The Slice: Food Justice Edition

WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?

When Colman Andrews, founder of Saveur and the Daily Meal, named Richmond as 'The Next Great American Food City' in 2014, RVA was all abuzz with how impressive our food scene had become and how lovely it was for someone so notable to take note of us. But one comment that emerged from the coverage of Andrews' praise has stuck with me in the almost three years since.

I can't remember who said it (I'm thinking it was Dom Barrett because he is a known smart things sayer), but the comment essentially said that Richmond will never truly be a great food city until it does a better job of providing access to healthy food to all of its citizens.

Often in our excitement over new restaurants, pop-ups, and accolades, it's easy to overlook the work that area nonprofits do every day to make that version of greatness a reality in and around Richmond. So, this week we're focusing exclusively on the people and organizations that are doing just that in our first ever Food Justice Edition of The Slice!

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TRICYCLE'S NEW LOOK

Take a look at the new and improved Tricycle Gardens (now just Tricycle!) website. In a press release, Tricycle said the new look will help the nonprofit "reflect Tricycle’s role as a catalyst for urban agriculture."

Tricycle Mission Manager Isabel Eljaiek adds, "Today, we develop and manage urban farms, manage programs like Corner Farm to get fresh, delicious food into neighborhoods that lack real food access, and we’re leading the movement of cultivating the next generation of urban farmers with our United States Department of Agriculture/Natural Resources Conservation Service nationally-recognized Urban Ag Fellowship and Certificate program."

The updated logo was designed by 93-Octane with direction from Kelly O'Keefe, a professor with the VCU Brandcenter. Tricycle Executive Director Sally Schwitters says, "The new logo reflects our goal of going from farm (represented by a pitchfork) to table (represented by a dinner fork) while illustrating the work of urban farmers against the backdrop of our local urban community of RVA."

Looking for a very easy way to show your love for Tricycle? Eat a burrito. No really, on Wednesday, May 10th, 50% of proceeds from the Carytown Chipotle will go directly to Tricycle. Hell, eat two burritos. It's for a good cause.

PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR LIPS ARE

And what goes better with a Chipotle burrito than a vodka martini?! (Ugh, I need to lie down just imagining that combo.) From now until June 18th, Tito's Handmade Vodka will match all donations to Renew Richmond up to $5000. That is an incredible way to double your giving to an organization that supports urban farming, community gardens, and programming to educate the community. Cheers to that.

SPEAKING OF MATCHING...

If you like the idea of someone matching your charitable donations dollar for dollar, zip on over to FeedMore's website. From now until May 10th, online donations up to $10,000 will be matched. That's HUGE!

one of many Birdhouse Market hauls

one of many Birdhouse Market hauls

THE BIRD HAS RETURNED

This week kicks off the official spring/summer season for several farmers markets, including Richmond's only urban market, The Birdhouse Market, located at the Randolph Community Center at 1507 Grayland Ave. The Birdhouse Market unveiled their new website last week, and it features beautiful images and design by Palindrome Creative Co.

Now in its 11th season, The Birdhouse Market accepts and matches SNAP benefits, dollar for dollar, encouraging SNAP recipients to make healthy choices for themselves and their families. It also features a pop-up library in conjunction with the Richmond Public Library, and it provides essential free time for parents with book readings and occasional face painting for the kidlets. 

The market runs from 3:00 to 6:30, and this year will also include bi-monthly live cooking demonstrations from Stock Provisions as well as live music. Look for the Tiny Nest Concert Series featuring The Bush League at 5:30 pm on opening day.

Want to show your undying love for this market? Here's how.

SAY SHALOM TO THE NEW SHALOM FARMS

Shalom Farms has been busier than usual, and that's saying a lot. They've been putting in the work necessary to introduce a new farm with the capacity to triple their current already-impressive impact. The new farm, located off Rt. 288 in Midlothian, will host a Grand Opening celebration and ribbon cutting on May 20th, featuring farm tours, live music, and of course, snacks and beer. And check out this sneak peek of the farm on WRIC Channel 8.

SECCO GOES EAST

In the second installment of the Neighbordhood Resource Center's food desert pop-up series, Secco Wine Bar chef Julie Heins is preparing "an exciting but approachable menu and wine paring for all Fulton residents and neighbors." Amour Wine Bistro kicked off the series in March with a meal of crêpes, available for $6 per person for Fulton residents and $10 for guests from outside of the neighborhood. Richmond Times-Dispatch's Michael Paul Williams wrote about the series, the Neighborhood Resource Center, and the food desert that is Greater Fulton.

GET YOURSELF AN EGG AND BEAT IT

Just Eat It is a 74-minute documentary by Peg Leg filmmaker Grant Baldwin that explores our relationship with food waste. The idea of food waste is one that's popular with chefs like Dan Barber, who puts waste on the plate at his WastED pop-ups; Steven Satterfield's Root to Leaf makes a strong case for using the whole vegetable, including the bits we usually toss; and on the last season of Mind of a Chef you can hear Prune chef Gabrielle Hamilton proclaim that food wasters have a weak character.

Just Eat It explores why we waste so much food and the impact that doing so has on a global scale. Slow Food RVA will host a screening of the film on Monday May 15th at the Firehouse Theatre. Tickets are $10.

HANDS OFF

If you're interested in learning more about where your food comes from and why, add Hands Off My Food, How Government & Industry have Corrupted our Food & Easy Ways to Fight Back, by Dr. Sina McCullough to your reading list.

Dr. McCullough will be at Ellwood Thompson's on Wednesday, May 24 from 5:30 to 6:30 to discuss the book, which, according to Ellwood Thompson's, "provides free market solutions for how we can restore the integrity of the food we eat." With a Ph.D. in Nutrition and personal experience with a food-related autoimmune disease, Dr. McCullough has spent years tracking the FDA and getting to the reality of our collective food system. Insights abound at this FREE discussion. Register right here.

HANDS ON

Inspired to get your hands dirty? If you're interested in making an impact around the issue of food access in Richmond (or if you just like volunteering in a foodie way), check out the volunteer opportunity search feature provided by Hands On Greater Richmond. You can find all the food-related volunteer opportunities your heart desires with a mere click.

GIVE A LITTLE BIT

Greater Richmond Fit4Kids does the impressive work of instilling lifelong health and wellness habits in our public school children with initiatives like wellness integration and an awesome program that puts salad bars in elementary and middle schools. They recently moved into a new office and need the typical office-y stuff (office supplies, cleaning supplies) to help them get the job done. Take a look at their wishlist, and then see if you've got something to donate.

Stephanie GanzComment