Friday, October 23, 2009

A Call for Stories and a Contest

The Kitchen Sisters are looking for stories and images and videos and writings.

We're launching a new multimedia series on NPR this January, a listener collaboration in the tradition of Hidden Kitchens, Lost & Found Sound, and The Sonic Memorial Project. This one's about girls. Girls and the women they become. Stories of coming of age, rituals and rites of passage, secret identities. Of women who crossed a line, broke a trail, changed the tide.

Small everyday stories, dramatic life and death stories. Stories from the middle of the city, to the middle of nowhere.

What women should we know about? What girl's story should we tell? The famous, the infamous, the unknown, the untold. Women with public lives. Women with secret lives.

Call our NPR Storyline at 202-408-9576 and tell us your story, or the story of someone we need to chronicle. Or email us at kitchen [at]

And here's The Contest. We want you to help us name this new NPR series. We've called it The Secret Life of Girls Around the World, The Scheherazade Project, 1001 Stories, all names we like but can't go with for one reason or another. So, we turn to you to join our brainstorming sessions. You can call or email us with your suggestions. Whoever picks the title will be featured on our website, get the full line of Kitchen Sisters products and productions, a wild boar dinner with forager, Angelo Garro, and the deep satisfaction of hearing the title you came up with on NPR throughout the year.

This soon-to-be-titled project will be full of richly layered sound and striking images, created by people around the world who help capture these stories of eccentric, trailblazing women and ground-breaking girls.

Join The Kitchen Sisterhood and help launch this new multimedia collaboration.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Operation Frontline's Mobile Classroom Kitchen

We met Catherine Luu of Operation Frontline at our recent Hidden Kitchens event at the California Endowment in Los Angeles, "Who Glues Your Community Together through Food?" We thought we'd share the information Catherine sent us about what she and Operation Frontline are up to in the Los Angeles area:
Operation Frontline (OFL) is a national, volunteer-based program of Share Our Strength, which provides hands-on healthy cooking and nutrition education classes to low-income families. OFL trains and mobilizes local culinary and nutrition professionals to volunteer their time to lead these courses.
Our class kitchen is “mobile” and travels to various cities throughout Lost Angeles—Glendale, Hollywood and Long Beach—offering courses to low-income adults, teens and children. This means that every week, I pack my car with groceries and several crates of cooking supplies and head to various agencies, churches, and clinics to get cooking! It has been a fascinating experience to gather participants from many different cultures and traditions into the same kitchen.

Since our official program launch in May, we have graduated six Operation Frontline classes, four for adults, and two for children ages 8-12. With the help of our team of volunteers, we have directly impacted over 75 families with our hands-on healthy cooking and nutrition classes. Our wonderful volunteers are the heart of our program, and our healthy cooking classes would not be possible without them.

We are always looking for new volunteers! Cooking supplies, groceries and monetary contributions also help in our efforts to reach more families throughout Los Angeles County.
For information, you can visit our website or email

Monday, October 12, 2009

Two New Recording & Interviewing Workshops this Fall

Davia is conducting two basic recording and interviewing workshops in San Francisco. Thursday, October 29 and Thursday, November 5 from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM. The three hour workshop is for people who want to acquire and hone their skills for an array of projects--radio, online storytelling, oral histories, audio slide shows, family histories, and other multimedia endeavors.

We will cover miking techniques, sound gathering, use of archival audio, how to make interviewees comfortable, how to frame evocative questions that make for compelling storytelling, how to listen (which is harder than it looks), how to use interviews in conjunction with images, field recording techniques, recording equipment and more. The workshops are customized to fit the projects you are working on.

People who attend come from radio, newspapers, photography, oral history, historical societies, farms, music, writing, libraries, web design and beyond. The groups are always lively and good contacts are made.

The fee is $115. Of course, there will be a snack. The workshops are held in Francis Coppola's historic Zoetrope building in North Beach.

If you, or someone you know is interested, email and let us know which of the two workshops you would like to attend.

See you there.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Biscuit Tour 2009—Birmingham

Just returned from Birmingham, Alabama where we presented an oral history and audio production workshop as part of the series
Dialogue on Food at Birmingham-Southern College. During this year-long cross-disciplinary discussion, students will be reading, writing, and creating multi-media projects about what we eat and why. Opening the series was Frances Moore Lappe, author of Diet for a Small Planet the book published in 1971 that is considered the "blueprint for eating with a small carbon footprint."

Jones Valley Urban Farm, Birmingham

Our visit coincided with an Outstanding in the Field dinner at Jones Valley Urban Farm, an unlikely secret garden tucked into a square city block surrounded by freeways, railroad tracks and public housing in Birmingham. Jones Valley Urban Farm—three acres of arugula, sunflowers, hericot vert, waxy red peppers, sweat and possibility.

The farm grows food enough for an after-work farm stand during the summer, a food box CSA program, and fresh, seasonal vegetables for a handful of local restaurants. It has community garden plots for the neighborhood and a program for school kids to plant, harvest and learn about how gardens can change their community.

The mastermind behind the Jones Valley project is Edwin Marty (left), an Alabama native, who studied organic farming at University of Calfornia Santa Cruz. All roads seem to lead back to UCSC's visionary agroecology program. It’s been going on for 40 years and has graduated an army of disciples who have become the base of today’s organic farming and food movement. Edwin had visions of moving to China to teach organic farming until a friend pointed out that his home state might be a better place to start. Alabama has the second highest rate of obesity in the country. (Luckily, there’s Mississippi who comes in ahead of us, Frank Stitt told us).

Frank Stitt, chef and owner of Birmingham's Highlands Bar and Grill, Bottega and Bottega Cafe, and Chez Fonfon, was the chef for our meal in the field. He worked with farmers throughout the region who provided the food.

Here's the menu:

McEwen & Sons deviled eggs (Helen & Frank McEwen)

Jones Valley Urban Farm sweet and spicy peppers, roast eggplant craklin' cornbread & Snow's Bend snap peas

Lady Pea Pilau with Snow's Bend butternut squash, Soul's Food Organic's cherry tomatoes (Linda & Michael Dean), okra & basil (David Snow and Margaret Ann Tooey)

Porchetta with Sequatchie Cove Farms pork (Bill & Miriam Keener), McEwen & Son's stone ground grits & JVUF collard greens & turnips

Petals from the Past apple cake with rum creme angalise

Davia interviews Chef Frank Stitt and Farmer Bill Keener of Sequatchie Cove Organic Farm & Dairy, TN. Bill (far right) and his wife Miriam raised the pig roasted for our meal.

Would love to hear about other urban farm projects and farm to table community dinners. What's happening in your part of the world?