This brunch is grown in the restaurant’s basement – Planet Forward 2017 Storyfest Finalist

It takes passion, dedication, and innovation to start a businesses, but there is always a good helping of risk. The creation of this urban microgreen farm and its dedicated partner, a sustainability-mindful pub/restaurant, involved nothing less. Check out the full story on Planet Forward.

Prescribing vegetables, not pills

Getting healthy food like fruits and vegetables on the table is hard, but it’s especially difficult if you don’t have the money or access to it. Gravitating towards cheap, processed fast foods becomes the easy and more convenient choice. This can result in a variety of chronic diet related illnesses – from diabetes to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

Rather than treating this illness caused by diet with a pill, the innovative Fruit and Vegetable Prescription program chooses to treat it at its root cause – the diet.

Doctors prescribe their patients $1 per day per family member to spend on fruits and vegetables at farmers markets, or rather, Farmacies. That’s over $100 per month for a family of four to spend on produce instead of pills.

Patients participate in nutrition and exercise classes where they learn how to lead a healthy lifestyle, and are given the means to do so. A prescription for an apple a day keeps the sickness away.

Planting Seeds of Change

Join me for an inside look in 360 degree video at The Fresh Food Factory, the latest effort to create a food oasis in Anacostia, a Washington, DC neighborhood.

The Fresh Food Factory is a resourceful and innovative farm and food hub that will improve the local community’s access to fresh food by growing produce right in Anacostia. The sustainable project is revolutionizing the way locals experience their food in this resilient neighborhood — which only has 3 full-service grocery stores located within the ward’s 11.8 square miles. This kind of limited access to fresh food is what it means to live in a food desert.

This video is best experienced through the YouTube app or on Google Chrome to get the full virtual reality experience.

How to Build a Sustainable Subdivision

Pete LaPuma didn’t know much about building or design, but he knew that to fulfill his dream of living truly sustainably, recycling wasn’t going to cut it. Once he saved up enough money, he could start building his dream: a self sufficient subdivision with an earth berm home.

What does self sufficient mean? Through the use of solar power, growing your own food supply as well as earth berming the house, LaPuma wants to achieve a community that doesn’t contribute to climate change, but rather creates enough energy to sustain itself. From building a lake and filling it with fish to learning how to be a beekeeper, LaPuma is not just talking the talk but walking the walk with living more sustainably. To find out what an Earth Berm house is and see him in action, don’t forget to watch the video!

 The Connection Between Food and Culture

Food is a direct expression of culture. Everyone has to eat to survive, and the choices we make when deciding what to eat speak of our environment, upbringing, and societal norms. For me, the smell of Borscht, the iconic Russian beet soup, will always transport me to my mom’s kitchen. Borscht is a direct expression of the Russian environment – a country where it is cold most of the year, hardy vegetables like beets, potatoes and cabbage abound.

In this video I explore where others find the connection between food and culture, and look back to my mom and grandma to give insight into my own family recipes.

 30 Minute Chicken Tikka Masala

Cooking as a college student is hard. The kitchens are tiny, time is limited, and with so many food options right on campus it’s too convenient to simply grab a burger or go to Chipotle. But cooking is an essential life skill, and is not only healthier but also cheaper, an important factor for students.

In this video I demonstrate how easy it is to make a filling, delicious meal in under 30 minutes in my own tiny dorm room kitchen. So what are you waiting for? Get cooking!