Category Archives: Uncategorized

Chef Danielle Leoni: Global Sustainability Activist and Conduit for Change

“For my whole life, all I’ve wanted is to do good” ~ Chef Danielle Leoni

On a recent trip to Arizona, Executive Chef and Co-owner of The Breadfruit & Rum Bar, Danielle Leoni gave me the gift of her time, which happens to be in short supply these days.  We conversed about what launched her path as a chef activist and restaurant owner, as well as the innumerable innovative impacts that she has been making in the world of food.  In particular, her support of local agriculture, school nutrition issues, responsible sourcing of sustainable seafood and her newest business venture, Big Marble Organic Ginger Beer. She exemplifies what it means to have a full plate.   Continue reading Chef Danielle Leoni: Global Sustainability Activist and Conduit for Change

The Liberian Agricultural Project

“I do think this next century, hopefully, will be about a more global view.  Where you don’t just think, yes my country is doing well, but you think about the world at large”   ~Bill Gates

I embrace the opportunity to share stories of local people who are inspiring global change.  I made John Paye’s acquaintance while touring the HAFA Farm in Vermillion, MN in the Fall of 2018.  I was in the initial stages of gathering information for my farm to fork sustainability series.  My articles feature farmers and the restaurateurs/chefs/businesses that source from them.   John was there to gain knowledge regarding how to give life to a project similar to the one HAFA has created in Minnesota.  John’s farm is in Bong County, Liberia which is located on the West African Coast. I recently met with John again to learn about the progress of The Liberian Agricultural Project .  I hope you are as moved by his work as I am.

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Sustainable Travel: 3 Days at CASA MÃE In Lagos, Portugal

“Putting tourism on a sustainable path is a major challenge, but one that also presents a significant opportunity”  ~ Klaus Töpfer

We find travel to be exciting and alluring and John & I derive an indescribable amount of positive energy from immersing ourselves in other cultures. In our daily life, we try  try to live by the adage, “take only memories, leave only footprints.”  This is why the ability to combine our adventures in Lagos, Portugal with a stay at a hotel that shares our passion for sustainability was remarkable in so many ways.

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Farm to Fork Stories: Meet Your Farmer, Tony Root

We have neglected the truth that a good farmer is a craftsman of the highest order, a kind of artist.”   ~ Wendell Berry

It is my pleasure to introduce you to Farmer Tony Root (Anthony Schaden is his family name).  If you’ve dined at any of the 9 marvelous restaurants within the Bartmann Group this summer, you’ve more than likely experienced the outcome of Tony’s endeavors.  Tony is the farmer in charge of planting, growing and harvesting the bountiful produce exclusively for this restaurant group.  Kim Bartmann leases a 1 acre plot at Riverbend Farm* in Delano, MN and Tony skillfully tends to all of it.  Tony works with the chef’s to coordinate the distribution of the produce to all of these establishments during the summer/fall months.  Kim Bartmann and her team have created a true farm-to-table framework that has been scaled to meet their demand.  Continue reading Farm to Fork Stories: Meet Your Farmer, Tony Root

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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Welcome To The Ultimate Minnesota Fish Fry

“Fishing is much more than fish.  It is the great occasion when we may return to the simplicity of our forefathers”  ~ Herbert Hoover

Hello from the land of 10,000 Lakes!  Growing up, I spent a lot of quality time fishing with my father and grandfather on our annual summer outings to lakes and cabins throughout the state.  Those memories are so precious!  Regretfully, I haven’t been fishing in many years.  It’s lucky for us that we have incredible friends, Anne and Wayne Minske, who happen to be phenomenal anglers.  Last week John and I were invited to their home for a viewing party and the ultimate fish fry.  The scents and flavors of the walleye and northern wafting from the fryer brought me right back to my Minnesota childhood.

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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

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