Sunday, May 22, 2011

An Exciting New Endeavor for the Pickle Project!

It is with great excitement that we share some wonderful news. In addition to the lavish support of our generous and inspiring Kickstarter backers, the Pickle Project recently got a big financial boost from the Trust for Mutual Understanding, a funder dedicated to promoting improved communication, closer cooperation and greater respect between the people of the United States and the Former Soviet States, and other countries in Eastern and Central Europe, through environmental and cultural exchange.

Augmenting our current research, documentation and social media efforts, this infusion of support will allow the Pickle Project to expand its observation of Ukrainian foodways, culture and sustainability through a series of “community conversations.” Partnering with Shelburne Farms, the amazing working farm and education center in Shelburne, Vermont, the Pickle Project is bringing together a diverse array of intergenerational perspectives, including local Ukrainian and American cooks, community leaders, agricultural practitioners, cultural managers and citizens, in Ukraine’s diverse urban communities. Coordinating with local partners in each city, these events are designed to promote expansive, cross-cultural dialogue and storytelling.

Many thanks to our supporters, backers and readers, who continue to energize, inform and encourage the Pickle Project’s work! As always, we will be sharing stories, photos and voices along the way! Look for updates at the Pickle Project blog and on Facebook and Twitter (@PickleProject)!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Milk Truck

While I was in Kyiv this spring,  Olga Trusova (who spent her childhood in Ukraine but now lives in California) and I had a conversation about not just sustainable food in terms of growing, but also in terms of how food gets to the final consumer--and how that's changing.   She then sent me these great photos she took of a milk truck last summer in Odessa.  The truck would come to your neighborhood and residents would line up,  with enameled tin containers in hand,  to fill up with milk.   As we talked, it reminded me of the milkmen of my own childhood, and the milk box on the back porch, which we filled with glass bottles to be returned and refilled and the early morning clank as the milkman replaced empty bottles with full ones.
Compare this milk truck with the way most of us buy milk here:  the milk goes from the farm to a bottling plant and then from a bottling plant to the grocery store.  We drive from our houses to the grocery store,  drive home,  drink the milk and then recycle the plastic container it came in.   That's alot of steps--and alot of fossil fuel,  to put milk on our cereal.   But of course, a milk truck isn't always convenient and it's  regular appearance presents challenges for many,  given the demands of work and family. So we make compromises.
I was struck however,  by the change that's implicit in these images.  Look closely--there's not a single young person lined up to buy milk this way and it seems milk trucks in Ukraine may be headed the way of the milk box on my family's back porch, replaced by plastic jugs in plastic bags.