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Legacies Project Oral History: Mary Frazier

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 9:10am

Mary Frazier was born in 1910 in Marion, Arkansas, where her father owned a 140-acre cotton farm. She describes sharecropping, Black land-ownership, and the devastating effects of the boll weevil infestation on the cotton industry in the early twentieth century. When her father’s farm went under, she moved to Detroit to live with her aunt in the Black Bottom neighborhood. Over the course of her career, Frazier worked as a domestic laborer, hospital worker, and U.S. Postal Service employee. She completed her high school education at age 83.

Mary Frazier was interviewed by students from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor in 2010 as part of the Legacies Project.

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Author Event | Barbara Barton and "Manoomin : the Story of Wild Rice in Michigan"

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 2:07pm

Manoomin: The Story of Wild Rice in Michigan is the first book of its kind to bring forward the rich tradition of wild rice in Michigan, and its importance to the Anishinaabek people who live here. The book received the 2018 Michigan History Award and 2019 Michigan Notable Book Award.

Join author Barbara Barton as she follows the threads that connect the history, culture, biology, economics, and spirituality of this sacred plant. Learn about the vast wild rice beds that once existed in Michigan, why many disappeared, and the efforts of tribal and nontribal people working to return and protect Manoomin across the landscape. 

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Four-Season Farming With Sunseed Farm

Fri, 09/22/2017 - 2:03pm

Tomm and Trilby Becker, owners of Sunseed Farm, present this family-friendly presentation on four-season farming.

Sunseed is a family-owned vegetable farm growing over sixty kinds of vegetables for families, restaurants, and wholesale customers. Since 2009, Sunseed Farm has grown on eighteen acres of land in Ann Arbor, five miles northwest of downtown. Close to one of those acres are the farm's passively-heated hoop houses. Thanks to this simple technology, they are able to extend their growing season right through the winter.

Find out why winter-grown vegetables are so much more delicious, peek under the covers of their snowy farm to see thousands of happy green plants, discover the secrets to growing a bounty of vegetables and flowers without chemicals on a small parcel of land, and find out what is happening on their busy little farm in spring!

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Culinary Historian Andrew Coe Discusses His Book: "A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression"

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 3:45pm

The giddy optimism of post-World War I America came crashing down during the Depression, which radically altered eating habits, as author Andrew Coe describes in his new cultural history A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression. This book, coauthored with Jane Ziegelman, was awarded the 2017 James Beard Foundation Book Award for nonfiction.

Despite President Herbert Hoover’s 1931 claim that “nobody is actually starving,” Americans, in cities and rural areas alike, existed on subsistence diets and the effects of vitamin deficiencies were felt long into the war years.

A Square Meal is an in-depth exploration of the greatest food crisis the nation has ever faced-the Great Depression-and how it transformed America's culinary culture. Join us for a stimulating learning opportunity about this historic upheaval and the shifting role of governmental aid in response.

Andrew Coe is a writer and independent scholar specializing in culinary history. He and his wife, Jane Ziegelman, are co-authors of "A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression." His ground-breaking Chop Suey: A Cultural History of Chinese Food in the United States was a finalist for a James Beard award and named one of the best food books of the year by the Financial Times. He has written books, articles, and blog posts on everything from the ancient history of foie gras to the secret criminal past of chocolate egg creams to where to buy the tastiest bread in New York City. He has appeared in documentaries such as the National Geographic Channel's "Eat: The Story of Food" and "The Search for General Tso." He and his wife live Brooklyn with their two children.

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Establishing A Rain Garden: Clean up the Huron River, One Garden at a Time

Thu, 03/10/2016 - 1:16pm

Planting a rain garden is a fun way for people to make a difference in the quality of the water in our rivers, lakes, and streams, starting in our own backyards. You don’t need any special equipment – just some space, a spade, compost, and a few plants. This talk covers the benefits of Rain Gardens and how to build and plant one.

Susan Bryan is the Rain Garden Coordinator for the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner’s Office, working with plants and people to protect the water quality in the Huron River. She has designed many residential gardens, rain gardens, and bio-infiltration areas. She is a past president of Wild Ones, has a master’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Michigan, and is an Advanced Master Gardener in Washtenaw County.

Roger Moon is a Master Rain Gardener, trained in the Washtenaw County program, and a Traverwood neighborhood resident with four rain gardens on his property. He has given numerous talks on rain gardens, media appearances, and designed six rain gardens himself. Roger has adopted rain gardens in Huron Hills and Gallup parks, and takes care of them throughout the year. Roger received the Washtenaw County Rain Garden Leadership Award in Education in 2015.

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Nerd Nite #31 - The Great Pleasure (and Long History) of Creating New Kinds of Plants

Tue, 01/26/2016 - 11:14am

Basically as soon as agriculture began, humans started messing with plants, controlling their sex lives in order to transform the weeds around them into the grains and vegetables we depend on today. And while the crazy origin stories of things like corn and broccoli are in the distant past, I still use the exact same traditional methods to indulge my inner mad scientist and create new varieties of plants in my garden. The results are fun (and sometimes delicious) and will make you see the produce section of the grocery store in an entirely new way.

About Joseph Tychonievich: A life long gardener and lover of plants, Joseph has been a repeated guest on public radio’s food show The Splendid Table, wrote a book, Plant Breeding for the Home Gardener (Timber Press, 2013), spent two years working at the famed rare plants nursery Arrowhead Alpines and was named by Organic Gardening Magazine as one of “…six young horticulturists who are helping to shape how America gardens.” Joseph lives and gardens with his husband and an adorable black cat in Ypsilanti. You can find him on Twitter at @gsgardens, read his blog posts at gardenprofessors.com or http://www.facebook.com/TheGardenProfessors/

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It's Easy Being Green 2015: Plants, Pollinators, and Why They Matter with Joseph Tychonievich, Greensparrow Gardens

Tue, 11/17/2015 - 2:36pm

Joseph Tychonievich, author of Plant Breeding for the Home Gardener, explains the interesting ways plants have evolved to attract their preferred pollinators. Along with a tour of nature's most creative (and sometimes disgusting) methods of connecting pollinators and plants, Joseph discusses ways to foster biodiversity in your own garden and shows examples of managing garden pests by letting other insects do the dirty work.

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ICPJ Podcast: Norma Green and Gil Whitney

Mon, 08/17/2015 - 11:07am

Norma Green, retired farmer, and Gil Whitney, also a farmer, togther recall their work with the Land, Food, and Justice Committee, through which they organized farm tours, introduced people to their food sources, hosting potlucks and cooking demonstrations, and much more.

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ICPJ Podcast: Bryan and Layle Weinert

Sat, 08/08/2015 - 1:31pm

In this episode, Ann Arbor couple Bryan and Layle Weinert talk about their 30-year involvement with the Ann Arbor Crop Walk, from its humble beginnings to a strong community movement that has led to related local efforts such as the Faith in Food program. Inspired by the interfaith nature of the event which draws 400-500 walkers annually and has raised over 2 million dollars, as well as its support of both fundamental justice issues and local efforts, the Weinert's make a compelling moral case for the practicality and power such a community-wide event can have in raising awareness on a personal and national level to fight global social injustice.

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ICPJ Podcast: Peter Boeve

Mon, 03/09/2015 - 1:20pm

Peter Boeve, former pastor of Ann Arbor's Northside Presbyterian Church, was able to explore areas of his interest, including medicine and agriculture, through involvement with ICPJ. He recounts his work attempting to integrate faith with dialogue about social issues and change and how ICPJ has helped to expand his world.