Posts Tagged ‘30 Mile Meal’

The Famacy located on Stimson in Athens, Ohio is about as local as local can get! They are a “small, independent, but full-service, natural foods grocery store. They feature a wide selection of ethnic, vegetarian, organic, and special dietary-needs foods.” The Farmacy was one of the first establishments in Athens to focus on the locavore movement and truly gives the community options when it comes to sourcing locally in ones own kitchen. They provide ingredients in bulk in order to use in ones everyday cooking. The Farmacy locally sources anything from herbs & spices, gourmet coffees, dairy products, fruits vegetables along with serving many customers on a day to day basic in their natural foods deli. Green Edge Gardens, Shade River Farms, Snowville Creamery, Herbal Sage Tea Company are only a select few of the many farmers, CSA’s and food producers that the Farmacy locally sources from. The Farmacy is proud to have served the Athens community since 1971 and their main mission is continue the Loacavore movement and continue giving the community a place where they have no other option other than sourcing locally giving back to their own community.


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The Grateful Ched

The Grateful Ched is a food cart based in Athens Ohio that sources almost everything they serve within a 30 mile radius of Athens. They source their cheese from Laurel Valley Creamery, bread and buns baked fresh from Jackie O’s Pub and Brewery and all of their produce is sourced from the Athens farmers Market and the Chesterhill Produce Auction. The Grateful Ched relies entirely on local products in order to give their customers a complete farm to plate experience with a main goal of bringing awareness to the community about the local food movement that Athens offers within a 30 mile radius. Look for the The Grateful Ched at the Athens farmers market or the next outdoor festival venue you attend in order to experience one of the only food carts in Athens that does serve a menu with complete locally sourced items.

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The crowd checks out information on Go Wild for Local Foods activities at the Athens Farmers Market

This past Saturday, 30 Mile Meal, WellWorks, Live Healthy Appalachia, and Athens Healthy Community Coalition folks arrived at the Athens Farmers Market with pots and pans. Ready to host their Go Wild for Local Foods event, we had two purposes: to offer a local foods cooking demonstration for Market shoppers and increase support for the Market’s vendors and Community Food Initiatives‘ Donation Station.

Info table promoting food-related programs in Athens area.

Under the Market’s Cafe tents, organizers set up food prep and cooking areas for guest chef, Pam Nalbach, from The Wilds. Local foods for her mystery basket of ingredients were collected from generous Market farmers and vendors.

Go Wild volunteers from the Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity and the OU Dietetics Club fanned out across the market to pass out yellow punch cards and to punch the tickets of shoppers who purchased from at least four Market vendors and made either a cash or food contribution to the Donation Station. These cards were then entered into a drawing for prizes, including Safari Tours at The Wilds.

Pam at work.

Plenty of fresh produce populated Pam’s food basket: leeks from Shade River Organic Farm, tomatoes from Green Edge Organic Gardens, peppers from Cowdery Farms, black Russian kale and spinach from Duff Farms, Asian greens from Dexter Run Farms, Sassafras Farm’s butternut squash, a bag of Cherry Orchards’ Melrose apples, and frozen elderberries from Herbal Sage Tea Co. Rounding out the menu possibilities were cheddar and Swiss cheeses from Ohio Farm Direct, Casa Nueva’s Shitake ginger vinaigrette, and black beans and spelt, precooked and donated by Shagbark Seed & Mill Co. What would the chef make?

Salad is almost ready for tasting...



Pam began chopping, stirring, seasoning, and simmering. Not long after, the audience was enjoying samples of a spinach, Asian greens and spelt salad, dressed with Shitake and ginger vinaigrette and a butternut squash, leek, and apple soup.

After the event, Pam was presented with a 30 Mile Meal canvas bag filled with foods from the region, including corn chips from Shagbark Seed & Mill Co., tea from Herbal Sage, Gillogly Orchard’s apple cider, rolled oats from Starline Organics, romaine lettuce from Vest Berries and Produce, Cantrell’s honey, Mex-City’s red raspberry chipotle salsa, Dale’s Creations apple pumpkin butter and chocolate clusters from O’Chocolate.

We’re delighted to report that the Donation Station received $300 more than its typical Saturday cash donations and considerably more produce as a result of this event.

Many thanks to all who made this a great showcase for our local foods community including Kip Parker and Michelle Gorman from the Athens Farmers Market, Pam Nalbach, Danielle Bray, the APO and OU Dietetics Club volunteers, Francie Astrom, Ruth Dudding, Mary Nally, Louise DiLullo, Heather Anderson, Kim Valentour, and all the farmers and food producers who donated their fabulous foods for this event!

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Eco Cafe time

Despite yesterday’s sunshine and outdoor pull of spring, the Front Room at Ohio University’s Baker Center was abuzz with students, faculty and members of the larger community. Over 70 people attended the Eco Café, an on-going series of presentations on social, economic, and environmental issues impacting southeast Ohio, sponsored by Rural Action and OU’s Center for Ecology and Evolutionary Studies.

Ann welcomes everyone

Ann Brown, a volunteer with Rural Action and the series’ organizer, welcomed the crowd and introduced the panel.

David Holben, professor and Associate Director, Nutrition at the School of Applied Health Sciences and Wellness, began the conversation, framing the topic for the next hour and a half.

David Holben

He noted that while the term ‘food security’ is often confused with food safety issues such as post 9/11 fears that our drinking water could be attacked with a substance like arsenic, it is really about universal access to food that is healthful, nutritious, safe, and culturally acceptable. David observed that the panel represented the depth and breadth of the region’s local foods advocates.


Up next was Rural Action’s Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator, Tom Redfern. Tom explained that RASA supports established farmers markets in the region, and works with communities wanting to establish their own marketplaces. Since 2003, Rural Action has also been leading the way in bringing local foods into institutional systems, including Ohio University. Passing out the ever-present-in-his-briefcase, beautifully designed, Chesterhill Produce Auction brochures, he described how this market aggregation of Amish and other farmers in the area around Chesterhill increases earnings for growers and adds vitality to our regional food economy.

What about access to healthy, fresh foods for those who may not know how to grow or preserve them or are unable to afford them? Ronda Clark, executive director of Community Food Initiatives, told the crowd how her organization serves low and moderate income populations in the city of Athens and in some of the highest poverty areas of Appalachian Ohio – rural Athens and Morgan counties. CFI assists people in growing, cooking and preserving their own food through their Appalachian Foodways workshop series. The organization has also created and supported several community gardens, including the expansive and beautiful Westside Gardens in Athens.

Ronda's homegrown and heirloom seeds

One of CFI’s most far-reaching efforts is the Donation Station, located at the Athens Farmers Market each Saturday from 10 am to 1pm. Staff collect produce donations from both farmers and the public. Collected cash is used to purchase additional fresh foods from the market’s vendors. Hundreds of pounds of local food are distributed across the region each week to food pantries and other feeding sites. Ronda ended her presentation by pointing to several Ball jars filled with colorful seeds on the table before her. Harvested from her own garden, she offered to share them with anyone interested in trying some heirloom beans and squash.

I had the opportunity to speak next about the 30 Mile Meal Project and to encourage the audience to take even small steps to increase their use of local foods and to support businesses that source their menus locally. Here’s a video I made for the occasion.


Described by Tom Redfern as the region’s most long-term and knowledgeable local foods activist, Leslie Schaller, Director of Programming at the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACEnet), concluded the program. Much of ACEnet’s work has centered on building, aggregating and supporting a local food-based economy. Its kitchen incubator has launched hundreds of local food businesses. Able to trace the region’s embrace of local foods back three decades or more, she noted the incremental development of the resources and networking that make this economy so robust. She described the typical farm ‘commodity to mouth’ supply chain – one with no possibility for interaction between the distant producer and the consumer and how different it is when the chain is locally-based. She also shared a visual presentation of the many people and places that make our food, real local, and real good!

Following the talk, there was plenty of time for questions and to pack up a few of Ronda’s seeds to plant.

Going for the seeds

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The Athens Area Chapter of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) is sponsoring a Local Thanksgiving program that provides families with a special opportunity to pre-order a fresh selection of locally produced turkey, veggies, jam and stuffing mix to set your holiday table.

Participating farms and businesses include Green Edge Organic Gardens, Sassafras Farm, Shagbark Seed & Mill Co., Starline Organics, Shade River Organic Farm, Dutch Creek Community Farm, Integration Acres, Crumbs Bakery, Village Bakery and King Family Farm.

Each Traditional Box will include a fresh turkey, potatoes, sweet potatoes, kale, Swiss chard, leaf lettuce, onions, garlic, parsley, turnips, stuffing mix, cornmeal, jam, salad dressing and butternut squash for pie. Veggie Boxes will only include nonmeat products.

OEFFA Thanksgiving Order Form

The deadline for ordering is November 15th or until the limited number of boxes are sold. Boxes can be picked up on Monday, November 22nd from 5-7 pm at the Village Bakery, in Athens.

Available options:

Small (serves 6-8) Veggie $46….. Traditional $96

Large (serves 10-12) Veggie $67….Traditional $117

Order forms are available at the Village Bakery, at the Farmers Market, and e-mail Ed Perkins at perkaber@juno.com and placing turkey in the subject line. Orders can placed by contacting Ed Perkins: at the Athens Farmer’s Market or by phone at 664-3370 or by mail at 10940 Lightfritz Ridge, New Marshfield, OH 45766.

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John Gutekanst

What’s it take to make a 30 Mile Meal? Plenty of partners and as the former executive director of ACEnet, June Holley, would say, “lots of network weaving.” A tasty example of this ‘tapestry of local’ is the recent addition of spelt flour to pizzas made by John Gutekanst’s Avalanche Pizza.

In his blog, Pizza Goon, John tells the story of discovering locally grown spelt and Brandon Jaeger during a 2009 visit to the farm of Joe Hirshberger in Chesterhill. Brandon and Michelle Ajamian (owners of the Shagbark Seed & Mill Company) had asked Hirshberger, an Amish farmer, to grow spelt for them. SS&MC is an offshoot of the Appalachian Staple Foods Collaborative that works with regional small-to-mid-sized farms to produce, process, market, and distribute fresh, whole, sustainably-grown staple foods.

Serving up local-lious food

Whenever possible, Gutekanst uses locally grown ingredients in his pizza-making and like other 30 Mile Meal champions, showcases the farms and farmers that provide them. A recent series of Avalanche ads puts the faces to the food – Michelle, Brandon and spelt. They also remind us that as we nourish our bellies, we can also nourish the local foods community.

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Many of us are only two generations removed from a primarily locavore way of life. My grandmother ate seasonally, grew and gathered her own food, put food by (canning, pickling, drying) or purchased it locally. Putting a face to the sources for her food was an everyday experience since the farmer, butcher, orchardist, miller, brewer, baker and fisherman were her neighbors.

The dominance of big ag and other corporate interests in our food lives, concerns about the environmental impacts of shipping foods thousands of miles, and the desire for more transparency about the sources of what we eat has led many people to reclaim a ‘nearer to home’ approach to food. This can be challenging for the many in the U.S., living in what are essentially food deserts. Yet where there’s the will, ways appear. In Youngstown, a Rust Belt city in northeast Ohio, where virtually every inner city grocery store has closed, food champions are combining community gardens, Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs), and corner store upgrades to provide healthy, fresh foods.

Here in southeast Ohio, we are fortunate that our food culture has been profoundly influenced and strengthened over the last 20 years by the passions and hard work of our region’s farmers, specialty food producers, independently-owned (and in one case, worker-owned) restaurants. Another important layer is the critical mass of local food economy non profits and resources such as ACEnet’s Food Ventures facility and Community Food Initiatives‘ investment in community gardens, the Edible Schoolyards project, and its Donation Station program that delivers fresh, locally sourced food to people in need at over 40 locations in and around Athens County.

Selling eggs at the Athens Farmers Market

So how does the 30 Mile Meal Project impact those within a 30 mile radius of Athens? For consumers, 30MM responds to the growing desire to know where their food comes from, who is producing it and how (think eggs and the recent salmonella outbreak). The Athens County Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACCVB) has created a 30 Mile Meal Map, making it possible for locals and visitors to find nearby food and farmers markets, eateries that primarily use local foods in their menus, CSAs, farm tours, food festivals and events, and more. You can even search for specific local foods such as dairy products, grains or beans. Through our partnerships, we offer learning opportunities such as food-making and cooking workshops and farm tours.

For our 30 MM partners, a major aim of the project is to support local foods earning opportunities for farmers, food producers, food markets, food events and local food enterprises. We’ve created an umbrella brand (logos, a tag line, signage, and products) that can be used to promote their particular piece of the 30 Mile Meal pie (farm, food product, restaurant, festival, etc). ACCVB recently launched a 30MM e-newsletter (anyone can subscribe) that shares farmer profiles, news of upcoming events, a ‘Dining Out with the 30 Mile Meal’ column, and recipes.

Other activities in development include a seasonal calendar of 30MM events and workshops, farm tours, market to chef cooking experiences, additional food-themed events, and local foods recipe contests. The project supports the ACCVB in responding to the growing interest in agri- and culinary tourism and through 30MM partnerships can create and promote touchpoint locavore experiences for both visitors and locals.

As the 30 Mile Meal Project takes root and branches out, our expectation is that it will nourish a more robust, sustainable and locally-driven economy. The seeds are planted…

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