Friday, October 30, 2009

Week in Photos

Sugar snap peas

Butternut squash

Brussel Sprouts

Emily with the final product...yum.

At ABC stage 8, loading up the truck

Clearly meat carcasses hanging in a slaughter house
How does it feel to be Mr. Steele?

Building the set

Before it was pie...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Message from Professor Vallianatos

You may have heard that residence life is creating student-led themed dorms and houses. They will launching a 'green' house for students to move into starting in January 2010. (There isn't yet a formal name for the house).
There will room for 6 or 7 students- sophomores, juniors, or seniors. The ideal occupants would be interested in sustinability, green living, and/or food and cooking. The students living there will help green the house, perhaps through gardening, making it more energy and water efficient, etc. Students would also be required to share green living tips with the campus once or twice a month through events like tours or cooking demonstrations.
The house is a detached home owned by the college. It is located at 4863 stratford near the Rangeview res hall. There is not time or money to rebuild the house right now as an up-to-date, certified green building. But over time the hope is that sustainable materials, living practices, and systems can be implemented (solar panels, rainwater capture, efficient lights, better insulation etc). Some of these green renovations can hopefully be pilot programs for the entire campus. Students living in the house can help research and develop a plan for greening the house.
Residence life asked me to help spread the word to see if there are students interested in being part of the initial groups of students who would finalize the proposal for the house and move into it next semester. They haven't completed the application form quite yet but you can email if you are interested. I'm happy to chat with you about it if you're potentially interested. If you have friends who might be interested, feel free to forward this message to them.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Recipe

We are baking 9 pies for a Taste of Oxy. Here is the recipe :)

27 eggs
3 cups of sugar
7.5 pounds pumpkin puree
7 pounds and 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
13.5 oz. butter, melted and cooled

9 Tbsp flour
4 1/2 tsp ground ginger
4 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 1/8 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine eggs, sugar, milk and pumpkin in a large bowl and whisk until well blended. Add butter and stir until thoroughly blended.
Mix the dry ingredients together and add it to the pumpkin mixture.
Pour the batter into crust and bake 45-50 minutes until firm to the touch, and set in the center when you shake it gently.
Cool completely

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What did YOU have for dinner last night?

If only...

I've pretty much given up on grad school at the moment (no time to study for that damned GRE) and would love to find myself living here:

Who's with me? If Colombia doesn't interest you I am also looking for Farming Cooperatives here on the west coast, let me know if you have any leads.

Chicken Update

Hey All,
Today we had the first chicken task force meeting and it went REALLY well. We are definitely on our way to chickendom. We have outlined the report we are making for risk management (who I have e-mailed to set up a meeting) and are making progress for our deadline on Friday. We still have plans to use Annika's coop design with possibly a few alterations, including 1/4 inch wire instead of chicken wire to keep out pesky and harmful animals, and possibly a piece of wood on the bottom to keep out rats and make the area easier to clean. We estimate that the coop will cost about $200 (based on a design and estimate we found online)- which we can apply for from the Sustainability Fund. Before we can really decide how many and what kind of chickens we should get, we really need to get the go-ahead from Risk Management and Facilities, but we went ahead and looked anyways. We thought, in terms of egg production, that we would initially get 5 chickens which would produce about 5 eggs/week -- we thought that was a pretty reasonable number of eggs to start with. In terms of types of chickens, we are looking at Araucana (blue and green eggs, quiet, docile, etc.), Barred Rocks (black and white speckled and reliable) and possibly some New Hampshire Reds (we have kind of ruled these out for the moment, but please let us know how you feel about them). We were going to order them online, but again, if anyone knows any local hatcheries let us know! Joellen Anderson suggested that we "adopt" abused chickens from bad mean farms, but we decided that initally it would be pretty difficult as it will be the first time for some of us working with chickens. We really want to look to this in the future, but we want to make sure that we can actually give the chickens everything they need before we any that have already been abused. If you are interested in being on the taskforce e-mail us at Just wanted to update people on the progress we are making. Get excited for this week, it's about to be jam-packed with fun activities!


Friday, October 23, 2009

Garden Wrap-Up and Big Week Ahead

Hi Everyone,
Great day in the garden yesterday (as usual). Giulia brought a delicious homemade pumpkin pie that we devoured.
We also cleared some more of the summer beds and planted to new crops. I'm not sure if it was a good idea but we planted one bed with carrots and chard in the shape of a double-helix-- one strand with carrots and one with chard. It should look pretty rad (I'm not so sure about maximum efficiency on that one).
We also turned the pile and made a new one. All in under an hour and a half. We are rock stars.
IMPORTANT: We want to show alum and parents the garden tomorrow from 1-2. If anyone wants to join me in the quad from 12-1 to pass out fliers that tell where the garden is and then hang with me from 1-2 in the garden to host parents that would be AMAAZING! I will send out an email about this.
Also e are still putting on the haunted house on Thursday and hosting a booth at a Taste of Oxy. We are meeting on Sunday at 3 to assemble materials for the haunted house and again on Thursday at 3 to put it all together. Please meet us outside Johnson 200 for both of these meetings.
In terms of pumpkin pies for the Taste of Oxy booth we are going to meet at UEP on Friday morning at nine. We will have people baking there all day in "shifts"-- please drop by if you have the time!
See you soon,

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pictures from the gaaarden

Planting the odds-and-ends herb bed
Butter lettuce peeking through the radishes

Bruce didn't love the trellis we made but we do...
Who wouldn't want to come to the garden?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Food and Urban Planning

So, as an aspiring urban planning and farmer, I have been collecting a few articles about the nexus of food and planning.

Here is a really interesting video about feeding cities, and the ever growing distance between where we live and where we get our food. It also talks about the impact of living in a city on the natural food landscape.

This next article is actually pretty exciting because it is linked to a project I am working on (as an unpaid intern). Basically, Councilwoman Jan Perry has proposed a moratorium on convenience stores and provides incentives for real grocery stores with fresh fruits and vegetables. The ban is based on a more comprehensive initiative for land-use reform in South Los Angeles, promoting sustainable neighborhoods which includes eating healthier.,0,2469583.story?track=rss

Finally, here is an article about the food desert issue (which UEP students have been tackling in their comps) about who has access to fresh food and the disparities between high and low-income communities in terms of food access:

I know it's a lot of information, but it's all relevant if you're interested in either planning or food or both!

Have a great fall break guys, and get ready to eat a ton of radishes!


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thomas Jefferson and Agriculture

In light of the fact that I am taking a course on the founding of the American presidency I thought I would share some quotes from one of our all time favorite Presidents, Thomas Jefferson, about agriculture:

c. 1781. "Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever he had a chosen people, whose breasts he has made his peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue. It is the focus in which he keeps alive that sacred fire, which otherwise might escape from the face of the earth."

"Cultivators of the earth are the most virtuous and independant citizens." (Notes on the State of Virginia, Writings.290, 301)

Italian Agricultural Award given TJ1785 Aug. 23. "Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independant, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and wedded to it's liberty and interests by the most lasting bands." (TJ to John Jay, B.8.426)

1785 Oct. 28. "It is not too soon to provide by every possible means that as few as possible shall be without a little portion of land. The small landholders are the most precious part of a state." (TJ to James Madison, B.8.682)

1787 Dec. 20. "I think our governments will remain virtuous for many centuries; as long as they are chiefly agricultural." (TJ to James Madison, B.12.442)

1793 June 28. "Good husbandry with us consists in abandoning Indian corn and tobacco, tending small grain, some red clover following, and endeavoring to have, while the lands are at rest, a spontaneous cover of white clover. I do not present this as a culture judicious in itself, but as good in comparison with what most people there pursue. (TJ to George Washington, GB191)

1795 Apr. 29. "It [agriculture] is at the same time the most tranquil, healthy, and independent [occupation]." (TJ to J. N. Démeunier, Writings.1028)

1795 Sep. 8. "I am become the most industrious and ardent farmer of the canton . . . ." (TJ to Madame de Tessé, DLC)

1803 Nov. 14. "The class principally defective is that of agriculture. It is the first in utility, and ought to be the first in respect. The same artificial means which have been used to produce a competition in learning, may be equally successful in restoring agriculture to its primary dignity in the eyes of men. It is a science of the very first order. It counts among it handmaids of the most respectable sciences, such as Chemistry, Natural Philosophy, Mechanics, Mathematics generally, Natural History, Botany. In every College and University, a professorship of agriculture, and the class of its students, might be honored as the first. Young men closing their academical education with this, as the crown of all other sciences, fascinated with its solid charms, and at a time when they are to choose an occupation, instead of crowding the other classes, would return to the farms of their fathers, their own, or those of others, and replenish and invigorate a calling, now languishing under contempt and oppression. The charitable schools, instead of storing their pupils with a lore which the present state of society does not call for, converted into schools of agriculture, might restore them to that branch qualified to enrich and honor themselves, and to increase the productions of the nation instead of consuming them." (TJ to David Williams, L&B.10.429-30)

1810 June 27. "I think it the duty of farmers who are wealthier than others to give those less so the benefit of any improvements they can introduce, gratis." (TJ to Joseph Dougherty, FB134)

1817 May 10. "The pamphlet you were so kind as to send me manifests a zeal, which cannot be too much praised, for the interests of agriculture, the employment of our first parents in Eden, the happiest we can follow, and the most important to our country." (TJ to William Johnson, GB572)

1821 July 30. "With respect to the boys I never till lately doubted but that I should be able to give them a competence as comfortable farmers, and no station is more honorable or happy than that." (TJ to Thomas Mann Randolph, DLC)

--Lucia C. Stanton, Monticello Research Department, May 1994

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Funding for Haunted House

Just got back from ASOC funding meeting with the good news that we have been allotted $169.50 for our haunted house pre and post Food Inc. screening. So far we have money for a fog machine, strobe light, paper mache materials and misc. sheets and cords. Please email feastoxy@gmail if you have more ideas for this event (that will be held on Oct. 28).

Hillside Produce Cooperative

Hi Everyone,

Check out this neat organization that does produce swaps in the area. If we had known about this earlier maybe we could have swapped some patty-pan for a more diverse plate of fruits and veggies. What strikes me the most is how many creative things people are growing in their backyards.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pictures from the thursday pot-luck and sunday brunch

Hi all, 
I wish I had gotten more close ups of all the amazing food you brought but these are the pics I have for now:

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Celebrity Crushes

I've never been one to have crushes on celebrities but Jamie Oliver is an exception. Below is a link to an NY Times story about all the work he has done promoting home-cooking and healthy eating:


This is important:
Please take this survey (link below). The goal is to figure out how much students actually care about having local and organic options at the dining facilities on campus. This last week the MP has gone 100% local so it IS possible-- they just need to know that students care. We care. So take the survey and pass it along to your friends who care too!

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

More Good News

Hi everyone,

Two pieces of good news turned up today.

1) I ordered the shirts on Monday (as in two days ago) and then mens' have already arrived! There are some really nice colors; they look great.

2) Trader Joe's is donating their straw (from their pumpkin patch display) to FEAST to use for our compost pile! If you see more local pumpkin patches ask them what they do with their straw and if they would be willing to donate it (or sell it) to us. We can keep track and just pick a whole bunch up after Halloween.

I hope everyone is having as good a day as FEAST is :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Beautiful chicken coop sketch

Annika made this beautiful sketch as a possible chicken coop design. What do you think? Please leave comments with your ideas!