Edible San Diego Winter 2011-12 : Page 4

NOTABLE EDIBLES Study Sustainable Farming at City College City College has been operating an urban farm, called Seeds @ City, since 2008. Th e purpose of the farm is to teach students about growing edibles and to provide a backdrop for food education. Th ey also host a CSA program and weekly farm stand. Farm Manager Paul Maschka stresses, “What we are really growing here is urban farmers, not just food.” In addition to teaching students how to cultivate, grow, and preserve food, Maschka conducts outreach, warning students about cancer, obesity, and diabetes and touting the benefi ts of a diet high in fresh, seasonal vegetables. “I call it Doom and Bloom,” he says. Maschka hopes to eventually provide both produce and a sustainable eating model to the campus cafeteria. Seeds @ City has been slowly growing for the past three years, both in the fi eld and in the classroom. City College now off ers fi ve certifi cate programs in farming/ gardening, as well as an Associate’s Degree in sustainable agriculture. Th ese programs are intended to prepare students for jobs or higher education, and provide them with hands-on farming and gardening experience. Th e fi ve certifi cate areas are urban farming, urban gardening, organic gardening for the culinary arts, and both introductory and advanced ecological landscaping. Program Manager Erin Rempala, also a professor of biology, is working to develop the curriculum. “Th e problem we have right now is there’s only enough funding for two classes each semester. Th ese classes Erin Rempala and Paul Maschka have a capacity of 30 students and we have 50 showing up; there’s not even room to stand.” Rempala is looking for new ways to support the program. Restaurants like Local Habit hold fund-raising events and local farms such as Wild Willow and Suzie’s have taken on interns. Check out www.sdcity.edu/SeedsAtCity for information or to donate, or visit their stunning garden nestled in a corner of campus near 14 th and C Streets in downtown San Diego. Visiting hours are 9 AM to noon on Tuesdays, Th ursdays, and Saturdays and they sell seeds and produce on Th ursdays from 9:30 to 11:30 AM. —Matt Steiger Something Tasty Is Brewing in El Cajon East County has a new place to sink a pint of suds and enjoy some tasty grub. Th is fall, brothers David and Stephan Meadows opened El Cajon Brewing Company on Main Street in Downtown El Cajon. David, the head brewer, cut his teeth in Sweden at the acclaimed craft brewery Sigtuna Brygghus. He plans to make a variety of American beers, as well as some Old World recipes: “We’re going to brew some stuff you’ve never even heard of,” he boasts. Th e bar sports a staggering 40 taps of (mostly) craft beer; about 10–15 hold ECBC brews. Th e restaurant serves sandwiches on homemade beer bread, burgers marinated in beer, and ale-battered fried goodies. David wants to take food and beer pairing to the extreme: “Basically, any recipe 4 that calls for water, we substitute beer,” he says. “We want to make lots of good food that we can turn out quickly. All our breads are made in house, and we smoke our own meat and fi sh. Smoked fi sh is delicious in Sweden; I’m hoping to bring more of that to San Diego.” El Cajon Brewing is a welcome addition to East County, where good food and artisanal drinks are not always readily available. ECBC also hopes to engage the community. Th ey hold weekly classic car shows, and they hope to host periodic “Fiesta del Sol” street fairs in Downtown El Cajon. Photo: Matt Steiger Here’s to delicious smoked fi sh and good libations! —Matt Steiger edible San Diego winter 2011/12 Photos: Matt Steiger

Notable Edibles

Study Sustainable Farming at City College<br /> <br /> City College has been operating an urban farm, called Seeds @ City, since 2008. The purpose of the farm is to teach students about growing edibles and to provide a backdrop for food education. They also host a CSA program and weekly farm stand.<br /> <br /> Farm Manager Paul Maschka stresses, "What we are really growing here is urban farmers, not just food." In addition to teaching students how to cultivate, grow, and preserve food, Maschka conducts outreach, warning students about cancer, obesity, and diabetes and touting the benefits of a diet high in fresh, seasonal vegetables. "I call it Doom and Bloom," he says. Maschka hopes to eventually provide both produce and a sustainable eating model to the campus cafeteria.<br /> <br /> Seeds @ City has been slowly growing for the past three years, both in the field and in the classroom. City College now offers five certificate programs in farming/ gardening, as well as an Associate's Degree in sustainable agriculture. These programs are intended to prepare students for jobs or higher education, and provide them with hands-on farming and gardening experience.<br /> <br /> The five certificate areas are urban farming, urban gardening, organic gardening for the culinary arts, and both introductory and advanced ecological landscaping.<br /> <br /> Program Manager Erin Rempala, also a professor of biology, is working to develop the curriculum. "The problem we have right now is there's only enough funding for two classes each semester. These classes have a capacity of 30 students and we have 50 showing up; there's not even room to stand."<br /> <br /> Rempala is looking for new ways to support the program. Restaurants like Local Habit hold fund-raising events and local farms such as Wild Willow and Suzie's have taken on interns. Check out www.sdcity.edu/SeedsAtCity for information or to donate, or visit their stunning garden nestled in a corner of campus near 14th and C Streets in downtown San Diego. Visiting hours are 9 AM to noon on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays and they sell seeds and produce on Thursdays from 9:30 to 11:30 AM.<br /> <br /> –Matt Steiger<br /> <br /> Something Tasty Is Brewing in El Cajon<br /> <br /> East County has a new place to sink a pint of suds and enjoy some tasty grub. This fall, brothers David and Stephan Meadows opened El Cajon Brewing Company on Main Street in Downtown El Cajon.<br /> <br /> David, the head brewer, cut his teeth in Sweden at the acclaimed craft brewery Sigtuna Brygghus. He plans to make a variety of American beers, as well as some Old World recipes: "We're going to brew some stuff you've never even heard of," he boasts. The bar sports a staggering 40 taps of (mostly) craft beer; about 10–15 hold ECBC brews.<br /> <br /> The restaurant serves sandwiches on homemade beer bread, burgers marinated in beer, and ale-battered fried goodies. David wants to take food and beer pairing to the extreme: "Basically, any recipe that calls for water, we substitute beer," he says.<br /> <br /> "We want to make lots of good food that we can turn out quickly. All our breads are made in house, and we smoke our own meat and fish. Smoked fish is delicious in Sweden; I'm hoping to bring more of that to San Diego."<br /> <br /> El Cajon Brewing is a welcome addition to East County, where good food and artisanal drinks are not always readily available. ECBC also hopes to engage the community. They hold weekly classic car shows, and they hope to host periodic "Fiesta del Sol" street fairs in Downtown El Cajon. Here's to delicious smoked fish and good libations!<br /> <br /> –Matt Steiger<br /> <br /> New Legislation May Boost Urban Agriculture<br /> <br /> Foot soldiers in the urban agriculture movement are making their voices heard throughout the country, and San Diego is no exception. A series of proposals winding their way through City Council this winter could have a profound impact on community gardens and urban farmsteads.<br /> <br /> Changes in the zoning laws would amount to more than just chicken scratch to local residents. The proposed legislation would enable homeowners to keep up to five chickens with no property setbacks, and permit the creation of small farm stands in retail districts.<br /> <br /> The final vote is set for January. If passed, the reforms would acknowledge urban agricultural practices that have been quietly transforming San Diego's backyards for the past several years– some surreptitiously tucked away behind garden fences in areas as diverse as Point Loma and City Heights.<br /> <br /> Advocates contend the reforms could help bring an end to so-called food deserts and provide a source of revenue for low-income households. They could also reduce the number of food miles travelled as well as provide San Diegans with more food choices.<br /> <br /> One of the best ways to stay informed about the legislation and get involved in the urban agriculture movement is to join the Google-based news group called the 1 in 10 Coalition. Through this Google group, you can find the proposals under review and the time line for changing San Diego's zoning laws. You can learn more and join the group at: http://sdfoodnotlawns.com/1in10. php and http://groups.google.com/group/ sdfoodshed/about or go to www.sdfood policy.org/Home.<br /> <br /> –Enrique Gili<br /> <br /> Stone Brewing Celebrates Farm to Table<br /> <br /> Stone Brewing CEO and Cofounder Greg Koch calls himself an ethicurean: someone who seeks out tasty but sustainable, organic, local and ethical (SOLE) foods. This principle guides Koch's personal life as well as the menu and actions of Stone Brewing.<br /> <br /> Koch is outspoken in his support of food equality and good food in general. He believes that we don't fully account for the true cost of feeding poor food to the poor, given long-term health effects, and that good food could be made available to everyone.<br /> <br /> As CEO, Koch has been putting his company's money where his mouth is for a long time. For the past four years Stone has hosted a quarterly farm-to-table event called the Stone FRESH! Dinner. The guiding principle of FRESH! is to serve a meal made as much as possible from food harvested that day.<br /> <br /> The FRESH! Dinner is orchestrated by Executive Chef Alex Carballo. He spends the day canvassing the county for fresh fish, poultry, and produce, and then sets the menu for the evening's meal. One recent FRESH! Dinner even included olive oil that had been pressed that day!<br /> <br /> The Stone FRESH! Dinner epitomizes a meal made with SOLE foods. Koch's commitment to food equality is borne out in the price of the meal. For $55 it is undoubtedly the finest, freshest and most affordable seven-course meal available in San Diego, and even includes a pint of beer fresh out of Stone's fermenters. Look for the next FRESH! Dinner sometime around February, but act fast–only about 45 seats are available at each one.<br /> <br /> –Matt Steiger<br /> <br /> Socially Conscious Daily Deals<br /> <br /> Brothers Jered and Sasha Cherry are the founders of Ideal4aCause, a new socially conscious daily-deal site operating in San Diego. Each deal benefits a local business and a local nonprofit. Buying the deal means some of your money–10%–20%, according to a tier system–goes to the featured nonprofit.<br /> <br /> Jered and Sasha started volunteering at a young age. When they were 8 years old, they worked on community building projects for their town's sister city in Guatemala. In middle school, they conducted fund raisers for Greenpeace. Sasha knew any business they ran would have to include a charitable component. "We realized the most meaningful experiences of our lives have come from volunteering."<br /> <br /> Sasha says they choose their businesses carefully. "We are looking to promote socially conscious companies. The restaurants are going to be the kind that offer things like farm-to-table events, craft beer and grass-fed beef." Other deals feature events showcasing San Diego and its culture, usually with an environmentally conscious view.<br /> <br /> Ideal4aCause also has an innovative method for choosing the nonprofits they support. Sasha explains, "Users can vote for which nonprofits we feature. The nonprofits receive a small donation for each vote they receive on the site." So far, Ideal4aCause has featured several food-related nonprofits, including San Diego Roots and SuperFood Drive.<br /> <br /> The Cherry brothers are proud of their business model: "We bring good deals to people, drive new customers to these businesses and manage to set something aside for the nonprofits; it's a win-win-win situation."<br /> <br /> To learn more or participate, visit http://ideal4acause.com.<br /> <br /> –Matt Steiger<br /> <br /> Pest, Response Threaten Be Wise Ranch<br /> <br /> Many San Diego organic food advocates found an urgent email in their inboxes on Saturday, Oct. 29: Be Wise Ranch, a 200-acre organic farm that sells most of its produce nationally to stores like Whole Foods and about 30% locally via its large CSA program, was under attack due to an insect called the eye gnat. According to the email, if the county took its proposed action, Be Wise Ranch would lose its organic status and, likely, cease to exist. When the County Board of Supervisors' office opened on Monday, many of Be Wise Ranch's 2,500 CSA customers and others in San Diego who support organic agriculture called, flooding the phone lines. Within a day, the crisis had passed. But what exactly had happened?<br /> <br /> The eye gnat issue actually began on a different farm, the 450-acre organic spinach and lettuce operation of Alan Bornt in Jacumba. For years, the eye gnats, which feed on the mucus in human and animal eyes, have been swarming the community. A 2009 report found that 80 million eye gnats were coming from Bornt's farm. Eye gnats are attracted to freshly tilled soil that is rich in organic matter, and they had found plenty of it on the farm. They would reproduce there and then leave the farm as adults, in search of a human population.<br /> <br /> Bornt began working with the county to bring the eye gnats under control, at first only using organic pesticides. In March 2011, the county made him sign an agreement that included maintaining a 100-foot buffer of a "trap crop" around the entire perimeter of his farm that would be sprayed weekly with toxic, nonorganic pesticides. Additionally, he must observe a six-week "dry period" in which no crops are watered and no soil is tilled in the middle of the summer, and he must place traps all over his farm to catch the gnats. The entomologist working on the problem, James Bethke, feels that the first priority in dealing with the problem is bringing down the adult population of eye gnats. Bornt says he's already decreased their population by 95% and has spent tens of thousands of dollars in doing so.<br /> <br /> Be Wise found out last year that it might be affected by the eye gnat problem as well. "On the farm, you don't see eye gnats," farmer Bill Brammer explained. "You don't see them when you're walking around." Be Wise began working with Bethke, who says the farm has been very cooperative in trying to bring the eye gnats under control. (Brammer emphasized that this isn't a problem unique to his farm– eye gnats are found all over the southern half of the United States.)<br /> <br /> The urgent situation that arose in late October was a new proposal that would reclassify the eye gnat as a disease vector (which Bethke says it isn't), allowing the county to take more heavy-handed actions like forced spraying of pesticides (even on organic farms) and fines of up to $1,000 per day. After the outpouring of support in favor of the organic farms, the county backed down, instead proposing a 90-day period in which stakeholders would be consulted, followed by recommendations on how to control the eye gnats.<br /> <br /> – Jill Richardson<br />

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