Category Archives: Farming and Sustainability

The Tiny Diner Permaculture Garden: A Sustainable Urban Oasis In Minneapolis

“We will continue to create a new world – seed by seed, person by person, community by community – until this planet is embraced in a circle of resurgent life and resurgent love”  ~ Vandana Shiva (Indian Scholar, Environmental Activist, Food Sovereignty Advocate)

The permaculture garden project at the Tiny Diner is 6 years old.  From the vast array of edible plants, to rain water re-use, to the pollinator gardens and solar panels, the Tiny Diner garden is the quintessential example of the concept of resurgent life.  The meaning of resurgent is “to rise again” and every season the Tiny Diner garden does so with fervor.  It is used to generate energy, nourish customers, share knowledge and build community in the most eco-friendly and sustainable ways possible.

This urban permaculture garden was Kim Bartmann’s vision. Kim is a chef & restaurateur, a positive change agent and a sustainability leader in every sense of the word.  She is a two time James Beard Award semi-finalist and self described “instigator”. She has made significant and inspiring contributions in all areas of sustainablity within the restaurant industry and in the communities that her businesses are located in.  There are 9 restaurants in the Bartmann Group portfolio and all of them have sustainable measures built into their day to day operations.  The Tiny Diner is an amazing representation of the abundant returns that are possible in a small, urban garden space.

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Grape To Glass Sustainability Stories in Monterey County: Scheid Vineyards & District 7 Wines

“We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world”  ~ Howard Zinn

Farm to fork…Ocean to fork…and vineyard to glass.  We cast our votes in favor of the planet one bite, one sip at a time. Which is why I am thrilled to be able to share the sustainability story of Scheid Family Wines and District 7 Wines

District 7 Wines is just one of the many distinctive labels included in the Scheid Family Wines portfolio. The vineyards are located in Monterey County in California.

“Al Scheid first saw untapped potential in Monterey County in 1972 when the wine region was in its infancy. What started as a grape growing operation that sold 100% of its production to other wineries today has evolved into a grapes-to-glass family business that crafts authentic and elegant wines.  ~ Scheid Family Wines Website

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Farm to Fork Sustainability: The Story Of Skuna Bay Salmon

“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water”  ~ Loren Eiseley

Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with Jeanine Siemens of Skuna Bay/Grieg Seafood.  Skuna Bay is owned by Grieg Seafood and is the premium seafood product that Grieg Seafood produces. I had the good fortune to meet Jeanine at the Women Chef’s and Restaurateurs conference, held in Minneapolis this past April.  I attended a panel discussion called: Skuna Bay From Farm To Table: The Complete Breakdown.  This was a fascinating and informational session where Jeanine talked about the important work that Skuna Bay is doing to impact the seafood world. Jeanine is dedicated to the craft of  raising farmed salmon.  She is a specialist in her field and was one of the first females to enter this profession.  Jeanine shared the Skuna Bay story and then partnered with Chef and butcher Erika Nakamura to demonstrate how to properly filet (break down sushi style) a gorgeous Skuna Bay salmon. 

 

Following a wonderful post-conference phone conversation with Jeanine, I also had the opportunity to talk with Dean Trethewey, production director of Grieg Seafoods.  Like Jeanine, he has been in the industry for a very long time, 25 years to be exact.  Dean worked on commercial boats prior to this role. In his role as production director he oversees all of the certifications and regulations for Skuna Bay.  He looks after all of the sea sites and supports the farmers to make sure they have all that they need to do the job of growing healthy salmon.  Dean noticed many years ago that the wild salmon industry was beginning to struggle and was excited about being a part of an aquaculture business that took pressure off of those wild stocks. 

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Flavors Of The Season: Angel Food Cake, Strawberries & Rosé

Happy Wednesday everyone!  Today I’m doing something a little different and I think you will really enjoy it.  I have been invited to create a guest post for the Pairs Well With… Blog. I am thrilled to be able to share the recipe that I designed for this collaboration as well as to introduce you to my fellow blogger Carin, the author of Pairs Well With…  She has traveled to nine of the world’s most notable wine regions, sipping and sampling her way around the globe.

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Sustainable Living Recipes: Carrot Cake Made From ‘Rescued Carrots’

“Use Everything – Waste Nothing”  ~ Quote by Anthony Bourdain (from Wasted: The Story of Food Waste, a Netflix documentary)

John and I recently attended the Taste the Waste event at the Red Stag Supperclub in NE Minneapolis.  The mission for this function was to bring awareness to the enormous amount of food that is wasted annually.  Food is wasted at every link in the food chain,  from farms to homes to restaurants to grocery stores and beyond.

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The Farm To Fork Project: How We Can Work Together To Achieve Sustainability

“If you just think exclusively about what would be the best tasting or most profitable, you’re just not seeing the big picture”

~ Dan Barber

Sustainability. What does it mean? And why is it so important?

You will get a multitude of answers to the above questions depending on who you ask. It can vary based on a myriad of factors including the environmental, social and economic conditions in a given region.  

The EPA’s formal definition of sustainability is:

“The idea of sustainability—commonly defined as the ability to maintain or improve standards of living without damaging or depleting natural resources for present and future generations—was ingrained as a foundation of environmental law with the signing of the 1969 National Environmental Policy Act.Jun 26, 2018″   ~ United States Environmental Protection Agency

What I know for certain is that instituting sustainable living habits into our daily lives is crucial to our future, and we need to work together to achieve long-term sustainability.

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HAFA Farm Tour: Part 1 in a 2 part series

“If you ate today, thank a farmer”

~Author Unknown

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I believe that getting to know the farmers who supply our food is imperative.  It heightens our respect for the dedication and hard work that they put into what we consume.  These interactions make the ingredients on our plates even more meaningful.

Two weeks ago I visited the 155 acre Hmong American Farmers Association Farm (HAFA)  in Vermillion Township.  This is an area that is heavily rooted in agriculture.   The farm is located approximately 15 minutes south of St. Paul.

I learned of HAFA and the variety of programs they have been implementing while listening to Pakou Hang (Co-Founder and Executive Director of HAFA) speak on the panel at a Future of Food Tour event.  This was hosted by Kerry Diamond, Editorial Director of Cherry Bombe. The event was held at the Lynhall in June and was part of their ongoing Wisdom Series.  Shortly after the event I reached out to Pakou to hear more about the organization.  Following our discussion I expressed interest in visiting the HAFA Farm.

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