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The Garden School Foundation, CA

Leah Sienkowski

Los Angeles, CA. The Garden School Foundation is a non-profit organization empowering Los Angeles elementary & high school school students to grow, harvest, and cook their own food by planting school gardens and providing garden curriculum & teacher training.

Get in touch with Garden School: elizabeth@gardenschoolfoundation.org

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Tell us about your organization, what do you do?

The Garden School Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to providing a wide scope of education through hands-on learning in real-life outdoor classrooms. Turning asphalt into ecosystems, we teach hands-on classes and cooking lessons in the garden classroom and provide educators the tools they need to make school gardens and children thrive. We find that kids who grow vegetables... eat vegetables. Thus, we are passionate about helping students learn to plant seeds, grow food, maintain a garden, harvest their crops, and finally, cook a meal to enjoy together. 

We currently serve at 6 title-1 elementary schools and one Los Angeles high school, reaching over 2,500 students and their families.

Tell us how your organization got started & why.

The Garden School Foundation was founded in 2005, when a coalition of educators, community organizations, and concerned citizens sought to address the connection between poverty, fresh/healthy food access, and academic performance. At our pilot school (24th Street Elementary) we transformed the paved lot into our flagship 1.5 acre garden classroom. It is the most developed and utilized elementary school garden in Los Angeles, containing an outdoor kitchen and classroom, 30 raised vegetable beds, an orchard with over 60 fruit trees, a comprehensive compost demonstration site, and a food production garden. It is here that we have developed and begun to teach our unique Seed to Table curriculum to 600 children in South Los Angeles.

What are you working on right now? What are you most excited about? What's your mission or long-term goals?

GSF's long term mission is to make garden accessible to all students. We're always working to help students & gardens thrive. 

We're working on expanding our Seed to Table program. GSF's Seed to Table is a year-round program of garden-based education for grades K-5th designed to fully integrate gardens into the school community and help schools maximize a garden’s transformative potential. In the program, students visit the garden every other week during the school day for a Nutritional Cooking class or a Science-themed garden class.

This fall we're especially excited about growing 24th Street Elementary's Community Garden Days. On these days, we gather with our friends to do the necessary work of beautifying the garden and keeping it edible for our classes. This year we're introducing fun seasonal cooking demos and workshops at every Community Garden Day. We love watching our students share their garden with their families. 

We're also thrilled to announce our new Teacher Training Program designed to help garden educators take their classes to the next level. Our training sessions are tailored to individual school’s needs and held at the school site. During sessions we share all that we’ve learned in 11+ years of inspiring countless little chefs and gardeners across Los Angeles. Our workshops will include topics such as garden maintenance and development, curriculum and lesson planning, child management in the outdoor classroom, volunteer and community outreach, and the sharing of valuable resources we gathered through years of our years of teaching and community engagement.

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What frustrates you most about your work or the current food culture at large? What do you wish to change the most?

When we feel frustrated about large, systemic issues of inequality in the food culture at large, we focus on local ways we can effect change in our communities.

We believe that in learning to care for soil, plants, and food, students grow to understand the impact they have on their environment and their community. GSF's programming specifically addresses the issues of poverty, food insecurity and lack of access in Los Angeles, which is widely known as a "food desert. 

At our Community Garden Days, we send bags of fresh, organic fruits and veggies home with our community volunteers. We love watching our community interact with the garden, and are happy to make fresh food more accessible. We are excited to watch as this program grows and reaches more and more families.

Any recent moments of optimism? Things you see changing for the better?

We're always inspired by our volunteers who help keep our garden beautiful, organic, and edible. Our volunteers play a vital role in the work that we do at GSF, and our gardens wouldn't thrive without their care. We are hopeful for the future, because we see first-hand the passion of our volunteers and how devoted they are to making the future greener.

What's your favorite vegetable to eat, grow, or wear? 

One of our favorite veggies is beets! Super healthy and dense, they include nutrients like potassium and Vitamin C. They're easy to grow and quite hardy. They look beautiful in salads, and their juice can be used as an all natural dye! Beets are truly a hard-working veggie.

Austin Fermentation Festival, Oct. 22

Leah Sienkowski

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Get in touch with Austin Markets & Fermentation Festival:  marketing@texasfarmersmarket.org

(or buy tickets to the 2017 Festival, HERE)

Tell us about your organization, what do you do?

Texas Farmers’ Markets at Lakeline and Mueller are the only year-round, rain-or-shine, producer only markets in Austin, Texas. The markets are part of a non-profit corporation that aims to help Central Texas producers and consumers grow a sustainable food system!

Vendors at Fermentation Festival 2016 | Photo by Roxanne Rathge

Vendors at Fermentation Festival 2016 | Photo by Roxanne Rathge

What are you working on right now? What are you most excited about? 

Currently we are working hard to organize the 2017 Austin Fermentation Festival! Our Fermentation Festival is an educational event that celebrates all things fermented in Central Texas and will run from 10am – 4:30pm on October 22, 2017 at Barr Mansion.

The Austin Fermentation Festival includes a day of fermentation workshops including hands-on activities, keynote address by author and fermentation revivalist Sandor Katz, a community culture swap, fermented foods and product vendors, along with book sales, an artisan lunch and breakfast menu, fermented beverages, live music, a silent auction, and a mini farmers’ market! Proceeds from the event will benefit the Texas Farmers’ Market Farmer Emergency Fund, which allows us to offer financial assistance to farmers and ranchers in times of environmental, personal or other crisis. You can learn more about the festival, HERE, on our website.

Fermented sourdough bread | photo by Roxanne Rathge

Fermented sourdough bread | photo by Roxanne Rathge

Tell us how your organization got started & why.

The Texas Farmers' Markets at Lakeline & Mueller were founded by Carla Jenkins, our current Market Manager. In the following excerpt, she describes why our practices are so important to the integrity of our markets:

Farm inspections are the best part of my job—ensuring what the farmers are growing is what they are actually offering for sale at the market and how they are advertising their farming methods is actually how their crops are grown. I love hearing the stories of each farmer, and I learn something new with each visit. With each visit I also find out more and more about how difficult it is to be a farmer in Central Texas.

My first farm inspection was at a farm southeast of San Antonio. We drove up to one of the fields, where a hoe lie next to the rows of potatoes; some already uncovered.

“How do you harvest these potatoes, Johnny?” I asked.

“With that hoe,” He said.

The field was at least an acre! I was shocked that he did not have a big tractor with an implement that dug potatoes or someone he paid to dig them. We traveled next to his watermelon field, which he explained had been eaten by wild hogs. From that day, I have continued to be amazed by what farmers and their families do to get food to our tables.

When farmers raise crops organically and sustainably, their efforts and costs often double or triple. Sometimes the bugs or weeds get the crop and they have to abandon it and start over. Farmers who use chemicals in their fields have the advantage of certainty and security—as do ranchers when they give hormones to their steers, adding weight more quickly on less feed. It’s extremely difficult, and sometimes impossible, to create the same products as the conventional farmers using organic practices. So, is it fair for farmers who use chemicals and those who don’t to compete at a farmers’ market? How do the organic growers make enough money for their smaller yields and the crops they have lost and had to replant?

The answers to these questions are complex. There is no way we have enough farmers in our area to require that they all grow with organic methods. Most that use chemicals use them only when absolutely necessary. If they do use chemicals, our practices dictate that they must be honest and transparent about it. We can only host vendors who are upfront when answering these kinds of questions.

Until we have more farmers in our 150 mile radius, we will bring farmers who use integrated pest control management (IPM) to our farmers’ markets to supply your demand. IPM is the selection and use of pest control actions that will ensure favorable economic, ecological and social consequences and is applicable to most agricultural, public health and amenity pest management situations. Make sure you personally support what is important to you, be it local, organic, sustainably grown, lower prices, conventionally grown, or uniform appearance. Your demand is what will drive our farmers’ market future.

As the only producer-only verified market group in town, our policies are strict, so we can assure that vendors are honestly bringing the fruits of their labors and using the practices they tout to shoppers. Please continue to ask questions of your farmer/rancher to understand who is farming sustainably at all times and who relies on integrated pest management and why and how they may use herbicides or pesticides.

Make your own sourdough starter | photo by Roxanne Rathge

Make your own sourdough starter | photo by Roxanne Rathge

Fermentation taste-test | photo by Roxanne Rathge

Fermentation taste-test | photo by Roxanne Rathge

What's your favorite vegetable to eat, grow, or wear?

These days I am really into okra! Before moving to the south I had only ever eaten okra two ways, either deep fried or in a slimy side dish. But after living down here for a number of years, I have learned how versatile and delicious okra is! You can pickle it, roast it, sauté it, cream it, and more. It is also such a great workhorse vegetable, available throughout the hot Texas summer. Sometimes it feels like okra can grow when not much else can. Plus, okra plants and flowers are beautiful and so unique!

Anything you want us to help you spread the word about?

Come one, come all, to the Austin Fermentation Festival 2017! It is great event to that truly brings the Texas fermentation community together. Austin's local NPR station KUT recently ran a wonderful profile of the event on Field & Feast. If you have a moment, you can give it a listen, HERE

 

Real Pickles, MA

Leah Sienkowski

Greenfield, MA. Tamara McKerchie helps run Real Pickles, a worker-owned cooperative transforming local produce into fermented goods--grown, fermented, and sold entirely within the Northeast. Real Pickles operates out of a solar-powered warehouse in Greenfields, MA, and strives to pay fair, living wages, produce an entirely organic product, and contribute to the economy of the Northeast US.

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Get in touch with the Real Pickles crew: tamara@realpickles.com

Tell us about your organization, what do you do?

Real Pickles is a worker co-operative working to change the food system by making pickles! We are committed to promoting human and ecological health by providing people with delicious, nourishing food and by working toward a regional, organic food system.

We aim to produce the highest quality, traditional pickled foods available using natural fermentation. We buy our vegetables only from Northeast family farms and sell our products only within the Northeast. Our ingredients are 100% organic.

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How did you get interested in working with food? What introduced you to and made you passionate about what you do?

It all started when Dan, our founder, began making traditional pickles after attending a workshop at a Northeast Organic Farming Association conference in 1999. Excited about the benefits of locally grown food, he started pickling cabbage, turnips, greens, and other vegetables as a way to eat local produce through the winter. Dan was inspired by the work of Dr. Weston A. Price, a researcher who traveled the world in the 1920s and 30s studying the diets of indigenous peoples. Through this research, Price found that those eating traditional diets enjoyed a high level of health completely unknown in industrialized societies. Dan quickly became devoted to the craft of traditional pickling and, two years later, decided to go into business.

Dan's vision was a small company focused on building a better food system. As one of a tiny handful of businesses producing raw, fermented vegetables, Real Pickles would offer an important and nourishing food that was largely missing from the food system. This new business would also be committed to local/regional food and organic agriculture. Real Pickles would buy its vegetables only from Northeast organic farms and sell its products only within the Northeast.

Real Pickles launched in 2001, purchasing 1,000 pounds of certified organic pickling cucumbers from Chamutka Farm and successfully selling its inaugural batches of Organic Dill Pickles to a couple dozen local stores. The following season, Real Pickles began operating out of the Western Massachusetts Food Processing Center in Greenfield, a business incubator kitchen created to boost the local agricultural economy by providing a venue for making value-added foods with local ingredients. At the Food Processing Center, Dan (joined by Addie Rose) was able to steadily grow the business, adding products like Organic Sauerkraut and Organic Ginger Carrots and expanding sales to stores in the Boston area and then elsewhere around the region.

By 2009 Real Pickles had outgrown the incubator kitchen and was ready to make the leap to their own home. We purchased a century-old industrial building in Greenfield, MA and transformed it into a solar-powered, energy-efficient, organic pickling facility. The move allowed us to expand significantly, tripling our purchases from local farms in the years following. We look forward to staying here for many years to come.

Meanwhile, we’ve demonstrated that there is a real and growing demand for raw, fermented vegetables and that a business as deeply committed to social responsibility as ours can work! In 2013, we turned to preserving our social mission for the long term and--following a successful community investment campaign--took the exciting step of transitioning Real Pickles to a worker co-operative. We are proud to join the ranks of other co-operatives that are supporting local ownership, workplace democracy, and contributing to the co-operative economy!

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What are you working on right now? What are you most excited about? What's your mission or long-term goals?

We are committed to offering wages and benefits that meet the cost of living for the entire Real Pickles staff. In 2014 we set about implementing a multi-year plan to reach this goal, and we're proud of the progress we've made to date. This year we increased our base hourly wage to $13 which puts us halfway toward our goal of offering a $15 per hour wage to all entry level staff. Additionally, we joined Business for Fair Minimum Wage in calling for increases to the Massachusetts minimum wage to reach $15 per hour by 2021.

We operate Real Pickles out of a solar powered, energy-efficient, 6,500 square foot organic pickling facility on Wells Street in Greenfield, MA. We are always striving to become more efficient and reduce our carbon footprint. This spring, we surpassed 100,000 kWh in electricity generation from our 17 kW photo-voltaic system. Installed in April 2011 by our neighbor and fellow worker co-op PV Squared, our 80 solar panels have provided over 75% of our electricity needs since that time. We are especially pleased that 65 tons of carbon dioxide to date have been kept out of the atmosphere thanks to the clean, renewable power generated by the solar array atop the Real Pickles roof!

What frustrates you most about your work or the current food culture at large? What do you wish to change the most?

We work to support a regional and organic food system, which means we want to see:

1. Fresher, healthier food, raised with an emphasis on flavor and nutrition, rather than shelf-life and transportability.

2. Strong rural communities with profitable, sustainable family farms and plenty of green open space.

3. Vast reductions in fossil fuel use for long-distance transport, resulting in less pollution and a more stable global climate, strong local/regional economies, with more money circulating within our communities and regions, and more jobs created.

4. A more democratic food system, in which people have more power to decide what food is available and how it is produced, resulting in a cleaner, safer, more diverse food supply and cleaner, safer food, free of pesticide residues, growth hormones, and genetic engineering.

5. Living, fertile soil, which leads to higher nutrient levels in our food and is essential to agricultural sustainability.

6. Healthy ecosystems, rich in biodiversity and with clean waterways unpolluted by pesticide and fertilizer runoff.

Any recent moments of optimism? Things you see changing for the better?

Every jar of Real Pickles works to support this mission, and sales are strong. People care about their health, communities, environment and economies. This is a good sign!

All photos in this interview belong to REAL PICKLES and were used with permission.

All photos in this interview belong to REAL PICKLES and were used with permission.

What's your favorite vegetable to eat, grow, or wear?

Right now we're all about cucumbers. Cucumber season in the Northeast is passing and fermentation is under way to preserve the bountiful harvest. We are celebrating this tasty vegetable in every way possible!

Anything else you want us to know? Anything you want us to help you spread the word about?

Turmeric! Turmeric has been getting a lot of attention lately for its health benefits, and what many people may not realize is that it can be grown in the Northeast! We have an amazing farm right here in the Pioneer Valley, Old Friends Farm, who grows fresh turmeric root (and ginger!) for us to use in our Turmeric Kraut. So for those of you looking to use turmeric in your diets, look no further than your regional farmer!

Kraut Source, CA

Leah Sienkowski

San Francisco, CA. Karen Diggs is the inventor of Kraut Source, a tool which attaches to a wide mouth Ball jar, making fermentation easy for the home cook/maker. With Kraut Source's tools & recipes, you can fill your kitchen with magical small-batch ferments of all kinds and colors. Visit krautsource.com for inspiration galore, educational video shorts, and your own starter kit. Kraut Source opens the door to fermentation projects which go way past the pickle. Ferment your own relish, hot sauce, and more!

Save 15% off Kraut Source products online through 9/22 with code: fermentfriends2017 

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Get in Touch with Karen Diggs at Kraut Source: karen@krautsource.com

Tell us about your organization, what do you do?

I am the inventor and founder of Kraut Source - Fermentation Made Simple.

Tell us how your organization got started & why.

I am a chef, culinary instructor, certified nutritionist, and passionate fermenter. In 2014, I launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund Kraut Source, and we were backed by over 3,000 supporters! Our mission at Kraut Source is to encourage people to make their own fermented foods at home and to educate them about the health benefits.

Pomegranate Kraut - get the recipe!

Pomegranate Kraut - get the recipe!

What are you working on right now? What are you most excited about?

I am working on another Kickstarter project, unrelated to Kraut Source (!!!)
I am working on a pickles book.
I am continuing to be an ambassador of good microbes and teaching people how to make fermented foods.
I am trying to lead a plastic-free life.
I am a member of the Pachamama Alliance and am passionate about environmental issues.

What frustrates you most about your work or the current food culture at large? What do you wish to change the most?

Waste, plastic packaging, and fast foods (the Kraut Source packaging can be returned to the earth by composting--or planting, in the case of the seed paper insert).

The general public's addiction to sugar and convenience foods.


Learn right from the (kraut) source how to make real, living pickles! Then visit krautsource.com for more recipes, video shorts, and your own starter kit! 
*video produced by Food Gurus

Any recent moments of optimism? Things you see changing for the better?

Lots of people are taking interest in farming and sustainable practices--a hopeful beginning.

What's your favorite vegetable to eat, grow, or wear?

Cabbage!

Anything else you want us to know? Anything you want us to help you spread the word about?

We can make this world better by first nourishing our internal eco-system (our microbiome) with fermented foods. Once we are healthy and in balance, we can heal the exterior eco-system that is our precious Mother Earth.

Cultured Love, MI

Leah Sienkowski

Grand Rapids, MI. Jodie Krumpe and her small crew turn West Michigan produce into krauts of many sizzling flavors, colors & dispositions. Cultured Love's mantra is "good food, good mood"--indeed, the company works to change eating habits in their community by offering the promise of gut healing and improved wellness. Find their colorful, flavor-packed krauts in stores and markets around West Michigan!

Get in touch with Cultured Love: jodie@culturedlove.com

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Tell us about your organization, what do you do?

Cultured Love endeavors to make good food possible for anyone by raising awareness of ideas and issues at the intersection of food and health and by producing natural and nutritious, fermented foods. Through their products and classes, Cultured Love helps consumers identify and prepare their own fermented food and learn about the effects of food choices on well-being.

How did you get interested in working with food? What made you passionate about what you do?

Cultured Love started producing specialty organic sauerkraut in Grand Rapid's Downtown Market Incubator Kitchen in Grand Rapids in Sept 2014. We found ourselves in the food business after walking through 8 years with our daughter’s chronic illness. After being diagnosed with Lyme disease and undergoing 2 years of antibiotic treatment, we transitioned into more natural care, recognizing acutely the connection between what we eat, its impact on our gut health, and the effect on how we feel, think, and heal. We modified our diet based on the GAPS protocol (gut healing diet) which includes the introduction of fermented foods. As we healed, we began to tell people about our experience, and they began to ask us for help with their own diets. Our products and educational services are a way to pass along what we've learned and the healing we've experienced.

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What are you working on right now? What are you most excited about?

It has been our mission from inception to "Make Good Food Possible." Many people are like us and are only motivated to change their diets when they begin to suffer from disease or poor health. Often, by this time, they are too sick to get out of bed, let alone plan a meal, shop and cook. At Cultured Love, our goal therefore is to meet people at their greatest point of resistance to good food, whether it’s a matter of awareness, tools and skills, or access. For the indignant or unaware we offer access to information, and education. For those lacking the skills to source, shop, and cook, we provide training. For those who lack the energy, time, or inclination to do it themselves, we offer ready-to-eat products as a means to more quickly and easily get access to good foods.

What frustrates you most about your work or the current food culture at large? What do you wish to change the most?

Some people have bad memories and associations from childhood when it comes to kraut, and others dismiss it without giving it a try. Our products are designed to be accessible to a broad range of people and taste preferences, and we do see many of these naysayers "converted" once they've tried our krauts.

Any recent moments of optimism? Things you see changing for the better?

Our #1 target market is young mothers who want to feed their kids healthy foods. We LOVE when young people give our krauts a try, and usually they really like it. One of my favorite moments was when a mother said "your product is the only way my child will eat vegetables." Changing the tastes and diets of the next generation is really exciting.

What's your favorite vegetable to eat, grow, or wear?

We love to roasted cauliflower and Brussel's sprouts! We also think cabbage is stunning when cut in half (but were biased...)

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Anything else you want us to know? Anything you want us to help you spread the word about?

We are in the process of moving into a new kitchen of our own which will allow us to do more research to develop new products! Look for us at stores and farmers markets around West Michigan and stay tuned for a new ecommerce website. Until then, email me at jodie@culturedlove.com to buy our krauts!

Fermentation is Love.

Leah Sienkowski

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What is fermentation?

Fermentation is a process found throughout nature. In essence, fermentation is the way that tiny creatures--bacteria, yeast, or other microbes--break down the sugars in a substance to produce things like:

1) Organic acids--the sour taste in things like kraut and yogurt
2) Alcohols--a beloved component of adult beverages
3) Gases--the fizz in your kombucha
4) Energy/Heat--this is why you get warm when you exercise (your muscles cells use fermentation to get energy from the food you eat)

In a world obsessed with purity and cleanliness, we forget that many of our favorite foods are made by the bacteria we aim to banish! Foods like wine, beer, chocolate and cheese! Through the process of fermentation, these bacteria create some of our very favorite flavors, textures, and smells.

There's also a growing interest in the fermentation of vegetables--or more like a resurgence, as humans have been fermenting their veggies for thousands of years. When we talk about fermented veggies, we're talking, of course, about goodies like kraut, kimchi, miso, and real, living pickles! Vegetables take on a whole new flavor profile in fermentation, and making your own veggie ferments is cheap, easy, and extremely healthy.

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Fermentation is life.

Fermentation works by allowing microbes (naturally present on the surface of living things) to do the good work of converting sugars into alcohols & organic acids--which together form "esters," the unique flavors compounds of fermentation.

When we ferment vegetables, we submerge them in saltwater, which helps kill off any bad bacteria and leaves a special class of microbes called "lactobacilli." These bacteria are the powerhouses of fermentation, transforming the sugars in our cucumbers or cabbage into living goodness. Fermented products are both delicious and good for our bodies and minds, improving digestion and intestinal health, enhancing our immune system, decreasing allergies, lowering inflammation, controlling weight gain, and protecting against infection.*

Pickling mimics the taste of fermented products but not the health benefits. Instead of allowing acids to form naturally, the veggies in conventionally produced pickles are flavored with vinegar and spices and canned (heat-treated to kill bacteria & sealed to keep them out). While fermentation produces an acidic environment in which bad bacteria cannot grow, pickling kills off the bacteria and prevents the vegetables from embarking on the journey of fermentation. 

The benefit of pickling is that before you crack open a jar, it can last for a very long time without refrigeration (with fermented foods, you have to store them in the fridge once fermentation is complete). The downside is that you miss out on all the great health benefits of consuming a living food. Either way, you're preserving the harvest.

*(Learn more about the health benefits of fermentation from our partners at Real Pickles, a cooperative in Massachusetts)

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Fermentation is love.

Here at Tater Tats we celebrate stuff that brings us closer to the earth and more at home in our bodies and our communities.

Fermentation allows us to prolong the life of the plants in our garden and from our local farmers, transforming excess into edible treasures, savoring the seasons and saving up the earth's energy for the times we crave it most. In this way, fermentation helps us love the earth and its caretakers.

There is also so many health benefits to eating a side of kimchi with your meal--stirring it into your gazpacho or hummus, or sprinkling it on your baked potato. Appearing in cuisines all over the world, fermented products have been nourishing us for 10,000 years. When we continue this tradition, we love our bodies and the bodies of those we care for.

For more information about fermentation & to learn how to incorporate more fermented foods into your life, check out these good folks, below. They've helped us as we've hone this craft & inspired us to try new fermented things!

Cultured Love
These good folks in West Michigan make delicious organic kraut from local produce with a focus on gut healing and wellness.

Kraut Source 
This must-have tool helps you make your own small-batch ferments. The Kraut Source website is full of great recipes & educational videos.

Real Pickles
This cooperative turns excess produce from Northeast organic farms into living pickles. If you live in the Northeast, check them out!

Austin Fermentation Festival
This October 22nd Texans gather to celebrate their love of fermented foods with renowned expert Sandor Katz delivering the keynote speech. If you're not in Texas, look for a fermentation festival closer to home! San Diego and Santa Barbara host an annual celebration, as does Boston, Massachusetts.


(Header image used with permission from Real Pickles.)

Kids Eat in Color, MD

Leah Sienkowski

Jennifer Anderson (College Park, MD) is a registered dietitian with an masters degree in Public Health. She's passionate about changing the way we feed our children, catering to picky palates in a way that does not compromise health. Her colorful bento boxes have developed a loyal Instagram following and high child-approval rating. In the following interview, Jennifer shares some tips and encouragement on how to raise the next generation of veggie and fruit lovers. 

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Bow Hill Blueberries, WA

Leah Sienkowski

Bow Hill Blueberries is located in the Skagit valley in Northwest Washington. The farm specializes in organic blueberry production and has over 4500 bushes of heirloom berries available for weekend u-pick, purchase in the farm store, and at various markets and stores, including the Puget Sound Food Hub. They also make a variety of value-added products--this season, they are excited about their new Cold-Pressed Blueberry Juice & Heirloom Blueberry Powder

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Massaro Community Farm, CT

Leah Sienkowski

Woodbridge, CT. Rebecca Toms is part of the spirit behind Massaro Community Farm, a 100-year old farm on 57 acres that is run as a nonprofit. Massaro donate ten percent of their food to hunger relief organizations and runs workshops, camps, and events for the community. In addition to preserving farmland, the CSA farm is also committed to preserving the wild spaces on their land.

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Black Bird Farm, MI

Jenna Weiler

Coopersville, MI. In 2016 Tater Tats helped Blackbird Farms buy a seedbed roller, to streamline their transplant process. The farm, run by Greg Dunn is located in Coopersville, Michigan, not far from where we operate Tater Tats. Greg grows over one-hundred varieties of vegetables on sixteen acres for market and CSA. We first met Greg through our local farmers alliance West Michigan Growers Group and have enjoyed hearing his stories--laced with sarcasm--at our monthly potlucks. When he isn't farming, Greg offers garden teaching & consultation services. He also throws a mean bonfire.

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HOMEFRONT FARMERS, CT

Jenna Weiler

Ridgefield, CT. John Carlson runs a business turning home-owners into farmers by installing raised beds & turning yards into food forests. Homefront Farmers teach their clients organic farming methods and offer garden maintenance, harvest, and seasonal cleanup, in addition to initial installation.

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Good Soil Events // Foodtalks, D.C.

Jenna Weiler

Washington D.C. Through our work with Tater Tats, we've met a lot of cool people. Melissa Jones is one of those people. She's got a spirit for activism, she loves food, and she's built a business that combines these things and brings stories of food to the forefront. GoodSoil + FoodTalks are the result of her curiosity and insistence that food stories need telling and that EVERYONE has one.

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River House Farm, TN

Jenna Weiler

Melissa Rebholz is a prime example of how farmers must be Jacks & Jills of all trades. With a collective ten years of farming experience, Melissa and Severian run Riverhouse Farm on a few acres in Eastern Tennessee. In 2017 Tater Tats helped fund a pump so they could utilize the Nolichuckey River, their farm namesake, to irrigate their fields. 

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Commonwealth Urban Farm, OK

Leah Sienkowski

We speak to Elia Woods about their passion-driven work at CommonWealth Urban Farm, an urban micro-farm in Oklahoma City. Their words contain what we've heard from farmers all over: how good farming tastes, how unappreciated it can be, but also absolutely rejuvenating & necessary. Tater Tats helped fund a drip irrigation system for their new hoophouse. You can contact Elia Woods at info@commonwealthurbanfarms.com

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Troy Waterfront Market, NY

Jenna Weiler

Liz Hammond tells us about her lifelong journey toward food justice and the optimism she's found bringing discussions of food access and immigration to the table. She is currently the operations manager at the farmers market in Troy, New York.

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