Sustainability Networking ♥

10 Mar

This afternoon, I had the opportunity to attend an event, which was sponsored by Chatham University’s Food Studies Program, called Food In Our Neighborhoods.  I do realize that as both a student of sustainability and a foodie that its confused why I didn’t chose Chatham’s Master’s program.  Slippery Rock University’s Master in Sustainable Systems (my program) focuses on broader issues within the sustainability field, including sustainable community development (my focus).  Looking back, I probably should have looked into Chatham’s program more thoroughly.


There were only two speakers to choose from during the morning session.  I chose the one called “Groceries, Health, and Economic Viability for Inner City Communities,” which was presented by Glenn Ford.  Having arrived about 20 minutes late, I missed his introduction, but gathered that he is a civic leader in the Chicago area who is striving to build grocery stores in highly impoverished areas.  These urban centers have faced blight for years, many have turned into food deserts in which urban residents must travel far away from home just to eat.  Lacking access to produce and healthy food items can take years off of a human life and can severely disable a community from the infill necessary to keep it healthy.

As a business owner, I can doubly appreciate what Ford is doing, because his business model is genius.  To launch the Praxis Marketplace, Ford is attempting to encourage local entrepreneurs by soliciting local food producers.  This cuts down on a lot of overhead, creates  local job opportunities, strengthens the regional food system, encourages entrepreneurs, etc. etc. etc.  I could go on for awhile, but it turns out that the speakers were the boring part of the day!  (I am a nerd, so normally this isn’t the case.)

After the speakers, we were able to network with other attendees while learn more about community foodscapes.  Boy, did we network.  I was COMPLETELY unprepared for this event (thus the lack of pics) and didn’t even expect to meet with people.  I really thought it was going to be more of lecture/boring workshop stuff.  Here are some of the things/people we learned about:



Fishes & Loaves Program – this is an amazing food buying organization which essentially supplies fresh and local food into Hazelwood, which is one of the city’s biggest food deserts.   Residents are able to place an order and then are delivered meats, dairy, vegetables, etc. to Hazelwood Christian Church

*We also got a chance to check out some info about the Hazelwood Food Forest, which is currently in the works.  This is a really great project by two local women who are trying to help Hazelwood become more self-reliant.


Regent Square:

174 – This restaurant is in Regent Square, where Legume used to be.  I have no idea what I ate at the table, but it was so good.  This is somewhere that we will be visiting soon!!


Volunteer Organizations:

Grow Pittsburgh – a network of growers who do lots of projects around the city, this includes Braddock Farms, City Growers, Frick Greenhouse, Edible Schoolyard Program, Shiloah Farm

Transitions Pittsburgh –  currently recruiting volunteers for an intentional community’s garden in East Liberty called Borland Garden


Local Growers/Farms/Markets:

Churchview Farm – this is a third generation sustainable farmette in the south hills of Pittsburgh.  Tara was extremely nice and spoke with us about her CSA and about raising chickens.  I HIGHLY recommend reaching out to her via email

Burgh Bees – educating and promoting urban beekeeping; the woman at the table was also educating us about urban chicken farming.  She was VERY knowledgeable about Allegheny County permitting and regulations, so if you are interested in urban agriculture I recommend contacting her at

Clarion River Organics – available from June to October, tons of pickup locations around the city; rates $15+  Call 412-589-

Oakland Farmer’s Market – starts July 8th at Forbes and Sennott in Oakland

East Liberty Farmer’s Market (If you’re an SFTS fan, you’ve heard me rave about this year-round farmer’s market.)

Marty’s Market – a destination grocery store that will be coming to soon to the Strip District, focusing on local and sustainable edible goods (I will be keeping my eye on this project for future posts.)

Garfield Community Farm – a farm in one of the most unexpected places (at least for me); they provide vegetables to Salt of the Earth who were doing a tasting at the event.

3 Responses to “Sustainability Networking ♥”

  1. Alice March 12, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

    Hey Michelle,

    I sat with you at the networking lunch — and heard about your cool business from about three different people after the event — and since I’m the director of the Food Studies Program, I just wanted to say that if you ever want to defect from Slippery Rock, we’re here waiting for you…. Wednesday evening out at our farm campus, we have a local beer and whiskey event (how to source locally, etc)..

    thanks for the shout out!


    • SOLEfortheSoul March 12, 2012 at 8:07 pm #


      Its so nice to hear from you!! We had an excellent time at the luncheon and met so many people doing amazing things in the city 🙂 As for Slippery Rock, I am in my last semester of research. I wish I had looking into the Chatham program sooner, because it is far superior to SRU’s program. Do we need RSVPs for Wednesdays?


  1. Our CSA: How It Works « SOLE for the Soul - June 12, 2012

    […] when Amanda and I went to the Farm To Table Convention?  Well between that and a networking event that she♥ and I attended at Chatham, we had a lot of options regarding what CSA to chose […]

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