Friday, September 30, 2011

Conversations about Food and Culture

What does food matter?  What can Americans learn from Ukrainian food traditions and methods?  How are the ways that both Americans and Ukrainians think about food changing?  What's your most memorable meal or the food that reminds you of home and family?   Those questions, and many more, have formed the core of our work here at the Pickle Project.  We're thrilled to return to Ukraine in mid-October  for a series of four community conversations about food, culture, past, present and future.   These conversations are made possible thanks to the support of the Trust for Mutual Understanding, Shelburne Farms (our US sponsor) and our great partners in Ukraine.

The conversations will be held in four different Ukrainian cities and we invite you to join us if you're in the neighborhood.  More details to come, but mark your calendars and join us!
  • Sunday, October 16,  18:00 at the Bulgakov Museum, Kyiv
  • Tuesday, October 18,  Donetsk
  • Friday, October 21, Odessa
  • Sunday, October 23,  L'viv
We're also very pleased to have two other Americans join us for the conversations:  Caleb Zigas and Rueben Nilsson.  We've chosen Caleb and Rueben because they're both involved in food production in different ways, have inquiring minds, and much to both share and learn.
Caleb is Executive Director of La Cocina in San Francisco, an organization whose mission is to he mission of La Cocina is to cultivate low-income food entrepreneurs focusing primarily on women from communities of color and immigrant communities.  Caleb’s work on the program curriculum and social entrepreneurship innovation has been celebrated by the Hitachi Foundation when they named him a Yoshiyama Young Entrepreneur and by Inc. Magazine’s recognition as one of 5 Community Organizers making a difference. He has been named one of San Francisco’s Tastemakers by 7×7 Magazine, though he might be as proud that before that he was named Best Waiter in San Francisco.   Caleb has worked in kitchens since the age of 16,  but he also is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a degree in English and Globalization and Culture.
Rueben grew up in rural Minnesota, in a town of 4,000 people. After some years working in other fields, he returned to school and received a degree in Food Science from the University of Minnesota, and has worked in cheesemaking, production and quality, for the last five years.   He's now the Quality Systems Manager at Faribault Dairy, in Faribault, Minnesota, where cave-aged blue cheese is made.   As part of his job, he works with state and federal food inspectors and independent food quality auditors. Both he and his wife come from a cultural heritage of European immigrant farmers and continuing their own family traditions, they make beer, bread, sauerkraut, cheese and can soups, fruits and vegetables.

We're looking forward to introducing Caleb and Rueben to big city markets, village gardens, homemade sour cream, samogon,  early morning tea on the overnight train, salo, pickles, and most of all, to Ukraine's people and the stories they have to share.    

Check back soon here or on our Facebook page for exact times and locations for the conversations.

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