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Will Allen Of Growing Power Visits Richmond A Day After The Community Gardens Ordinance Passes, Just In Time For CHICKUNZ.

A day after seeing Richmond’s Community Gardens ordinance pass, I headed over to The Tuckahoe Woman's Club to hear Will Allen of Growing Power speak about community sustainability, especially in cities, and the importance of local food for all.  He could not have come at a better time to help raise awareness of and education on backyard food production.

Here's a little more on Mr. Allen's background:

Growing Power In An Urban Food Desert
    We actually have a personal connection to Mr. Allen, which made it even more special to see him (and Sister and I got a hug!). See, Mr. Allen's daughter Erika, who now heads up the Chicago branch of Growing Power, was Sister's roommate for years! She's godmother to my nephew!

    I remember when we were sweet innocent um,  punks and I was visiting them in Chicago and Erika would tell stories of the latest things her dad was up to, working on vertical farms in Africa and aquaponics and something... something about worms? ; ) Who'da thunk it that her dad would become a MacArthur Fellow? (We are not surprised, At. All.)

    Hey wait! Check out what ERIKA is doing! Grist named her one of "40 People Who Are Redefining Green!" And here she is giving a talk, asked what one change she would make to food policy:

    " is transported in ways it was never meant to.
    Any kind of barrier for people to grow food for themselves or their community needs to be removed, the food should not be in competition or valued the same way real estate is, there's always competition for space...
    There's a lot of space owned by the public still not being used for food production."

    Imagine my surprise when, back at the office, I realized Richmond Magazine had written a huge article on urban chickens!!!  Heeeey, wait! I know some people in there!!!

    For details on the date and location of the
    Richmond Business Wants CHICKUNZ,
    contact... me.

    What great timing to have
    A Corporate Business Breakfast To Discuss Sustainability And... Urban CHICKUNZ.
    Yep, that's right. In one of Richmond's most esteemed modern furniture stores, renowned on the east coast for its sophisticated modern design, I, along with other Richmond businesses, including La DifferenceTechead, yes, THE Techead Midatlantic Technology Staffing Company, ChiknEGGLulus Local Food, James River Air, Posh Tots (yes, POSH TOTS!!!), Full Scale Architecture, Tuckahoe Plantation Livestock, The Law Office of Christopher G. Hill (hey he's in Virginia's Legal Elite!) and more, will host a business breakfast to sensibly discuss how allowing residents to have a few laying hens (no roosters) not only is a pleasure but improves garden soil, reduces pests, waste and strain on our municipal systems and even makes good business sense.

    [Henrico Business. You want to "Go Green"?!? Forget the recycling bins, you should already be doing that. Besides, you were green fifteen years ago - when you then decided to PAVE OVER LOCAL FARMLAND... Instead, honeychiles, make a bigger pr splash: C'mon: Support urban chickens.]

    On Monday I will extend our invitation with logos included to Richmond’s Mayor, City Council, and the Henrico Board of Supervisors. Over 500 towns and cities across the country have changed their ordinances within the past year to allow urban chickens, with more joining the movement daily.

    We are business owners, partners, and job creators who believe all families should have access to hormone-free, humanely raised eggs.

    In honor of The Tuckahoe Woman's Club hosting Will Allen, I share with you in the meantime my ruined versions of their delectable tidbits, cheese biscuits and ham & cheese rolls. 

    The Tuckahoe Woman's Club Cheese Biscuits + Tomato Soup 
    Make tomato soup. (Today I minced onions & garlic, added dollops of shredded basil I froze in olive oil this summer. Then added chicken stock and tomatoes I pureed, then froze, to serve this summer as well. Easy. Simmer simmer simmer simmer. I'll add a dash of lemon -or- go creamy with heavy cream when I serve, depending on my mood.)

    Serve with Tuckahoe Woman's Club cheese biscuits. Or a grilled cheese.
    (Contact The Tuckahoe Woman's Club directly to purchase their awesome cook book, "Tuckahoe Tidbits." You will not be sorry. There is a reason you can not find this book on Amazon. No one who is in the possession of said cookbook will part with it. You will have to pry it from our cold, dead, Virginia Housewife fingers, and even then relatives will squabble over its inheritance at the funeral. If you do not make the truly Virginian Ham Biscuits, called Ham 'N Cheese Rolls in here, then you are missing a sunny slice o' heaven. Feel free to localvore / improve upon the branded ingredients, of course I do!)

    Cheese Biscuits Margie Dixon
    1 pkg (1/2 to 3/4 lb) sharp cheese
    1 3/4 c. plain flour
    1/4 lb butter
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
    Pecans, crumbled, to top biscuits

    Allow butter to soften to room temperature. Grate cheese. Mix cheese, butter, salt, and pepper. Add flour. Make into rolls; wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate. Mixture will keep a month.

    When desired, slice into thin wafers, bake at about 350. (If desired, add a dash or half of a pecan to top before baking - my family does.) Remove from oven, allow to cool thoroughly. When biscuits are cold they may be placed in an airtight container to keep crisp. Makes 6 to 8 dozen. Tins can be frozen and are very popular gifts at Christmas.

    Ham 'N Cheese Rolls Doris Pruitt / Jane Rowe
    1 stick of butter, softened
    2 tsp. prepared mustard
    2 tsp. poppy seeds
    2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
    1 small onion, minced
    1 pkg. (20) Pepperidge Farm party rolls (I use Mrs. Esh's Amish bread)
    1/4 lb thinly sliced Smithfield ham, Amber brand (don't let me catch you using anything else but Virginia ham, feel completely free though to avoid the Smithfield label)
    Pkg of Swiss cheese

    Mix butter, mustard, poppy, Worcesershire, onion. Open rolls & spread mix on *each* side of roll. Add matching slices of ham & swiss cheese. Wrap in heavy foil. (You can freeze this now!) Heat in preheated 350 oven until warm, with cheese melted, and serve.  

    Mmmmm, Virginia deliciousness.

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    At 3/31/11, 11:43 AM , Blogger George said...

    What an incredible Greenhouse Mr. Allen has! I couldn't help but be reminded of the Science Fiction greenhouses they show on those mammoth self sustaining space ships! Nutritious plants and healthy fish? All that's missing is some egg laying hens!

    At 3/31/11, 1:34 PM , Blogger Passive Solar Prefab Homes said...

    Actually they *DO* have a bunch of laying hens, in the middle o' Milwaukee!


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