The following event may be of interest to members and friends of the Southside Community Gardens project, as well as anyone committed to learning more about or becoming involved with the organic food movement.  Head here for full details, and see below for basic information and a schedule.

NYC Premiere Week! WOAO? is almost HERE!!

“What’s Organic About Organic?” is on the brink of kicking off its national tour with a week-long premiere at HERE’s Dorothy B. Williams Theater in New York City from June 21st to 27th and we’d love to see you there!

The premiere will also serve as the launch of the film’s Screen & Green campaign, which aims to partner with local organizations and companies nation-wide and encourage the audience to take the next step beyond watching the film and become an engaged participant in the organic food movement.

The film’s premiere week will also include a Summer Solstice Celebration on June 21st and a post-screening fundraising party for NOFA-NY on June 25th at HERE’s adjoining café, Dom Hudson Square. A $20 donation is requested to come enjoy a free drink and local, organic food grown by several farmers in the film.

Screening Dates: June 21 – 27, 2010
Time: 7:00pm / additional matinee screening at 2:00pm on June 26th & 27th
Location: HERE, Dorothy B. Williams Theater,145 Avenue of the Americas (enter on Dominick Street one block south of Spring), New York, NY, 10013

Online ticket sales, $10: To avoid disappointment please purchase tickets in advance as seating is limited.

Post-Screening Schedule of Panelists

Monday, June 21 – 7pm screening
Topic: The challenges of bringing organic food to the NYC population, the trend of urban farming and the replicability/scalability of the organic farming model
Jacquie Berger, Executive Director, Just Food
Hilary Baum, Co-Founder of Food Systems NYC and Founder, Baum Forum
Richard Mandelbaum, Social Justice Coordinator, CATA, Comite de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agricolas
Barbara Shinn, Shinn Estate Vineyards

Tuesday, June 22 – 7pm screening
Topic: Organic farming as a solution for climate change
Paul Mankiewicz, Executive Director, Gaia Institute
Karen Washington, President, NYC Community Gardens Coalition
Maria-Paolo Sutto, Program Coordinator, Urban Design Lab of Columbia’s Earth Institute
Urvashi Rangan, Environmental Health Scientist, Consumer’s Union and “character” in WOAO?Anna Lappe, Small Planet Institute & Author of Diet for a Hot Planet

Wednesday, June 23 – 7pm screening
Topic: The ability of farmers’ markets to create a direct relationship between people and their food and farmers
Michael Hurwitz, Director, Greenmarket Program, GrowNYC
David Hughes, Operations Manager, Greenmarket Program, GrowNYC
Bob Lewis, NY State Department of Agriculture and Markets
Challey Comer, Farm to Market Manager, Watershed Agricultural Council
Fred Kirschenmann, Board President, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture

Thursday, June 24 – 7pm screening
Topic: Restaurants and organic farming
Elizabeth Meltz, Director of Sustainability, Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group
Patrick Martins, Co-Founder, Heritage Foods USA
Jimmy Carbone, Owner, Jimmy’s 43
Carlos Suarez, Owner, Bobo Restaurant
Ian Marvey, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Added Value

Friday, June 25 – 7pm screening, for NOFA-NY fundraiser to follow at 9pm
Topic: Reconnecting urban and rural food systems
Scott Chaskey, President, NOFA-NY
Peter Hoffman, Chef, Back Forty and Savoy, Member of Chef’s Collaborative
Adriana Velez, Communications Coordinator, Brooklyn Food Coalition
Liana Hoodes, National Organic Coalition
Greg Swartz, Willow Wisp Organic Farm & Character in the film
George Stoney,  Documentary Film Professor, NYU

Saturday, June 26 – 2pm matinée
Topic: The benefits of organic food for child health and development
Annie Novak, farmer and founder of Growing Chefs

Saturday, June 26 – 7pm screening
Topic: The benefits of a field-to-fork relationship
Joan Gussow, Professor Emerita of Nutrition Education, Columbia University
John Gorzynski, Farmer/Owner, Ornery Farm and “character” in WOAO?
Claudia Keel, President, Traditional Nutrition Guild; NYC Chapter Leader of Weston A Price Foundation

Sunday, June 27 – 2pm matinee
Topic: Composting and urban farming
Christine Datz-Romero, Founder & Director, LES Ecology Center
Yonnette Fleming, Urban Gardener

Sunday, June 27 – 7pm screening
Topic: Organic nutrition and food retail
Marion Nestle, Professor of Nutrition, New York University
Anne Saxelby, Owner, Saxelby Cheesemongers
Urvashi Rangan, Environmental Health Scientist, Consumer’s Union and “character” in WOAO?
Dennis Derryck, Founder, Corbin Hill Farm
Marty Mesh, Executive Director, Florida Organic Growers,  Co-producer and “character” in WOAO?

Come on out!  Join the discussion!


Please join us on First Friday, June 4th, from 6 – 9 p.m., as we welcome summer to the Southside with a night of food, music, and friendly conversation at the Maze Garden, located on Bethlehem’s Southside at the intersection of 3rd and New Streets. With the cold weather finally behind us, let’s get together on what we hope will be a warm, early summer evening and see the wonderful progress we’ve made at the Maze, which looks beautiful after all the hard work the gardeners did last week. To mark the occasion, the Southside Community Gardens project will be hosting a potluck dinner, with music provided by local performing artist DJ Arm 18. Please bring a dish to share, or a non-alcoholic beverage. We hope to have similar events at the Maze on First Fridays throughout the summer; please come out and help us make the first one a great success, as we try to make the Maze Garden a central gathering space for Southside Community Gardens events and activities throughout the summer and fall. Here is a flier with more details.

I also want to share a story that connects many of the ideas and possibilities discussed here for building a thriving local food community in the Lehigh Valley. In previous posts, I have mentioned the farm-to-table movement, as well as efforts to revitalize local agriculture in Appalachia; here is a story, from a wonderful blog called Farm to Table, about a city deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, Asheville, N.C., with an active, successful farm-to-table community and a number of prosperous family-owned farms. The story focuses on the work of the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP), and it touches on several of the diverse components many group members envision as part of our project—bringing local food into schools, incorporating food literacy into the curriculum, and making fresh food available at food banks or through other welfare programs. The article also brings to mind the important work of and resources provided by the Greater Lehigh Valley chapter of Buy Fresh Buy Local, and suggests ways we could work with them. Take a second to read the story, and to explore the Farm to Table site.

Power in Community: How a Local Food Movement Changed a City

Finally, there is a work day scheduled for the Maze Garden this Sunday, May 30, beginning around 1 p.m. We will be building on the great start we got last week, and welcome anyone who wants to spend some of their Sunday afternoon working in the garden. There is plenty of work to do, so please stop by.

We can always be reached at <>.

Please join us tomorrow, Tuesday, March 30th, at 4:00 p.m. in 101 Maginnes Hall for a Community Gardens Symposium. This event will feature students from Swarthmore College, who will talk about their experiences successfully establishing an on-campus community garden which feeds directly into the College’s dining-services system. More generally, we’ll be discussing community gardening, how it can be effectively managed on the South Side, and how, working with Sodexho, a community garden could be started and implemented at Lehigh University, in order to provide the campus with delicious, fresh, local produce.

 We hope you will join us for this exciting event!

A reminder that Lehigh University’s South Side Initiative welcomes Maria Rodale, who will present on “Organic Food: A Manifesto for the World and the Southside.”  This event will take place on Monday, March 29th, from 11:30-1:30, and will be held in Room 200, Linderman Library, on the Lehigh University campus. The lecture is open to the public and lunch will be provided.

Maria Rodale’s book, Organic Manifesto: How Organic Farming Can Heal Our Planet, Feed the World, and Keep Us Safe (2010) will be available for a reduced price of $12 at the Lehigh University bookstore until Monday.

Head here to learn more about Maria’s book, and here to learn more about Monday’s lecture.

Please join us for this presentation and discussion of how to apply Organic Manifesto to our local food systems!

And here’s some further (local) food for thought:

The farm-to-table food movement is another exciting development in the growing effort to support local food economies, one that is directly related to other ideas discussed on our blog and at recent events, including new possibilities for farmers markets, the benefits of community gardens, and health and nutritional concerns, just to name a few. Further, it is a philosophy that some government officials would like to expand to large-scale food economies. In early March, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg went so far as to suggest that the entire country needs to adopt a “farm-to-table approach” in order to ensure the safety of our food before it reaches our tables, rather than relying on after-the-fact recalls. Members and friends of the Southside Community Gardens project, as well as like-mind people interested in strengthening the resources for buying local and supporting area farmers in the Lehigh Valley, should take a few minutes and search out some of the many resources available on the web in order to learn more about the farm-to-table discussion. A simple google search of “farm to table” quickly yields links for co-ops, collectives, non-profits, and other groups committed to this movement across the country, from Pittsburgh to New Mexico to Montana to Austin, Tex. In fact, just this weekend (March 26-27, 2010) an annual event is taking place in Pittsburgh, put on by Farm to Table Pittsburgh (, a collective source for supporting the local food economy in the Western Pennsylvania region. Here is an article from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review about the 2010 event, which could be a model for future activities sponsored by the growing local food community in the Lehigh Valley.

Farm to Table Event in Pittsburgh

Here’s a grant opportunity for Farmers Markets announced by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition that seems particularly relevant in light of recent discussions at Monday night’s Southside Community Gardens meeting and Wednesday night’s screening of Fresh, and which also brings to mind Tim Will’s work in Appalachia.  As explained in the announcement, this year the Farmers Market Promotion Program is emphasizing, among other things, the need to bring new farmers into direct marketing venues and to improve access to local food in rural areas, priorities that complement other ongoing efforts, including Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative to eliminate childhood obesity and the USDA’s Know Your Farmer Know Your Food Campaign. Please share this grant opportunity with anyone you think might be interested in applying, or who knows somone who is.

Farmers Market Grant Opportunity Announced