs to help farmers promote their Ark of Taste products.

What We Need.

  • Help spreading the word. Please send a link to this blog post to any farmers or chefs you know who might be using Ark of Taste products, and send email to the Biodiversity Committee directly if you would like additional signage.
  • Ideas for the Ark of Taste. If you nominate new products by leaving a comment below, we will explore them and submit a formal application to Slow Food USA.

Written by Bear

February 28, 2012 at 12:56 am

Posted in Projects

Project: Website Transition

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Background. We started the Slow Food Columbus blog using Apple’s iWeb software, but given the impending disappearance of MobileMe, it seems that iWeb will likely be phased out as well. Moreover, iWeb lacks the capacity to generate mobile-friendly websites. Our webmaster has attempted to convert the iWeb site to WordPress, so that the site can be hosted in the cloud (and passed along to future webmasters), but iWeb seems not to be generating the RSS feed necessary for the easiest version of the transition. He has attempted to generate an RSS feed from the iWeb site without success.

State of Project Development. Stalled.

What We Have. One website, written in iWeb, and a hosting service (Dreamhost) that can perform one-click installation of WordPress and other blog engines.

What We Need. Competent, experienced website designers or programmers who can transition our current blog to a new, web-based format, ideally WordPress. Please email the webmaster directly with information.

Written by Bear

February 28, 2012 at 12:31 am

Posted in Projects

Project: “Slow Food on a Fast Food Budget” Cookbook

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Background. Some time ago, we realized that one of the main barriers to Slow Food’s ability to reach everyone on the socioeconomic ladder was the fact that many people simply don’t know how to cook. We came up with the idea of a kitchen primer, a genuine “starting from zero” book that would convey the basics of cooking with the most inexpensive tools possible. Our goal was to publish the cookbook using Amazon.com’s print-on-demand service, sell copies to college students, and use the proceeds to fund additional copies to be donated to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

We held a potluck last year to generate recipes for the book, and we got some excellent entries. Then we visited the Foodbank… and we realized that we had a problem. The Foodbank’s clients receive just about any kind of raw material that you can imagine, from cuts of pork to kohlrabi (but not spices), and an ideal cookbook would help them cook all of it. That’s clearly impossible: Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything is a massive tome, and even it doesn’t actually cover everything.

After pondering this problem for a while, we came up with a solution: teaching techniques (frying, simmering, etc.) rather than recipes, and then including short recipes as special cases of techniques. That way, people would realize that, if you can sauté asparagus, you can sauté green beans… or nearly anything else. We could then build, for each technique, a library of mini-recipes that can be cooked using that technique, and in a subsequent chapter lay out some combinations of mini-recipes that would form a good meal.

That’s the new approach of the cookbook. Much of the book is written, and we have photography and design expertise to convert it into its final form. What we lack is a large catalog of recipes. An ideal recipe would:

  • focus on sustainable ingredients if possible
  • teach people how to cook a single thing (a vegetable, a cut of meat) rather than a whole meal
  • be easy to prepare in a Dutch oven or cast-iron skillet, or on a baking sheet
  • be an example of either frying, sautéing, baking, roasting, simmering, or braising
  • be very simple
  • be breathtakingly delicious

We also need specific expertise, as noted below.

State of Project Development. Advanced; four of the book’s five chapters are largely written and are in the process of being edited.

What We Have. Project leader and author (Bear Braumoeller), photographer (Kristen Stevens), layout designer (Andrew Dehus).

What We Need.

  • Recipes. Please email them to the project leader directly.
  • More ideas for Chapter 2 (“How to Think Like a Chef,”) ideally from professional chefs. Please leave a comment below.
  • Publishing knowledge, to tell us whether alternatives to Amazon’s service are worth pursuing. Please comment or email directly.

Written by Bear

February 21, 2012 at 5:46 am

Posted in Projects

Announcing “Projects”

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In reflecting on an agenda for this Thursday’s membership meeting, I realized that one of our signal accomplishments last year—forming an expanded Board, with specific committees—emphasized an ongoing problem that we haven’t managed to solve to my satisfaction: connecting members to ongoing or potential projects.

Right now, the only mechanism for a member to be involved is by proposing an event. That’s worked out to be a very good system, but it doesn’t address the needs of members who want to be involved without having a specific event to propose. People can email us, of course, but we often encounter opportunities that we’d like to publicize more widely.

That’s the purpose of this series of posts. If we learn of an opportunity or an ongoing project that requires additional people, we’ll post it here, write it up on Facebook, tweet about it, and in general try to get the word out. You can read the entire series of “Projects” posts by clicking on this link. (Bookmark it now!) Over the next week or so we’ll collect information about available projects and post them here for you to read. If you want to participate in a project, just comment on that project’s blog entry. Be sure to include your email address when posting (it won’t be displayed publicly) and we’ll put you in touch with the project leader.

We hope this will keep everyone as informed as possible and let our Chapter reach its potential in terms of engagement. Thanks for taking part.

Written by Bear

February 21, 2012 at 5:13 am

Posted in Projects