Kale salad with roasted red tomatoes. Gnocchi with shiitake mushrooms (plus two other pasta dishes equally astounding). A warm apple crisp with fresh whipped cream and a fig sauce. The majority of ingredients sourced locally. Prepared by Mario Campardella, the head of urban agriculture for the City of Atlanta. Accompanied by wine and conversation, including an interview I was honored to be asked to do with globally-renowned urban revolutionary (and my friend) Rashid Nuri, in celebration of his powerful and inspiring new book titled Growing Out Loud.
Pinch me, please. This was a stunning evening, and it topped off a morning I spent wandering around the featured farm (yet again) in a neighborhood in Atlanta that used to be devoid of fresh food where now vegetables, herbs, and fruit abounds — including so many I grow as well such as tomatoes and peppers (of course) but also sorghum, amaranth, malibar spinach, holy basil, lemongrass, and that dream green, lamb’s quarters. Pictured is one of the very trees where the apples in last night’s dessert grew. These trees were moved three years ago (along with 124 other fruit trees) from this farm’s previous location on the other side of the city. (You may enjoy my longitudinal photo essay about Truly Living Well here.)
I even took the bus to the dinner, and my driver actually stopped at a lemonade stand (!), so the whole world is feeling local and friendly to me right now. (I’m inspired to make basil lemonade today.)
You can read my review of Growing Out Loud here, which includes videos of two of the locations of the farm and a link to buy a copy for yourself. And you can start growing out loud right now, wherever you are. See my short How-To videos and articles for tips, and don’t miss my book, Food for My Daughters, as well, as it’s loaded with lots of simple ways to bring your garden or local farm to your table, too.
(Interested in riding your bike more so you can visit local farms and gardens near you? You may enjoy Traveling at the Speed of Bike. There’s even a whole section about free local fruit.)