The Vegan Roadie Episode 2: Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Things are warming up as we travel with The Vegan Roadie to southern Florida. Here’s a little preview of what’s featured:

Elena Pezzo and Charlie Grippo are the masterminds behind Green Bar & Kitchen, sharing their passion for positive and nutritious eating practices with the likes of brown rice, quinoa and chickpea burgers and vegan versions of Sunday Brunch fare.

PAC Pastries believes that everyone deserves a delicious cupcake or cinnamon roll indulgence every now and then, regardless of allergies and dietary restrictions. This organic, vegan and gluten free bakery roams by food truck, but can also be found at Tunies, Oceana Coffee, Raw Jūce, Green Bar & Kitchen, and BC Cafe. Shelbey Ganzel and her team can also be summoned to cater your next event.

Sublime Restaurant & Bar began as an effort to reduce animal cruelty, particularly with regards to concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and other animal agriculture-related issues. Nanci Alexander is president and founder of The Animal Rights Foundation of Florida, and uses 100% of Sublime’s profits to support animal welfare and plant-based lifestyles for Fort Lauderdale locals.

Check out Episode 2 below!

The Vegan Roadie Episode 1: Ann Arbor, MI

We had the great pleasure of visiting The Lunchroom in October 2013, shortly after they opened their doors. We even sat at the very same table where Joel Panozzo, Phillis Engelbert and Dustin Harder chatted and sampled some of their delicious vegan fare for the first official episode of The Vegan Roadie.

The Lunchroom is dedicated to providing from-scratch vegan fare with a focus on environmental sustainability, using local and organic ingredients whenever possible. They use their menu to demonstrate the incredible versatility of plants, transforming them into diverse cuisines and cooking up both faithful stand-ins for meat and dairy dishes and original vegan recipes.

Check out Dustin’s trip to The Lunchroom and get started viewing The Vegan Roadie with the first official episode!

Man vs. Cleanse

The Knife & Fork Project extends a warm welcome to our guest blogger, The Vegan Roadie. This post is the second in a series that Dustin Harder will be contributing as he creates a road map across America for the vegan and veg-curious. Check out his website and his videos at veganroadie.com.


DetroitCleanse

Often when you travel for a living, your eating habits, schedule and rituals can get a little mucked up from time to time. I’m constantly trying new restaurants and food for my blog at veganroadie.com and I often let my brain convince me that because I am doing this it’s okay to order that appetizer AND dessert along with my entrée. Amazing how your brain can hijack you like that, isn’t it? Being on the road is an extreme circumstance put on your life; you are away from your circle of friends, your loved ones, your pets and your schedule is ever-changing. Nothing is stable; you have to create your stability. Some people do it, though it’s a difficult task. When you are faced with these extreme circumstances, for many people food and alcohol become a comfort. This is not something that only happens to working travelers, I’m aware. But believe me when I tell you the cravings are intensified when you are on the road, and all too often we gypsies give in and order that pizza at 11:00 PM because we just did a show, we feel lonely, we feel an intense desire for comfort, everybody else is doing it and gosh darn it…we’re just HUNGRY.

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Campaign Sense and Cents-ability

It’s election season again. Another year to struggle through election ads. Another year to get an article from us talking about propositions to label genetically modified organisms. This year, however, offers something different and interesting within the political arena.

Keeping in mind that this is just my views on the situation – I’ve heard as many things and done as much research into the matter as I can, so consider myself pretty well informed, – I’m reading between the lines here, but there’s lots of interesting subtext between those lines. I’m not involved in any of the political movements going on this year, not even as a voter. I can’t really speak for either side, but there have been enough patterns in the history of movements to label genetically modified organisms that I’ve been able to ferret out an interesting story within the story.

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Introducing: The Vegan Roadie!

kf_vegan_roadie-01

One of the great things about entrepreneurship is that it’s easy to interact with people who have passion and a creative spark. We love to see people going out into the world and creating new ways for others to connect to their food. That’s why we are excited to announce our partnership with The Vegan Roadie!

Dustin Harder, the host of The Vegan Roadie, tackles the challenge of eating vegan while traveling across the country. This web video series and supporting blog offers insight into holding on to your eating preferences despite being in unfamiliar territory, thinking outside the pre-packaged food box while on the go. Episodes of The Vegan Roadie will include spotlights on local eateries across the country as well as “The 5 Ingredient Challenge“, which demonstrates recipes so easy you could make them in a hotel room!

Dustin and I met in high school through the after-school drama program. We were cast in Fiddler on the Roof – Dustin as Tevye, and myself as one of his youngest daughters. Shprintze. Or Bielke. Whichever one had fewer lines. During that experience, I felt that Dustin was a kindred spirit, and was glad to have been placed into the same hodgepodge of a theater family as him.

Dustin went on to major in musical theater, and now lives in New York, working in various roles in the Broadway circuit. When he decided to become a vegan, he attended the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Chef Training Program to be better equipped for his new eating style, particularly when faced with the constraints that occur when being in a theatrical production. We’re interested to learn what wisdom The Vegan Roadie will have to offer us about maintaining our eating preferences in such challenging circumstances.

Beginning in 2015, The Vegan Roadie will have a guest column on The Knife & Fork Project blog, keeping you up-to-date as new episodes become available, and sharing special blog posts only available on Sound Bites!

We love the concept, and were very impressed with what the pilot has to offer, which you can view below. If you like what you see as much as we do, please support The Vegan Roadie’s Kickstarter campaign. You have until September 7 to donate, but the sooner the better to help encourage others to jump on the bandwagon. Check out their pilot episode and trailer and keep your eyes peeled on Sound Bites for more updates from Dustin’s travels!

Vegan Roadie trailer:

Vegan Roadie pilot episode:

An Open Letter to Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson

Recently, I discovered in my Facebook feed an interview with Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson in which a question was asked to Dr. Tyson about his opinion of genetically modified organisms. Here is a link to the original video:

Dr. Tyson brought up some good points, but predicated his argument on something that I’ve heard a lot with regards to recombinant DNA modification of organisms: that this manipulation is just like the manipulation that we have done with selective breeding over many thousands of years.

I disagree.

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BITS and Bytes

For our first post of 2014, we have some exciting news.

A website is born!

It’s taken a long, long, loooong time, but we’ve finally gotten to the point where our ideas have crystalized into a real, working thing–and you get to check it out first!

http://knifeandforkproject.com

OK, admittedly, it doesn’t do much yet, but what exists is the tip of a large pyramid that we’ve been building for years. It’s finally time to discuss how our company, Brain in the Sky, is going to change the face of conscientious consumerism.

This is a map of a part of the internet. The brain in the sky. Get it?

Wikimedia commons

This is a map of a part of the internet. The brain in the sky. Get it?

The vision for Brain in the Sky is to build software tools (our acronym is BITS, after all) for ethics-aware marketplaces. Today, it is clearer than ever how our decisions as consumers affect our world. We know that certain products are produced in a way that hurts our environment. We know that buying cheap likely means we’re not buying local. We know that not every product is built by employees who get fair treatment. We know that we express our ethics with every purchase, voting with our dollar to support production methods that matter to us.

The problem is: how do we know which products are the good ones? Marketing can be abused by unscrupulous companies. There isn’t enough bandwidth at the point of sale to clearly communicate how ethics differentiate one product from the next. And who has the time to research a company’s ethics when they just need to buy groceries? It’s hard to be a modern consumer.

That’s where we come in. We’ve built the Knife & Fork Project to harness the collective knowledge of food producers and consumers in a way that makes it easy to understand where your dollars go. In the store we acquire not just a product, but also that product’s ethics, and we all win when it’s easy to know the full story and make informed decisions.

And today, you get to join us as we take the first baby steps toward effortless ethics.

We’re building a web app to collect as much information as possible from producers and consumers about food. We’re going to use this information to match consumers to the foods which fit their ethics.

What if there were one aisle in the supermarket that contained only the products that fit you the best, or one block of your city that held just those restaurants which you want to support? Imagine if it were simple to find the most ethical egg, or when your favorite produce is available, or which restaurants deal directly with local farmers, all customized for your personal preferences. That’s the idea.

How does it all work?

Like this:

Seems clear enough

© Knife & Fork Project

Seems clear enough

Our first beta release, which we just put out, allows you to create an account and start entering in very basic data about food products. We’re not tracking ethics yet, but those features are due to land soon.

We’ve been hard at work building this site–we’ve written about 55 thousand lines of code so far–and we’re just now getting to the good stuff.

20 thousand slices of pizza?

© Knife & Fork Project

55 thousand slices of pizza?

We’re looking to raise a round of angel investment to bring in some good folks to grow our application into a fully-featured tool. We’ve got lots of ideas about where to go from here and we’re excited about what the future may hold for Brain in the Sky.

Get out there and give the Knife & Fork Project a look! Let us know if you experience any problems or have any ideas for features you’d like to see.

Initiative 522 By The Numbers

It’s voting season again: that time of year when people you’ve never heard of send you flyers urging you to vote for them for vice-mayor of Munchkinland while simultaneously flooding the airwaves with slam ads against their fellow candidates. Or just bribing their way into office.

"What are you going to do about it?" - Boss Tweed.

© Knife & Fork Project

“What are you going to do about it?” – Boss Tweed.
Actual quote.

Yippee.

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Season’s Eatings: Tomatoes

Summer may be winding down, but that’s no reason to lament the dwindling supply of the season’s best produce. You can take the taste of summer with you through the rest of the year by preserving the freshest, tastiest late-season farmer’s market tomatoes.

© Knife & Fork Project

Heirloom tomatoes at the Mountain View Farmer's Market

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