Thursday, December 29, 2005

Charlotte-area Local Providers of Sustainably-raised Food

A Few Charlotte-area Providers of Pesticide-free Produce, and Pasture-raised Animal Products

New Town Farms
Sammy and Melinda Koenigsberg
Sell pesticide-free produce, poultry and eggs.
Sell at the Matthews Farmers Market, from the farm, and by delivery. 704 843-5182.

Marianne Battistone, Poplar Ridge Farm
An Organic Community Supported Agricultural Farm. Established in 1995. Family owned and managed
Member of the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association 704-843-5744

New Moon Farm Organics in
Mt. Ulla, NC, next to Lake Norman and Mooresville NC. We are a certified organic farm and we specialize in heirloom and open pollinated varieties. We have veggies, fruits (strawberries mostly) herbs and flowers. We sell what we grow at the farm and everything is organic. Our website is and there will be information about our CSA there. We’ll be doing an on-farm stand this year, and the Charlotte Regional Farmer's Market on Saturdays.

Mary Roberts

Windcrest Farm /
518 Greenfield Drive / Monroe, NC 28112
h: 704.764.7746 c: 704.320.8682 Visit our farm at
We offer not only produce, but 35 varieties of heirloom tomato, pepper and herb plants for those who would like to grow their own.

Grateful Growers Farm in
Denver, NC
Natalie Veres and Cassie Parsons
Naturally grown produce, pasture-raised pork, chicken and eggs
828 234-5182

Philip and Sheila Brooks and their son.
Sell pastured beef raised on their farm.
704 233-4902 (home) 704 506-7826 (cell)

Matthews Farmers Market A producer-only market with vegetables grown within a 50-mile radius of the market.

For more information:

Carolina Farm Stewardship Association
919 542-2402 (Pittsboro)
803 779-1124, for
South Carolina

Charlotte- area natural food stores
Earth Fare 704 926-1201, Berrybrook Farms 704 334-6528, Talley’s Green Grocer 704 334-9200,

If you would like to be added to this list, please leave a comment on the blog after this posting. Or email us at

Monday, December 26, 2005

Charlotte Observer column

Posted on Sun, Dec. 25, 2005


They believe in virtues of vegetables

What does the clucking of 100,000 chickens sound like?

Sally Kneidel can tell us.

In the summer of 2004, she and her daughter, Sara Kate Kneidel, set out to write a book about vegetarian recipes and nutrition. Sally, who lives in Charlotte, has a doctorate in biology from UNC Chapel Hill. Sara Kate, 22, was a student at Guilford College.

Both vegetarians, they wanted to share recipes and facts -- but they also wanted to compile in one volume "all the possible reasons for choosing a vegetarian diet."

So they started visiting farms and asking questions.

They toured a hog mega-farm where Sally says sows were pinned in tiny stalls, a chicken farm with birds packed tight and an egg factory with more than a million hens.

Their discoveries are part of a new book, "Veggie Revolution: Smart Choices for a Healthy Body and a Healthy Planet" (Fulcrum, $16.95).

The `real culprits'

Their book discusses pollution, global warming, land use and hunger.It describes factory farms and details the benefits of raising livestock in pastures.

Sally calls it "a thorough piece of local muckraking on the subject of factory farming and the American diet."

"We were told by many people when we started the book that we would never get into any factory farms," she told me. "Yet we did get into four, and were even allowed to take pictures. We balanced this with visits and interviews at four small, humane and environmentally responsible farms in the area. The farm visits changed my life, to put it bluntly."

At first, Sally said, they thought farmers were responsible for what was happening on factory farms.

But then they came to believe that factory farmers "are just pawns in a system they did little to create. The real culprits are the corporations whose ads tell us we need animal products at every meal."

The last part of the book talks about staying healthy without meat, negotiating a vegetarian diet with your family and learning to cook vegetarian.

Eating less meat

Sally told me she hopes the book outlines how our food choices affect larger issues.

As long as customers buy cheap food that's produced on factory farms, she says, someone will continue to sell it to them.

And she hopes it helps readers decide to eat less meat -- or give it up entirely. "Every individual meal matters," she says.

Sara Kate agrees. "Each time you choose vegetarian, organic or local food, you are taking a stand for change."

The Kneidels will be at several area book signings in December and January, including one at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Joseph-Beth Booksellers, 4345 Barclay Downs Drive.

For information, go to



Jeri Krentz: (704) 358-5234;

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Upcoming Radio Shows and Book Signings for Veggie Revolution

Charlotte Book Signings

December 28, 7:00 to 9:00 pm, Joseph Beth Booksellers at Southpark Mall. 704 602-9830

January 5, 7:30 to 8:30 pm, Barnes & Noble, Arboretum 704 341-9365

January 6, 7:00 - 8:00 pm, Borders at Colony and Sharon 704 365-6261

January 7, Noon - 2:00, Books a Million, Cotswold Mall. 704 364-4035

January 8, Noon - 1:00, Earth Fare. 704 926-1201

January 21, 12:00 - 2:00 signing. 4:00 - 5:00 lecture. Earth Fare. 704 926-1201

Book Signings Outside Charlotte

January 25, 7:00 - 8:30, Internationalist Bookstore, Franklin Street in Chapel Hill

February 7, 12:00 - 3:00, Earth Fare in Athens, Georgia

February 9, 6:30 - 8:30, Earth Fare in Greensboro, NC

Radio Interviews

WFAE, Charlotte Public Radio, "Charlotte Talks," January 6, 9:00 - 10:00.

WUNC, NC Public Radio, "The State of Things," January 27, 12:00 - 1:00

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Another Bus Crash; Barbary Apes

Hi there,

So we're in Chefchaouen now. We finally made it out of Marrakesh, praise Allah! That place was like a pit of quicksand. When I was no longer too wretched to travel, Nicci was blighted and we still couldn't leave. But after 3 days of saying au revoir to our friends we finally fled to the bus station. We were planning to go to the Sahara but don't have time now. :-( We would never make it to Tanger by next weekend. So we decided on the modest goal of starting north right away; which proved wise because we only made it as far as Casablabca that day. But we learned a few things:

1) Do not follow the men who descend on you in swarms outside the bus station. They will charge you 10dh each for showing you a bathroom you could have found yourself and for buying a -dh bottle of water you could have bought yourself and hustling you into a bus you're not sure you want to take that leaves "immediately"

2) "immediately" means "in half an hour" and a four hour bus ride actually lasts 8 hours

3) Third class buses have frequent problems with things like starting and running. If this happens; all the men will get off and give the bus a rollstart each time it stops (on purpose or otherwise). Be ready to run alongside the bus and leap on as the engine catches and it rolls into the street

4) Third class buses like to hit cars. We know this because we got in another wreck, the 2nd out of 5 buses we've been on. This time it wasn't nearly as bad as the first time because no one died and eventually we got picked up by another bus where I stood in my aisle with my backpack on the rest of the way to Casa.

But now we are safely in Chefchaouen and it is beautiful and tomorrow we are hiring a guide to take us to see Barbary Apes (N'shallah). It is our consolation for having to replace the desert portion of our trip with diarrhea. I really hope we see them!! But I am trying not to get my hopes up.

Just so you know, we are going to be here til Saturday, then taking a bus to Tanger and a ferry to Algeciras.

Sara Kate

Nice Post about Veggie Revolution with pics

The website has put a description of Veggie Revolution and a couple of pics on their website. To see it, go to their home page and scroll down to the green band that says New and Noteworthy. That's the post about our book.

Here's the link:

Sustainable Ag Movement Gaining Steam

Picture of Sammy Koenigsberg of New Town Farms in Waxhaw, NC. Sammy is featured in Veggie Revolution.

Last night I went to my first meeting of folks in the Charlotte area who are interested or working in sustainable farming. It was a big turnout, really exciting! Most of the folks were organic farmers or farmers using sustainable, eco-friendly methods, or farmer wannabes. Tony Kleese and Amy from the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association were there and led the meeting. (Their number, in Pittsboro, is 919 542-2402.)

The general consensus was that the market in Charlotte for organic food and for CSAs is just beginning to pop. A CSA (stands for community-supported agriculture) is a small farm with local customers who sign on for a year, and pick up a bag of the farmer's produce every week. Most of the CSAs at the meeting said they have a waiting list of customers who want to participate.

Part of the reason for the surging interest in organic and eco-friendly, pesticide-free food here is the recent location of Johnson & Wales University to downtown Charlotte. It's a major cooking school and is having a big impact on the food community around here. They're very strong supporters of local, seasonal, organic food and the people who produce it.

We talked about distribution problems, and how to connect organic-minded consumers with the growing number of producers. So many people in Charlotte and the surrounding area are interested in local and organic food but can't find it. Although we do have a new Earth Fare natural foods supermarket, as well as Talley's Green Grocer and Berrybrook Farms Natural Foods. Soon we'll have a second Earth Fare and a Whole Foods Market.

A lot of the farmer wannabes at the meeting said they want to grow organic produce in the city, to make distribution within the city easier. We talked about a future where consumers can buy organically grown food on every street corner in the city. Availability is key, and we need to work on that. The producers are here and growing in number, so are the consumers. The possibilities are endless! Yay!!! It gives me hope for the future.

Sara Kate Drinks Tea in Marrakech, Survives Bus Crash; Hotel Proprietor Mops Up

Dec 1
Hello to all from Morocco.

My main difficulty right now is from this Arabic keyboard. The logistics of using it defy description. I would have better luck typing with my nose. For example to type the word 'am' I type the keys that on a normal keyboard are q and ; but on this computer they say Arabic symbols plus w and colon; but written over w and colon in permanent marker it says z and m. meanwhile the m key is where b should be but has w written over it in marker yet really makes a comma. AIIEE!!

The last three days have been some of the most challenging, exhausting, and amazing of my entire life. The main idea of the revelation I am having here is that the world is bigger than I thought. Before there were two worlds in my mind and you can divide them however you want, US and Latin America or first world and third world or English and Spanish, but now I see there is this whole other world and whole other way of doing things. Of course I knew this before but now I really KNOW it. And yet it still won't sink in. We continue on with our silly American agendas. Example, today we needed to buy Catherine a pair of pants. Ok we thought, we'll go to the pants store, be back in an hour max. Of course, two hours later we were still drinking tea, looking at the pants man's photos of his entire extended family, politely declining offers to come to his house to eat supper and meet his family, (only because we have another engagement) and explaining to him yet again why we haven't married our fiances yet. He called two friends on the phone just so we would talk to them and say hello. He is giving us some CDs of a 'movie' he made about Essaouira (which with any luck we will be able to watch together soon), and when I spoke to him in Arabic he kissed my hand.

Such is life here. It blows the mind. Every day we set out with a plan and end up drinking tea in shoe stores instead. Cultures are clashing in my brain.

Dec 3
Hi all,
So, we are in Agadir right now. We came here to go to the national park, which was quite an experience. Our plan was to leave Essaouira yesterday morning, so we packed up and went to say goodbye to our friends, but somehow we ended up drinking tea again and missed our bus. We just sat there and watched the clock tick away, and what to do? We decided we didn't need that bus anyway. When we finally got to the bus station we had to wait an hour, so we ate some slop in a bowl in the street (20 cents) and then had some perplexing multilingual conversation with some guys inside. Our bus finally came at 5:00 and when we got on there was barf on the floor and Nicci stepped in it. It was really beautiful out the window, though, until it got dark and we got in a wreck. We totally mashed this guys truck and ripped the front off our bus. I saw his body lolling over the steering wheel and I thought he was dead, but then it turned out he wasn't. Everyone was shouting in Arabic and drivers coming the other way were getting out and pushing their cars through the dirt to go around. Nicci and I went and peed behind a bush with some goats. But this is what I mean about everyone being nice here: we had no idea what to do, but two guys helped us rescue our bags from the bus and offered to share their taxi with us the rest of the way to Agadir. We took them up on it. Of course after about 10 minutes we passed a little village and had to stop and... you guessed it, drink tea. You may see why I am stqrting to understqnd the phrase N'shallah, which they say after every third word. I'll see you tomorrow, N'shallah. I'd like to eat supper now, N'shallah. We want to go downtown; N'shallah. It means god willing. Evidently, Allah was not willing for us to ride that bus yesterday. Allah wants us to drink tea.

Anyway we got to Agadir just fine and declined their repeated offers to stay with their family and eat a tagine. Instead we went a cheap little hotel mostly inhabited by Lord of the Rings guys with purple robes with pointy hoods and bare feet. I have this sort of conversation every time i set foot ourside our room (this is a verbatim example):

me: Ssalam malakum.

man: malakum assalam.

me: Labas, onta?

man: Labas, hamdullah. Onti?

me. Labas. Um, est-ce que je pourr--

man: Pardon me, you are american?

me: yes.

man: Oh! What country you from?

me: Uh... the United States?

man: Oh. Is that near Portugal?

me: Uh... not really. It's near Canada.

man: Oh, I know a lady with eyes like you from Columbus, she learn me English and Frisbee! And my cousin drive taxi in Alabama City.

me: Er, that's nice. So could I--

man: Pardon me, you are fuming?

me: Um, what?

man: Are you liking to smoke one cigarette.

me: Oh. Um, no thanks. La shukran. I really just need a blanket for the bed.

man: what?

me: Est-ce que il y a une coverture pour le lit!!! S'il vous plait! 'Afak!

man: Mmm, yes. Are you liking Michael Jordan?


You can see why it's hard to get anything done here. Sometimes we just give in and drink tea. Although today we actually did make it to the national park, so perhaps you have an idea now of what an accomplishment that is!

We are going to Marrakesh tomorrow.

Dec 5
So we are in Marrakech now. We haven' seen much of it yet because we only got here last night, and today we have been occupied with taking our clothes to "le pressing" and ourselves to the hammam (bathhouse). We smell feo.

Dec 10

Good morning
I think I'm going to go soon because I'm still feeling a little sick. We are currently still in Marrakesh. In fact, you could say we are stuck here, thanks to N'shallah and stomach parasites. Meaning, we were planning to leave several days ago but Allah didn't want us to, so the night before we were supposed to leave I was suddenly blighted with a dreadful affliction that left me sweating, fainting, crapping, and barfing while squatting over the shitter for hours at a time. Suffice it to say, whatever misdeeds I have committed in this life or the previous, I have now atoned for. And then some. But at least I am in the land of Niceness; my first ralphing bout left me standing on the terrace halfway between our room and the bathroom, sobbing piteously because I felt so miserable and I'd barfed all over the bathroom and had to clean it up but there was nothing to clean it up with because Morocco does not believe in toilet paper. I resolved to use my sock, because I'd already barfed on it anyway and what's to lose? So I began hobbling back towards the bathroom in my pjs, one sock on, one sock in my hand, my face streaming with all kinds of snot and ooze. Of course at just this moment the hotel proprietor, a round little man in his nightcap, came doddering up the stairs to see what all the commotion was. (It was the middle of the night.) "I'm sorry," I wailed in incomprehensible French, "I'm sick in my stomach!" Instantly I was enveloped in an astonishingly soft and cushy hug, barf and sock and all. "There there," he crooned as I did not know fat little men could croon, "you get back to bed." "But the bathroom," I wept, "it is very... badly. I must clean it." I brandished my sock for emphasis.

But he wouldn't hear of it. He sent me packing back to bed just like a mama bear, and when I was back in the bathroom an hour later, I saw that he had neatly removed all traces of my spewed spinach and eppglant. And for the next day, every time Catherine and Nicci set foot downstairs, he inquired anxiously after my health and reminded them fervently that, N'shallah, I would be well again soon. Nice people, indeed.

So that's my story about now. Let's just say that being back in my own house and bed in the States won't be entirely unwelcome.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Real Matrix, or What to Do Today

Today is December 7.
I don't know what to do today. I still need to nail down dates for booksignings and other events for Veggie Revolution, for when Sara Kate is back from Morocco in two weeks. But that means making phone calls and leaving messages, and all that. Sometimes I have the energy for that and sometimes I don't. Sometimes I get in a mood where I can just keep plowing ahead, no matter what. Getting answering machines or "he's not here" doesn't discourage me, I just call the next number on the list.

But this is the kind of day where, if I had some woods outside, I would go walk in the woods. Even though it's cold as hell.

Maybe what's dragging on me is that I watched The Matrix this morning because one of my friends is very interested in it. I watched it years ago but I didn't really understand it before. This morning I couldn't quite finish it, I had to go take the car to get fixed. While I was tooling around in the cold house getting ready to go out, the movie was in my mind and in my mood. The house felt unfamiliar and unpleasant to me, like walking into a strange hotel room. A part of me had the perspective that my house and civilization in general is the Matrix, or a matrix of a different kind. I was able to view my whole street, my city, as an artificial construct that someone has created - an artificial reality that we have created that separates us from our original environment, which was nature.

I live in this cramped and cluttered house, insulated from the outdoors and all the struggles of the birds and squirrels and chipmunks to survive in this cold (that's all the remnants of wildlife left in my yard). We humans have built this whole world that allows us to live completely removed from nature. Completely removed. Maybe not as completely as the humans in the movie were, but still quite apart. We don't have to experience the weather, we turn on the tap to get our water, we buy our food at the grocery. For the meateaters among us, someone else raises these artificially bred animals and kills them for us. We are so detached from the natural world. What I really mean of course is, I feel so detached from nature. The part of the movie that really resonated with me is this: we have been removed so long from our predecessors' intimacy with nature and wildlife, we're not really conscious of being severed from it. It seems normal and inevitable now to operate in a world that is cut off from the natural world in almost every way.

I mean, this is no great revelation, anyone would probably arrive at the same conclusion if questioned and pressed. But I felt it so keenly this morning. Maybe something else that made me feel it is this book I'm reading called The Trees by Conrad Richter. It's about a pioneer family living completely self-suffienctly in the woods in the late 1700s. It's a very well-written portrait of pioneer life. It's made me aware of how dependent I am on the human community around me. A community that does a lot of things I don't like, or approve of, but yet, because I am so dependent, I participate. For example, using the car and burning gas in my furnace. At least I don't eat animal products any more.

I don't know. I don't want to be part of the matrix of modern civilization. I want to do more to step out of it. Changing my diet was a first step. Writing the book Veggie Revolution was a piece of resistance I suppose. What now? I want a place to live that uses fewer resources, that's more green, more energy efficient. I need some woods and wildlife around me. Although I know that living in multi-family housing close to the place we work is really the most land-efficient and energy-efficient and sustainable choice. I need to rethink some of the choices we made years ago when we bought this house - this house that separates me from the outdoors. I'm thinking about my friends Jim and Kathleen's passive solar house. The floor of their house is only an inch or two above ground level. It really has a strong psychological effect of making the indoors and outdoors seem continuous.

In his book An Unnatural Order, Jim Mason writes about the development of our destructive Western attitude toward nature, which he calls "dominionism." He's right on the money. That word about sums it up. We feel as a species that we are entitled to have dominion over all other living things, to use and abuse nature and animals as we wish. Although we're destroying our planet and all of our non-human companions in the process.

As the evil Mr. Smith said in The Matrix, humans are different from most living things in that we completely take over an area, then we move on to the next area, spreading everywhere and destroying nature as we go. He asked Morpheus: What is the only other living thing that behaves the same way? Morpheus didn't answer. Mr. Smith supplied the answer: viruses.

That's not entirely true. Lots of introduced species spread like crazy in their new environment, like kudzu or honeysuckle, or cane toads in Australia. Because the predators that evolved with them are missing.

But anyway. The human race has made a mess, no doubt about that. And with Mr. Bush in office, the darkness is spreading. But we can choose how much we want to participate. We can back out. We can try to remember from whence we came and have mercy on other living things and their habitats. We can try to make constructive choices in the future. Which reminds me of why I'm working on the next book, about how we can stop supporting the corporations that are trashing the planet.

Okay, now I know what to do today. Put away the "phone calls to make" folder and get out the "Power of Your Pocketbook" folder. Make some coffee. Get to work.

Booksigning in Chapel Hill December 10

I'll be at Weaver Street Market in Chapel Hill NC this Saturday (Dec 10) signing books. There's an announcement about the book, Veggie Revolution, in their online newsletter this week. Click on this link, and then when you get to the newsletter, scroll down to see the book.

I wish Sara Kate could be there but she's still in Morocco.