Archive for June 6th, 2010

The chef

Image: Braise Culinary School

David Swanson, a chef who has worked in Chicago and Milwaukee for the past 20 years, is working to “reconnect people to their food.” He does this in two ways. Swanson teaches cooking courses, often on farms or in woods, that focus on preparing meals using locally available ingredients. Many of those who attend these classes are part of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) group, and want to learn how to prepare the food they receive each week.

You can also eat out at Swanson’s locally sourced restaurant in Milwaukee, Braise. Swanson started Wisconsin’s first Restaurant Supported Agriculture network, modeled off of the CSA’s programs that many people participate in. The locally sourced restaurant model is promoted as a savory way to support family farms and stewardship for the environment.

By offering classes and a locally sourced restaurant option, Swanson is encouraging a transformation of our agricultural system from one that is unhealthy and unsustainable to one that serves the interests of the producers, the consumers, and the land that we depend on.

[This post is the third in a series that looks at six very different efforts to build a more sustainable food system in the United States. These efforts challenge us to think about food as not just a commodity, but more as a relationship with the Earth.]

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