Category Archives: Food Sustainability

It’s apple season – and for good reason

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Since autumn is finally here, along comes one of our favorite treats: apples.  It’s no wonder we celebrate Johnny Appleseed on September 26th.

Plus, it doesn’t hurt as a good excuse for making yummy apple treats, or maybe a delicious apple pie!

On that day, we applaud the pioneer nurseryman, John Chapman, who spread apple seeds across the young Midwest United States and who we have to thank for apple trees all over America today!

John Chapman was an apple orchardist, traveling the young Mid Atlantic, planting trees on his way – whereas he was given the name Johnny Appleseed. During his travels, he would teach landowners how to establish nurseries of apple trees and how to keep deer and other animals from eating the sprouts. Appleseed was also an animal rights activist and condemned all cruelty towards all living creatures, even insects.

Considered ahead of his time, Johnny Appleseed became an icon of the conservation movement. He is truly an example of how one individual can make a great impact!

One of our projects, Save Our Urban Landscape (SOUL), has become a modern-day Johnny Appleseed.  By planting thousands of trees in the city of New Orleans, they are creating thriving urban forests which have a significant impact on the environmental challenges facing New Orleans.

And just like Johnny Appleseed, SOUL envisions growing and training a workforce of urban farmers who have the potential to play a viable role in green infrastructure. These farms can generate green jobs while also providing food access in marginalized neighborhoods.

But like Johnny Appleseed, remember that you, too, can make a difference. Support our own Johnny Appleseed of New Orleans with a tax-deductible donation to SOUL.

Written by Lærke Vendel Steen, visiting communications and marketing intern from Denmark.

Let them take over the kitchen

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“We don’t have any more milk,” says my daughter.  “Let’s go to the store and get some more.”

A girl after my own heart, she loves getting the chance to go to a supermarket or a farmer’s market.  Not to just get milk (which I forgot – again – to buy) but to smell the fresh fruits and vegetables, selecting one, and developing a recipe around it.

From garlic scapes to lychees, from kohlrabi to loquat,  an adventure awaits for the daring. We focus on learning where things are grown and how to make delicious, healthy meals.

Studies show this type of ‘farm-to-table’ kids cooking fosters enthusiasm around fresh fruits and vegetables and empowers children to make healthier choices that are often better for the environment.

Since September 13th is Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day, why not use the day to help kids you love to learn more about the foods they eat? Here are some tips:

  • Slow down. Teaching takes longer than just doing it yourself. Add time so that no one gets the ‘hangries’ because dinner ended up late.
  • Really let them cook. Of course we need to make sure young kids aren’t handling sharp knives or the hot oven, but really let your kids get their hands dirty and not just stir ingredients in a bowl. Let them crack eggs (just be ready to scoop out shells), pour and measure out ingredients, and chop or cut when age appropriate.
  • Be ready for the mess. Your kitchen will probably get messy and your kids will probably be even messier. So expect the mess, don’t get angry about it, and teach your kids to clean as they cook.
  • Teach them how to read a recipe. From ingredients, prep work, to putting it all together, talk to your kids about the recipe so they know what step is coming up and how all of the steps come together to make the meal.  It’s also a great time to discuss where food really comes from.

Speaking about where food comes from, have you heard about the Grazing at the Kitchen Table event from our project Kitchen Table Advisors on October 5?  Find out more about this delicious evening that celebrates sustainable farms, ranches, and the community who supports them.  Go to 

In the photo above: Sophia and Lyra Cherry, daughters of T4CI’s Director of Communications and Outreach, Shannon Cherry.

It’s just peachy!

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August is National Peach Month and we couldn’t be more excited.

That’s because our project, Piggy Bank, is celebrating the fuzzy stone fruit and the farmers across the nation who work so hard on August 13 with its first PeachFest in downtown Atlanta.

The festival, hosted by FlatironCity,  highlights Georgia’s diverse agriculture, through cooking demonstrations and tastings, contests and barbecue.

“This has been a difficult year for our peach farmers,” says Brady Lowe, project director of Piggy Bank, a farm-in-the-making for heritage breed pigs, many of which are endangered. “Yet, it’s the ideal time to celebrate how important these farmers are to local and national agriculture, especially during National Peach Month. We’re looking forward to making PeachFest a recurring destination event filled with exciting competitions.”

Top Georgian farmers, chefs, distillers, and brewers will collaborate to give the state’s finest agricultural products flavor and form in this urban setting, including three distinct competitions:

  • The Peach Beer Tasting and Judging, which will select the best peach beer in the land.
  • The Breckenridge Bourbon Peach Punch, which features local barmasters to mix a signature peach cocktail for bragging rights.
  • The Gumcreek Farms Peach Grind, featuring local chefs inventing a peach-pork sausage.

Other events include a benefit silent auction, local chef demonstrations, local wine tastings, and music from the Packway Handle Band.  To purchase tickets, visit ​​.




Got me working like a dog… oh, I am a dog.

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We know you work hard.  But do you work like a dog?

One of our projects, the Singita Grumeti Fund, is working to have man’s best friend to become the best friend to animals that are often poached for ivory or just game shooting.

The project currently has an effective law enforcement presence throughout the Tanzanian reserve and it has helped increase the population of animals including elephants, black rhinos and lions.

Now they are amplifying their impact by developing a dog detection unit to stay one step ahead of poachers. These highly skilled sniffer dogs will catch poachers before they have succeeded in killing wildlife, shifting to proactive law enforcement and saving the lives of many endangered animals.

During Work Like a Dog Day, won’t you consider helping support Singita Grumeti Fund’s work by making a donation today?

Photo credit: Singita Grumeti Fund

Orange you glad it’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month

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As farmers markets begin to bustle and produce stands pop-up along the roadside, celebrating National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable month presents a fresh and delectable invitation for a summer meal. Whether from a stand, you picked-it-yourself at a local farm, grew it in your backyard, or had a friendly neighbor knock on your door, ‘lettuce’ take a bite of all that is yummy.

Much of our work at T4CI lends itself to healthy, fresh produce that focuses on sustainability. One of our projects, The Interfaith Sustainable Food Collaborative, for example, is working to get fresh fruits and veggies in religious communities and their food pantries.  And the central T4CI team in Oakland is always up to anything fresh and edible.

Here are the office favorite fruits and vegetables:

  • Ty: Mango and Chickpeas
  • Stephen: Mango and Sweet Potato
  • Carolyn: Opal Apples and Broccoli
  • Tenzin:  Apples and Spinach
  • Jessica: Blueberries and Broccolini
  • Laura: Grapefruit and Celery
  • Kvetka: Apples and Peas
  • Kristin:  Cherries and Brussels Sprouts
  • Shannon:  Avocados and Jicama

We’re hungry for more, so please share your favorite fruits and veggies with us in the comment section.

Endangered livestock: Heritage Breeds Week

You may not think much about it, but there are endangered breeds of livestock. More than 1,400 of them worldwide. And it’s time to start protecting them.

That’s what  International Heritage Breeds Week is all about.  After all,  agriculture has dramatically changed over the past century in many parts of the world and is still rapidly evolving in favor of speed and efficiency.

Livestock domestication began around 12,000 years ago in southwestern Asia. For most of recorded history agriculture took place small-scale, and at the local level, but over the past century, the same efficiencies used in many other industries have been applied in farming to produce more food, in less time, at lower prices. This consolidation has led to the abandonment and extinction of at least 7% of the currently documented 8,774 breeds worldwide, with an additional 17% now at risk of extinction. The current extinction rate is higher than it has ever been, with at least 99 breeds having become extinct since the year 2000. That results in less genetically diverse livestock, which can lead to vulnerabilities in agriculture.

Our project, Piggy Bank is focusing on creating an open access agriculture with heritage pigs.

Take a look:

And consider a donation during  International Heritage Breeds Week.

Eat What You Want Day? #EatLocal

May 11 is “Eat What You Want Day”.  It was established to allow people to let go of their dieting lifestyle for just one day.

That’s nice, but let’s take it a step further.

What if you choose a cheeseburger to indulge in on this day?

Do you know the impact of that one cheeseburger? Take a look.

Depending on where you get your “Eat What You Want Day”  cheeseburger, it could be hurting the environment.  So instead, choose to indulge by eating local food sources.

And celebrate the day by sharing your awesome food choices with photos and the hashtag: #eatlocal.

We Salute Our Projects Who Make a Difference on National Farm Animal Day

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When we think of animal welfare, we often turn to our pets: mainly dogs or cats. But on National Farm Animal Day, it’s time to take a look at some of the other animals in our lives: the farm livestock, which includes 9 billion chickens, 244 million turkeys, 93 million cows, 65 million hogs and 6 million sheep, among others.

Yet billions are not being treated humanely. That’s why we are saluting some of our amazing projects working to help:

  • Animal Agriculture Reform Collaborative –  brings together sustainable farmers, environmental, public health, social and economic justice, and animal welfare organizations to work on systemic change required to establish a sustainable and just animal agriculture system.
  • Change Food – helps individuals change the way they eat by raising public awareness and educating consumers about opportunities to shift the U.S. food supply to a sustainable food system where healthy, nutritious food is accessible by all.
  • Kitchen Table Advisors – provides farmers with business and financial advising and help farmers access the tools, knowledge and resources they need on their path to becoming resilient and viable businesses.
  • PiggyBank – provides an open forum, where the public will have access to information on all heritage breed pigs and access business plans written by other farmers.

Urban Cooling Achievement Award in memory of Art Rosenfeld

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The Global Cool Cities Alliance (GCCA) has established an award to honor the legacy and impact of Dr. Arthur Rosenfeld’s advocacy for cooler buildings, cooler cities, and a cooler planet. Dr. Rosenfeld was a founder of GCCA and a tireless advocate for building materials that improve thermal comfort and make a positive impact on global climate change. The Urban Cooling Achievement Award will recognize leaders who demonstrate Art’s drive, passion, and intelligence to overcome the challenges of excess urban heat.

“Everywhere we work, we meet people inspired by Art who are trying to make their communities cooler, more prosperous, and healthier. I am excited to launch an award to honor their efforts and to highlight Art’s enduring legacy of inspiring positive global change” said Kurt Shickman, Executive Director of the Global Cool Cities Alliance.

Those wishing to donate to support the Dr. Arthur H. Rosenfeld Urban Cooling Achievement Award may do so at award/

T4CI welcomes new staff member

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Please welcome the newest member of our T4CI team: Kristin Fischer, as the human resources director.

In this newly-created position, she not only fulfills the traditional HR role for the organization, but also works as T4CI’s talent developer, capacity-builder, and executive steward of our most important resources – our team members.

Kristin was formerly the director of people operations at Villarreal Hutner PC and oversaw human resources, and support staff management.  Prior to this role, she was the director of implementation services at Eatec Corporation.

Kristin holds a Bachelors of Arts in History from Kenyon College as well as a Grande Diploma in Culinary Arts at Ecole Ritz Escoffier.

A self-proclaimed “Gilmore Girls “addict, she also enjoys hiking, travel, and Wii “Just Dance” competitions with her family.