Category Archives: GATHER

How to Eat More Sustainably in 2015

January 13, 2015

I teamed up with Oakland artist Maria Schoettler, to give you fifteen tips to eat sustainably in 2015. Keep this as your desktop background, print it off and tape it to your fridge and let these be a gentle reminder that you too can eat healthy, delicious AND sustainable food.

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  1. Eat Less Meat – try out Meatless Mondays or cut out meat on the weekends. By starting small, you’re making a huge impact on the planet as animal farming is the largest contributor to greenhouse gases. There are plenty of delicious vegetarian options out there, which will get you more creative in the kitchen!
  2. Buy Local – Try shopping at your local farmers markets or sign up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share with a local farm. Local food ensures that your local farmer stays in business, promotes plant diversity and is the freshest possible option.
  3. Buy Organic – If you have the means, always choose organic! By doing so, you’re not paying into a system that mistreats the planet with harsh chemicals. If you’re strapped for cash, stick to the clean 15 and avoid the dirty dozen. These are the fruits and veggies that are most worth the money for organic based on pesticide use.
  4. Sustainable Seafood – If you eat fish look for wild caught and sustainably raised seafood. If you live in the Bay area check out my friend Beck’s company, Small Boat Seafood!
  5. Eat less processed foods – aside from generally being harmful to your body, processed foods rely heavily on highly-subsidized corn (in the form of high fructose corn syrup) and doesn’t encourage a diverse food system.
  6. Grow Your Own- have a window sill? Pot up some herbs like basil or mint to add to your salads. Have a backyard? Try your hand at growing leafy greens and radishes, which generally take less time to grow than root vegetables. Gardening is awesome, and growing your food can be extremely rewarding.
  7. Compost – If you have the space, you can get buy a pre-made composter or build one yourself. No backyard? No problem! You can buy or make your own worm composting bin that can live in your kitchen. If you keep your worms fed regularly, there shouldn’t be any bad smells coming from there. By composting, your diverting your food waste from a landfill and turning it into nutrient-dense soil for your garden or potted plants (see #6!)
  8. Preserve the Harvest – all the berry picking you do in the summer would make delicious jam in the fall or winter. Same goes for fall apple picking- you can enjoy apple sauce anytime of the year. With a little bit of planning, your can preserve lots of food.
  9. Cook! – The easiest and most straightforward way to eat more healthy and more sustainably is to take some time to cook every week. I love Tamar Adler’s approach of doing all your roasting and baking on a Sunday to have it feed you for the whole week. Check out this video for some serious inspiration.
  10. Buy in Bulk and reduce food packaging – ever tried shopping in the bulk section of your grocery store? It’s a great place to save money and packaging for things like grains, flours, nuts and lentils.
  11. Buy Fair Trade or Direct Trade coffee and chocolate – the coffee and chocolate industries have had a long history of paying low wages for workers. By cutting out the middleman, and working directly with farmers, you’re supporting fair-wage practices for cocoa and coffee farmers across the globe. Plus it’s delicious.
  12. Invest in reusable kitchen ware like bamboo cutlery, textiles and even mason jars. This is a great way to reduce waste in the kitchen.
  13. Stop buying bottled water! Buy a cute water bottle and fill it up at the tap. If you’re concerned about tap water in your region, you can always buy a water purifier. You’ll be saving money in the long run and reducing all that plastic.
  14. Ask Questions- whenever you’re out buying groceries or at a restaurant ask questions. This skit made the questions go over the top, but it never hurts to ask! You may be pleasantly surprised with the answer you get.
  15. Enjoy it! Good, healthy, sustainable food is meant to be shared with close friends and family. Consider having weekly potlucks or a rotating dinner schedule with neighbors. This will take some time off your hands, get you to try new foods, and celebrate in the beauty of local food!

If you have any questions about the above information – please let us know in the comments! Happy 2015 everyone! 

Food Photography Workshop with Honest Films

December 8, 2014

There are certain events in my life that come together so perfectly, that it’s only until later that I get to reflect on what a dream it all is. Yesterday’s food photography workshop with husband-wife duo of Honest Films, was one of those events.

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I met Erin at the Creative Connections San Diego meet up event a couple months back, and immediately knew I wanted to collaborate with her and Chris. Shortly after we met up at Bird Rock cafe in La Jolla and started to dream together about what a farm to table food photography workshop could look like. Together with Hazon San Diego and the Leichtag Foundation, we were able to create a day filled with delicious local and organic food, a natural light photography workshop and gather some awesome local bloggers and writers.

The first half of the workshop was composed of going over the basics of composition including leading lines, balance, the rule of thirds, golden mean, symmetry and cropping. A lot of the things we discussed I had heard before, but Chris gave examples for each subject matter, which was really helpful in making the connections.

Photography has been an interest of mine since I was a kid, using up dozens of disposable cameras on pictures of my neighborhood. My favorites were cloud shots. I think I’ve come a long way since those kodak disposables, but I’m still learning new techniques everyday, and trying to sharpen my photographer’s eye.

We got to practice the basics of composition on a dessert table that my co-host Gabi and I styled. It was so fun creating this indoor dessert scene – there was lots of pink, lots of candy and also some gorgeous pomegranates against the dark wood table. Everyone took turns around the table and we got some awesome action shots as well (check out #honestworkshop on Instagram for all the blogger submissions).

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The second half of the workshop, we talked about color, light and editing software. I finally learned the difference between Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop, and officially want new editing software! We discussed contrasting colors, the amazing power of VSCO cam, and the fun community of photographers that exist on Instagram and other social media platforms.

We also talked about different tools you can use to enhance your photos and adjust for white balance. I think the hardest thing about shooting food is getting the lighting just right, and finding the perfect place in your apartment to set everything up. This is definitely something I want to focus on in the coming weeks.

Afterwards, we went outside to the second table scene where we ended the workshop by eating all the delicious food. Gabi and I styled the table exactly as we envisioned it in our planning phases. A ton of beautiful food, with lots of pops of color, gorgeous settings and small fun details for interesting shots. I think we succeeded.

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I had such an amazing day yesterday – a huge thank you to Chris and Erin for their patience with all our questions and for being amazing teachers, and of course to the Leichtag Foundation for letting us make our dream of a farm to table photography workshop happen on the Ranch!

For more photos from the event, take a peek at Instagram with the hashtag #honestworkshop.