Pollan’s epiphany, community, and seedling swaps

Last month, Michael Pollan released his seventh food book, Cooked, and I wrote about it for The Jewish Daily Forward. The book is based on the epiphany that many of his tortured foodie questions had the same answer: Cook. This simple, inherantly communal idea embodies a theme that has been in my life a lot lately.

Pollan’s book is an homage and philosophical journey to home cooking. Much of Pollan’s research, however, did not take place in his house in the Bay Area. Instead, he entered the far-flung realms of barbecue pit men, artisanal  bakers, and fermentos  — communities that run thick with tradition and passion.

That theme of deep community continued as I attended the Do Good Summit on May 3 to see the likes of Our Black Year author Maggie Anderson, local B Corp founder Raj Aggarwal, and DC Brau‘s Jeff Hancock. As I wandered the brand new, sunny corridors of the Anacostia Arts Center, I received a tweet:

Screen shot 2013-05-13 at 7.57.55 AM

Of course. Soupergirl, one of my favorite local businesses, had saved a loaf of challah and was going to make sure I got it. I’d come in a couple of days before to request it, without even giving my name. That request went onto a sticky note, which turned into a Twitter ping, which found me as I went about my day.  I’d like to see Safeway do that!

At that time, I was gearing up for the DC State Fair Seedling Swap. It took place two days later. While the Do Good Summit was the inaugural conference of the new art gallery and community space,  the crowd at the swap packed northeast DC’s Center for Green Urbanism for its last event before it moved out. The rush of community concern over the closing touched my heart just as much as the love of green things percolating through the rooms. The Center is currently searching for a new home.

Right now, those tomato and marigold and peanut seedlings are growing on front stoops and window sills and raised beds around the District. But the frost is coming tonight. I hope we can keep this all going.

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Filed under DC, Events, Gardening, Jewish community

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