September Community Meal

Hey folks!

Our first meal of the semester is tomorrow:

Sunday, September 16th at Blacksburg United Methodist Church (111 Church Street)         Cooking starts at 2pm and the meal will be served at 6:30

All the food for the meal is sourced from local farmers and businesses, PLUS the meal is absolutely FREE.

Hope to see you there!

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Community Meal Coming Up

The next meal is Sunday April 22nd – get ready!


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On-Campus Farmers Market Today

Hey everyone!

Today we have the on campus farmers market in front of Squires on the GLC Plaza from 10:30 till 3:30 pm.

Come by for some yummy snacks or just to say hi!

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Community Meal This Weekend!

Our final community meal of the semester is this Sunday, and YOU are cordially invited!

What: A delicious meal made with food donated from local businesses and farmers.
When: Sunday, December 4th 6:30 pm (and we always can use help cleaning up after!)
Where: Blacksburg UMC. 111 Church Street

See you there!

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Sustainable Eating during Earth Week

An event-specific post for our unofficial grand finale will come later; for now, here are several food-focused events you haven’t yet missed this Earth Week! While “sustainable food” is  a central and unifying issue for the modern environmental movement, sustainable eating encompasses much more than the sourcing of ingredients: How much meat do we eat? Do we cook most of our food or prepare it raw? Do we use reusable or disposable containers, dishes, utensils, and napkins? Must we drive to where we eat? (And there’s plenty more i don’t pay enough attention to.) These events will touch on many of these issues as well!

All week:

  • Farms & Fields:
    Owens Food Court
    Virginia Tech’s own local-and-organic eatery deserves special attention this week as an indicator of good things to come — if we want it!
  • Reusable Bottles for sale:
    April 19 – 23 at Owens Food Court
    A campus initiative years in the making, Dining Services is offering approved reusable bottles for use in all dining halls. Foreverafter your purchase, fountain water will be free and fountain soda will be discounted!

Tuesday, April 20 (Political Action and Community Involvement):

  • Learning Local Food On Campus:
    10am – 2pm at the GLC Plaza (“Fountain Plaza”)
    Several vendors of the Blacksburg Farmers Market will set up shop on campus! You’ll find produce, artisan baked goods and crafts, and even bluegrass music within an easy walk from class or the office.

Wednesday, April 21 (Food Day):

  • Local foods in the dining halls:
    The dining halls campuswide will be highlighting the local ingredients they use. Look around! Ask what’s local and what farm(s) it came from.
  • A Holistic Food System: “What do you think of when you think of food?” with Brinkley Benson
    4pm – 5pm in Squires Brush Mountain Room A
    Learn about the origins of “traditional” as well as “organic” and “local” foods. Do you know the story behind your food?
  • 101 Ways to Use the Incredible, Edible Egg: #1. The Omelet with the Sustainable Food Corps
    5:15pm – 6:15pm in 403 Wallace Hall
    Our own contribution to Food Day, put on by Kati and Stephanie! Learn how to make eggcellent breakfasts on a limited budget.
  • Sustainable Dining Q&A with Rachel Budowle:
    6:30pm – 8:00pm in the side room of Deet’s Place
    Rachel is the Sustainability Coordinator for Dining Services. She’ll field questions from students emailed in advance or asked directly in a Q&A facilitated by the EC.
  • “Food, Inc.” showing:
    9pm – 10:45pm in 113 McBryde Hall

Thursday, April 22 (Earth Day):

  • Food and Fair:
    5pm – 7:30pm in Owens Dining Hall
    An educationally and nutritionally satisfying event! A variety of locally-sourced foods will be available.

Friday, April 23 (DUMP THE PUMP with Alternative Transportation):

Sunday, April 25:

  • The Sustainable Food Corps’ Free Community Meal!
    6pm – 7:30pm at Fieldstone United Methodist Church (3385 North Franklin Street)
    We host our third (or fourth, depending on how you count) Community Meal at the wonderful community center between Blacksburg and Christiansburg. Free and open to all! Dishes will be donated by local restaurants or prepared by our cooks from ingredients donated from local farmers, bakers, and grocers.
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Our Second Blacksburg Community Meal

The cooks are busy at work today, so i’ll give our blog followers a short-notice heads-up. We hope you can come! Bring family, bring music, bring a dish, bring a game . . . or just bring your good company and enjoy your neighbors’. Good eating!

Community Meal flier

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Joel Salatin and “FRESH” returning to the NRV

Campus SustainABILITY Day flyer

In case (like me) you missed Joel Salatin‘s visit to Virginia Tech last year and the Lyric’s screening of “FRESH” last month, here’s your chance to rectify past wrongs!

As part of Radford University’s Campus SustainABILITY week (immediately following ours), Mr. Salatin will be speaking on Monday evening at 7:00pm in Heth Student Center, Room 014, and “FRESH” will show there on Tuesday at 7:00pm.

If you’d like to join some SFC members on a trek to our neighbor university Monday night, let us know! Post a response here or contact one of us directly.

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When ‘Local’ makes it big what do we lose?

The New York Times ran a piece on May 12th about the co-opting of the term ‘local’ by large-scale agribusiness.  It’s not a major surprise. We knew it was coming. Now what? What does it mean for those of us trying to make responsible decisions about our food purchases? How can you explain to your friend why Lays potato chips don’t count as local even if they are grown next door?

Here are a few of the commitments we adhere to that ‘industrial local’ violates.

Biologically Sound Practices – Reduction of biodiversity within the food system poses a serious risk to the future of our food. Polyculture practices (common in organic farming) promote the biological diversity within the food system. Monocultures violate basic ecological and evolutionary principles. Factory farming of animals requires significant antibiotics inputs to keep the animals alive in population dense CAFOs. Overuse of antibiotics promotes bacterial resistance. In CAFOs biomass (also, know as chickens or cows) exceeds the carrying capacity of the land leading to pollution in the water, soil, and air.  It’s all about quantity. Some animal waste = fertilizer. A lot of animal waste = poison.

Direct Support of Farmers – We are committed to ensuring that our community is the primary beneficiary from our food dollars. Farmers deserve as much profit as possible from their products.

Environmental Health – Commitment to organic practices promote stewardship of the land and the health of the people in our communities. Avoiding the use of pesticides and herbicides reduces the pollution of our precious water and soil resources. Rural communities are too often exploited for their natural resources without an consideration for the health of their environment or citizens.

Low-input – High-input or intensive farming requires pesticides and chemical fertilizers are not typically produced locally. Farmer’s profits end up flowing out of the local economic system and maintains dependence on non-local sources. Particularly, high-input farming constitutes a significant percentage of the oil usage in industrial farming. High-input farming is only local for part of the supply chain.

Transparency – Locally owned farms encourage citizen participation through farm tours and volunteer opportunities. Visits from consumers benefit farmers by building trust and lasting relationships. Large scale operations regularly deny access to consumers because of contamination risk. The risk of contamination is most serious in the case of monocultures where a virus or bacterial outbreak could destroy an entire crop or animal population.

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USDA Gives $$ for Organic Transition

At the Organic Opportunity showing Susan Clark mentioned at a small part of the Farm Bill was going to farmers transitioning to organic production, and we just had to check it out. Here’s what we found:

The USDA, through its Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), is ponying up 50 million in incentives for farmers transitioning to organic, sustainable practices. Yesterday was the first day that applications were accepted and the application period is short only running until May 29, 2009! If you know of anyone who would benefit let them know that the deadline is short!

According to the Organic Farming Research Foundation the applicatants will be asked to follow a set of six “core practices.” These “core practices include: conservation crop rotation; cover cropping; nutrient management; pest management; prescribed grazing; and forage harvest management.” These sound like a pretty good start.

For more information check out EQIP’s site or the Policy Alert from the Organic Farming Research Foundation.

Ah, baby steps…

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Seasonal Recipe (May Week 2)

Since eating seasonally can be a real challenge, we’ll occasionally post some tried and true recipes to help you get started…

Courtsey of

Courtesy of

This week at the Farmer’s Market the asparagus was still going strong and a new batch of greens had appeared, so I picked up a little bit (ok, a lot) of each. I ended up with spring greens (very familiar – no problem), kale (pretty familiar – tasty side with eggs), and chard (?). I found a fantastic recipe that uses both chard and asparagus on 101 Cookbooks. Never heard of it? Stop what you are doing and go there right now! It is full of delicious vegetarian recipes. Makes it so easy to fake being a real cook.

Anyway, 101 Cookbooks has a fabulous Aspargus Stir-Fry recipe. It has a lot of ingredients, and you can probably knock out a few of them if you’re feeling strapped for cash or just lazy. The main thing is the good fresh vegetables, sauce, and cashews. I made quinoa instead rice for the base of this dish. If you’ve not made quinoa check here for an overview and a ‘how to’. It needs to be rinsed before you cook it. Quinoa has a bitter outer coating to keep birds away, but don’t worry it’s really simple to get off. After that it’s pretty much foolproof. It’s easier to cook than rice, I think, and it saves really well. You can buy it in from the bulk bins at Eats. Have asparagus stir-fry over quinoa! Yum!


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