The Simple Plate

"The Simple Plate" is a new feature on Northland Morning every other Tuesday at 8:00 am, featuring tales of local food made and produced by local people.

You'll hear conversations with local chefs and local food growers. We'll discuss food culture, visit area food events, and even share a few recipes.

"The Simple Plate" is supported by Whole Foods Co-Op of Duluth.

The Lake Superior Harvest Festival was just another in the long line of anticipated - but cancelled - events this year.

But the Lake Superior Sustainable Farming Association, which hosts the event, hasn't been moping.

©Russ Sprague. Used with permission.

  This episode originally aired May 19, 2020.

As the food supply chain experiences some breakage and as we're learning the fragility of some of these systems, some folks are looking at urban agriculture as a partial solution.

Doing something, even if you start small, to provide fresh food for your family is not only good for your physical and mental health, it's yummy, too.  Even if you don't have a Twinkie bush.

Lisa Johnson

 (This episode was originally aired April 27, 2020)

In this episode, we meet Cindy Hale of Clover Valley Farms, accidental farmer, educator, and now producer, educator, and infrastructure coordinator for the Finland Food Chain.

It's hard not to think, in the midst of our pandemic-challenged lives, that this whole "how am I gonna get food" thing would be a lot simpler if we could just go back in time about 80 years.

Patra Wise

David Wise created a small business on land his family has been farming for generations, out near Sawyer, and he’s all about health.

A favorite saying of his grandmother provided their mission statement (Mino Mashkiki
in Ojibwe means "good medicine").

Farming techniques are designed to keep the soil,  water and the rest of the ecosystem healthy, and growing healthy foods in healthy ways are paramount.

“My grandmother taught me that good food is good medicine,” says David.

Emily Vikre

(this episode originally aired April 14, 2020)

Take:

  • a woman's business-self (co-founder of Vikre Distillery)
  • her mom-self (distance learning with two little kids)
  • her self-self (nerd who loves learning for the sake of knowledge)

Confine at home for several weeks, with internet access.

Result: Homeschooling with Cocktails

Emily says:

Yoshiyasu Nishikawa/Flickr

(This episode originally aired March 31, 2020)

Maybe you want to use this time at home to learn a new skill.

Maybe you want to use this time at home to start healthier habits.

Maybe you want to use this time at home to figure out how to keep your family out of your hair.

Whatever your plan, Arlene Coco has a suggestion for that.

Ivy Vainio/AICHO

AICHO's food boxes started out as a way to make sure the residents at the American Indian Community Housing Organization had enough to eat.

Stay-at-home orders beginning in March meant kids were at home and eating meals there instead of school.  It meant sometimes there were extra family members quarantining together. 

North American Normande Association/Facebook

Dale Peacock of Red Hoof Farms thinks there's a good, sustainable, quality life to be made on the south shore of Lake Superior; for farmers and cattle.

Of course, when you raise beef cattle, the ethical questions get a little stickier.

But Dale is a person with a lot of interest in - and concern about - people's relationship to what some have called "the stepmothers of humanity."

  (This episode originally aired 11/12/19)

This week, we sat down with Jake Williams and Brigid Reina of Superior Greens, a microgreens company in Ashland, Wisconsin. Microgreens contain up to 40-times the nutritional value of their mature counterparts which makes for concentrated deliciousness. They can be spicy or they can be sweet and buttery, and every flavor in between. On eggs or on cupcakes, microgreens are a healthy and decadent food source. Jake and Brigid shared a recipe for a microgreen dish, check it out below.

      

François Médion

When François Médion was the urban farm manager for the Duluth Grill, he saw his role as that of a builder.

Not just in the sense that he had to rip up a parking lot and put in an orchard and a rain garden, but he wanted to build an awareness of the need for wild things and wild spaces.

Now, in his new role as master gardener at the Ojibwe School on the Fond du Lac Reservation, the former summer program has grown to be a full-time, year-round venture.

benketaro/Flickr

If more photographs of dandelions sauteeing in butter and other look-what-I-just-picked-out-of-the-woods meal options are starting to populate your social media feeds, there are some good reasons for that.

In addition to growing their own food, folks are getting more interested in finding/foraging their own food, too.

But you can't just wander around stuffing random vegetation in your mouth; how are you supposed to learn what's safe to eat and how to prepare it?

Eric Ament says that's the joy of the "plant walk": "everyone is teaching their own experience."

Fisher-Merritt Family

When Janaki Fisher-Merrit was a kid growing up on the farm, his idea of teenage rebellion was telling his parents how they should be doing things.  Now the co-owner of the Food Farm in Wrenshall is telling a whole new generation of farmers.

Dani Pieratos

Farming at the bottom of a mine, working with your family, "Bear Clan negotiations" and more ...

Harvest Nation is poised to become an indoor, aeroponic farm ready to serve (in its pilot program incarnation) about a hundred families on the Iron Range.

But eventually, the plan is to serve about six times that number.

Rainy City/Flickr

Where have all the flowers gone? sang Pete Seeger.

Girls have picked them, every one...

  Yes, but did you know they were eating them?

The Simple Plate Episode 7 - Randy Hanson, PhD

Feb 4, 2020
Randy Hanson
Randy Hanson

From Eco-Entrepreneurship to the climate crisis, Randy walks us through the history of farming in the Anthropocene and ultimately, how food brings us closer together. 

                        

Listen to our full interview with Randy Hanson

Part 1:

Part Two:

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