Author Archives: Theo Chaojareon

Volunteer Day at Neighborhood Farm Initiative, June 4th

Sign-up to join us for a day in the dirt volunteering with the Neighborhood Farm Initiative. We will meet there June 4 at 9am and work in the garden until about 12:30-1. We will enjoy a pot-luck lunch and one another’s company. Please email kathryn at to rsvp. Wear clothes appropriate for working in the garden and don’t forget water and sunscreen.

Directions to the Fort Totten garden:
To get to the garden from the Fort Totten metro station, turn left (north) and walk up the sidewalk past where the buses stop.  Across from the parking lot and after some trees, you’ll see a paved path going up over a slight hill on your left (going north), take that path across a field and you’ll see us at the top of the hill!

If you google-map 100 Gallatin Street NE, you’ll see the field from the satellite view and the path that connects Gallatin street to the metro stop.

Bison and Beef Farm Tour and Dinner, June 18

Update: This event is now SOLD OUT. Please check out some of our other great events!

Saturday, June 18

2pm Gunpowder Bison & Trading Co.
1270 Monkton Road
Monkton, MD 21111

4pm Roseda Beef
Roseda Farm
15317 Carroll Road
Monkton, MD 21111

Join us while we explore two local farms, Gunpowder Bison Trading Co. and Roseda Beef. Learn how both farms raise the animals in an environmentally-conscious way.  The afternoon will kick off at 2pm with a tour of the Gunpowder Bison Trading Ranch, then we’ll head to nearby Roseda Beef where we’ll enjoy a hayride tour, barbeque dinner in a barn, and a campfire with s’mores.  This event is family-friendly.  If you are interested in carpooling, or have any questions, please email (replace the _at_ with @).

To register go to:

‘Queen of the Sun’ to pollinate awareness of honeybee crisis

Director Taggart Siegel will introduce his award-winning  documentary ‘Queen of the Sun: What are the Bees Telling Us?’ at a special screening 7 PM May 10 in the Byrd Auditorium  at the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC). The event is co-sponsored by Fresh and Local CSA, a Shepherdstown biodynamic farm that advocates for the natural world, and The Locavore Project – WV, an initiative to raise awareness of area farms. The event is hosted by  NCTC’s Community Lecture series and was made possible through the Herculean efforts of NCTC’s Mark Madison.

Portland-based Taggart Siegel’s documentary is an in-depth investigation to discover the causes and solutions behind Colony Collapse Disorder, a phenomenon where honeybees vanish from their hives, and never return. Queen of The Sun follows the voices and visions of beekeepers, philosophers, and scientists from around the world, struggling for the survival of the bees.

Queen of The Sun emphasizes the biodynamic and organic communities that have deep and profound insights into the long-term issues that have brought about the recent collapse.

Bees have provided humans with honey, wax and pollination for our food for over 10,000 years. Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian scientist who, in 1923, predicted that within 100 years, “The mechanization of beekeeping and industrialization will eventually destroy beekeeping.”


“It’s not just honeybees that are affected by whatever is destroying hives, of course,” says Fresh and Local CSA farmer Logan Balliett. “Native pollinator’s, the ones that co-evolved with New World food plants are also dying out. Some 40% of our food supply requires pollination. This is getting serious.”


Queen of The Sun takes a journey around the world to uncover the compelling perspectives concerning the complex problems bees are facing such as malnutrition, pesticides, genetically modified crops, migratory beekeeping, parasites, pathogens, and lack of genetic diversity from excessive queen breeding.  The film elegantly finds practical solutions and discovers the deep link between bees survival and our own.

Beekeeper Gunther Hauk of Floyd Virginia calls the crisis, “More important even than global warming. We could call it Colony Collapse of the human being too.” Hauk also likes to say as often as possible “Steiner was right, Steiner was right!”

Recently, the U.N. released a study confirming that bee decline is a global issue. “Of the 100 crop species that provide 90 percent of the world’s food, over 70 are pollinated by bees.” The head of the U.N. Environmental Programme warns. “The writing is on the wall. We have to do something to ensure pollination for future generations.”

Bees are the engines that keep the earth in bloom. Queen of The Sun presents the bee crisis as a global wake-up call and illuminates a growing movement of beekeepers, community activists and scientists who are committed to renewing a culture in balance with nature.


An independent filmmaker since the mid-1980’s, Taggart Siegel is best known as the director of the 2006 grass roots hit The Real Dirt on Farmer John. This critically acclaimed feature documentary about a maverick visionary farmer, won 31 international film festivals awards and was released theatrically around the world. Siegel is also known for his award-winning films The Split Horn: Life of a Hmong Shaman in America, Between Two Worlds and Blue Collar and Buddha, which capture the struggle of refugees in America. He is the co-founder of Collective Eye, Inc., a non-profit media production and distribution organization based in Portland, Oregon and San Francisco.

About the co-sponsors

More information on Fresh and Local CSA is at

More information on The Locavore Project – WV is at


EcoFriendly Dinner at Dino, June 5

EcoFriendly Dinner at Dino, June 5, 6:30pm
3435 Connecticut Avenue, Washington DC 20008
Cost: $65/members, $70/non-members

Join us for a Tuscan family-style feast prepared by chef/owner Dean Gold of Dino and featuring meats from EcoFriendly Foods. EcoFriendly Foods will also speak about the importance of ethically-raised meats and how eaters can improve their food systems. A wine flight and beverage specials will be available to accompany the meal for an additional charge.

Trotter Tots
Testa Crostini

Pappardelle al Sugo

Grigliata Misto ~ Mixed grill
Rosticciana ~ Tuscan style pork spare ribs

Rosticciana d’Agnello ~ Tuscan style lamb breast ribs

Tuscan Bacon


Seasonal Dessert

Register for the event here:

Artisanal Foods and Local Wine tasting at Northside Social, May 26

Curious about the artisanal products being turned out of Executive Chef Liam LaCivita’s kitchens in the Liberty Tavern restaurant group? Join us for a happy hour at Northside Social for a unique chance to sample breads, spreads, sausages, and cheeses, all made in house at The Liberty Tavern, Northside Social, and Lyon Hall. The food will be complemented by wine from a local Virginia winemaker (one glass included in the event price). May 26 from 6-8:00 p.m.. $23 for members, $28 for non-members.

Register here:

Foraging: Ramps 2011

For the last few years, a common sight on early spring restaurant menus and in farmers markets has been the Ramp (a.k.a. wild leek). The ramp is a member of the onion family, and it only grows on the East Coast, mostly in the Appalachians where it is very common. It has a different look than any other in the onion family, it has broad green leaves, most times with purple tints on the lower stem, and a stalk and bulb like a scallion. The taste is that of an onion but has a distinctive garlic smell. The whole plant is edible. The window to harvest ramps is very small, only few weeks before the leaves die back, not to reemerge until the following spring.

Ramps have not been successfully cultivated so any ramps that are eaten are foraged wild. Due to the immense popularity recently there has been a bit of a strain on the native populations of ramps. Though not in danger yet, we should be careful to not over-harvest to allow the ramps to regenerate naturally. It takes many years for a large stand of ramps to grow, and this must be kept in mind when harvesting.

I am lucky enough to have family that live on a mountain in upstate New York, adjacent to a giant old growth stand of ramps. The stand below probably easily covered a quarter mile of mountainside.

My wife and I recently harvested enough for our friends’ and families’ enjoyment, being careful not to take too many from any one spot.

Ramps are wonderful in any application scallions are used. This morning’s meal was an omelet made with pastured eggs, ramps, and Spanish goat cheese. It was delicious. Other great ways to eat ramps and preserve them include making and freezing a ramp pesto or pickling the stems and bulbs.

This year I am going to try something different and transplant some of the ramps in a pot. Online I’ve seen that some folks have had success cultivating them this way, and I hope it can be replicated.

9th Annual Clyde’s Farm Dinner, Aug 6th

Update: This event is now SOLD OUT. Please check out some of our other great events!

Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm
42920 Broadlands Boulevard
Ashburn, VA 20148
Saturday, August 06, 2011 at 5:00 PM

Slow Food DC’s event of the year, the 9th Annual Clyde’s Farm Dinner, is now on the books for Saturday, August 6 at 5 p.m. Our friend and patron, Clyde’s, has opened the barn door and garden gate to welcome Slow Food members and friends to a tour of their raised-bed garden—where all their veggies grow—and a five-course farm dinner. We will celebrate our local farmers by partying at Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm, just off Route 267 near Dulles airport and Leesburg, VA.

A $100 voucher for dinner for two at Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm will be auctioned off during the meal.

Menu and speakers to be announced. But hurry, this event ALWAYS sells out fast…really fast. Last year, all tickets were gone within 72 hours. Limit: 85 guests.

Sign up for the event at:

The Ultimate Pig Dinner, May 4

The Ultimate Pig Dinner!!
Wednesday, May 4 6:30 p.m.

Harry’s Tap Room
2800 Clarendon Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22201

Come to Harry’s Tap Room in Clarendon for the ultimate in “pigging out.” It’s pork (from snout to tail) in a multi-course dinner and a Virginia wine tasting. Harry’s Executive Chef Alex Reyes promises an extravaganza of four courses ending with bacon ice cream.

The evening will start with Michael Rodriguez, owner of Fauquier’s Finest, providing a pork butchering presentation.

While “digging the pig”, you will enjoy culinary and wine insights from Chef Alex, Winemaker Chris Pearmund and Michael Rodriquez, owner of Fauquier’s Finest Country Butcher Shop.

Chris Pearmund, founder of Pearmund Cellars, Vint Hill Craft Winery and The Winery at La Grange will talk about his passion for bringing the Virginia wine industry into national prominence. He’ll also discuss how he worked with Harry’s Tap Room co-founder Michael Sternberg in the production of “Harry’s Declaration Red” made at Pearmund Cellar’s. Chris will lead a tasting of “Harry’s Declaration Red” and three other wines from his wineries specially selected to accompany your dinner.

Harry’s Tap Room has always worked with local producers using all natural and sustainable meats, dairy, produce and seafood in Chef Alex’s menu offerings. Recent menus have put more effort into utilization of whole animals. This benefits Harry’s farm partners by giving a ready outlet for their products at a fair market price, allowing them to focus on farming instead of worrying about where to sell their products.

Cost for the event is $55 for Slow Food members, $60 for non-members. Register for your tickets here:

Food Justice: Author Event and Discussion, April 6

Featuring Robert Gottlieb, co-author of Food Justice, and D.C. food justice advocate Louise Thundercloud. Organized by D.C. Farm to School, Bread for the City, Slow Food D.C. and Centro Ashé.

Wednesday, April 6th
6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Bread for the City
1525 7th Street Northwest

In today’s food system, farm workers face difficult and hazardous conditions, low-income neighborhoods lack supermarkets but abound in fast-food restaurants and liquor stores, food products emphasize convenience rather than wholesomeness, and the international reach of American fast-food franchises has been a major contributor to an epidemic of “globesity.” To combat these inequities and excesses, a movement for food justice has emerged in recent years seeking to transform the food system from seed to table. In Food Justice, Robert Gottlieb and Anupama Joshi tell the story of this emerging movement.

What does food justice mean for D.C. residents? What opportunities and challenges exist in our city? Bread for the City, D.C. Farm to School Network, Slow Food D.C., and Centro Ashé are hosting Robert Gottlieb, Louise Thundercloud, and others involved in food justice advocacy in D.C., for this discussion. Join Bread for the City for a tour of its rooftop garden at 6. Discussion begins at 6:30.

The event is free, but space is limited. Please RSVP to (Replace _at_ with @) or call (202) 386-7006.

“Pig Business” Documentary Highlights Industrial Farming Abuses

The U.S. premiere of the documentary film Pig Business played to a full house at the U.S. Capitol Visitor’s Center on March 9th.  The event was sponsored by the Center for Food Safety and co-sponsored by Slow Food DC and about a dozen other food and environmental advocacy groups.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who is featured in the documentary, kicked off the event with a powerful speech. Also putting in appearances at the event were Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who served as master-of-ceremonies and panel moderator; Tracy Worchester, the film’s director; and Dr. Michael Greger, Humane Society of the United States, Andrew Kimbrell, Center for Food Safety, and Kathy Ozer (National Family Farm Coalition, all of whom spoke as part of a panel after the screening.

The documentary focuses primarily on the brass-knuckles business practices of Virginia-based Smithfield Farms, which is coming close to monopolizing pork production in both the United States and Europe.  The film details how pork producers are going down the same sorry, ruinous trail carved out years ago by chicken processors.

Smithfield and other pork producers employ what are termed “industrial farming methods,” but this is a far too gentle and antiseptic term for what actually occurs.  The pigs are continuously confined and subject to abuse, a situation graphically displayed in the film.  These scenes provoked one of the event’s panelists to recall Ghandi’s words that “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”  By this standard, our collective mortal souls here in the U.S. are all in some considerable peril.

Industrial farming would clearly be on shaky moral ground if the treatment of the animals were the only problem. Unfortunately, for all of us, this is only the beginning of the litany of abuses these methods entail:

  • The concentration of some many animals, each of whom produces daily ten times the amount of waste a human does, in the small confinement areas results in horrendous environmental damage to our waterways and lands and ultimately poses a threat to human health and safety.  This danger is epitomized by a nauseating stench that sickens people for miles around these confinement facilities.
  • Rural communities are being emptied out and a way of life destroyed along with the individual farmer’s ability to compete in the face of monopoly power.  Smithfield and other producers offer a few farmers a contract where they raise pigs in these specially-designed confinement facilities for a set price.  The price is so low that other farmers can’t possibly match it when raising animals using humane and environmentally-sound animal husbandry practices.  It is estimated that in one region of North Carolina, only 2,000 pig farmers remain in an area that once supported over 20,000.
  • The abuse extends to the exploitation of workers at the pork processing plants who suffer numerous serious injuries, such as the loss of fingers and hands.  This comes from working with super-sharp knives on “disassembly” lines moving at stressfully high speeds in extremely hot or extremely cold conditions.  These workers are often undocumented and thus unwilling to come forward publically with complaints or join a union to seek better working conditions.
  • The high food-safety risks coming from these plants where workers, operating under these constant “speed-up” line pressures, are sometimes unable to completely and thoroughly remove fecal matter that can contaminate meat.

Of course, consumers rarely see or understand these problems. What they do see are the pork products packaged in convenient, uniform cuts and are “cheap” when considering only the price per pound and not the other externalized costs of meat raised and processed this way.

As Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., stated passionately, Smithfield is able to get away with all this because it systematically break laws, including anti-trust, environmental, worker protection, and food safety to name the major forms of laws.  The law breaking started with the corruption of the state government in North Carolina. With this foothold, the company forced down the price of pork nationally, making other major pork-producing states like Iowa get in line – or else.  Smithfield has followed a similar strategy in Europe, starting with Poland.

Pig Business speaks directly to the concerns of the Slow Food movement.  As the movement philosophy states, we need to see ourselves as “co-producers  — an eater who is informed about where and how their food is produced and actively supports local producers, therefore becoming part of  the production process.

The premiere also represented the first formal effort of Slow Food DC’s policy, advocacy and outreach committee to represent our organization and be a voice for our values in the community.  Committee members in attendance were Patrick Parnell, committee chair, along with Julianne Tootel, and myself (William “Bud” Wurtz). If you want to stand up for Slow Food values in a way that makes a difference, please consider joining with us.