Robin

Category Archives: Robin

Mary and Pepe, 21 Acres' farmers, filling boxes of carrots in the fall destined for Seattle-area restaurants
Mary and Pepe, 21 Acres’ farmers, filling boxes of carrots in the fall destined for Seattle-area restaurants
Austin, Food Hub Coordinator, and Chantal, child care food service director, pause for a moment while loading food for the kids' cafeteria.
Austin, Food Hub Coordinator, and Chantal, child care food service director, pause for a moment while loading food for the kids’ cafeteria.

21 Acres is a partner in the Puget Sound Food Hub along with two other nonprofit organizations and one family farm. We work cooperatively to aggregate and distribute food from producers in a six county area: Whatcom, Skagit, Island, San Juan, Snohomish and King.  The farms hat we work with are stewards of the land — using some of the most sustainable production practices available.  Many of the farms are Certified Organic and all are working to limit pesticide use and reliance on any unnecessary equipment that burns fossil fuels.

As part of 21 Acres mission, our goal is to help find ways to limit greenhouse gasses and adverse affects on global warming. Traditional food systems are built on moving (trucking, shipping or flying) food long distance using fossil fuels.  We’re striving to building something different — an infrastructure that not only helps small family farms access local wholesale buyers, but doing so at an affordable cost while limiting or eliminating any COs emissions.

21 Acres currently uses a Dodge Sprinter to move food, fueled with bio-diesel from reclaimed oil-not from monocrop productions; but we want to do better.  The only way to further limit our carbon footprint related to food hub transportation is to use an all-electric vehicle.

Food Hub fall 2013 (16)
The Dodge Sprinter is essential to the food hub! We extend our sincere appreciation and thanks to the Not Yet Foundation for their support of the food hub to allow us to buy the Sprinter. The food hub wouldn’t be what it is today without the Sprinter.

 

We conducted extensive research into any an all options for an electric vehicle — here in the United States and abroad.  There weren’t many companies still left building electric trucks (many have filed bankruptcy in recent years) and those that were, didn’t have the refrigeration and the range capacity that we needed.  The result, then, has been to undertake construction of a totally unique, refrigerated, long range truck made with vintage parts, Tesla batteries and all American-made elements.

I look forward to blogging about the process and sharing details with you as we work to improve the infrastructure to move food. If you ever have specific questions please feel free to email me: rbcrowder@21acres.org.  We want to share what we’re learning.

— Robin

Every Friday and Saturday our Farm Market hosts demonstrations from 12:30 to 1 pm.  Recently Meghan shared a family recipe for pumpkin pancakes.  It was so delicious quite a few of us staff members have been making it regularly.  I’m planning on making it for Thanksgiving morning and thought others might like to do the same.  Let us know if you try it.

— Robin

Makes 12 pancakes

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups milk

1 cup pumpkin or squash puree

1 egg

2 Tblsp melted butter

2 Tblsp apple cider vinegar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup einka flour

3 Tblsp brown sugar or honey

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp all spice

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger or 2 tsp fresh minced ginger

1/2 tsp salt

Directions

In a bowl mix : milk, pumpkin, egg, apple cider vinegar and butter. Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, soda, spices and salt. Stir into pumpkin mixture.

Heat lightly buttered griddle over medium high heat.  Spoon heaping tablespoon full onto pan.  Cook on both sides till brown.  Serve hot with butter and syrup.

Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com

 

There are 24 new classknifeskillses on the calendar at 21 Acres this fall.  Some of these include series such as our very popular Cultivating Cooks 101 & 201 for teens.  Take a look at the website and see the descriptions as there is something for everyone: canning and preserving, healthy food for growing kids, seasonal cooking, composting, vermiculture and getting organized are just some of the topics.

The fees for classes are very low and often members of 21 Acres receive a discount. For example, the Yes, I Can class is only $10 for members: Students will learn how to can and preserve farm fresh produce and be able to take home 2 jars of produce.  Classes are planned by various members of our staff: Kurt Sahl, Principal Education Advisor, has worked with Melissa Sokolowsky and Tyler Morrison from our facilities team to plan the composting classes.  Matt Keen, our new Nutrition and Local Food Education Coordinator, has been working with Asako Sullivan who leads our kitchen staff, to develop the cooking classes.  Deb Sternagel, our wonderfully talented administrator, has planned the organizing classes with instructor, Laura Leist.

Lastly, be sure to check out our Tuesdays at 21 series: Not a class, but a fun learning environment none-the-less.

–Robin

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The most fortunate thing happened at 21 Acres the other day!  We were lucky to have Jasmine Pulley visit, tour the farm market and walk the Back 18 on the most chilly and blustery day.  It turns out Jasmine is new to Washington state, she is an eastside resident and, she is an amazing professional photographer! Jasmine was inspired to attend our cooking class titled, Winter Feast, with Chefs Josh and Chris from Kitchen Table NW.  She just sent us her images from the evening and we find them so compelling that we have to share. We’re looking forward to getting to know Jasmine more, but her portfolio is extensive and she is very attuned to sustainable issues and building healthy, local food systems.  Our events staff were particularly excited to see her photos of gatherings of large groups of people — they really tell stories that we could relate to and the wedding images in particular are full of life.  Find a moment to see Jasmine’s images of the cooking class here wildlyspun.com. If you’re in need of a perfect photographer, here’s Jasmine’s contact information: Jasminenicolephoto.com.

After the GMO labeling legislation failed in Washington in November local coverage of the issue has dissipated.  Many people are asking us to describe the current status of the issue across the country. Here’s a brief summary of what we know:

Connecticut Voters approved the first GMO labeling law in the country when they went to the polls in 2013.

Connecticut’s law becomes effective only when four other states with at least 20 million people total population, and with at least one state bordering Connecticut, pass similar legislation.  (more…)

Happy New Year! Many of us at 21 Acres are tackling organization as part of our New Years resolutions for 2014.  If you too are feeling ambitious here’s an idea that my sister-in-law followed and she said it was very helpful to not feeling overwhelmed: Take 20 days to get organized, focusing on one area each day (see below).  She tried this a few months ago and recommended it to me.  I tried it and it really helped me feel like I had a workable plan.  Another idea you might want to consider is limiting unwanted solicitations, including emails and junk mail as well as telemarketing calls: Visit this website:
http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0262-stopping-unsolicited-mail-phone-calls-and-email to get off solicitors’ lists.

Here at 21 Acres we’re also offering three very affordable classes with professional organizer Laura Liest: 1) Right Sizing: Less Stuff=Less Stress; 2) Organizing Digital and Print Memories; and 3) Eliminate Paper and Information Chaos.    Read Laura’s bio below — she’s amazing — then register and join us for one or all of these classes.

-Robin

TAKE 20 DAYS TO ORGANIZE

Day 1     Computer desk

Day 2     Plastic container storage

Day 3     Linen closet

Day 4     Under kitchen sink

Day 5     Dresser drawers

Day 6     Kitchen pantry

Day 7     Coat closet

Day 8     Toy organization

Day 9     Laundry room

Day 10   Fridge and Freezer

Day 11   Spice cabinet

Day 12   Medicine and Vitamins

Day 13   Under bathroom sink

Day 14   Mail station

Day 15   Keepsakes

Day 16   Master closet

Day 17   Craft supplies

Day 18   Photos and kids artwork

Day 19   Garden/tool shed

Day 20   Then, consider tackling the car!

Bio: Laura Leist Laura is an award-winning entreprenur and self-described overachiever who has grown her company, Eliminate Chaos, from a one-woman show into a thriving business. She has written eight books, including her newest, Eliminate the Chaos at Work: 25 Techniques to Increase Productivity and best-selling Eliminate Chaos:  The 10-Step Process to Organize Your Home & Life.  Leist’s clients include CEOs of multi-billion dollar corporations, paper- and system-fatigued law offices, high-profile authors, speakers, athletes, media personalities, solopreneurs, and divas of domesticity. Though her clients come from all walks of life and all fields, they share a universal need for help to escape the clutter, disorganization, and lack of productivity that steal valuable time from their lives and puts a crimp on their earning potential.

Many of us at 21 Acres are striving to reduce chemical exposure in our personal lives and have taken this on as a New Year’s resolution.  In our operations procedures at 21 Acres we strive to limit any use of chemicals or plastics in all of our activities, from cleaning to fixing to storing to packaging, we’re careful to use products that are gentle to the environment and to people’s health and well-being. Staff and volunteers are now taking some of these practices and using them in our homes.

The video, Unsafe: The Truth Behind Everyday Chemicals, is well worth a watch.  It’s not too long and is a helpful overview about the issues of toxic chemical exposure in our lives.  Experts make points such as: there are more than 13,000 chemicals in cosmetics and only 10 percent of those are tested before being readily sold to the public; Bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical shown to cause breast cancer in animals, is used in food can linings and soft plastics (ie, food storage containers and baby toys), including packaging of snack foods; and the fact that flame retardants used on thousands of products, specifically those with foam padding such as upholstered furniture, is a point the video covers in detail.

Watch the video and let us know what you think.  We have a nice relationship with the experts at the Washington Toxics Coalition and they are a great resource we can tap if you have specific questions about also starting to live a more toxic-free life in the New Year.

— Robin

The New Year is shaping up to be a busy one with 21 new classes just posted to our calendar.  As part of these selections, 21 Acres is pleased to launch a new partnership with Everett Community College and Cascadia Community College to offer Beekeeping and Backyard Farming classes through their catalog.

According to Gretchen Garth, 21 Acres’ Board President, “Partnerships with organizations such as this one with the community colleges make sense as they foster collaboration and creativity and allow us to reach more people who may be interested in sustainable issues and to contribute to keeping our programming costs low.” (more…)

Photographer: Ed Sozinho; and Assistant: Tegra

To correspond with 21 Acres’ announcement about LEED Platinum certification we recently conducted a professional photoshoot at 21 Acres.  It was an amazing experience. We worked with Sozinho Imagery to capture 22 images of 21 Acres to help tell the story about our green-built campus. Ed Sozinho and his assistant Tegra were a pleasure to work with throughout the process.  From the preplanning months and weeks in advance to the actual day of the photoshoot and then during the followup editing and finalizing process everything went very smoothly.  Ed is an architect by training so that certainly helped us capture compelling images.  Plus, he was very good-natured and laughed a lot. (Important qualities in our mind.) We fed him and Tegra locally produced cheese, organic apples, pickled jalepenos from our farm and tried to fuel them with sustenance during the day.  The ultimate result is this collection of photos shared here.  If you have a minute or two and want to be inspired by some very special photography, visit Ed’s website,  http://sozinhoimagery.com/.  You’ll see why we hired him and why he is a photographer for Patagonia and other well-respected brands.

— Robin Crowder

 

Hammering letters low res hand engraving low res Sandblasting low res

We are looking forward to engraving a new set of pavers to be inlaid on the patio at 21 Acres this fall.  If you know of someone whom you’d like to honor, perhaps someone who is passionate about sustainable issues, you may want to consider ordering a paver.  We have a nice package we put together with eco-friendly giftwrap that makes a pretty presentation.  For specific details, follow this link to our website: 21 Acres Pavers.

— Robin