[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"69","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"307","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"720"}}]]By Rachel Signer

This weekend, I paid a visit to Meat Market, a local meat butcher in Great Barrington, MA. After taking home a pound of ground chuck and a pound of sweet Italian sausage (made with heritage pork from Flying Pigs Farm, whose farmers are featured in American Meat, and mixed with fennel and onions), I put together an amazing hamburger recipe. Here’s how I did it.

By Misha Lepetich A recent food security panel held by Columbia University’s Earth Institute hosted a rich discussion about a wide range of food security matters. But it is important to look at not just the very real food insecurity of the developing world, but also to question how robust our own food systems are. One small detail from the afternoon, concerning a specific kind of fragility, was especially striking. The treatment of this detail illustrates both my admiration for, and frustration with, the Earth Institute and its worldview.

Fragility can be characterized in many ways, such as crop vulnerability to weather shocks, or falling yields due to environmental degradation or ever-more resistant pests. Fragility can also be more formally defined as the way in which a system is – oftentimes endogenously – vulnerable to disruption or outright breakdown, as defined by Charles Perrow’s important work on complex technological systems. But it was economic fragility that was the focus of the following chart, shared by the Earth Institute’s Jessica Fanzo, from FAO’s “The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2011” (p14):

Note that this is the lowest quintile of the population for each country. But it should provide an indication of the extent to which food security relates to financial fragility as well. That is, any increase in food prices requires a significant additional portion of a family’s income in these countries, if they are to maintain the same level of caloric intake, let alone nutrition. More frequently, families are not able to spend more money on food, and must employ other strategies to make ends meet: fewer meals; less caloric or nutritional value in each meal; the reallocation of meals away from members who are not income earners; taking children out of schools when a family must choose between education and food (i.e., as a result of school fees); the preferencing of employment for children over education, etc.

This kind of anxiety is inherently difficult for people in the U.S. to envision. Let’s look at our own situation to better understand why.

On Tuesday, October 23 Manhattan Community Board 1 will meet at the South Street Seaport Musuem, 12 Fulton Street (between Front St. and South St).  A few of our vendors and neighbors will be testifying on behalf of the market at the public session, which runs from 6pm to 7pm.
We will also be there to to articulate our development proposal for the Fulton Fish Market public site. Community Board 1 has been a strong advocate of the market since we first announced our vision in September 2006.
Help us show our gratitude to the Board by filling the room with good will, and please let us know if you are coming: rsvp@newamsterdammarket.org

Please read our testimony to the October 4 joint committee meeting. Below is a snippet:

"We seek to preserve and revitalize this last remnant of the city’s original working waterfront by reviving its historic use: the buying and selling of food in a wholly public

By Rachel Signer Through the glass windows of the event space Galapagos, we the attendees of the TEDx DUMBO Cities 2.0 conference watched the children playing at the street fair. They jumped carelessly on a blown-up bouncy structure, ate cupcakes, and got their faces painted. Inside, we shifted in our seats and listened to presentation after presentation—all, of course, by brilliant, enthusiastic, unique, and charismatic individuals with innovative projects having real social impact. But in some ways, the kids won that day, because they were putting all their energies into practice. We only listened.

Conferences are not all bad. It’s great to sit back, relax, and observe a well-crafted presentation. (And sometimes there are cupcakes, too.) But the technical difficulties at the outset of last weekend’s TEDx DUMBO--a faulty clicker made the slideshows stutter, which frustrated presenters and tested the audience’s patience--proved that it is dangerous to position an idea in attractive packaging. The essential element of TED events is performativity; speakers aren’t just lecturing or discussing, they are speaking artfully with scripted rhetoric, alongside carefully-chosen visual cues and pointed body language; and all of this is captured on film and live-streamed. This virtual and performative aspect of TED is what allows these presentations to be exported to millions everywhere. TED is about sharing ideas, far and wide. (Their slogan: “Ideas worth spreading.”) And yet at the DUMBO event, the presenters onstage without functioning technology seemed less sure of those ideas.

By Christine Rico, Green Rabbits co-founder On Thursday, September 27th, Green Rabbits helped to kick off the second phase of The Rye Bread Project at Pockets Full of Rye, a small dinner hosted by New Amsterdam Market.

The occasion marked a new partnership between Grow NYC, Organic Growers' Research and Information-Sharing Network founder and coordinator Elizabeth Dyck, and the Nordic Gene Bank, which has agreed to send two dozen varieties of rye seed to New York State for testing. This effort, brokered by Danish chef and Green Rabbit Trine Hahnemann, came about as a direct result of the original Rye Bread Project held at New Amsterdam Market in November 2010.

At that 2010 event, where Trine served amazing smørrebrød prepared with local ingredients at the New Amsterdam Market, rye flour was purchased from farmer Thor Oeschner from Cayuga Pure Organics. His farm was the only local source of rye available; and until that point he had largely grown rye as a feed crop. At the 2010 Rye Bread Project lunch, Thor lamented that he only had one variety of rye seed and asked for help finding more diverse seed sources.

Trine took that plea to heart and after her return to Denmark began to research rye varieties. Working with Danish farmers, she learned that there are literally hundreds of varieties of heritage rye; some of which have already vanished from production. However, she also discovered that the Nordic Gene Bank has collected and catalogued many of these varieties from across northern Europe. Trine developed a relationship with the

Part II of a discussion with chef Arthur Potts Dawson on his recently-released cookbook, Eat Your Vegetables, held during Dawson’s book signing and cooking demo at the New Amsterdam Market. In Part I, Dawson shared the story of learning to love food and appreciate the creative aspects of cooking. In Part II, Dawson speaks to his interest in sustainable, ethical food and the importance of fresh vegetables in modern diets.  By Rachel Signer

RS: Are you still working with restaurants?

Dawson: A lot of people want to work with me for a lot of different reasons . . . At some point, I realized that I need to do this holistically. I needed to look at from the soil back to the soil again. A lot of chefs think that they get on the phone, the food arrives, and then all you care about is what goes on after that. I started to piece and sew together that food is intrinsically linked to the planet and the body.

What was your first experience with that philosophy?

I was running restaurants—River Café, Soho House Group. I came to SoHo House New York. I was running restaurants for other people. And they always wanted to dictate the agenda that I would work with. And I was trying to impart this very localized system of food—but they didn’t think it had value, they didn’t think it paid. So the first opportunity I got to do my own place, I built the ecology and the idea of holistic food into the kitchen. That’s what I wanted to do. It didn’t matter what anyone else thought; I knew the food would be good, the service would be good.

But this happened to coincide with the Stern Report that was published in 2006 by Nicholas Stern. It was about the importance of a green agenda. Up until that point, people hadn’t been paying any attention to it. The British press got ahold of this thing and said, “wow, this is an important statement—but no one’s delivering it in Britain.” And it just happened that I had just started to do it. So as “green” went from zero to hero overnight, I went from zero to hero overnight. It was like, “oh there’s this sustainable chef and he’s very

Part I of a discussion with chef Arthur Potts Dawson on his recently-released cookbook, Eat Your Vegetables, held during Dawson's book signing and cooking demo at the New Amsterdam Market. Look for Part II over the next few days. by Rachel Signer

RS: Tell me about how you came to be a chef and to want to write this cookbook.

Dawson: When I was sixteen, my father told me, get a summer job. So I spent the summer cooking food. Really enjoyed it. At the end of it, the chef said to me, what are you gonna do with the rest of your life? I said, yeah, I’m gonna do my A-levels. I had planned to become a policeman. He said, look, you should really be a chef. He said, look, I’ll offer you an apprenticeship with me, but I can get you a really good job if you’re keen. So I went from literally spending six weeks in a summer job to being offered an amazing apprenticeship with probably one of Europe’s best training courses, the Roux Brothers; I spent three years as an apprentice. And from there I went to the best restaurants in London, Michelin-starred. And so from 16 to 22, I had no real concept of any other plans. I was cooking so much, and I got so drawn into it, that I kind of, I guess, lost myself in food. Kitchens are wonderful places. .  . not to hide in . . . but places where you can. . . put everything aside. Because they consume all of your time, all of your passion, all of your energy.

You didn’t go back to school.

I didn’t go back to school. I went to catering school but it was one day a week. And that one day—I was working so hard the other six days, I ended up practically asleep in the classroom.

Really I was caught and bitten by the food bug at a very early age. And I spent the next ten years doing very French, very strict, kind of masochistic type cooking where the attitude is very much—the chef is the be-all-and-end-all on the planet, so if you don’t do what the chef says you’re gonna get beaten up. I mean it was really just shit stuff. This was 1986 or ’87. It wasn’t trendy to be a chef. It wasn’t cool to be a chef. It was a job. So that was the first ten years, and then slowly but surely I started to realize that French cuisine wasn’t much for me; it was very restrictive. There were barriers.