Seward Cafe » Like, so hip right now.

seward-cafeAs I’m out talking to local restaurateurs/chefs it’s almost laughable how many talk about buying and cooking with local and sustainable ingredients.

Even as the Sysco truck pulls up and unloads box after box of IQF walley, IBP tenderloin and other mass produced goods, they maintain their position.

In reality they might get a few potatoes from southern MN but certainly nothing worth mentioning. They know how marketable it is to claim that you buy locally.

There’s one place I’ve eaten at numerous times that really seems to walk the walk. If you haven’t heard of or been to The Seward Cafe, a collectively owned and operated restaurant at 22nd and Franklin in Minneapolis, take the time to check it out next time you find yourself in town.

TC Foodies did a nice article recently:

With all the talk about local and sustainable, it’s surprising to me that the Seward Cafe isn’t getting more attention. The funky little collectively-owned cafe at 22nd and Franklin has been operating on those values for 35 years, serving organic vegetarian fare at very reasonable prices.

According to the mission statement on their website, “The principles that guide our actions include: social and environmental responsibility, self-reliance, and cooperation.”

The statement also affirms their commitment to:

“Maintain a food policy that supports independent, local, organic, and sustainable products and services when economically feasible,”

“Have a hiring policy that does not discriminate on the basis of appearance or lifestyle choice…(including): race, gender, religion or spiritual practice,ethnicity, sexual lifestyle, unique physical abilities, age, class background, or being a parent /guardian,”

“Raise awareness of alternative solutions to social, political, environmental, and economic concerns.”

Continue reading the article here »

Homegrown Minneapolis Resolution Approved by Minneapolis City Council

By You Are What You Eat

IATP Congratulates Mayor, City Council on Local Food Initiative

The Minneapolis City Council approved a resolution today put forth by the Homegrown Minneapolis initiative to support the production, sale and consumption of local, sustainably produced foods in the city and surrounding region.

“We applaud the mayor’s leadership in launching this initiative and the council’s strong support today,” said the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy’s JoAnne Berkenkamp, who co-chaired one of the initiative’s subcommittees. “This is a major step forward in expanding the local food system in the region. We have only scratched the surface in exploring the city’s potential to produce its own food.”

The Homegrown Minneapolis initiative began in December 2008 and met with more than 100 stakeholders within the city to develop recommendations in four main areas: farmers markets, commercially oriented urban agriculture, community/school/home gardens and commercial use of locally grown foods. In May, the initiative collected public comments on draft recommendations. You can read the full recommendations at: http://www.ci.mpls.mn.us/dhfs/homegrown-home.asp.

With today’s approval of the Homegrown resolution, a new Implementation Task Force will begin working on the formation of a city advisory committee on food policy; draft policy on community garden programs; suggestions for the City’s state legislative agenda; the creation of a citywide topical plan on community gardens and urban agriculture; improved coordination among farmers markets; and a host of related initiatives.

Berkenkamp said that from the standpoint of health and the development of local, sustainable food production, the mayor’s and council’s action is critically important.

“Minneapolis is becoming a national leader in advancing local food systems,” said Berkenkamp. “We look forward to working with the city to expand existing programs, develop new, innovative ideas, and include more community voices in this groundbreaking effort.

Find out more about IATP’s work on local food systems at: www.iatp.org

Knife Skills by James Norton in MPLS » Part 3

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I’ve been busy trying to pay the bills and haven’t had much time to follow J.R. or his blog The Heavy Table lately (based in “the cities”) . Curious about his latest work I stumbled upon a series he’s doing called Knife Skills and was pleasantly surprised as always.

There isn’t much food writing that excites me anymore- with the exception of Bourdain. As annoyingly popular as he his, the man at least remains relatively honest. His anecdotes from the kitchen glory days are the only thing that delivers raw emotion for a guy who’s been through the culinary gauntlet. The “scene” has felt stagnant lately- counterfeit, commercial, bobby flay… blah. At least until I read James’ latest work.

James! This piece is amazing. It nearly brought tears of joy to my eyes ;) and certainly brought laughter. It is so good to see someone writing honestly about the biz locally. You do so as if you’ve worked in the kitchen for years. This is serious work and I look forward to reading much, much more of it.

Find J.R. Norton’s series “knife Skills” here »