Finding Innovation Picks a Winner

germaine2When making a presentation, it never hurts to ply the audience with snacks.

That strategy – along with nine months of hard work – paid off for Germaine Jenkins, who earlier this week was declared the winner of the South Carolina Community Loan Fund’s first Feeding Innovation challenge, designed to fund projects improving food access in underserved areas. The program was the subject of a feature in Wednesday’s Post and Courier food section.

Jenkins was the lone finalist who didn’t rely on PowerPoint to illustrate her proposal for a panel of judges.  Instead, she served spring rolls at the outset of her talk about her family’s background and her plans to launch an urban farm in North Charleston. Continue reading

MUSC Researchers Uncover New Seafood Concern

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A toxin found in seafood may pose an even more serious threat to human health than previously believed, according to new research from the Medical University of South Carolina.

The study published this month in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology demonstrated that domoic acid causes kidney damage in mice. While domoic acid has already been linked with brain damage – sea lions who feast on sardines and anchovies with high levels of domoic acid “go crazy and die,” MUSC associate professor Michael Janech is quoted as saying in a release announcing the study’s results – the researchers say the kidney is the more sensitive organ in this case: They documented kidney damage at concentrations 100 times lower than the level associated with brain damage.

Although the findings have not yet been extended to humans, the researchers are calling on the Food and Drug Administration to revisit its domoic acid standards, which are based on brain damage concerns. Continue reading

Today’s Menu of Activities for Food Day

Wondering how to mark Food Day today? Two schools have scheduled events in conjunction with the annual celebration of healthy, affordable food, which now unfolds in cities nationwide:

At the MUSC Urban Farm, which last year hosted one of 3200 Food Day events across the U.S, the 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. party’s all about the sweet potato. In addition to self-guided tours of the farm at the corner of Bee and President streets, the agenda includes a 11:30 a.m. talk on a new sweet potato breed; a 12 noon cooking demo and a 12:40 p.m. sweet potato head contest starring local celebrities, including the Post & Courier‘s own David Quick. All events are free.

And at the College of Charleston, students, faculty and staff members are invited to the campus’ Liberty Fresh Food Company for an all-local lunch; the menu includes zucchini sliders and turnip chips.

Craig Deihl Completes JBF Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change

GROUP bootcamp-3172After decamping last year to Louisville for an urban edition of Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change, the James Beard Foundation this month returned the advocacy program to a farm setting, giving its 13 participants the opportunity to become better acquainted with the foods they serve. But as Cypress’ Craig Deihl learned when he posted unapologetic photographs of the chefs slaughtering a goat and processing chickens, many diners aren’t yet as willing to think about where their favorite dishes originate.

“What I took away from it was life and death is part of our food,” Deihl says of the three-day experience in upstate New York. “I fully accept that. I want the people who come into the restaurant to accept that.” Continue reading