Successful Empty Bowls Hunger Banquet

The Empty Bowls Hunger Banquet at Eden Hall Farm was really successful! There were about 50 people who attended the event, ate delicious soup, supported the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, and took home a beautiful, handmade bowl. Martha Matthews, a local artist, lead Chatham students in the Empty Bowls Ceramics Course to teach them how to make bowls for the event. Be sure to check out the pictures below.

 

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Spring!

Despite the ever-looming threat of snow, we are busy planning, preparing, and planting out at Eden Hall! Our greenhouse is exploding with tiny seedlings and plants ready to be transplanted into our moveable high tunnel. We are all very excited and anxious to get outside.

Here are some cheerful photos from our greenhouse! Enjoy.

 

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Phipps Youth Visit Eden Hall

From Phipps: “As part of the Museums Connect program, made possible by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the American Alliance of Museums, Phipps is partnering with the Gidan Makama Museums in Kano, Nigeria to provide an immersive experience for 15 local high school students in each city. Participating students will learn about nutrition, cooking and cultural food traditions by following local food from farm to table and will be communicating with students at their partner institutions. This project will last from September to June, resulting in the creation of a community cookbook that will be designed and created by participating students. Students will also meet each month for a Saturday workshop involving activities designed to get them thinking critically about their food system and food culture. Calling themselves the Global Chefs, this group of students is excited to learn more about what food means in their lives.”

My name is Hanna and I am a current Food Studies student who has been working on the farm for the past two years.  I am also coordinating and teaching the curriculum for the Museums Connect program. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to bring Phipps to visit Eden Hall Farm.

Cooking

Jamie Moore, Director of Sourcing and Sustainability for the Eat ‘n Park Group, was the expert chef who came to lead the students in cooking an ambitious menu, along with Nancy Hanst and Cathy Brinjack from Slow Food Pittsburgh. We cooked with them earlier in the program and were so thankful to have their brilliant leadership for another day! The recipes we cooked were all recipes inspired by ones that the participants brought in. We made a salad with greens harvested from the Eden Hall Farm greenhouse! We cooked vegetable fried rice and chicken fried rice, vegetable stir fry with optional marinated chicken, skirt steak or tofu. We also made baked onion rings and a lemon Bundt cake for dessert. We were so thankful to have a large kitchen to work in– we never would have been able to cook with all 14 high school students in the kitchen where we normally cook.

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After making a fabulous meal, I took them on a tour of the farm, including the greenhouse and moveable high tunnel. The Global Chefs were able to see the greenhouse overflowing with little seedlings ready to get transplanted into the high tunnels. The moveable high tunnel was still growing some cabbages, Swiss chard and mizuna. Despite it being chilly, we were thankful that it wasn’t snowy or raining.

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After the farm tour, the Global Chefs worked on creating a cookbook. Both the Nigerian students and American students will be making cookbooks that will be on display at the respective museums. They decided to include all the recipes that we have cooked together in the program, as well as  one recipe from each student’s family. We brought lots of different materials for them to play around with to make their individual biography and recipe pages. It was fun to play with yarn, fabric, and stamps to begin creating beautiful, unique pages for our book!

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Many thanks to the Food Studies program for co-sponsoring this day-long retreat and giving the students a chance to see many of the farming practices they have been learning about in action!

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Empty Bowls Hunger Banquet

Each semester Chatham University community members come together for a day of service known as University Community Service Day. This semester the Office of Student Affairs at Chatham is hosting their first Empty Bowls Hunger Banquet as a part of National Hunger Awareness Month in April. This event will serve as a recognized effort to eliminate hunger inequality in our communities. Throughout the year they have had students, faculty, staff, families and community members come together to craft clay bowls which will be used to facilitate this meal. Each bowl is representative of the amount of food a homeless individual receives in a day.

Students at Eden Hall Farm have been experimenting with storing vegetables in the root cellar on the farm. The soups served as a part of this event will be featuring ingredients grown on the farm. The Root Vegetable Soup and Chicken Noodle soup will feature Eden Hall raised chickens, leeks, carrots, turnips and beets!

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The event will take place at noon on Saturday, April 5, at the Eden Hall Campus. All students, faculty, staff and families will enjoy a meal from the Eden Hall gardens and farm while impacting the needs of others in our communities.

Cost is $15.00 if registered ahead of time and $20.00 at the door. All donations will go to the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank.

For more information contact the Office of Student Affairs, Student Activities at 412.365.1527 or cffa@chatham.edu.

To register visit: https://www.chatham.edu/newsevents/emptybowls/register.cfm 

Visit Emptybowls.org for more information about the Empty Bowls Project. 

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Experiencing the PASA Conference

As keynote speaker Daphne Miller stepped up to the podium in the President’s Hall at the Penn Stater for PASA’s 23rd annual conference, silence pervaded the room while excitement pulsed through the air.  A family physician, Miller spoke about the journey she took and the people she met while doing the research for her recent book, Farmacology.  PASA goers filled the seats in the conference hall, sat cross-legged on the floor, and lined the rear and side walls of the room standing in attention. 

Miller’s work reveals the direct health benefits of sustainable farms—not only for the environment but for humans too.  Her findings that being exposed to a diversity of microbes in the soil lends to healthy stomachs and low rates of asthma and allergies confirm what sustainable farmers and conscientious consumers have known all along.  Eating good food makes for good health.

But Miller didn’t stop with physical health.  She went on to tell a story about a woman who started an urban garden in the Bronx and ended up with a happier neighborhood.  The positive community presence surrounding the garden lowered the crime rates in the area.  It seems that in some cases, food is a cure-all.

With Miller’s inspirational conference kick-off, conference attendees had the run of the mill for workshops to choose from—anything from foraging for wild edibles to training and working with oxen to co-marketing strategies for working with a retailer.

In between workshops, one could keep busy for hours perusing the hundreds of vendors lining the hallways—all of them at the conference for very similar reasons—to connect, to share, to support, and to lift up others in the movement.

My first experience at the PASA conference was indeed eye-opening.  Every state should have such a valuable resource.  Small farmers fighting battles against the biggest players in the Ag game need and deserve such a support network that PASA offers.

There’s strength in numbers and wisdom to be found through shared experience.  We have the tools, we have the research, we have the motivation, and we definitely have the enthusiasm.  Coming together to stand for what we believe in, the PASA-bilities are truly endless.

Surviving Freezing Temperatures

We are happy to share that our beloved farm was in the news again this week! The Post Gazette came to take pictures in early January too, when we first were checking to see what had survived.

http://www.post-gazette.com/local/north/2014/01/30/Chatham-garden-survives-freezing-temps/stories/201401160031

They ran a nice story about the plants growing in the movable high tunnel. We pulled these carrots that day, what a treat!

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Photo taken by Drew Cranisky