Fearless Food: From Plot to Plate!

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May 7, 2014 at 2:26 pm

Editor’s Note: It does not take the Local Beet to know about LaManda Joy and the Peterson Garden Project.  They’ve been front and central in our Eat Local Community for several years. They recently published a book to help put local food on your plate. And they are only getting better.  We’re proud to share in their expansion.  Over the next season, we will feature several excerpts from Fearless Food Gardening in Chicagoland.  Before that, Peterson Garden volunteer, Jen Berman provides an overview.

As a proud inaugural member of the Peterson Garden Project’s community of avid urban gardeners, as well as a long time grow-at-home enthusiast, I’m excited to be a new contributor to The Local Beet.  I’ll be featuring excerpts from PGP’s newly published growing guide: Fearless Food Gardening in Chicagoland and adding in some of my own experiences (and challenges!) planting and plating in our lovely city.

2013.08.26-LaManda Joy

First a little background. Peterson Garden Project is a nonprofit organization committed to teaching people to grow their own food.  PGP was founded in March of 2010 by LaManda Joy, who turned a passion for the history behind WWII Victory Gardens and her own “Yarden” into a nationwide model for “pop-up” raised bed community gardens. Since 2010, PGP “grew” from one location to eight and inspired thousands of Chicagoans to explore the magic that could spring from a 4ft by 8ft plot of dirt.

This year, LaManda and her co-author, Teresa Gale, collaborated to write a book for urban “grewbies”—the PGP term for beginner gardeners.  Fearless Food Gardening in Chicagoland is a month-by-month, step-by-step guide to everything from deciding what to grow and when to grow it; to small-space, container and raised bed methods; to tips on organic practices for beating pests and diseases.  In other words—everything that anyone who’s ever wanted to try gardening in an urban environment and Chicago’s challenging climate might find daunting.

peterson - Peppers

Additionally, Fearless Food Gardening in Chicagoland tackles another obstacle encountered by those who plant—what to do with what you grew! Those of you who’ve stared at a counter full of beautiful produce with a mixture of pride and dread know what I’m talking about.  HOW am I ever going to use all of this??? We take a few beautiful pictures, post them on Twitter and then start making up bags of green (and red and yellow and purple) goodies for everyone we know. Because who has time to cook all of that stuff, right? Fearless Food Gardening in Chicagoland features simple recipes that will put your bounty to delicious use.

FFG_Cover_1231_print copy

Over the course of the growing season, I will be providing excerpts from the book, as well as my own tips and experiences.  If you would like to purchase Fearless Food Gardening in Chicagoland, you can buy it on Amazon or pick up a copy at one of these local retailers. Stay tuned for our first installment.

Jennifer L. Berman is an avid condo and community gardener, as well as cocktail chef and food explorer, both at home and in the “field”. Jennifer is also passionate about animal rescue and with her tries-to-be-tolerant partner, Mike, is the proud parent of three urban pups, Bailey, Boudreau and Rexy, as well as Puig, the ginormous Guinea Pig (nope, he’s NOT being fattened up for any food exploration projects!)
In her day job, Jennifer has been happily retired from the practice of law since about a 30 minutes after she passed the Illinois Bar exam. Since that time, she ran HR Consulting and Outsourcing practices for two national CPA /Consulting firms. In 2009, she established her own HR firm, OAU Consulting, Inc., combining her passion for entrepreneurship, both her own and her clients’, with the ability to ensure the free time necessary to pursue her hobbies and interests. Of course, sometimes that means gardening at midnight and canning while counseling clients but so far, at least, everyone seems happy with the arrangement.
Jennifer is excited to be part of the dialogue at the Local Beet and hopes to provide content that will encourage others to experiment from “Plot to Plate”!

Twitter: @boudreaulicious

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One Comment

  1. Congrats on your first published piece. We are proud and thankful to be a recipient of your bountiful produce and culinary creativity.

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