Posts Tagged ‘Story Bank’

DC FOOD FUTURE: Planting the Seeds of Justice! December 8th

HAFA is putting on a mega event called DC Food Future: Planting the seeds of Justice on December 8th! Register Today at

DC Food Future Summit, December 8th

Healthy and Affordable Food for All is planning a mega-event for community members, organizers, foodies, workers, policy wonks and everyone in between. Stay tuned for details or email us at to get involved.

And now, a poem

Our first submission comes from Matt Young, currently a first-year Master’s student in Environmental Studies at Antioch University, concentrating on “Advocacy for Social Justice & Sustainability.”

The week Matt wrote to us, the theme was Food and Family. Matt was so inspired by his holiday experience that he sent a poem called, “Thanksgiving Goodness” and a picture of his inspiration, his family’s array of Thanksgiving desserts.

Thanksgiving Goodness

Thanksgiving goodness/
Beckons fondue on apples/
And squash fresh, savory.

-Matt “Mateo” Young, ’11

Matt is a friend of Save Our Safety Net and the Bread for the City family. We’re glad that the Storybank has given us an opportunity to hear from great people interested in sharing stories and making food justice happen. Thanks, Matt!

We still want to hear your stories. This week’s theme is Food Justice. Got a story about Food Justice? Click here to contribute to the Holiday Helpings Story Bank! Read more stories of the holidays here.

Interview Your Family, Media Skillshare this Week at Bread for the City

Friday mornings at Bread for the City, our hard working Story Collection Team takes a break from the hustle of field journalism to open our Southeast center for a skillshare. Skillshares are informal events for exchanging skills which might be useful to our clients. Turnout has been growing since our first two–”Loading Photos to FB” and “Computer Tips and Tricks”–and each time we’ve discovered new ideas for things we want to teach and learn together.

We’d like you to join us on Friday, December 9th for our next skillshare, Interview Your Family.

We’ll be joined by guest facilitator, friend, and blogger Danny Harris. Danny interviews DC residents from all walks of life and publishes the stories he collects on his blog, People’s District. Thanks Danny!

Got a media skill to share? Email us at

My Grandfather, Our Garden

[Cross-posted from Bread for the City's story bank. Tell your story of food and family now!]

I loved my grandfather, James Madison. He ran a tobacco and dairy farm. I spent most of my summers on his farm. We would wake up around 5:00 in the morning, and I would help him bring the cows up from the lower grazing pastures to the milking bays. We would feed the hogs and check the chicken coops for eggs to eat at breakfast. While Granddaddy milked the cow, we would eat breakfast with the milk and eggs. The milk was so fresh my grandmother had to blow the creamy butter away from the rim of the pitcher so that the butter in the milk would not go into our cereal bowls. No pasteurization or preservatives, and, no surprise, we never got sick or had an allergic reaction to all that freshness.

I was sixteen years old before I had a birthday in my home town of Pittsburgh, PA. When I got off the big Greyhound bus each summer in Appomattox, VA, my grandfather would say, “Here comes my city grandson, down to the country to see how real men earn a living.” He would tease me, “Farming is hard work, and city boys do not know anything about working hard.” Then he would laugh with his big, boisterous laugh.

My grandfather was also a very religious, God-fearing man. When the sun started to get a bit hot and I started to fade, he would quote scripture (Genesis 2:15):

“AND the Lord took the man (Adam), and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.”

My Garden of Eden is now located at 1525 7th Street, NW, Washington, DC. While working in Bread for the City’s Rooftop Garden this spring and summer, I swear I could feel my grandfather’s presence at times. One day this nice, warm, melancholy feeling came over me, and it was so strong that I started tearing up. I had to get control of my emotions before someone thought that I was crazy. I could hear my grandfather’s voice telling me “farming is hard work, but I prepared you for this very day.” That hot summer day set me up for a healthy make over.

From that moment on, my whole being changed! I made an appointment with BFC’s nutritionist, Sharon, so that I could take advantage of these fresh vegetables that I was harvesting from the Rooftop Garden. Sharon set me up with a good nutritious diet along with correct portion sizes. I lost twenty five pounds, my blood pressure got back to normal levels, and the exercise from riding my bike down to BFC and working in the garden made me feel one hundred percent better. Needless to say, Doctor Randi in the health care clinic was proud of me.

BFC’s Rooftop Garden was not only good for my health, but also my soul! BFC helped me take better care of myself, so I can be a blessing to others in my community. It reconnected me with the teachings of my childhood, that we need to fight for each other and fight for the earth, to be able to take care of each other and stay on our land. I’m glad for my Garden of Eden — a place where more people have the support to be whole people, together in community.

Want to share your own story? Go to Bread for the City’s story bank to share your traditions, memories, hopes and wonders.

We want to hear your stories!

Here’s to a Healthy Holiday!

This post, and the recipe shared earlier today, are part of a project to collect stories of food, health, culture, and community as part of Bread for the City’s Holiday Helpings Campaign. Stay tuned for the unveiling of our new story bank!

At this time of year, feasting is in order. Many Thanksgiving dishes handed down from year to year are delicious, but not necessarily healthy. Most of us remember eating sweet potatoes swimming in cinnamon, butter, marshmallows and sugar. Delicious, right? It may nourish your spirit, but it’s not good for your body.

Good thing you don’t have to sacrifice taste and tradition to create a healthy meal! Sharon Feuer Gruber, BFC’s nutrition consultant, held a cooking class at the Southeast center last week to get people focused on healthier ways to cook some typical holiday foods. On the menu this month: cabbage salad, sweet potato wedges, and apple compote.

We started by working together to prep the food.

As the sweet potatoes were cooking and people were cutting up the fresh herbs for the salad, Sharon shared the health benefits of the foods they were using. We talked about how the skin of the sweet potatoes has lots of fiber and nutrients and should be scrubbed and eaten along with the rest of the sweet potato. Why spend money on the whole sweet potato and then toss the healthiest part? And we talked about the nutritious fats the meal featured, including those in the walnuts we sprinkled on top of the apples.

The salad was simple — combine red cabbage, carrots, scallions, cilantro, orange segments, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and a touch of maple syrup in a big bowl. (Full recipes are below.) We served up the salad, piping hot sweet potato wedges, and delicious apple compote, and sat down to eat and talk.

We learned that several people had seen recipes like the ones Sharon demonstrated, but hadn’t tried them at home because the combination of foods wasn’t something that they normally ate. One client said the dishes were “surprisingly good.” And everyone ate them up. Several of the attendees were there because their doctors wanted them to change their diets. They wanted to prepare healthier meals for their families, and the cooking class seemed like a good place to start.

The class finished up by brainstorming ways to modify Stuffed Meatloaf, a recipe that was shared with the Holiday Helpings Story Bank earlier in the week. You can use the same tips with your favorite holiday dish!

Here are the original ingredients:

1 pound ground beef
1 pack of bacon
1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
½ lb. steamed shrimp
1 container crab meat
1 bottle barbecue sauce
1 pack of crackers
1 egg
1 nine inch baking pan

And here are the suggestions from the participants in the nutrition/cooking class:

- Use ground turkey or ground chicken instead of ground beef.
- Add fresh vegetables like green peppers, garlic, onions, and tomatoes.
- Add kidney beans.
- Use hot sauce, tomato paste, or tomato sauce instead of barbecue sauce.
- Use rice, corn flakes, or bread crumbs instead of crackers.
- Use egg whites instead of whole eggs.

Enjoy your holiday! Have fun and think healthy.