Monday, September 20, 2010

Eat Local Challenge

Hi Folks,

I hope you had a great week! Sunday September 19 was a big day here in the Real Food Empire. Chef John Rose and Regional Manager Brett Martin of Bon Appetite Catering Company were my guests. We were focusing on the upcoming Eat Local Challenge that all members of this national catering company will participate in on September 28. At the University of Redlands, we have an award winning program that is quite inspiring. When I first heard about the challenge from Chef Rose last Summer, he showed me his file folder which was quite thick with references and research on regional food producers and farmers. The one thing that he talked about last Summer that really struck me was how there was quite the disconnect between demand for local products and producers to fill such demands. Chef Rose said there was lots of availability, but often the farmers lacked the ability to get their products to market. They relied on the middle man, who took most of the profit, leaving the farmer often having to take a second job just to support his family so they could continue to farm. Here in the IE, we had quite the reputation for Agriculture, particularly diary, poultry and beef farms. One of the great challenges farmers face is the fluctuating price they can get for their products. Often, prices are set the year before, and the weather can destroy any well made plans for the following harvest. We have watched many a small family farm shut down or sell off to larger factory interests because they can not compete. There was an interesting article in a recent LA Times, stating that many large speculators are buying up farm land, seeing the value in "the soil." Problem is, these interests can often be very distant and often foreign interests, who are only looking at the economic outcome regardless of the cost to the community, the environment or human health. Farm land is very important to the health of the community. It is inspiring to see large corporate entities like Bon Appetite creating the culture of supporting our local health and economy by creating the Eat Local Challenge. It is a delicious example of how we can eat for the health of our bodies, our souls, the land and communities. I hope you can listen to the show, you can go to and download the podcast for September 19,  2010 and see what is going on here in your own back yard!

Stephanie Georgieff

Monday, September 13, 2010

Welcome to Our World

Hi All,

Well as I am sure you have noticed, I am a neo-luddite par excellance. I hope to have the blog looking very theme soon. The show has been a success, and I am slowly making into what I had envisioned. This is a bit of background on the inspiration for the program. As you have surmised, I am really a Slow Food enthusiast. This international movement was started 20 years ago in Italy as a response to the building of the first fast food restaurant in Rome. Since then it has spread to over 150 countries with the message of eating for the good of planet, people and tummy. This movement is active in Southern California with chapters spanning the desert, cities, mountains and coasts.

Here in the Inland Empire we have had quite the ride in terms of Economics and Agriculture in the last 100 years or so. The San Bernardino Valley has been the home to prized fertile lands since the days of the Natives. The original colonists also recognized the value of our incredible sunny weather, pristine water sources from our mountains and fertile soil. As the heart of the Citrus Empire in the West, this valley was the gateway to the rest of the nation for the bounty of our harvest. When the military base was established, the foundations of our agriculturally based economy slowly switched to the base, which brought many new jobs to the area. The subsequent housing boom and building of the 91 freeway, enabled much effort to go towards construction of affordable homes for those willing to commute. To the dismay of many, as a result of this change, our beautiful citrus groves became housing developments, and many small farms could not continue to operate in competition with big agricultural interests in the Central Vally and other locations. With the closing of the base, the collapse of the housing market and the disappearance of many manufacturing jobs in Orange and Los Angeles Counties, the Inland Empire suffered greatly. The good news is that there is quite a renaissance of our Agricultural Roots taking place.

From farms to artisan restaurants, wineries and brewing companies, the Inland Empire is creating a viable and delicious economic base that also is kind to the verdant lands which have sustained us for thousands of years. Many chefs and young farmers are coming to this area, enriching our opportunities not only to delight our senses, but are at the forefront of the organic and local food movements. Real Food Empire  aims to document and celebrate this Renaissance. Our motto, "Exploring the Delicious Journey of Eating for the Health of your Body, your soul, the land and community." says it all. My background as a Naturopathic Physician, Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist, as well as a culinary instructor and basic food lover gives unique perspectives on the sustainable food scene here in the Inland Empire. As a true eclectic woman, I am combining my passion for Slow Food, my background as a natural health practitioner and veteran health and environmental activist all into a delightful journey of discovery through the only real local talk radio station in the Inland Empire.

Eating is the core and primal community event. We never eat in isolation. We eat the product of the earth and her elements, from the efforts of others who produce it and in participation to our economic whole. There are so many issues (economic, health, environmental, political) that have reached crisis locally and globally. But everyone who eats can actually make the most profound influence on the present and future generations. When you eat for the health of your body, your soul, the land and community, each and every bite helps us all.

Tune in each week from 9:00 am to 10:00 am on KCAA 1050 AM for the next chapter in this exploration. Sign up for pod casts and updates, and on our new facebook and twitter for legislative actions, cooking tips, gardening information and restaurant reviews. You can also download podcasts from and go to the Sunday Programs/Real Food Empire. Watch this blog for further updates, and welcome to our DELICIOUS world at Real Food Empire!

Stephanie Georgieff
Host of Real Food Empire