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!

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Here is an article from the Washington Post about the ‘People’s Garden,’ an organic garden the Agriculture Department has planted (with compost provided by the Lehigh Valley’s very own Rodale Institute!) outside the agency’s headquarters on the National Mall. The garden, which was first planted in 2009, is one of over 250 the USDA has planted on its facilities across the world. Not only is the garden, supported by a federal government agency, further proof of the energy and resources city, state, and federal agencies are willing to marshall in support of community gardens, fresh, healthy produce, sustainable agriculture, and other related areas of this accelerating movement, but the article presents the different ways a community garden can become a location for educational presentations and cooking demonstrations, as well as a first step that generates subsequent environmentally conscious behavior, such as building plant beds that capture storm-water runoff. These are ideas we should keep in mind as our project grows; in fact, given the central location of the Maze Garden on Southside Bethlehem, it seems ideally located to host any number of events, presentations, and demonstrations.

As for our project’s more immediate plans, we will need volunteers on April 24th, when we install the beds at Ullman Park. Volunteers are needed to help put the beds into appropriate places and to shovel dirt (soil and compost provided by Bethlehem) into the beds. I’ll have more definite details in the coming days, but it is likely the work will last from approximately 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Please make time to come by and help, even if it is for only an hour to shovel. That Saturday is also the annual Spring on Fourth/Chili Cook-Off; it should be a great opportunity to get out and enjoy the festivities on Southside Bethlehem, beginning with volunteering your time to a worthy cause, one meant to bring healthy and locally grown food to the Southside community.

And there is one other upcoming event of importance to the well being and appearance of the Southside: this Saturday, April 17th, the annual Lehigh University/South Side Task Force Clean-Up will take place from 8 – 11:30 a.m. Volunteers are asked to show up for a continental breakfast, including coffee, donuts, and refreshments, beginning at 7:30 a.m. on the Lehigh University parking lots at Brodhead and Packer Avenue, where they will able to sign up. With students and town residents working together, teams will then spread out to designated neighborhoods. Tools, bags, and some gloves will be provided, and the clean-up will take place rain or shine.

We hope to see you at one of these events soon!