san diego

What is the WorldBeat Cultural Center?

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Slow Food Urban San Diego is excited to host this year’s Good Food Community Fair at the WorldBeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park. The Good Food Community Fair is our largest annual gathering of food activists, producers and purveyors. This year we’re integrating the theme of ‘The True Cost and Value of Food’ into the day’s activities. We hope to bring awareness to the parts of the food system people don’t see, good and bad, and to focus on food justice concerns. With this in mind we couldn’t think of a better place to host than the WorldBeat Cultural Center (WBC).

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The WorldBeat Center is a non-profit multi-cultural arts organization committed to “healing the world through music, art, dance, education and sustainability” housed in a repurposed 1-million gallon water tower. They provide programs and services that nurture the spirit of children, elderly and everyone in between. Ultimately, they seek to heal the world by creating unity through diversity. Its doors are open every day to all people, regardless of color or creed, as a place to celebrate all cultures, art, music, dance, and people.

THE EDUCATION GARDEN

One of the many beautiful assets of this venue is the Children’s Peace Garden. This native garden is a favorite location for school garden projects, nutritional education programs, summer camps, field trips, and partnerships with local organizations dedicated to food security. Through this garden, the WBC  raises awareness around sustainability, urban wildlife, conservation, and urban gardening teaching inner city children and adults about recycling, composting, gardening and bird watching.

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The WBC utilizes this space to educate the public about the role of plants in society today along with the relationship of plants in the local and global indigenous cultures of the past. In 2015, in coalition with the local Kumeyaay, the World Beat Center embarked on a multi-level terraced garden of endemic and indigenous plants and vegetables that are part of the Kumeyaay lasting traditions.

THE SUSTAINABLE BUILDING

Not only is the building constructed of a repurposed water tower it’s sustainably run with LEED Certification, solar lighting fixtures, recycling and composting programs & handi-capable bathroom facilities.

With the inside walls covered in murals by local artists brightly commemorating important leaders and historical cultures, there are multiple galleries and small shops within the building where healthy local foods are served, locally-sourced goods are sold, and a gallery of art and artifacts is displayed. Flags of all nations fly from the ceiling while the stage and dancefloor have hosted hundreds of famous and upcoming acts, artists, and events to the delight of tens of thousands of fans and attendees.

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Known throughout California and Mexico for its exterior murals celebrating Egyptian, African, and Indigenous Cultures, the WorldBeat Center is leading as one of the most-important multicultural art and event centers in San Diego and we are proud to collaborate with the WBC and host the 2017 Good Food Community Fair in their space. We look forward to seeing you there!

Learn More about the Fair Here:  www.goodfoodfair.com

And get your tickets here (Only a $5 Suggested Donation!) 

Sincerely,

Michelle PolinerGood Food Community Fair Chair

Special Thanks to the WorldBeat Center Website and Facebook page for the photos used in this post. 

Vinavanti Urban Winery Brings Locally Sourced, Craft Wine to San Diego

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Vinavanti Urban Winery, San Diego In a San Diego market overflowing with craft breweries, craft wine could be considered the black sheep (or bottle) of the bunch. Until you try it, that is. Then you just might become a dedicated convert like we are at Slow Food Urban San Diego.

What is craft wine anyway?

According to Eric Van Drunen, winemaker and owner of Vinavanti Urban Winery, “Craft wine is the punk music of the wine world.”

Most makers today have their wines down to a science, adding yeast, sulfites and other flavors to fit a specific “classical” or “pop” flavor profile. Van Drunen, however, takes a truly minimalist approach to winemaking where he adds nothing more than San Diego County grown grapes (they have a great map in the tasting room that shows all the local farms they source from!) and lets nature do its thing. Unique and surprising wines with subtle flavors representative of the grapes and farms where they are grown are the result.

Vinavanti Urban Winery, San Diego

Van Drunen’s Vinavanti label and tasting room evolved out of many hours drinking wine and eating good food with friends. He started buying and blending wines in 2007 to develop flavors that paired well with food and that he could sell at an accessible price. In 2010 he made his own wine for the first time using conventional methods. It turned out so-so. Bored of the limited flavor profiles of traditional wines, in 2011 he made his first natural wine and hasn't looked back. From there, he continued to refine his process, focusing on doing as little as possible (or nothing at all) beyond sourcing local, organically grown grapes and letting nature and wild yeast do the work in the fermentation process. He bottles his wines unfiltered, highlighting the terroir through distinct colors, textures, and tastes.

Now, five years later, Vinavanti has more than 11 wines on their always evolving tasting menu, ranging from a sparkling Ladona Muscat grown in Pauma Valley that tastes something like a cross between a sour beer and kombucha to their most popular GSM, a rich and smoky blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre grown in Temecula Valley.

So what can you expect when stopping by the only certified organic winery in San Diego?

“We aim to create an environment where you can enjoy a unique tasting experience in an inviting space,” say Van Drunen.

Van Drunen himself is often pouring glasses at the bar and loves to chat about natural winemaking, his background in physics and many topics in between. Community tables make for great social gathering spaces, and romantic two-tops are perfect for quieter date nights. 

Vinavanti is located at 1477 University Ave in Hillcrest, and as Slow Food Urban San Diego’s newest Member Benefits Partner, they offer a 10% discount on wines to card-carrying Slow Food members. Be sure to check them out for weekly specials and events including cellar tours (they ferment most of their wines right in the urban winery) and movie nights, and ask them about their membership program and wines on tap.

Vinavanti Urban Winery, San Diego

How the New Pacific to Plate Bill is Bringing Good, Clean and Fair Fish to San Diegans

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Pacific to Plate Bill San Diego

By Kathryn Rogers and Sarah Shoffler, Slow Food Urban San Diego Board Members

Slow Food Urban San Diego (SFUSD) joined the San Diego Food System Alliance (SDFSA), local fishermen, scientists, government leaders and community partners this week in celebration of local fisheries.

On December 7, 2015, more than 100 fish-loving friends gathered together at the waterfront Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego for inspiring speeches, a lively panel discussion and delicious local seafood served in honor of the recent passage of the “Pacific to Plate” bill AB226. The new bill, sponsored by Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) and signed into law in October by Governor Jerry Brown, allows fishermen’s markets to operate as food facilities, vendors to clean their fish for direct sale, and multiple fishermen to organize a market under a single permit. Put simply, the bill makes it easier for fishermen to sell directly to the public, much like farmers can.

Chef Graham Kent, of SoCal Fish, and his staff prep uni shooters for attendees to try

The process to develop the bill sprung from the early success of Tuna Harbor Dockside Market (THDM), which opened to the public in August 2014 and averaged more than 350 customers and 1.1 tons of seafood sold each week in its first months of operation. Recognizing the potential of a longer-term, direct-to-consumer market (the original operated under a temporary permit), County Supervisor Greg Cox, the County’s Department of Environmental Health, Port Commissioner Bob Nelson, the Unified Port of San Diego, California Sea Grant, NOAA, California Restaurant Association, The Maritime Alliance, California Coastal Conservancy, the local media, fishermen, researchers and supporters collaborated to draft a bill that met the desires of local fishermen and consumers. It received unanimous support in the California Assembly and Senate.

How does the new bill align with Slow Food’s mission of Good, Clean and Fair Food for All?

Good: The bill makes it easier for local fishermen to sell directly to consumers, and eliminates added transit time and processing/freezing compared to seafood imported from other countries or regions. The fish sold at THDM is caught by San Diego fishermen in local waters, most of it coming out of our oceans no more than a couple of days before it ends up in consumers’ kitchens. If you’ve ever tasted fresh caught sea urchin (a San Diego local favorite), you can tell the difference - big time. If you haven’t, get yourself down to THDM for an uni scramble or shooter. Your taste buds may never be the same.

Clean: Local sourcing means a smaller carbon footprint - no added fuel costs for fish flown or trucked to our markets from other states and countries. And US fisheries are among the most stringently regulated the world, meaning that if there’s a problem – either we’re fishing them too fast, there are too few or we’re catching protected species, we are mandated to do something about it. Our fishermen are required to stop fishing, slow fishing, or change fishing practices in some way to ensure we’re fishing sustainably.

Fair: One of the greatest benefits of a true fishermen’s market is that it promotes collaboration among local fishermen. Take it from fisherman Pete Halmay, a member of the Fishermen’s Market Working Group and longtime sea urchin diver:

“One of the best things I've seen with this direct market is that every Saturday 10 to 12 fishermen sit down together, work together, to maximize the benefits to the population. They are bringing in a wider variety of fish so each fisherman can generate more sales and bring more diverse options to consumers.”

San Diego’s seafood is wide-ranging indeed. We don't have just tuna and shrimp (two of the most commonly eaten seafood products in the US) in our waters. Our harbors and oceans are full of rockfish (dozens of species!), crab, lobster and snails, among other smaller fish like sardines, sand dabs, and mackerel.

Manchester Grand Hyatt Executive Chef Sutti Sripolpa and Scripps Mercy Chef Cindy Quinonez admire the wide variety of rockfish available at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market

For All: The direct-to-consumer market allows fishermen to run specials when they catch a big run of fish, passing the abundance onto consumers in the form of lower prices.

The passage of the Pacific to Plate bill is a major milestone in bringing good, clean and fair seafood to all San Diegans. So what’s next?

During Monday’s event, Dr. Theresa Sinicrope Talley, Coastal Specialist for the California Sea Grant Extension at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego moderated an expert panel that raised some important questions about where we can go from here to create an even more sustainable seafood system. Barriers to getting seafood from dock to dish still remain, including:

  1. Lack of infrastructure for San Diego fishermen to offload their catch at local docks.
  2. Logistical constraints including limited market hours (currently Tuna Harbor Dockside Market is only open Saturdays from 8 a.m. until around 1 p.m.) that make it hard from some consumers and chefs to get there.
  3. Limited awareness among locals and visitors that the market exists, where else they can buy local seafood, and how they can prepare the less well known seafood produced locally.

Stay tuned for local efforts to address these issues. In the meantime, SFUSD is seeking local chefs and community partners interested in collaborating on these efforts. Contact us to learn more.

And, be sure to pay a visit to THDM to see these fish tales come to life. While you’re there, make sure to ask your local fishermen for their favorite seafood preparations!

Tuna Harbor Dockside Market

5 Slow Things to Do in San Diego on Black Friday Instead of Shopping

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By Slow Food Urban San Diego Board Member, Kathryn Rogers

In sunny San Diego, with our near-perfect year round weather that is the envy of northern dwellers across the country, one of the strongest indicators (besides those 4:30 sunsets) of the long-anticipated holiday season is a whole lot of marketing. We get e-blasts, mailers and point-of-purchase reminders galore that the best way to celebrate this holiday season is by buying as much as possible.

Long gone are the days when retail employees spent the Thanksgiving holiday at home with their loved ones. Now we can jump on those holiday deals while we’re still in the first clutches of a Thanksgiving feast food coma. We’ve traded retail therapy for good, old-fashioned family time.

This Thanksgiving, Slow Food Urban San Diego invites you to reclaim your dining table with gratitude for the bounty of food and the people who produced it, with a heritage turkey and locally sourced, seasonal side dishes. You can enjoy slow living the whole weekend and throughout the season, perhaps by opting for these five local activities in lieu of the mad crowded rush that is Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

  1. Visit a Farmers’ Market. Whether you intend to purchase produce and homemade goods or just want a great reason to taste seasonal fruits and veggies and chat with local farmers, a day at the farmers’ market is sure to be a hit with the whole family. Many markets also have a wide selection of prepared foods (in case you’re still hungry) and some even have live music.
  2. Get Outside. The County of San Diego manages more than 120 parks and preserves throughout the region with locations ranging from the beach to the valleys, the mountains to the desert. Not to mention all our local parks and open coastline. These trails, scenic vistas, playgrounds, and lakes are perfect for hiking, cycling, strolling, or horseback riding. Being active is a great way to avoid the crowds and burn off some of those extra calories.
  3. Make Homemade Gifts. Nothing says “I love you” more than a gift crafted from the heart. Whether its beeswax candles, a hand knitted hat or your famous holiday cookies, you can “wow” your loved ones while saving time and money by making presents in batches. Stock up on your supplies and ingredients in advance so you can spend all of Black Friday cozy at home, crafting away. Any little ones in your house will surely enjoy lending helping hands as well.
  4. Enjoy Arts and Culture. This Friday, Balboa Park has scheduled more than 20 exhibitions, 15 film screenings, botanical garden tours and family activities including holiday puppet shows, many of which are free and open to the public. Hop on your local bus line or bike path to make it a completely green day while avoiding parking woes. Then enjoy the natural and historical beauty in the company of your dear ones.
  5. Share your Abundance. As you are feeling extra grateful for all the good in your life, take time to give back to your community. Local organizations offer a number of volunteer opportunities for individuals and families, including preparing and serving meals to people experiencing food insecurity. Wild Willow Farm and Shakti Rising are also hosting a Give 5 Black Friday Challenge where you can volunteer your time or make a donation in support of sustainable farm education programs.

If the buying bug is still tugging on your purse straps or wallet folds, shop local whenever possible. This puts money back in our local economy, and you’re likely to discover more unique gifts compared to online or in big box stores. Check out Edible San Diego’s Holiday Guide for tasty local gift ideas, stroll shops on Adams Avenue during Small Business Saturday (November 28) while enjoying festive libations, or head over to South Park on December 5 for the Holiday Happenings Walkabout.

To find additional small businesses in your area, check out the Urbanist Guide.

Wishing you and yours a slow start to the holiday season!

Cook Pigs Ranch Brings Healthy and Happy Heritage Pigs from Farm to Table

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By Kathryn Rogers. SFUSD Board of DirectorsPhotos by Colin Leibold

Cook Pigs Ranch

At the age of seven, I proclaimed to my carnivorous parents that I would no longer be eating meat.  It was a moral decision grounded in my love for pigs; I couldn’t bear the thought of my favorite animal ending up on my dinner plate.

Looking back on my youthful conviction, it’s a wonder that some 20 years later I find myself standing on a pig ranch outside San Diego staring into the eyes of more than 40 porkers destined for slaughter.

My staunch pescetarian days had ended years before during a college semester in the south of Spain. Sipping espresso in my favorite corner cafe, I was enticed by the cured pig leg hanging above the chopping blocks. Shortly thereafter I enjoyed my first piece of toast with Spanish olive oil and the famed Iberian ham. I’ve been eating meat ever since.

Cook Pigs Ranch

As I expanded my diet to include poultry and beef, I faced the classic omnivore’s dilemma. My body responded well to the added protein and fat; I felt healthier than I’d been in years. And my culinary forays blossomed with more diversity in my staple ingredient list. But I still didn’t feel right eating animals, especially those that came from the crowded, dirty and inhumane conditions on factory farms.

I hoped that my journey to Cook Pigs Ranch, located outside the little mountain town of Julian, CA, would help to resolve some of my inner turmoil.

Winding through the oak groves on the way to the 11-acre farm, I admit I was nervous.  But as soon as we pulled through the iron gate, I was put at ease with a greeting first by two friendly “watch” donkeys and a giant white horse, followed by an oinking pen of recently weaned piglets. I grinned seeing their curly tails and crinkly snouts.

Krystina Cook, with her youngest daughter Rosaleigh in tow, came to welcome us.

“Let me introduce you to our pigs,” she said, smiling proudly.

Their more than 500 pigs are crosses of heritage breeds including Red Wattles, GOS, Large Blacks, Berkshires, Durocs, Tamworth, and Mulefoot that spend their days roaming pastures and oak groves to feed on grass, herbs, acorns, and roots, with some supplementation from sprouted barley and pesticide-free seasonal produce. Sows birth their piglets in covered birthing facilities and protected pens, and the youngsters are never given medicine so they can build up their immune systems naturally to thrive in the outdoors. It is a truly beautiful (and surprisingly pleasant smelling) operation.

Cook Pigs Ranch

Krystina Cook never set out to be a commercial pig farmer. But she was always committed to being an excellent mother to her eldest son, who suffered from severe food allergies. Grounded in the belief that food is medicine, Cook set out to raise a few ultra-clean animals for her family to eat. She had no trouble raising healthy chickens and sheep, but the pigs struggled to thrive. She became obsessed with figuring out how to raise them well, for both the health of the animals and the best-tasting meat. Word soon spread of her small family farm, and her endeavors blossomed into the growing ranch that is Cook Pigs today.

“Our entire operation is driven by the psychology and art of the pig,” says Cook. “We take pride in raising the healthiest, happiest pigs possible. And we model our slow-growth approach after the famous Iberico pigs from Spain, which produces very consistent heritage pork of the highest quality.”

Krystina Cook, Cook Pigs Ranch

Contributing to the art is Head Butcher Nick Scafidi. He and his team at Cook Family Butcher Shop process more than 20 heads a day at the only USDA-approved butcher in San Diego County. The pigs arrive after to the Kearny Mesa facility after harvesting at a USDA-approved facility north of Los Angeles and are artfully carved and crafted into everything from sausage and ribs to coppa steaks and pig skins.

“We strive to use as much of each animal as possible,” says Scafidi.

Scafidi spent a number of years working in the kitchen, so he understands what it’s like to want unique cuts of meat and is proud of the shop’s commitment to excellence.

“We are ensuring the highest quality from farm to finish.” gushes Scafidi. “I find this very rewarding because no one else is really doing this in San Diego right now.

Nick Scafidi and his team at Cook Family Butcher Shop

With increased demand for humane and delicious heritage pork, Cook Pigs continues to grow. The farm is moving to a new location near Julian with more acres of pasture. They just expanded their product line to include holiday hams. And they will soon be opening up an online store for broader distribution.

“This is the most beautiful pork I’ve ever seen. It tastes rich and robust - just like you are back on the farm,” says Distribution Manager and “Jill of All Trades,” Dana Hayden.

As I get ready to grill up that beautifully marbled coppa steak, I sure hope she’s right.  I would be glad to return to Cook Pigs Ranch for a visit anytime. My love for happy pigs (and delicious pork) is strong as ever!

Cook Pigs Ranch in Julian, CA

To learn more about Cook Pigs and how to order their heritage pork, visit their website. And be sure to join Slow Food Urban San Diego at the Good Food Community Fair on October 11, where Cook Pigs will be giving a butchering demo at 1:00 p.m.

More than Honey and Sweet Sips Networking

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Honey tasting.

Big thanks to everyone who came out for our Sweet Sips networking event in July at Local Habit. Mead tastings by Golden Coast Mead, honey tastings offered by Wild Willow Farms and local beekeepers from the San Diego Beekeepers Society and special honey-based dishes by Chef Jimmy. A sweet time, indeed.

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And thanks to all who joined us for the re-screening of the More than Honey documentary. This is an amazing, intriguing, beautiful and quirky film. Please see it if you haven't already.

For those of you interested in learning more about bees and what you can do locally, here are a few great local resources:

San Diego Beekeeping Society holds classes and meetups to encourage responsible beekeeping. Lots of expert members there. You can find a list of beekeepers on their website who perform live bee removals and other bee resources in the county.

Wild Willow Farm is a non-profit organization offering beekeeping classes (also farming classes). The instructor is very knowledgeable about bee issues locally and globally and can tell you about hosting a hive on your property.

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Girl Next Door Honey offers beekeeping classes and workshops, one-on-one consulting, a host-a-hive program and performs live bee removals.

If you need to remove bees from your property, please consider live removal by one of these folks or those listed on the Beekeeping Society website. Bees are important to our food supply and need a helping hand. Stay tuned for future bee-related events.

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2015 Good Food Community Fair

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SLOW FOOD URBAN SAN DIEGO'S THIRD ANNUAL

GOOD FOOD COMMUNITY FAIR

WATER WISE SAN DIEGO

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2015

11AM - 3PM

@ QUARTYARD IN DOWNTOWN SAN DIEGO.

Go to GoodFoodFair.com for more information!

A celebration of artisanal food and craft drinks, cooking demos, art and music, discussion panels with local farmers, chefs, food producers and breweries, and more!

Join us downtown at the Quartyard to mix and mingle with San Diegans working towards a sustainable & delicious San Diego. Special programming and events will cover good, clean and fair food in a time of drought. Entrance is free.

It'll be a delicious time! Go to GoodFoodFair.com for more information!

Interested in Participating?  Would your organization like to host a complimentary booth at the fair? Please fill out this form by September 4th.

Questions? Please contact us at membership@slowfoodurbansandiego.org.

Educating and Advocating for Healthy Bees in San Diego: Profile of San Diego Beekeeping Society Secretary Camille Smith

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San Diego Beekeeping Society Honeybees intuitively know when it’s time to nurture a new queen. So it’s no surprise that when Camille Smith landed in San Diego, the bees took flight to bring her a hive to nurture in preparation for a role as Secretary and Volunteer, Recruitment and Event Planning Coordinator of the San Diego Beekeeping Society.

Smith has always been interested in bees, but it wasn’t until she moved to California in 2008 that she had the opportunity to keep a hive of her own. That summer, three swarms came through her backyard, enticing her to buy a bee box. The bees didn’t return, but a few months later a friend called saying they had caught a swarm. Her forays as a suburban beekeeper had begun.

Over the next few months, she read a numerous books about beekeeping, watched educational videos on YouTube and joined the San Diego Beekeeping Society. From her mentor and working with society members, she learned hands-on how to properly care for bees to help them thrive.

Her initial interest in working bees quickly transformed into heartfelt passion.

“I love working with the bees,” gushes Smith. “It is so amazing how they work completely collectively with no ego. Everything they do is for the benefit of the entire hive. Even at the end of their lives, they go outside the hive to die so their sisters don’t have to clean out their bodies.”

This level of collective thinking inspires Smith in her role bringing people together at the San Diego Beekeeping Society. She and more than 1,000 volunteer members work to educate people about bees and best practices in responsible beekeeping. They visit schools and participate in community events to increase awareness about pollination and bees among people of all ages.

“The more information people have about bees, the more people are aware to not use pesticides/herbicides in their yards,” explains Smith.

The San Diego Beekeeping Society also works to advocate for legislation that is friendlier to bees and beekeeping. They had success a few years ago working with a coalition to loosen restrictions on urban beekeeping and designate best practices for keeping bees in the City of San Diego. More recently, the San Diego Beekeeping Society has worked with the County of San Diego to update their policies to make it easier for beekeepers to comply with the ordinances.

“We’ve made good progress,” says Smith. “We are proud to be doing our little part to help support the bees, and we have more people every month interested in becoming beekeepers.”

Even with growing efforts to support them, bees are not out of danger. Colonies are still collapsing from the combined effects of exposure to pesticides and herbicides, monoculture that limits access to food sources when crops are not blooming, and weakened immune systems from parasitic mites.

What can you do to learn more and support healthy bees?

Like the community-minded bees, together we can do more. Take it from a resident Queen Bee:

“Bees pollinate one third of the crops we eat,” explains Smith. “There is a direct relationship between the bees, our food, and our health. By voting with our pocket books – choosing to support local and sustainable food production through farmers’ markets and CSA – the food vendors will have to adjust. And the bees will fare better too.”

A Depression-Era Reflection of the San Diego Fishing Industry

In observation of the upcoming Sustainable Seafood Week, how about a little (art) history lesson? This is the story of a recently discovered mural depicting the San Diego fishing industry of the 1930s.

Back in the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) was a New Deal agency developed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the US Congress to give employment to the many Americans who were unemployed as a result of the Great Depression. Known as one of the largest job-creation programs in the history of the US, the WPA commissioned millions of Americans--many unskilled laborers, but also musicians, writers, actors, directors, and artists--to carry out projects designed to help pull the country out of economic decline. Bridges, parks, and schools were built, and numerous literary, musical, and arts projects were developed.

As part of the WPA, the Federal Art Project (FAP) employed hundreds of artists who created in total more than 100,000 paintings and murals, as well as more than 18,000 sculptures. You may have heard of some of the artists that were employed by this project: Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, Stuart Davis, and Jackson Pollock, to name just a few. And you may have seen some of the great murals that have resulted from these WPA efforts, as many have been preserved in post offices, courthouses, and schools across the nation. Typically, the murals tell us a great deal about society during the Great Depression, because Social Realism was the popular style at the time. Depicted are everyday scenes of the working class and the poor as critical commentaries about the institutions that perpetuate their plights.

Many FAP projects were commissioned right here in San Diego, and some excellent murals have been preserved throughout the county, such as the "Progress of Man" at the Balboa Park Club, "The Transportation of the Mail" at the downtown post office, and the "Scenic View of the Village" at the La Jolla Post Office.

Several murals were also commissioned for the San Diego State University (SDSU) campus for the iconic Hardy Tower. Surprisingly, these murals, assumed to be destroyed long ago when Hardy Tower was renovated in the 1950s, were only recently rediscovered during ceiling repairs. Seth Mallios, Chair of the Department of Anthropology at SDSU, has worked extensively on efforts to document, recover, restore, and preserve these important aspects of San Diego and SDSU history.

One mural at SDSU has been of particular interest. The 25-foot long "San Diego Industry" was completed in 1936 by SDSU student George Sorenson, and provides an excellent snapshot of the tuna fish industry in San Diego at the time. This restored mural, and others, are now displayed prominently in the SDSU Library Dome, and this video provides an excellent full view of the mural along with an informative discussion by Mallios.

Each step of the industry is depicted in the mural, though not all of it has survived the years of neglect. On the left-hand side of the mural we see men fishing, weighing the fish, and then gutting them. In the middle we see women in assembly lines, and to the far right, Asian men are working in front of bins of cylindrical cans. Mallios assumes that Sorenson used as his model for the mural the Van Camp Seafood Company, which had the first commercial tuna canneries, one of which was located in San Diego.

One interesting aspect of "San Diego Industry" is that it features the diversity of people who worked in the tuna fish industry at the time: men and women, Asians, and African Americans; though, as Mallios observes, not everyone worked side-by-side. Sorenson's placement of figures within the scene says a lot about American society in the 1930s.

Additional murals continue to be discovered in SDSU's more historic buildings, and a dedicated webpage has been created to document efforts to preserve these important pieces of SDSU history. You can also read more about the WPA murals and Mallios' work to restore them in The SOAP.

 

 

Head, Heart, Hands & Health

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To many city-dwellers, the mention of 4-H conjures images of the county fair: kids chasing greased pigs, chicken cages with red ribbons, white and black cows towering over smiling youngsters. While this perception of the century old organization is partly true, the history and current mission of 4-H (Head, Heart, Hands & Health) is much more expansive. 4-H clubs started in Ohio in the late 19th century as the USDA's Cooperative Extension System were beginning to disseminate new farming technology through land grant universities and regional offices. As it often happens, older farmers were less keen on experimenting with new "advances" in their field (literally). So clubs were formed to attract the younger farmers-to-be to learn about leaderships skills, local economies, and, of course, agricultural innovations.

Nowadays the scope has widened to encompass a number of community activities to help students to learn leadership, citizenship and life skills. Here in San Diego a 4-H club member could be participating in activities from veterinary sciences to marine biology to animal husbandry to ham radio. (Here's a full list of 4-H activities in San Diego).

Not to say that the agricultural side of 4-H has been abandoned: Slow Food Urban San Diego had the pleasure of working with Henry Kraus, a local 4-H student committed to raising his pigs organically. He is learning about leadership, economics, and agriculture in his community in a big way: bucking the "conventional" model amongst the pressure of adults and peers to raise his pig non-organically must not have been easy! But he stuck to his guns and raised a beautiful healthy pig that fetched a price tag well above the conventionally raised pigs in his midst. As everyone who attended last months Pig Picking at Roots Community Kitchen, the outcome was delicious! Henry, leading by example, is in turn helping to educate other local farmers (or farmers-in-training) about the benefits of raising livestock organically. The four leaves of the 4-H clover (head, heart, hands, and health) are certainly being grown and nourished by such an effort.

Through the support of local 4-H programs here in San Diego we can assist our youth in fulfilling the 4-H pledge and subsequently set the stage for a healthier, kinder, and more educated foodie/farmer community:

I pledge my head to clearer thinking, My heart to greater loyalty, My hands to larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and my world.

For more information about 4-H, check out their website.

 

SUSTAINABLE FEAST @ LITTLE ITALY MERCATO

sustainable feast banner.jpgSustainable Feast presented by Kaiser Permanente & hosted by the Outdoor Education Foundation



WHEN:    April 2nd @ 10AM

WHERE:  Little Italy Mercato - Amici Park

                State St. and West Date St., San Diego CA 92101



The Sustainable Feast, a FREE event open to the public, will include live music courtesy of  the Teagan Taylor Trio, a muscially rising Jazz/Pop band and an Outdoor Education Zone with interactive science and nature inspired activities for kids of all ages. 


The event will pair local farms with some of San Diego's top chefs who will create a variety of delicious dishes, prepared up close and personal.  Restaurant Tasting tickets are available for purchase for $35 and include 10 culinary testing tents, a raffle ticket, and commemorative cookbook.   All tastings will be served in same size portions, therefore we are unable to provide various ticket levels.  Families are encouraged to share their tastings with their young children or purchase a tasting ticket for older children who would enjoy the variety of food offered at each station.  In addition to great food, a raffle will take place with exciting prizes.

Net proceeds from the Sustainable Feast will benefit the Outdoor Education Foundation's scholarship fund.

Check in will begin at 9:00 am.  During check in you will receive your dining card, one raffle ticket, and commemorative Sustainable Feast Cookbook.  Please make sure to bring your ticket with you.


To purchase Restaurant Tasting tickets and to learn more about the event, click here