local foods

5 reasons to attend Crop Circles!

Every Wednesday at noon, folks meet up at Farmhouse Pizza on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh to mingle, eat lunch together and discuss topics surrounding local foods and agriculture. What's so special about it? The Communication Dept. at the Food Shuttle went out last week to add a little compost to the fields of our minds. And boy the ideas are sprouting now! We can't wait to get back to another Crop Circle lunch and here's our 5 reasons why you should, too!

  1. The People- On any given week, a new group of folks show up! You may end up meeting backyard gardeners, NC State professors, local food activists or brand new gardeners. Every week is a pleasant surprise!
  2. The Food- Who doesn't love a good pizza and salad midway through the week? Farmhouse Pizza cooks up a delicious pizza for Crop Circle attendees. $5 for pizza, salad and a drink is quite a deal!
  3. The Conversation- Where else can you learn about the best cover crops for your garden from experts in soil science at NC State or discuss ways to engage the community in finding ways to build sustainable food systems? Each week a different topic is discussed, and everyone's opinion and ideas are welcome!
  4. The Cause- The $5 suggested donation for lunch goes right back to the Food Shuttle's hunger relief efforts!
  5. The Steven Horton- Yes, the man himself attends and organizes each Crop Circle. Every week you can get time with IFFS Farm Assistant, Crop Mobber and The Worm Doctor.

See you on Wednesdays at noon for the Crop Circle!

Test Your Taste Buds: Try Something New!

The following is a blog from NCSU student Kate Towery. It is the 2nd in a series of 5 blog posts (read her post from week 1 if you haven't already!) she will be writing chronicling her experience as a Nutrition Instructor for a OFL Class she is teaching. Kate is teaching OFL as part of a Service Learning Class that has teamed up North Carolina State Students with the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle’s OFL/Nutrition Program. Through this partnership the IFFS and NCSU hope to engage students in service learning and community nutrition while expanding the reach of its OFL program. Hi everybody, and welcome back to Operation Frontline’s “Side by Side” class, where we aim to help kids and families make healthier choices together. As you recall, my team from NC State University has started our second series of classes with all new participants. This week we had three more first-timers join us as we made White Bean Chicken Chili and homemade tortilla chips. The kids were a lot of help wiping down the tops of canned foods and cleaning the table. They also squeezed limes, measured and poured ingredients, and spread tortilla slices on cooking sheets. Since we were working with raw chicken Chef Will went over some great food safety tips and warned the kids about Mr. Sal (salmonella) and how to keep him away.

Another big thing we focused on this week, and we encourage everyone reading to make this a family goal, was the willingness to try something new. Tastes change with age so it is important to keep you kids trying both unfamiliar and familiar food items, even the same ones in different forms! Like the last series we had the kids do a mini taste-test with all kinds of fruits, veggies, and wheat breads, which is always a hit. We had hummus too, which the participants liked so much we plan to make an easy version of our own in a later class. The group was very open and excited to try new things outside of their normal diets. During mealtime I asked everyone what he or she thought of the chili recipe and Edith shared with us,

I really like the chili. It uses many of the same ingredients I cook with, such as rice and beans, but here they are used in a completely different way and give off a completely different taste."

Edith and her daughter Allison, as well as a few other participants, who typically enjoy traditional Latino cuisine not only showed some willingness in trying new things, but also expressed excitement in continuing this in future weeks! Let’s try and follow their great example this week!

Lastly, we aimed to focus on different forms of produce, seasonal buys, and growing or buying our own local foods. We had some great lessons on these topics, incorporated them into our recipe, and even planted our own pea plants! This activity, led by Gardner Cadi, gets the kids really excited to take care of their plants while learning about basic gardening. By planting our own produce we save money (seeds are cheap, sun and water are free!), and are able to eat our own yummy, healthy vegetables. It doesn’t get any fresher folks!

See everyone back in a few weeks for Lesson Three!