Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

It's Thanksgiving, y'all. I'm thankful for friends who've come back, jobs that've found my friends, babies and engagements and graduations, hidden nooks and crannies of this city, and most of all, people who are there through the awesome and awful. I miss my Florida family and friends a whole lot, but I'm so grateful for my support network in Memphis that has sustained me through these three years of law school.

It's a food blog and all, so I want to say that I'm super thankful for all of the farmers who are dedicated to eating from our own earth, for the explosive growth of farmers' markets here, the support of local chefs, opportunities for urban gardening, and the recognition that access to clean, good food should not just be a white peoples' problem. There has been so much progress on the Memphis local food scene in the past two years. There's a market in a food desert. There are even several markets that run through the winter. And I feel like there are many more exciting things to come.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Why I Chose Memphis - A Memphian Call to Arms

I should be outlining for finals, but I can't resist answering the Memphian Call to Arms my friend Jessica posted over on Waves and Wires. Jessica recently had a post describing why, despite lucrative offers to work in DC and Baltimore, she stuck it out and waited for the right job opportunity to present itself in Memphis, because she wanted more than anything to be in this city. Given all of the hate that mass magazines of dubious authority spew in this city's direction (and which I won't be linking to, because I won't give them the satisfaction of traffic), Jessica's original post was an inspiring compilation of the reasons I reel off whenever anyone queries why I chose to stay in Memphis for law school, despite admission to several excellent other schools.

Quite simply, I stay because my Memphis is a city of hope. The best Memphians have a resilient spirit that says, "Take your lame attempts at journalism and stuff it, Forbes Magazine." Memphians truly care about their city; they seek out ways to better it by creating community and neighborhood organizations, outdoor amenities like the new Greenline, more farmers markets than you can shake a stick at. They try to repurpose old buildings, create community health organizations for the uninsured, and (are starting to) appoint intelligent, passionate people to public office. Our local alt-weekly, the Memphis Flyer, recently shed light on the challenges faced by the communities in the "old suburbs"--Raleigh and Frayser--and guess what? Those residents aren't giving up in the face of bad roads and abandoned malls. They're still full of hope that their communities can be turned around, just like downtown, South Main, Cooper Young, Broad Avenue, and many other parts of the city.

I am here because I couldn't live my life in complacency. There is work to be done here, and Jessica and my generation is right at the cusp of ascending into leadership roles in the city. I am here because the city needs people like us (not to sound conceited). If everyone smart, thoughtful, energetic, and creative moved away, what would the city have? What were my other options? I couldn't see myself picking up and moving to a random new city, not when the one before me had so much potential. Memphis has been my home since the fall of 2004 (I went to Rhodes College), and will be my home for much longer, I hope. I chose Memphis because there's work to be done and I want to be part of the doing.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Snapshots from the Memphis Farmers Market Harvest Celebration 2010

The Harvest Celebration at the Amtrak Central Station is the MFM's biggest annual fundraiser. Lots of great local restaurants (Iris, McEwen's, Felicia Suzanne's, Itta Bene... and on and on) provide the food, the beer and wine flow, and the silent auction bidders give us money accordingly. Seriously, last night raised a ton of money for the market, which is awesome. It especially needs it for its Raise the Roof campaign to build a pavilion expansion so vendors won't have to set up in the hot, hot sun (or rain). If you're interested in making a donation to the expansion, go here--they still have a ways to go to match their Tennessee Department of Agriculture Grant.

Anyway, I worked the ticket table last night, which turned into the cash-out table after the silent auction was over. It's always a madhouse, but people were patient and happy to walk out with their gift certificates, pottery, getaway packages, and child-sized kayaks (our volunteers helped carry that one to the car).

Setting up, pre-party, with beautiful light shining through the upper windows of Central Station. This picture does it no justice. The lovely decorations were actually left over from a wedding reception the night before -- shh! We are nothing if not resourceful ;)

After we finished ticket sales, the vols got to eat! Tons of Thanksgiving dinner-ey food here, but my vote for "best thing I ate" goes to Restaurant Iris' gratin of brussels sprouts and cauliflower (seen here at 3 o'clock). Also, under that bun in the middle was an excellent pork slider. From I don't remember where. The thing to the right was beef stew spiked with coffee, beer, and what tasted like cinnamon. Definitely a recipe to steal.

After the furor of silent auction cash-out was over, the locally-brewed Ghost River Black Magic was indeed welcome.