The California Sun

Last week, I traveled to California to talk about my new book Consumed, sustainable agriculture and how to feed our growing world population during this time of climate change. I gave a talk at UC Berkeley, and another at the Ferry Terminal building, and answered many questions during media interviews about the book. I also ate good food!

It could be said that Berkeley and San Francisco are two of the spiritual homes of the sustainable food movement and I had the opportunity to explore and to meet people connected to the movement.

Jessica Prentice coined the term “locavore”–the title of my first book. I interviewed her while in Berkeley at the Three Stone Hearth that she co-founded. I’ll be writing a story about this for The Globe and Mail.

After having called one month to the hour ahead of my arrival in Berkeley to secure a reservation, I dined at the venerable Chez Panisse with my second cousin, once removed. The highlight of the meal: a kishu (I think!) orange that was small, delicate, and flavorful. It was the perfect size for a doll’s tea party. And so delicious!

I tried not to weep while being overcome with emotions at the Edible Schoolyard in Berekeley where kids in middle school go outside to grow food, tend chickens and learn about nature, science and so much more. Why the big emotions? To see that something so beautiful was possible. Also: envy. My kids play everyday in a concrete square at their school. Their only patch of green is astro turf. I’d love for them to have a chance for their desire to learn to be lit on fire by being educated in a natural setting every day at school.

I visited the Berkeley Bowl supermarket and ogled at the more than six varieties of sweet potato on offer, many, many kinds of citrus and so much cheese made nearby.

Also, in San Francisco I visited the food bookshop Omnivore Books where I picked up a pocket sized copy of a small edition recipe book called Sweet Potatoes by Scott Hocker. (Too bad I couldn’t bring back any of those orange spuds from Berkeley.) It’s part of a series of small, single ingredient cookbooks put out by Short Stack Editions.

And that California sun shone for most days–not a good thing though because it’s supposed to be the rainy season in February and everyone was talking about the drought.

What a trip! I hope to return to the area one day soon.