gfa_marcfiorito__0785Food is fundamental to our own health, and also to the health of our communities. The movement for clean, healthy food for all people has deep and easily traceable roots in the soils of Berkeley, where Chez Panisse is about to celebrate its 40th anniversary. That restaurant’s founder, Alice Waters, was on hand January 14 to give the keynote address at the San Francisco Ferry Building for the first annual Good Food Awards. (Photo by Marc Fiorito of Gamma Nine)

Put on by Seedling Projects, the awards were conceived in the aftermath of the 2008 San Francisco event Slow Food Nation, as a way to continue celebrating and encouraging creative and traditional handcrafting of food by small businesses nationwide. According to goodfoodawards.org, the awards are meant to honor “people who make food that is delicious, respectful of the environment, and connected to communities and cultural traditions.”

That night at the Ferry Building, when 67 producers of 71 exceptional handcrafted food products were honored at the ceremony, it was no surprise to find that 15 of the recipients were from the larger Bay Area. Six of those have received attention in Edible East Bay. To see those articles, please click on the links.

Our local 2011 Good Food Award winners are:

Happy Girl Kitchen for their Apricot Chili Jam (See the gleaning article in our Fall 2006 issue.)

Café Rouge for their Smoked Beef Tongue (Read our article on offal here.)

Charles Chocolates for their Salty Sweet Cashew Bar (See the feature in our Fall 2007 issue.)

Madécasse for their Milk Chocolate (Read our Slow Money article here.)

Blue Bottle Coffee for their Kemgin coffee (See the Local Hero Awards in our Spring 2010 issue.)

Cultured for their Spicy Oregano Purple Carrots (See the feature in our Fall/Winter 2008 issue.)

Bison Brewing for their Organic Gingerbread Ale

Drake’s Brewing for their Denogginizer

Celebration of the Good Food Awards continues through February 14 with Good Food Month.
Visit goodfoodawards.org to learn more about the awards and ongoing activities.

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On a very different front, some compelling local news emerged on November 8 from West Oakland. City Slicker Farms has been awarded a $4 million grant for purchase and design of a new urban farm park. In contemplating the magnitude of this grant, it struck me that the local movement around food justice has matured. Brahm Ahmadi, whom Edible East Bay is proud to name a 2010 Local Hero for his work at People’s Grocery, points out that it’s almost a full decade since People’s Grocery was launched in West Oakland.

“At that time,” he says, “nobody used the expression ‘food justice’. Many people have credited People’s Grocery for popularizing the term. So I’d say that it has been about ten years since the food justice movement came into being in its current manifestation. Of course others such as the Black Panthers and the West Oakland Supermarket Cooperative were addressing the same issue long before that time. They just didn’t use the term ‘food justice’ and I don’t think anyone considered there to be a movement specifically centered on food.”

At Edible East Bay, we believe that the vitality of our community is rooted in our ability to provide good food locally for all people. Please join us in congratulating the many local achievements.

Cheryl Angelina Koehler

Editor

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