It’s killed me not to have time to post on my blog, but with grad school and two jobs free time becomes limited. I actually started a blog at one of my jobs, a non-profit called Sankofa here in New Orleans. They do work to educate kids in the Upper Ninth Ward on nutrition and gardening. The company has several community gardens and started a mobile market to reach those living in “food deserts” in the Lower Ninth Ward. Until a few weeks ago, I was their Nutrition Educator doing programming, manning the blog, and even presenting on health to the staff. Due to funding issues, they had to let me go. But that just means more time to write for my personal blog! Check out Sankofa’s blog here: http://sankofacdc.blogspot.com/
I’m also happy to announce that my first semester of graduate school is complete! I loved all my classes (okay well maybe not biostats), and created some amazing work along the way. For my food and nutrition policy class I paired up with a classmate to create a short video addressing the issue of “food deserts” here in New Orleans. When all these neighborhoods have are convenience stores and fast food places like this…
…it’s no wonder there’s an obesity epidemic. Watch the short video addressing this issue below…
Beginning June 1st (this past Sunday) I began the 4th annual New Orleans Eat Local Challenge. There are four different levels to pledge at; Ultra Strict, Strict, Lenient, and Ultra Lenient. I pledged at the Ultra Lenient level. Since I’m relatively new to town and unfamiliar with the food availability around here, I decided to start slow. My intention for the challenge is to learn about local foods available near me and therefore eat in a more sustainable way. Of course I’ll be documenting my adventures along the way.
Through the month of June participants get discounts at local farmers markets, good eggs, and the local food co-op.
In preparation for the start of the challenge, I went to Grow Dat Youth Farm to pick up my CSA filled with arugula, Swiss chard, green onions, assorted cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and various zucchini. I then picked up my Eat Local Challenge package at Rouse’s Market. The packet included some local salt and local brown rice. From Rouse’s I also grabbed some local sweet potatoes and fresh purple basil that had been grown on the store’s roof.
On Sunday the challenge started and my local eating began. So far I’ve had some delicious meals featuring local food; kale, a strawberry, banana smoothie (local kale and strawberries), and an arugula salad with cherry tomatoes, avocado, chickpeas, and a smashed veggie burger (local arugula and tomatoes). For a late night snack I made stove-top popped popcorn with local salt.
Today I placed my first order with Good Eggs. I ordered: a basket of strawberries, mesclun mix, red potatoes, Pontchatoula blackberry jam, whole wheat pita, vermicelli mushroom tofu, and a vegan fruit and fig bran muffin for a treat. It’s all produced locally and with Good Eggs if you order more than $25, they’ll deliver to your home or workplace for free! Challenge participants also get a 10% discount. 😉 I can’t wait until it all arrives tomorrow!
For dinner tonight I enjoyed a feast fit for a king. Over the fluffiest local brown rice I had oven-roasted local zucchini marinated in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, local salt, local fresh rosemary, and local purple basil. I added some chickpeas for fun (and protein). On the side was a local sweet potato with tahini drizzled on top. Yum!