There's been a lot of health-conscious hype about where our food comes from recently, and in keeping with Spike Gjerde's farm-to-table mantra, Artifact Coffee's new speaker series is drumming up conversation about all things locally sourced.
"Origins: A Speaker Series," spearheaded by Gjerde and sustainable food champion Dana Slater, brings Baltimore experts together to explore local food trends and sources of specific ingredients.
The ongoing event launched in late January, where guests learned about aquaculture and Chesapeake Bay experts were on hand to shed light on everything from oyster farming to cleaning up the Bay. On February 19 at 6:30 p.m., the series continues with a roundtable-style talk about Maryland produce.
"Spike was adamant that the audience participates, and that comments are welcomed and encouraged," says Hannah Ragan, director of service training and outreach for Foodshed, the restaurant group behind Gjerde's restaurants.
Appearances by local produce specialists Joan and Drew Norman from One Straw Farm and Baltimore City Food Policy Director Holly Freishtat will be featured next week, and the panel will address the hot-button issue of integrating local produce into city schools.
"There's a lot of good work being done that doesn't get the attention that it deserves," Ragan says. "It's really exciting to have all of these people who are so passionate about food together in one intimate room."
On March 19, specialty hog farmers and butchers will unite to moderate the third discussion about—you guessed it—meat.
Ragan says she's excited to keep the conversation going and reach a wider audience with the help of Heritage Radio. The New York-based foodie station will be recording, editing, and uploading all of the installments onto its website, making it possible to tune in even if you can't make it to the event.
"We've arranged installments through April but we'll keep going for as long as people want to talk about this," Ragan says.
The price of admission to the series includes one beverage and a family-style meal featuring the trendy talked-about ingredients.