Welcome to the Seedling Projects blog! We like sharing our thoughts, and what we're up to. Education, environment, health and much more, consumes our thoughts day in and day out. Take a look...

Jan 27, 2011 | posted in Partners by seedlingprojects

Gamma Nine

Gamma Nine is a food-centric photography firm with roots firmly planted in San Francisco. Our thought approach is clean and harmonious, while still capturing diverse styles to evoke the essence of a dish, story, brand, or event through imagery. Add beautiful visual cues to your website/point-of-sale/marketing to bring your brand to life! We create intelligent imagery.

Jan 20, 2011 | posted in Press by seedlingprojects

Tasty, Authentic, Responsible: Inside the Good Food Awards

Last weekend’s Good Food Awards transformed San Francisco’s Ferry Building into a reinvented county fair with artisans from 26 states traveling to collect their prizes and share their wares. At Friday night’s gala, red, white, and blue bunting and a stage framed by the American flag hinted at the organizer’s ambitious national intentions for the fledgling awards: “We want the Good Food Awards to be for artisan food producers what the James Beard Awards are for chefs,” said Sarah Weiner, its founder.

The pickles and preserves producers are channeling a rich vein of American food tradition—one that’s been waiting to be channeled. Weiner, the former Director of Communications for Slow Food International, built the awards on the solid base of 2008′s successful Slow Food Nation conference, an event she helped organize. Like Slow Food Nation, the Good Food Awards are grounded in the philosophy that in order to be truly “good,” food needs to be also clean and fair (although the organizers have been careful to adapt that particular Slow Food-branded “clean and fair” mantra, preferring “celebrating food that is tasty, authentic and responsibly produced”).

Full Article by David Prior

Jan 19, 2011 | posted in Blog by seedlingprojects

One More Thank You: The Interns!

I enjoy making things happen from behind the scenes. As Alice Waters’ assistant, quietly fixing problems, it was a modus operandi that maximized what could be done, and continued to serve when I moved on to other endeavors. This weekend I was quite literally thrust onto stage: Dominic Phillips, brilliant event producer and co-founder of Seedling Projects, insisted that as the Director I must say a few words to close the Good Food Awards Ceremony, stage fright be damned.

Relieved that that was over, I wandering down to the reception looking forward to some incredible food. My beeline for the prosciutto was foiled by a pair of coppa producers from Georgia, a kimchee crafter from Washington DC, coffee roasters from Massachusetts and a dozen other winners who, one after the other, stopped me to say thank you for starting the Good Food Awards. Many of them had tears in their eyes. I didn’t know quite how to respond – but it was an experience I will never forget, and which I know will influence what I do in the future.

I imagine many of the 71 winners felt the same way on Friday night: widely appreciated for what they do for the first time. And perhaps today they feel like I do, a little shell shocked and hopeful that they were gracious in the face of a new sort of appreciation.  Working in their garage roasting coffee, in cellars cleaning up exploding kegs, tediously seeding ground cherries to make preserves or spending a week picking June Bugs off raspberries to keep them pesticide free, they are not usually in the public eye. When they are through with their work, the fruits of their labor sit proudly on market shelves, giving us endless joy, but they remain in the garage or the kitchen and rarely get to see how thankful we are for their exceptionally delicious beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, pickles and preserves.

On Friday night, the fooderati of the Bay Area and beyond came out to thank them. It was standing room only after the hundreds of chairs were filled, and the applause when their names were announced reverberated all around the historic Ferry Building. At the Saturday Good Food Awards Marketplace, thousands of people were there to taste and buy their wares – we actually ran out of tasting spoons – and many of the winners sold out. For a salami maker from Salt Lake City or farmstead cheesemakers from Wisconsin, it must have been quite an experience to see just how many have an interest in tasty, authentic, responsible food.

Photos by Marc Fiorito of Gamma Nine Photography

Many hands went into the creation and implementation of the first Good Food Awards. We managed to thank most of them from stage, or on signage this past weekend. However, there were a handful of people who have no logo to paste on a sign or fancy titles to recount. Without their dedication the Good Food Awards would never have come to life. So, I’m pleased to now give the Seedling Projects interns their first lesson in accepting public thanks. I have a feeling it is a skill they will need in the future.

Norris Hung, thank you for your creativity, good humor and keen eye in designing so much of our signage and materials. Hannah Hausauer, thank you for tirelessly scouring the country to get entries and diligently helping the press team get the word out. Sarah King, thank you for being my right hand woman, always with a smile and a cool head. Gavin Crynes, the most frequently asked question I got all weekend was “Is Gavin here? We would love to finally meet him.” Thank you for taking such good care of everyone honored this weekend, without ever letting slip any of the event logistics. Do you ever get tired?

To all of you, and to the three interns who came before you – Amy Chu, Emily Morgan and Shane Michalik – congratulations on a beautiful weekend, and thanks for your hard work.

- Sarah Weiner, Director of Seedling Projects

Gavin Crynes, Amy Chu, Emily Morgan, Sarah King, Norris Hung, Sarah Weiner, Hannah Hausauer

| posted in Blog by seedlingprojects

Farm to Desk DC: Off to a Good Start!

Seedling Projects’ East Coast venture, Farm to Desk D.C., is off and growing!  Even with the garden ground still frozen (and dusted with snow), third-graders are experiencing food and ecology topics daily.  For a math lesson about writing digits up to 10,000, classes talked about rice in different cultures and wrote the number of grains found in a cup, half-cup, quarter-cup, and smaller.  In English Language Arts, they inferred character traits by reading a story about cooking chicken soup for a sick friend.

At the same time, students have started a twice-weekly elective that will eventually move outside and into the kitchen.  The first several classes tackled the question of what is food, and what is ecology?  Students brainstormed their families’ food traditions, and took a survey that measured their preferences.  In one class, students sampled Kartoffelpuffer, a traditional German pancake.  They liked the taste, but especially had fun practicing the German word!

-Peter Nalli, Food and Farm Curriculum Director

Jan 18, 2011 | posted in Blog by seedlingprojects

Farm to Desk DC: Muffins and Maternity Wear

While visiting Brooklyn recently, I rode the Franklin Avenue Shuttle from a gentrifying part of Bedford-Stuyvesant to Park Slope.  On the train, two girls were loudly arguing about whether BJ’s or Costco has better muffins.  While the bakery trash-talk escalated, my heart sank as I pictured the huge, fat- and preservative-laden muffins that come on pallets of twenty-four.  As one of the girls finally shouted, “who cares about your muffins, have you tried BJ’s cheesecake?!,” I arrived at my stop.

Moments later, strolling past yoga studios and locally-sourced maternity clothes in Park Slope, I caught up with two mothers and their ten-year old sons.  One of the pair loudly proclaimed, “that was barely a salad bar at all!  Our school‘s salad bar has more than one type of lettuce and no Jell-O!  Who ever heard of Jell-O in a salad bar?”  The mothers nodded approvingly.

Seedling Projects works to equalize the diverging paths down which these kids are charging.  Great teachers aim to equip the children of Bedford-Stuyvesant to debate Shakespeare and complete calculus problems with students in Park Slope.  In Washington, D.C, we work to ensure that all children choose food that fuels their achievement and liberates them from chronic obesity, diabetes, and attention disorders.  The second educational achievement gap today is a Hunger Gap that when addressed correctly, puts all students on a path to opportunity.

-Peter Nalli, Food and Farm Curriculum Director for Farm to Desk D.C.

Jan 13, 2011 | posted in Blog by seedlingprojects

Get Excited About Local Pork!

Seedling Projects recently started a new outreach campaign for the film, Pig Business, an investigative documentary that reveals the true price consumers pay for cheap pork. Produced and directed by a British mother of three and marchioness, Tracy Worcester, Pig Business can at times be hard to watch, as you see the harsh realities of CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation), but the film also peels back the layers of the industrial food system, showing consumers how small and medium-scale pig farmers’ livelihoods are put in jeopardy, while taking a close look at the environmental and health impact these giant producers have without proper regulation or consequence to their actions.

What I really love is that this film doesn’t stop there, it asks that you to support local farmers and pork produced without harmful hormones and antibiotics — basically pork that is good for you, the economy, and the environment. There’s nothing more easy than buying local pork and then tasting the difference for yourself.

This coming March the film is going to screened in Washington DC for farmers, and NGOs, with special host Robert Kennedy, Jr., head of the Waterkeepers Alliance and huge supporter of the film and legislation against large pork producers world-wide (he is in the movie!).

Want to see the film? Watch it streaming online here for FREE  or contact us at Seedling Projects for ways to share the film and get involved.

Also, a great book to check out is CAFO: The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Factories, Edited by Daniel Imhoff, featuring essays by Wendell Berry, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr, Michael Pollan, and many more…

- Shane

“Eating is an agricultural act.”
— Wendell Berry