Johns Hopkins Homewood campus celebrated the 2nd Annual Food Day last Wednesday, October 24 in many exciting ways. We are thrilled to say that this year, the Blue Jay’s Perch was able to support these efforts with delectable produce, content inspiration, and much more!
The 100 Mile Meal
Presented the weekend before Food Day by one of the BJP’s founding student groups, Real Food Hopkins, the 100 Mile Meal featured Anna Lappé, bestselling author of Diet for a Hot Planet and prominent public speaker on food sustainability and climate change.
Anna’s new mini-documentary series, Food Mythbusters, aims to debunk several corporate myths circulated in ad campaigns by big ag companies. The first video of the series, countering the myth that we need industrial agriculture to feed to world, was shown exclusively at the meal over the weekend; and was released to the public on Food Day itself. At the meal, we also screened a short film featuring local farmer, Kristin Carbone of Radix Farm, which portrayed issues of land use and biodiversity.
As illustrated in the films, despite the obstacles faced by small and organic farmers, a vision of sustainable land use is no lofty, far-off goal. According to Anna, “you can’t throw a dart at a map of the United States, and go to the place where it lands without finding a community where change is happening.” We are happy to say that the Blue Jay’s Perch provides one clear example of this galvanizing phenomenon, closely matching the nation’s and even our city’s efforts towards making food healthier for us and our planet! The BJP’s contribution of fresh herbs, sweet potatoes, and green tomatoes (which were made into a delicious tomato jam by our very own gardener Wei-ting) to our menu for the event further solidified its support!
Here are some pictures from both events:
Garden Delights Cooking Demo
Continuing with the excitement of Food Day, Real Food Hopkins hosted an event the day after (Thursday, October 25) with many of the other sustainable food group leaders at Hopkins, including those from Campus Kitchens, Hopkins Farmhands, Healthy Community Initiative, Cooking 4 Love, and more.
The event was inspired by the success of BJP itself. As the first season at the garden has spanned out, we have donated over 100 pounds of produce to JHU student groups that then serve or distribute this produce to local food shelters. However, a common theme that has come up with these donations has shown that students are often unaware of how to prepare these vegetables in appetizing ways. After all, how many 18-22 year-olds know what do do with chard? Beets? Green tomatoes?
We decided this occasion called for the perfect learning opportunity. Thus, local Baltimore resident and gardener Victoria Day, accompanied by her helpful husband Michael, offered to come to our campus to teach us how she uses fresh garden produce to cook up delicious meals in budget-friendly ways. She prepared a heirloom tomato salad with a mustard vinaigrette (served with a locally baked Italian bread), pasta with two sauce options: fresh tomato/chard sauce and basil pesto, blackberry with a homemade whipped cream topping, and fresh cooked applesauce. She also explained how to best can vegetables, where (and why) to splurge in food purchases, and how to make one’s produce stretch to the max. One could say with conviction that students could not have left the event without a belly full of delicious food or a set of new food preparation ideas!
Not only did this cooking lesson fulfill one of our missions at building personal connections between JHU and the local Baltimore community, but it also served a practical purpose of training students in how they can prepare and use up the wonderful bounty our garden has provided. The enthusiasm and interest of students at the event only solidified its success and will surely inspire future efforts of the same sort!