September is Local Food Month

Play the Pie Hole game at the HomeGrown Festival!

Even though several of us involved in the HomeGrown Festival have been working away at it for months, it came as a (happy!) surprise that Mayor Hieftje read and signed our Local Food Month Proclamation for September (see text below) quietly and without fanfare at a recent city council meeting.  Just a day or two after that we learned that Governor Granholm had just done the same thing by declaring September Local Food Month in Michigan. And then the local Democrats sent an email saying that  "the local food movement" is their next strategic priority.  I wouldn't say that "good food for all" has arrived yet, but it seems at least to have gotten its ticket. 

The idea for Local Food Month in September grew out of last year's realization that in addition to it being the height of Michigan's crazy-amazing harvest, many of the food-related non-profits in town seem to have annual events around this time.  Wouldn't it be great to cross-promote food-related events and help as many people as possible learn about them? And wouldn't it be fabulous if some restaurants in town decided to offer specials showcasing the foods of our home place?  And how about if some of the groceries in town helped their customers figure out what's from Michigan?  And what if there could be a fun way for everyone to get involved - like going on a treasure hunt or getting your passport stamped?  Well, it's all happening. Read on. 

Some Local Food Month Events

September 3Slow Food Huron Valley (SFHV) kicked off this September's Local Food Month with "Coming Home: Celebrating Our Local Food Action Heroes" on Thursday, September 3rd at the Michigan Theater. The centerpiece of the sold-out event was SFHV's announcement of a first-ever award recognizing The King Family of Frog Holler Organic Farm as Local Food Action Heroes.  The award was given in honor of the pioneering work and commitment of Ken and Cathy King and their sons Billy, Kenny, and Edwin, in growing organic food for the community since 1972, long before "organic" or "sustainable" or "local food" were part of the common lexicon. The award also recognized the King Family for their work in gathering the greater community around music at their annual music festival, called Holler Fest
NB: Cathy King told me last week that they were the first farm to bring arugula to the AA Farmers Market - no one even knew what it was. 

September 7th: On Labor Day, Slow Food Huron Valley also organized a "Time For Lunch Eat-in" at Mitchell Elementary School. This potluck picnic was part of a nationwide Slow Food initiative, with more than 300 events across the country highlighting the upcoming re-authorization of the Child Nutrition Act, which funds the school lunch program.  Slow Food is asking Congress to spend an additional $1 per child per day for healthy food in schools. Schools currently have less than $1 per child per day to spend on the food kids eat in the school lunch program.  That's why there's Mystery Meat, and Tater Tots are considered a vegetable.  You can still sign the petition for Healthy Food In Schools

Saturday September 12: Second Annual HomeGrown Festival - 5pm-10pm, at the historic, 90-year old Ann Arbor Farmer's Market, 315 Detroit Street.
This fabulous free festival is going to have some of the best food and drink you're likely to taste this year - anywhere!  We've asked the chefs to source at least 80% of their ingredients locally. And we've also asked them to keep the prices of the dishes between $1-$6 so everyone can get lots of tastes of different things. 

There is  going to be (new this year) a fabulous Pioneer Wine Trail and Michigan Beer Tent - pouring more than 40 different Michigan-made libations, including (in addition to all the beer and wine) Al-Mar Orchards' wonderful JK Scrumpy hard cider and B. Nektar's mead. It's $7 for three tasting tickets and a HomeGrown glass.  Additional tasting tickets - $2.  

Here are a few samples of what's on the menu at the Festival:

- Michigan heirloom cherry tomato, fresh mozzarella & cucumber 'salad' with basil oil vinaigrette.
- Red wine and veal stock braised beef pasties, a northern Michigan favorite.
- Pulled Berkshire pork 'sliders', braised in an 'al pastor' style, with a cilantro cabbage slaw on Mill Pond's ciabatta bread.

- Beyond organic pizza with all local ingredients including: a whole wheat crust, spinach, potato, grilled cherry tomatoes, goat cheese
- Festival blueberry pizza, with feta, local blueberries, and fontina (people are crazy for this)
- Whole wheat ravioli with king trumpet mushrooms from Michigan Mushrooms, spinach, Zingerman's goat cheese, black walnuts or cashews
- Ricotta cake with Zingermans farmer cheese and chocolate chips

- Cider braised beef
- Caramelized onion and goat cheese tart
- Corn chowder

-Heirloom Tomato Salmorejo (gazpacho) Shots with Cilantro and Radish
- Garlic and Orange Braised Pork Belly Tacos with a Pickled Tomato and Green Chili Salsa
-Blueberry-Lemon and Apple Cinnamon Fried Pies

So, go to the great Project Grow Tomato Tasting (68 varieties of heirloom tomatoes last year), and play the Pie Hole Game (you could win a homemade pie), see a working beehive and a spinning wheel in action, check out the Local Store, go on a culinary walking tour, see a chef demo and then sit and listen to some fabulous music while you're enjoying the taste of Michigan.   Oh, and be sure to get your beautiful HomeGrown t-shirt before you go home - designed by local artists Melanie Boyle and Brad Wicklund.  Did I mention there's going to be a giant chicken? Shhh. You didn't hear it from me. 

So what else is going on in Local Food Month?

Kerrytown Book Festival (the theme this year is: Culinary Michigan!) - Sunday, September 13th, 11am-4pm, Ann Arbor Farmer's Market
This is also going to be a fantastic event with special guests Jane and Michael Stern on a panel with Ari Weinzweig, moderated by culinary historian extraordinaire Jan Longone!  With an Edible Book contest, cakes walks,  a vegetable papyrus demonstration, all kinds of great hands-on workshops and wonderful authors.  And I should mention a certain panel session called "Eating Online" where I'll be sitting next to Maria Bonn of the Gastronomical 3 and Lisa Leutheuser of Kitchen Chick

Dawn Farm 36th Anniversary Jamboree - Sunday, September 13th, 1pm-6pm

Growing Hope's "Tour de Fresh" Community Garden Tour - Tuesday, Sept. 15, 5pm-8:30pm

Growing Hope's Harvest Fundraiser - Sunday Sept. 20, 3pm-6pm

- Food Unincorporated: What Does It Take? - Monday Sept. 14th, 7-9pm
- The Art of Canning - Thursday September 17, 7-9pm
- Field Trip to Sandhill Crane Vineyard - Thursday September 24, 7-9pm

- Discovery Gardens Fall Potluck and Wonder Sprouts Class - Wednesday Sept. 23rd, 5:30-7:30pm, Leslie Science and Nature Center, 1831 Traver Rd. 

53 Mile Dinner at Grange Kitchen and Bar - Wednesday, Sept. 30, 6:30pm
Assorted Canapes
Grilled Plum and Goat Cheese Tartlet
- Mushroom Cavatelli, Walnut Cream, Mustard Greens
- Michigan Shrimp and Grits, Andouille Sausage Butter
- Roasted Pork, Parsnip and Apples, Maple Cider Glaze
- Roasted and Braised Goat, Smoked Chile Sauce, Corn Pumpkin Pudding
- Black Walnut Cake with Honey Poached Pears

The Local Food Month Proclamation made official by Mayor John Hieftje


Local Food Month

September, 2009



WHEREAS,     local food systems comprise our local community-based farmers, gardeners, restaurants, chefs, farmers markets, grocers, consumers; and


WHEREAS,     local food systems promote healthy food for all, which is especially important for those who are food insecure including low-income and minority populations; and


WHEREAS,     local food systems promote energy efficiency, land preservation, decreased transportation costs; and


WHEREAS,     local food systems improve food supply which is essential to local emergency preparedness and local self-reliance; and


WHEREAS,     improving our local, regional, and statewide food systems advances the local economic opportunity, environmental stewardship, community, and social justice; and


WHEREAS,     our local food system represents an important part of Ann Arbor’s community and regional economies; and


WHEREAS,     promoting our local food system is essential to the City of Ann Arbor and its residents; and


WHEREAS,     celebrating our local food system through Local Food Month promotes all of these goals.


NOW THEREFORE, I, John Hieftje, Mayor of Ann Arbor, Michigan, do hereby proclaim September, 2009, as: Local Food Month, and encourage citizens of Ann Arbor to engage in our local foodshed.


I hereby set my hand and seal

This day, 2009





John Hieftje, Mayor

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