Food Week

16 Oct

As some of you may know, Food Week starts this Monday.  During Food Week there will be a ton of fun events on campus meant to educate us about food and farming.  Interested in nutrition?  Go to “Food and you:  Health and Nutrition.”  Do you want to help feed the hungry?  Then check out “Feed Philadelphia.”  And, of course, make sure to end the week right by stopping at Penn Garden 12-4pm on Friday for “Fall Festival at Penn Garden.”  This event is for anyone who likes free lunch and warm apple cider (I think that’s just about all of us).  Plus everyone who comes to “Fall Festival” gets to help paint a permanent sign and plant garlic as well.

So whatever your interest with regard to food, Penn has you covered.  Check out our calendar for the exact times and locations for all the mentioned and unmentioned events (every day there’s a different even, with two on Thursday).

And remember to drop by the Garden on Friday!


Screening of Food Fight on Wednesday

26 Sep

When: September 29th at 5PM

Where: College Hall 200

Watch the film FOOD FIGHT (, a documentary by Chris Taylor.

Meet the Director, Chris Taylor, who will discuss the film and field questions.


About the film: There is a great lie being sold to the American food consumer about food choices. That lie is that the food being grown for us on the big farms and sold in the big chain supermarkets is tasty and nutritious. The truth is, it is neither. Four out of ten chronic diseases are food-related in their origins. The food we buy today at the supermarket is lower in taste and nutrition and higher in fat and salt since 1960. Our children represent the first generation in our planet’s history that will have a shorter life span than their parents. And it is entrenched government policy that has built, supports, and continues this dysfunctional system. How did this come to be?

FOOD FIGHT is a documentary that takes a look at how American agricultural policy and food culture developed in the 20th century, and how the California food movement rebelled against big agribusiness to launch the local organic food movement. It features Alice Waters (Chez Panisse), Wolfgang Puck, Michael Pollan and other big names involved with food.

About the director: Chris Taylor received a B.A. Cum Laude from Harvard University in Folklore and Mythology.From 1975 through 1986, Chris worked as a touring lighting designer and production manager for musical groups such as the Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, Earth, Wind and Fire, John Fogarty, ELO, and Simon and Garfunkel.

After attending the American Film Institute in 1988, Chris began his career as a Director of Photography by working as a DP with such talented filmmakers as Gary Oldman, Johnny Depp, Tim Burton, Michael Lehmann, and others. During this time he photographed six features, six MOW’s, short films, TV pilots, and episodic television.

In 2005, Chris co-founded Positively 25th Street, a production company dedicated to creating original documentary programming with social and cultural significance. The first project, FOOD FIGHT, premiered AFI FEST LA in November of 2008. The film has been awarded the Audience Award for 2008 by the International Documentary Association. In 2009 the film has played in over 30 film festivals all over the world, and has won 7 other festival awards.

We’re in Penn Current!!

18 Sep

Penn Current ran an article about us last Thursday.  We’re really excited about the extra publicity, especially since the Garden is still fairly new.  The article did a good job capturing our views and goals.  Here’s the link to the article in case you want to read it:

For those of you who just want a quick summary, the main points of the article are that we are an organic, student run garden where members get to bring home part of the harvest and the surplus (once we have some) will be donated to the food pantry at St. Mary’s Church.  Another one of our goals is to bring the community together so they can learn about agriculture and what it means.

We have a bunch of exciting events coming up, including a screening of “Food Fight” on September 29th, and we’ll be participating in Penn’s food week from October 18th to the 22nd.

We’ll also be a stop on West Philly Gardens Day on September 19th.  We’re thrilled that the garden is thriving and that it’s garnered so much attention.  Of course, this wouldn’t be possible without the help of our friends.  So thank you to everyone who’s been getting involved, and if you’re not already involved join us!  If you don’t join for the chance to plant crops and get free food, then do so because you want to be at the forefront of an environmental movement on campus.

Workday tonight!

16 Sep

We are having a workday at the garden tonight at 6.30 pm. We will be harvesting and readying the garden for West Philly Gardens Day on Sunday.

Feel free to come by the garden between noon and 3 pm on Sunday during West Philly Gardens Day. Gardens all over West Philly will be open to visitors and some will even be offering workshops and presentations. Inspirational garden awards will be given out at the Woodlands at 4 pm.

First Autumnal Harvest!

7 Sep

Today was our first harvest of the Fall, and everything looks great so far!  The crops have flourished underneath the steel cages, so much so that we had to trim back branches and vines that had outgrown the wood boxes.  Fruits and vegetables that we picked today included tomatoes, orange cherry tomatoes, eggplants, tomatillas, bell peppers, potatoes, and jalapeños.  After we picked them, we weighed them and brought them home.  They look delicious!

A nice looking haul

22 Aug

The harvest at last Tuesday's workday

How to use those jalapeños

22 Aug

JalapeñosWe have now harvested over 80 pounds of produce this summer! And over 4 pounds of jalapeños, which has left us seeking creative ways to use all those hot peppers.

Monica, a regular volunteer at Tuesday workdays, tried and enjoyed this recipe from for Jalapeño Poppers. She recommends wearing gloves while cutting and preparing the jalapeños.

Jalapeño Poppers


  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (8 ounce) package shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon bacon bits
  • 12 ounces jalapeno peppers, seeded and halved
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 2 quarts oil for frying


  1. In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese, Cheddar cheese and bacon bits. Spoon this mixture into the jalapeno pepper halves.
  2. Put the milk and flour into two separate small bowls. Dip the stuffed jalapenos first into the milk then into the flour, making sure they are well coated with each. Allow the coated jalapenos to dry for about 10 minutes.
  3. Dip the jalapenos in milk again and roll them through the breadcrumbs. Allow them to dry, then repeat to ensure the entire surface of the jalapeno is coated.
  4. In a medium skillet, heat the oil to 365 degrees F ( 180 degrees C). Deep fry the coated jalapenos 2 to 3 minutes each, until golden brown. Remove and let drain on a paper towel.

For those interested in saving some jalapeños for other seasons, you can try this recipe for canned pickled jalapeños that Maura adapted.

Pickled Jalapeños

To avoid illness, it is important to process canned foods correctly. Read here for more information on home food preservation.

The amount of brine in this recipe is enough to fill 5 pint jars.


  • Jalapeños
  • 2 cups white or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup pickling salt
  • Carrot sticks cut to height of jar or baby carrots
  • Small onions or onion slices
  • Oregano
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic cloves sliced in half


  1. Wash jalapeños. Do not use any peppers that are bruised. Cut 3 to 4 slits in each pepper and blanch them in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain the peppers.
  2. Mix together the vinegar, water and salt and bring to a boil.
  3. In each clean, sterilized jar place a carrot, an onion slice, a halved garlic clove, 1 tsp. olive oil, and 1 tsp. oregano. Pack in blanched jalapeños.
  4. Pour hot vinegar solution into jars, leaving 1/2″ headspace at the top.
  5. Top jars with clean, sterilized jar lids and screw on bands. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove from canner and allow to cool. Enjoy jalapeños after two weeks and up to a year from date of canning.