Friday, September 17, 2010

Greetings & seed solicitations! (not to mention steaming bowls of veggie chili)

Lettuce Link has been all over town! Most recently, we tabled for BEET Hunger at Seattle Tilth’s Harvest Fair in Meridian Park.  Though we weren’t responsible for taking these totally adorable pictures, we did collect many pounds of fresh Washington produce and connected gardeners with their neighborhood food banks.  Gardeners uniformly bemoaned the poor tomato harvest, but judging from the size of the summer squash folks dropped in our wheelbarrow, other vegetables are definitely thriving. 

I should quickly introduce myself as a new addition to Lettuce Link.  I’m Amelia, a recent Seattle transplant from Michigan via Maine, and am quite thrilled to be taking over Robin’s duties as the LL Americorps volunteer for program development and outreach.  Did you know that Robin was promoted to LL program assistant?  Well, she was, and deserves BIG congratulations.  

Hailing from a family of giddy agriculturalists, I spent my younger years seeding carrots & building forts in our raspberry patch.  But I maintained a certain skepticism towards my grub-loving parents, a la "we can find these vegetables in finer form at the grocery store, so why grow them here?"  To be honest, it wasn't until I flew the coop for college that I really started to value and seek involvement in the interweave of humans, food, and land.  I became mesmerized by the tremendous power of the seed!  And fell in love with preparing fresh food to enjoy with good people.  At the same time, I was engaged with themes of privilege, access, and structural inequality.  And I realized that these interests were hardly dissonant; rather, they overlapped and intersected and deserved attention.  So I researched a senior thesis on [agri]culture, mobility, and the political project among Afro-Ecuadorians.  As a result of this project and the people that shaped it and me, I became compelled by food as vehicle towards social justice.  Most especially, I spent time with Ecuadorian children who proudly taught me about their farms despite the fact that they had barely enough to eat.  These kids were tough and goofy and outrageously wise, and inspired me to learn and teach about the food we eat and the ways we grow it.  And so I am positively oozing excitement at having this chance to work with Lettuce Link.  Which reminds me:

We’re soliciting seed donations from generous businesses in the Seattle area.  If you have untreated vegetable seeds to donate towards Lettuce Link’s projects, please contact me at or (206) 694-6829.  They will be sowed with much energy and gratitude!

Lastly, the cool, wet weather means that winter greens are positively bursting from the soil.  And frankly, it can be difficult to deal with such abundance. So here’s a quick & healthy recipe for the vegetarian chili that Robin & I made last weekend in South Park using almost entirely ingredients grown at Marra Farm.  It’s a cozy sink for extra leaves.

Chili Vegetariano

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion
1 can of black beans (or ½ cup dry, pre-cooking)
1 can kidney beans (or ½ dry)
2 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp oregano
1 tsp chili powder
2 tablespoons parsley or cilantro
1 large can tomatoes (~7 fresh), chopped
Lots & lots of fresh chopped chard, kale, beet greens, or collards (~ 2 cups)
2 or more of the following: chopped summer squash, carrots, peppers, corn, celery
1 cup salsa (optional- could make your own!)
½ cup plain yogurt or low-fat sour cream (optional)
Optional pinches: cinnamon, coriander, fennel seeds, basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute onions in oil til semi-translucent; add peppers, carrots, celery and cook 5 minutes.  Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt & pepper, and optional pinches.  Cook 3 minutes more.  Add tomatoes, zucchini, squash, corn, greens, and basil.  Cook until greens are wilted. Stir in beans and tomatoes, and add some water or broth if chili is too thick. Top with salsa and yogurt. 

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget

MOVIE NIGHT TOMORROW!  6:30 @ Marra, $15, “The Garden”
Though we are pleading that the clouds be on their best behavior, it's possible that we will need to relocate due to rain.  We're not canceling; do still come to the farm and we'll let you know from there if the venue has changed.

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