MADE IN MACON COOKOUT: A DELICIOUS CONVERGENCE

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Saturday, January 31st 2015, Mobile Studio hosted a Local Foods, Local Places grant kick-off meeting and winter picnic at the Macon County Food Pantry, in partnership with Tuskegee Youth Safe Haven, the Macon County Minister’s Council, Tuskegee Housing Authority, Tusk-Mac Community Development Corporation, and the Carver Integrative Sustainability Center. The meeting brought together a diverse group of community members already engaged in work related to food security and health in the region. Strengthening the capacity of the food pantry to feed people and transform lives, the Made in Macon, Homegrown in Tuskegee Proposal invests in the food pantry as a critical food hub. Mobile Studio’s proposal includes a Co-Op Kitchen & Design Lab, Community Garden & Teaching and Learning Workshops, and Mobile Market & Food Truck. Civic Leaders such as SEED (Students for Education and Economic Development), TULIP, (Tuskegee Unified Leadership and Innovation Program), and Farmscape Solutions underscored the importance of these initiatives to create sustainable, green, and creative economic development opportunities.

Preparation for the Winter Picnic began Wednesday morning at the Macon County Farmers Market in beautiful downtown Tuskegee. A day of visiting local farms across Macon yielded the bounty and inspiration for the meal. Mobile Studio served up a vegetarian and meaty version of West African Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup and Cornbread Cornucopia inspired by Dr. George Washington Carver. The meal featured produce from across the county including cabbage, kale, collard greens, and sweet potatoes from Hooks Produce in Shorter, pecans and yogurt from Pecan Point Farm near Creek Stand, hibiscus, tumeric, ginger and honey for Sunbright Organic’s Happy Heart Tea, as well as leeks, green onion and turnips from their hoop houses. With the help of our most amazing studio partners, Gabriella Arevalo and Rachel McGraw, we fed about 65 people throughout the deliciously sunny afternoon. A truly amazing convergence took place around this comprehensive food systems initiative and savory winter meal, as film makers and musicians from Chicago shared stories with blueberry goddesses and snack shack sweeties from Tuskegee, well-water drinkers traded tales with the Vietnamese spring roll artist, and the radical justice activists and Auburn’s philanthropists brainstormed the future.

For More Information on the Local Foods Local Places Grant and the community partners and farmers mentioned above, please see:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/12/03/local-food-local-places-bringing-expertise-and-creative-thinking-community-economic-

http://www.seedincorporated.com/index.htm

http://www.farmscapesolutions.com

http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/al/about/?cid=nrcs141p2_022971

http://www.sunbrightorganics.com

http://pecanpointfarm.com

http://www.tuskegee.edu/about_us/outreach/farmers_market.aspx

MOBILE STUDIO: LOCAL FOODS, LOCAL PLACES with TUSKEGEE PARTNERS!

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Mobile Studio’s proposal “Made in Macon, Homegrown in Tuskegee,” just won a technical assistance grant called Local Foods, Local Places from the White House Rural Council. The collaborative project will work with local partners of the Macon County Food Pantry to create a community kitchen & garden business incubator, and local fresh food truck system. Tuskegee was one of twenty-six communities selected to participate in the Local Foods, Local Places Initiative.

Local Foods, Local Places is a Federal Creative Economic Development Program funded jointly by the EPA, the USDA, The DOT, CDC, ARC and DRA. “Made in Macon, Homegrown in Tuskegee” uses the Mobile Studio methodology to foster meaningful dialogue and advance design solutions to develop an implementable plan for promoting local foods, enhancing the downtown Farmers Market and main streets, and extending access to healthy foods through civic infrastructure in Tuskegee, Alabama and the surrounding region.

Mobile Studio is honored and delighted to partner with Dr. Raymon Shange at Tuskegee University Carver Integrative Sustainability Center and Tony Haygood with the Tuskegee-Macon Community Development Corporation. Shange brings an expertise in sustainable soil and water systems, and directs student outreach organizations focused on food security and community gardens. Haygood and the CDC work with local contractors and businesses to connect professionals, students, and community members through on-the-ground project development and educational workshops. Please contact us if you are interested in being a part of this unique entrepreneurial collaboration focused on community food health and celebration.

Macon a Movable Feast: A Taste of the Ridge

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The Ridge Interpretive Center is on the Old Federal Road in Warrior Stand, Alabama. It is a place of its people and its people are of the place. Since before the founding of the State of Alabama, the tiny community on Macon County Road 10 in the far south of the county has held onto its unique identity with pride and dignity. Beautiful rolling woodlands with abundant springs, Warrior Stand and its companion communities of Creek Stand and Boromville have seen the winds of history change from Creek (Muskgogean) to Federal encroachment for the benefit of white planters to some of the first black land owning farmers in the nation.DSC_0151

There is depth of conviction in Warrior Stand; conversation is serious and inclusive, gentle and revolutionary, rooted in the past and reaching for the future.

On September 20, 2013, Mobile Studio joined The Ridge Interpretive Center and about 50 of South Macon County’s citizens to celebrate the great food traditions of the area. With a vision of health and longevity, traditional recipes and new culinary creations were collaboratively prepared and consumed! The stories told and heard transferred the wealth of collective knowledge of two centuries of American life between generations.

“A Seed and the Sun are Powerful Things”—Willie Pace DSC_0138

Celebrating Local Foodways in Macon County: Fall Field Days

Mobile Studio is collaborating with Auburn University’s College of Agriculture and partners throughout Macon County to study and advance food health and security through new infrastructure and celebration.

The first of four Mobile Studio field days this fall was at Tuskegee Youth Safe Haven. In addition to drawing, cooking veggie chili gumbo, and discussing favorite recipes for the upcoming cookbook, we made fresh juice together and planted the garden. A wonderful Saturday afternoon. Stay tuned for the next event at The Ridge Interpretive Center on Septmember 21st in beautiful Warrior Stand, Alabama.