Sow Your Idea

Good Food Strategies is a Seattle-based company, founded by Kristin Hyde and Jen Lamson. Seasoned in the hallowed halls of Washington, D.C., this duo joined forces to advance "good food" policies, products, and consumer awareness. Aligned with farmers, nonprofits, and businesses, their work ranges from policy initiatives to strategic campaigns, advancing the sustainable food movement.

From wheat farmers in Western Washington State to aquaculture reform, their work...and roster of clients is truly impressive.

What may be even more impressive is this:

This is Jen's business card, and I ask for one every time I see her. From that moment on, I'll walk around the room, card in hand, asking, "Have you seen this??? Let me introduce you to Jen!" Viral buzz? Perhaps. But I think their business cards are brilliant. Neatly wrapped in a translucent sheath, the package includes one Good Food Strategy business card...and tiny scoop of carrot seeds.

On the back, it says, simply:

Brilliant, no?

Ideas are like if you sow them. And that is what I aspire to do here: inspire. My hope is that these posts will inspire you to meet the farmers, host a dinner party or a cookbook club, reach out to your community and find the people who share your passion.

This is my attempt to reach out and live the best life I can.

What's yours look like?

The other day I received an e-mail, "I'm so jealous of your life." Truth be told, I was stunned. In many ways, I'm just a girl from Peoria. (Yes, really. It's the home of Caterpillar Tractor Company, I marched in the Pumpkin Day Parade, and thankfully, I never had to detassle corn in the summer).

I left Peoria, lost and confused. But, lucky for me, I've got a Midwestern work ethic. I had no clue what I wanted to do, so I did the next best thing....and got busy. Classes, lectures, events, retreats, tours, campaigns, internships, elections, and name it, I did it. Hailing from a part of the country where you have one job and work there your entire life, my scattershot approach did not bode will with the family.

But that rustling in my soul on.

My resume is a patchwork of varied interests that's just beginning to reveal the pattern. International relations, NGO's, politics, finance, analyst, PR, marketing and restaurants? After a few cocktails, my friend Becky will repeat, "You're a real life Forrest Gump!" True, I've dumb-lucked my way into some monumental moments in American history. And I'm still baffled many of my idols...are now my closest friends.

People ask me, "What's the grand plan?"

I have no grand plan.

The truth is, I couldn't make this shit up if I tried!

The other day I came across a sign that read, "Be yourself, everyone else is taken." Testing the waters, going out on a limb, the thing that surprises me the most, is that moment of self discovery. It's like opening a treasure chest and being blinded by the contents inside. Too often, I close the lid fast-as-I-can.

And yet, somehow, I've managed to puzzle together a life I fantasized about, sitting in my bedroom with the lime green carpet, unicorn poster on the wall...charging forward with flaring nostrils, and beside me, a stack of books far too geeky to read on the bus. In many ways, I am still that girl with pink checkerboard Vans...who dreamed about runway shows in Paris and longed to look like Linda Evangelista.

"Be yourself, everyone else is taken."

And so it is.

Sow your idea.


Speaking of great ideas...check out these upcoming classes:

Learn to grow seed: Organic Seed Alliance fall events
Contact: Organic Seed Alliance, 360-385-7192,

This September and October, farmers and gardeners in the Pacific Northwest can learn to grow seed, steward heirlooms, and create new varieties. Living in one of the best seed growing regions in the world, Pacific Northwest growers can produce a bounty of high quality seed for home use or for sale. Whether you are interested in continuing the 10,000 year old tradition of seed saving for your home garden or in diversifying your farm income by producing seed commercially, you can what you need to know at an Organic Seed Alliance fall event.

The Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) will host three seed events in September and October. OSA is a national leader in organic seed research, education, and advocacy based in Port Townsend, WA. On September 12 and again on September 26, OSA will host a workshop covering basic seed saving and variety improvement concepts for gardeners and farmers. On October 9-10, OSA will host an advanced course covering the fundamentals of organic seed production and variety improvement for farmers. All events will be held at WSU Port Hadlock and are supported by WSU Jefferson County Extension. Please see the Organic Seed Alliance website (, or call 360-385-7192 for more information.

Calendar of Events

September 12 or September 26 ~ Port Hadlock, WA
Title: Seed 101
Description: Learn to grow seed, steward heirlooms, and create new varieties at this class for Pacific Northwest gardeners and farmers. Whether you’ve saved seed before or are complete beginner, this is a great chance to learn about seed and connect with other seed savers in our region. We will cover basic seed concepts including timing of planting, ideal population sizes, preventing cross-pollination, selecting for improved varieties, seed maturation and harvest, and seed cleaning techniques.
This event is sponsored by the Organic Seed Alliance and WSU Jefferson County Extension. Registration is $50 and includes lunch. You must register at least 7 days in advance to be included in the lunch order. Please call 360-385-7192 or e-mail to register or for more information.
Date and time: choose either September 12 or September 26. 9:00am–3:00pm
Location: Spruce Room, WSU Port Hadlock, 201 W. Patison (on Highway 19)

October 9-10 ~ Port Hadlock, WA
Title: Fundamentals of Organic Seed Production and Variety Improvement
Description: Learn the fundamental skills to produce seed and develop and adapt seed varieties for your organic farm conditions at this workshop hosted by the Organic Seed Alliance. Organic Plant Breeding Specialist Dr. John Navazio will discuss such topics as: the biology of seed production, choosing appropriate seed crops for your system and climate, maintaining the genetic integrity of varieties with appropriate population sizes and isolation distances, conducting variety trials, simple and effective breeding techniques such as mass selection and progeny selection, and processing and marketing seed.

This event is sponsored by the Organic Seed Alliance and WSU Jefferson County Extension. Registration is $150 and includes lunch on both days. Please call 360-385-7192 or e-mail by September 29 to register and be included in the lunch order.

Dates and times: Oct 9th 8:00am-5:00pm and Oct 10th 9:00am to 4:00pm
Location: Spruce Room, WSU Port Hadlock, 201 W. Patison (on Highway 19)

Book Review: Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes

Before I cracked open this book, I could tell....Tessa and I were soul sisters.
But first, I had to reconcile a wee bit of inner turmoil....

American publisher, Andrews McMeel sent me a copy of Falling Cloudberries several months ago. I thumbed through the first few pages, and wave of emotion swept over me. Fast-as-you-can, I closed the book and stuck it in a corner. Cloudberries collected dust, while I waited to make peace with myself.

During my first encounter with this book, my whining inner child overcame my better judgment: I wanted to live in distant lands; I wanted to collect recipes from near & far; I wanted to link memories of time, place and food.

This was the book I wanted to write.

Chapters in Falling Cloudberries are divided like distinct patterns of memory, teamed with a corresponding recipe collection that marks years of living in Finland, Greece, Cyprus, South Africa, Italy. The final chapter...A Suitcase of Recipes reflects a composite collection from Tessa's world travels.

I am hopelessly biased towards books from Australia and Singapore. What migrates to America reflects a style that is quite different than ours--from the clean layout with judicious use of white space to their sumptuous and uncompromising photography. Art director Lisa Greenberg, photography by Manos Chatzikonstantis with food styling and illustrations by Michail Touros left me savoring every page...and begging for more!

At first glace, Falling Cloudberries felt instantly familiar.

It is not my life, but the one I ached for.

Honestly? I never wanted to live in Finland, but I'm happy Tessa did! Gravlox & Dill Cucumbers and Potato Pancakes were the first two recipes I tried...and quickly went into my permanent collection.

And last week, my cookbook club gathered for a potluck based on this book. Choosing recipes was tough, but in the end, we tried:

Chickpea, Feta, and Cilantro Salad
Another recipe that instantly went in my permanent collection. In fact, I made it twice before the week was over! Sautéed onions & garlic add a nice mellow contrast to the tart feta & wholesome chickpeas. Admittedly, I'm not a cilantro lover but it was in perfect balance here. Wouldn't change a thing.

Oven-Cooked Potatoes with Onions and Cream
How could 3 ingredients be so good? This was the last dish to leave the table before desserts and we found ourselves migrating back, snatching bite after bite. Think of this dish for an easy weeknight side or your holiday table. Trust me, you'll be fighting for leftovers!

Stuffed Eggplants
Good, but not exactly earth-shattering.

Zucchini Flowers, Filled with Mozzarella and Anchovies, Fried with Sage Leaves
I arrived long after these came out of the fryer so I didn't get a chance to taste them as the author intended. However, I love the flavor combination and will be making them soon. If I'm lucky, maybe I won't have to share!

Kolokassi (Cypriot chicken & taro stew)
Substitute potatoes for taro and this recipe is exactly like my mom's. I was instantly transported to snowy winter days in the Heartland with a crackling fire and comfort food-a-la-mom.

This is the Greek version of Mexican Wedding Cookies, minus the nuts. Kourapiedes melt in your mouth...and if you're not careful, leave a dusting of powdered sugar on your chest!

Deep-fried Honey and Cinnamon Syrup Puffs
An interesting twist with mashed potatoes and yeast. Dipped in a slurry of warm honey & cinnamon, let me sum it up: fried. dough. happiness. The question soon can I make these?

Overall, the recipes in this book mirror my own collection. the Green Olives with Coriander Seeds or the pasta dishes are ridiculously easy to pull together. Others, like Bobba's Babka are more time consuming. But on the whole, you'll find a good number of the recipes have few ingredients but are surprisingly flavorful.

Given the number of recipes I was instantly smitten with, luscious photography and intriguing travel tales, Falling Cloudberries is at the top of my list for gift giving.

Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes
Author: Tessa Kiros
Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2009

Interview with Tessa:

Read other Falling Cloudberry reviews:
Gourmet Magazine
Relish Magazine
Cooking with Ideas

Super Chef

The Sustainable Seafood & Sushi Guide...for your iPhone

Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sustainable Seafood Ap

Over the past few months I've been in meetings with scientists, thought leaders and activists, to discuss the state of our oceans. Overfishing, drag netting, and farmed salmon are resulting in dire consequences.

Will there be edible fish left in 40 years?

That's the billion dollar question.

These days, I'm thinking more about my food and fish is a quagmire of dos and don'ts. Is Albacore from Hawaii okay, or is it British Columbia? Was it squid or octopus stocks that are being decimated?

I've got enough rumbling around in my brain...and thanks to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, they've made conscious eating easier:

Search by type of fish. A handy color-coded grid clearly identifies fish by: Best Choice, Good Alternative, and Avoid.

So next time you're at your favorite sushi bar, ask a few questions. Sure they carry fresh seafood, but where does it come from? (Place of origin is required on shipments.) How is this fish harvested? Is it wild or farmed? Line caught or net?

There are 3 sustainable sushi restaurants in the U.S., Seattle just opened their first. Is your town next?

Consumer demand is a powerful thing.


Gathered with friends, glass in hand, watching the sun slip into the sea....
Snapped from Kim's casa, Alki Beach, Seattle.

Cooking Up a Storm at Queen Anne Farmers Market

Earlier this spring, I received an e-mail. "Need chefs for cooking demos, who do you know?" As a devotee of cooking classes and a former guest chef booker, I've got the lowdown on the city's best instructors.

Scrolling through my list of contacts, I fondly recalled each instructor's technique. The majority of my cooking skills? I owe to a long roster of Seattle's finest. (Live demos--unscripted and uncensored, teamed with in-the-flesh Q&A beats Food Network any day.)

As I compiled my list, I was struck by a curious urge. "I'm an accomplished cook and enjoy speaking in public. Why don't I teach cooking classes?"

After a long hesitation, I mustered the courage and added a tiny sentence at the very bottom of the e-mail, "If you'd ever consider me, I'd be happy to teach a class." I held my breath and hit 'send'.

The response? My first class was scheduled on August 20th!

Overwhelmed and filled with trepidation...I consoled myself with the fact that August was peak harvest season....and combed through hundreds of cookbooks for the perfect recipe.

To ease my anxiety, eventually I settled on tried and true recipes...modified versions from two of my favorite chefs, Jerry Traunfeld and Gina DePalma. My demo? A refreshing minted fruit salad with a side of ricotta poundcake (recipes below).

The day of my demo arrived and I walked the market stalls, searching for my fruit du jour.

Gorgeous nectarines, peaches and last-of-the-season Rainier cherries

"Doughnut" peaches and local blueberries

Voluptuous blackberries (Got a bumper crop of blackberries? Try my favorite vodka infusion.)

Stroller pile up on Crockett Street! Queen Anne Farmers Market is very kid-friendly.

Kid watching is particularly fun. (I want a pair of those crocks!)

Following my demo, Cookbook Chronicles blogger Lorna Yee prepared dark chocolate cupcakes with a luscious cream cheese frosting. Watch for Lorna's book, The Newlywed Kitchen: Delicious Meals for Couples Cooking Together, due out Spring 2010. (via Sasquatch Books)

Lorna's cupcakes were a hit!

Friends came out in droves to throw support. (See the woman in the black shirt? That's Robin Leventhal, Bravo's Top Chef Season 6 contender. Leap of faith, a bucket full of charisma and voila! Last night we attended her preview party. Good times people, good times.....)

And now, without further ado...the recipes:

Minted Fruit Salad

Adapted from The Herbfarm Cookbook (Scribner, 2000)
by Jerry Traunfeld

This fruit salad is my 'go to' recipe for nearly every occasion. Went overboard at the farmer's market? Fruit salad. Brunch with the ladies? Fruit salad. Picnic fare? Yogurt or ice cream embellishment? You get the idea.... Best part? It's delicious and refreshing. No matter what combination of fruit you use: mellon, blueberries, blackberries, peaches, rasbperries or nectarines, this recipe is a crowd pleaser.

Serves 8

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (gently packed) fresh mint leaves, thick center vein removed*
2 tablespoons fresh squeed lime juice
8 cups mixed sliced ripe fruit and berries, such as melon, peaches, nectariens, apricots, plums, pitted sweet cheeries, grapes, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries

*Lemon verbena or basil make lovely alternatives

Process the sugar and mint in a food processor to a very smooth green paste, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add the lime juice and process briefly. Shortly before serving, toss this dressing with the fruit in a large mixing bowl.

Ricotta Pound Cake
Adapted from Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen (W.W. Norton & Co., 2007)
By Gina DePalma

The seal of approval in my house is a moment after the first bite. In my solitude, I have been known to shriek, "Damn! I made that?! " And so it goes with this poundcake. Light and full of flavor, I love it simple and unadorned; topped with a bit of lemon curd and berries; toasted with jam; or, in this case, with a side of minted fruit salad.

Makes one 9-inch cake.
Approximately 10 servings

1 ½ cups cake flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks/6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups fresh whole-milk ricotta*
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract
Zest from 2 lemons or limes

*Note: Please use a dry ricotta. Locally, I use Precious brand ricotta with excellent results. If your ricotta is not dry, strain it through a cheese cloth for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and position a rack in the center.

Grease a 9-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray or butter, dust it with flour, and tap to knock out the excess.

In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, ricotta, and sugar on medium speed until smooth and light, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Stir in the extracts & zest.

On low speed, beat in the dry ingredients to combine them, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and beat the batter for 30 seconds on medium speed.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and use a spatula to smooth the top. Give the pan a few gentle whacks on the counter to remove any air pockets. Bake the cake for 30 minutes, then turn the pan 180 degrees to ensure even browning. Continue baking until the cake springs back lightly when touched, the sides have begun to pull away from the pan, and a cake inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 30-45 minutes more, depending on your oven & ricotta moisture.

Allow the cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then carefully invert on the rack to cool completely. The flavor is best on the next day. Any leftover cake may be wrapped in plastic and kept at room temperature for up to 3 days.


Summertime in Seattle is a mind-blowing experience. I've lived here since 1995 and you would think that by now I'd be accustomed to the jaw-dropping views of Mount Rainier with its perpetual snow cap, soaring eagles, and purple mountains. The fact of the matter is, for me, that's a typical drive into the city...and I never tire of it.

July was an incredibly busy month. Thankfully, my camera never leaves my side, and my memories are safely captured on a stack of SD cards. (No time to edit photos, I just keep buying new cards. So far, I've managed to fill up two 8 gig cards and a 4 gig!)

Between an intense travel schedule, a handful of clients, more events than I can count, and a major project on the horizon, I desperately need to slow the pace down.

Finally, I am home.

My luggage is half unpacked, I've got a mountain of e-mail, and frankly, my car looks like I've been taking up residence in it. But all that can wait.

Today, I joined friends for coffee and took a leisurely trip back home...detouring by way of the farmer's market. Wandering among the stalls, taking time to notice changes in produce...there's some thing soul-satisfying about being at the market. Fortunately for Seattleites, we have plenty to choose from (35 in King County alone!).

A few snaps from today...

The Northwest Sustainability Discovery Tour

Jenise spread the good love, telling me about this fabulous event in Portland, Oregon: The Northwest Sustainability Discovery Tour

Take 80 trade and industry folk, and tour them around the Pacific Northwest, shining a spotlight on businesses who are doing things right: "Growers, manufacturers, and foodservice operators will share successful sustainability practices and thought-provoking models with foodservice leaders. Morning educational sessions will be complemented by outings to local kitchens, farms, food processors, and beverage manufacturers."

I'm not sure if the concept "tree hugger" originated here, but in the Northwest, we know a thing or two about saving the environment. Snatched from the itinerary, you'll see...."We will be transported by Eco-shuttle to the historic LEED-Certified Eccotrust building..." You get the idea.

It's an invitation I can't refuse.

Even better, I'll be staying at the Green Seal Silver-Certified, Hotel Monaco. Get a look at this place. Me? I can't wait for a soak in the tub...and to curl up in that complimentary animal-print bathrobe!

Coming off the heels of the International Food Blogger Conference, I'm even more impressed by this itinerary. Here's a look at what we'll be up to:

Northwest Sustainability Discovery Tour
Sponsored by Truitt Brothers

Sunday, August 9

Stroll or take the Eco-Shuttle to the historic LEED-certified Ecotrust Building, located in Portland’s Pearl District

Mingle and network while enjoying refreshments and hors d’ oeuvres

Welcome—Peter Truitt, Co-founder and President of Truitt Bros.

A Taste of Oregon—An Introduction to the region’s bounty
by Chef Bill King, Vice President of Culinary Development, McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants

Monday, August 10

“Sustainability: The Rise of Consumer Responsibility”—Including 5 Tips to Successfully Communicate Sustainability in a Downturn Economy
by Michelle Barry, The Hartman Group

Hear the latest research about consumers’ familiarity with the complex issue of sustainability, as a term and as a way of life. Berry will offer insight into the negative outlook consumers have about the economy, the positive outcome they feel will result by making sustainable purchase decisions, and their fundamental shift toward choosing businesses and services they believe in.

“Sustainability in Action—Progressive School Districts, Operators and Suppliers Share their Stories”

Open your mind to learning new ways to source and menu local sustainably produced foods during this interactive panel that introduces four foodservice pros and change agents that are renowned for their efforts to recast the model for sourcing in the foodservice sector.

Michelle Ratcliffe, Director of Farm to School Programs, Ecotrust’s Food and Farms --Learn how changes that are happening in cafeterias and school systems nationwide will impact your business in the near future.

David Yudkin, Partner, Hot Lips Pizza—Hear how Hot Lips emerged from the struggle of the company’s first 12 years of existence by turning to sustainable business practices and principals of the Natural Step to establish a distinctive market position and develop an approach to Yudkin’s family-owned business that saves him money while attracting higher caliber employees and loyal customers.

Richard Satnick, Founder and Chief Burrito Officer, Laughing Planet Café—Experience one of the nation’s most creative burrito cafes and its equally original leader. Learn about this multiunit operator’s commitment to delivering delicious, wholesome, clean foods and sustainable sourcing practices, with an extra serving of mirth and Smart Beans™.

David Griswold, Founder and President, Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers—Sustainable Harvest has been transparently connecting the global coffee supply chain since 1997, changing the way business is done. Hear about its approach to simultaneously building direct market linkages between coffee growers and buyers, and investing in training and management systems to improve its ability to create a better product. Learn about the specialty coffee supply chain and the path of a coffee bean from farm to cup.

“Life Cycle Assessments and Sustainable Foods”

Rita Schenck, Executive Director, Institute for Environmental Research and Education (IERE)
Schenck will discuss the life cycle impacts of foods, and surprising facts about them, including scientific perspective on what we can do now to make our food system more sustainable. IERE is home of the American Center for Life Cycle Assessment. Nearly everything that IERE does is related to Life Cycle Assessment: Rita represented the U.S.A. in developing the international Standards on LCA.

Board the bus for a scenic journey through the Columbia River Gorge

Tour Orchard View Farm and its state-of-the-art packing facility
This family-owned fourth-generation orchard is the world’s largest vertically integrated cherry orchard and packing facility. Get a rare behind-the-scenes look at the operation and walk through the orchard where you’ll see pears nearly at their peak.

Depart for Hood River, the U.S. windsurfing capital

“Responsible Brewing”—Educational tour of Full Sail Brewing, brewers of award-winning craft beers and devoted stewards of the environment.
Take a behind-the-scenes look at this state-of-the-art brewing operation, built within the historic Diamond Fruit Company, once the largest pear processor in the country. No visit to Full Sail is complete without a taste of its premium lagers and ales.

Enjoy an outdoor barbeque under a canopy of trees at one of McMenamin Restaurant company’s most famous locations, the historic Edgefield Inn, a restored 1911 County Poor House and 72-acre farm in Troutdale, Oregon

Tuesday, August 11

Welcome—Kirk Mustain, General Manager, University of Portland Campus Dining, Bon Appetit Co.

“Communicating the Sustainability Message: How and Why, Methods and Benefits,” by Linda Duke, Duke Marketing, LLC

Restaurants, schools, and food venues are all examining sustainability for their organizations, but once it is in place, how do they tell their customers? What will make consumers choose their brand over others? Duke will share strategies and tactics for creating messages and promotions that will motivate consumers to choose your sustainable brand over the competition.“The How-Tos of Implementing and Promoting Your Sustainable Practices”

Learn from eight experts on four distinct topics during a lively round-robin, round -able session! Come ready to contribute to each discussion.

Marketing from the Menu—Learn, share and discuss how ingredient suppliers can become the centerpiece of your marketing strategy in a creative and authentic style. Table hosts: Alison Denis, Burgerville Restaurants; and Pam and Bob Howard, Country Natural Beef

Waste Less, Save More—Learn how new measuring metric systems can help you gauge success of sustainable initiatives within your facilities. Also, hear tips for talking trash—in a good way—with your customers. Table hosts: Andrew Shakman, LeanPath; and Babe O’Sullivan, City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

Energy Efficiency and Eco-Labels: Sustainable Efforts and How They Can Power Your Bottom Line—Food Alliance and Energy Trust of Oregon—Discuss how to build green into your strategic business plan through energy efficiency and third-party certification. Table Hosts: Scott Exo, Food Alliance; and Lyn Schmidt, Energy Trust/Lockheed Martin

Role of Social Media in Sustainability and Green Business—Discover tools, examples and take-aways that can help any business understand and leverage the power of social media. Learn how social media platforms are reaching consumers, suppliers and colleagues. Table host: Paul Barron,

Tour University of Portland’s kitchen and foodservice commons area

Lunch on the terrace, prepared by the talented Bon Appetit Chefs at University of Portland
Tour a Willamette Valley Blue Lake Green Bean farm and then follow the beans harvested from the field into can at the Truitt Bros. cannery

”The role of the food processor in today’s food system”
Truitt Brothers cannery and Tru Flavors Culinary Center

Tour of Willamette Valley Vineyards winery, followed by a wonderful meal featuring sustainably sourced ingredients, along with a glass of one of Oregon’s most famous Pinots

Board the bus to Portland

Check out from Sunday, August 9, through Tuesday, August 11, for daily insights and updates from the Northwest Sustainability Discovery Tour. The Food Channel will hit the Oregon highways with sponsor Truitt Bros. and a collection of sustainability experts and foodservice operators to explore sustainable strategies and practices from the fields, into the kitchen, and onto the plate.

Documentary Photographer Lee Karen Stowe

Documentary photographer Lee Karen Stowe

My Round the World dreams may be on hold, but fortunately for us, there are photographers who capture images so powerful, you too can experience distant lands.

Humantitarian and documentary photographer Lee Karen Stowe's images transport us to places few dare to tred. Spanning over 50 countries, her work emobodies inspiring stories of resilience and hope.

Stowe's latest project '42' is named for the average life expectancy of women in Sierra Leone. ( Located in West African, Sierra Leone is slowly recovering from the devastation of civil war which left it in ruins and earned it the UN ranking of the poorest country on earth.

There, Stowe photographed the women of Sierra Leone and conducted photography workshops. As a result, she is teaching women how to lift themselves out of poverty. They've learned to express themselves through photography, published a book and have an international exhibition. Some even support families through photo businesses she's helped them to create.

In conjunction with the Pacific Northwest Arts School, Lee Karen Stowe will discuss her images in what is sure to be a moving event. Hop a ferry to Widbey Island for this extraordinary evening:

Tuesday, August 11, 2009
7-9 p.m.
Service Alternatives Building
20 NW First Street, Coupeville, WA (one block off North Main Street, across from Whidbey General Hospital)

The event is free but donations may be made to the Soroptimist International Club of Coupeville to support Ms. Stow's work. Dessert and coffee will be served.

NOTE: An inspiration for Lee Karen Stowe's work....and one of my favorite photographers, Sam Abell will be conducting a photography class August 17-21. Call the Pacific Northwest Art School (360) 678-3396, or register online at

Sam Abell was a National Geographic photographer for years. He was here last fall and professional photographers came out in droves to see him speak. Fast & furious, I wrote page after page of notes. His class is sure to be an incredible learning experience.

Happy Trails....

For years, I've been wanting to send this post:

I'm poised and ready to update my out of office message: Gone traveling, don't know when I'll be back. Drop me a line sometime....

Traipsing across legendary spice routes, I'll send dispatches from the road... filled with stories about the people I meet. In words and photos, I'll tell their tale, daring to capture their essence. Then I'll close my note...destination unknown, signed simply, Happy Trails....

I gleaned through my possessions. Donated everything I could part with. And for the last 18 months, I've purposely acquired nothing that wasn't a book...or previously used. Eventually, each new item that entered my house, felt like a burden.

Justifying my pauper lifestyle, I reminded myself, "I'm leaving."

Then I was laid off from my job. When the shock wore off, I was actually happy. This was a sign! Passport at the ready, I put my house on the market and prepared to bid Seattle adieu.

But fate had another plan....

Before my eyes, I watched the economy go from bad to worse...and within 6 months, the value of my home dropped nearly $100,000.

Sadly, I'm going to kiss that trip good bye, for now.