Southern Soil Issue #1 2020

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Southern SOIL



Contents 18 16







a growing food movement









04....... EDITORIAL




47....... THE BOOKWORM

Aboutthe Cover

A “big steaming pile...” is a phrase with a bit of a negative connotation for most of us. But when you run a compost business like Michael and Maria, that big steaming pile of decomposing food scraps and wood chips is a beautiful sight indeed! (If you look closely, you can see the wisps of steam rising gently from the compost heap.) ISSUE ~ 1 ~ 2020

Southern SOIL

Editorial Welcome to the first issue of 2020 and the start of our third year sharing the stories of our local sustainable food system! Our first year of publication, my primary focus was simply creating a quality product. Taking something that had lived and developed in my mind over the course of a few years and putting it out into the world to have a life of its own! Year two was about connecting with people - finding and building an audience. Year three is dedicated to growth!


From the beginning, this business was caught in a bit of a catch-22. Every business needs a financial income; for publishing like this, that income can come in the form of subscriptions and advertising. Because one of my primary goals is to promote our local food system, I never saw subscriptions as a viable option.

As you read each issue, I would ask that you pay attention to the ads. Click on the links, visit their pages, give them your business when it makes sense to do so! These are the businesses that are not only investing in their own futures, but are investing in our local food system and in a brighter tomorrow for us all.

We want to reach people and educate about the importance of issues such as: sustainability, humane animal practices in farming, and the importance of not introducing more chemicals into the environment. Charging subscriptions would only create a barrier to sharing this news and to being an effective advocate for local farming.

If you have a business and would like to reach a great group of conscientious consumers who are right here in our little corner of Georgia, please consider becoming an advertiser! We now have two major pieces of the puzzle in the place: a quality product and an appreciative audience! We just need your business to make it complete!

That leaves advertising.

Let’s grow together.

To sell advertising, you need an audience. To have an audience, you need a publication. To create a publication you need income. To have income, you need to sell advertising. Well, you see the challenge. I’m so grateful for those early advertisers who made a leap of faith with me and in the process helped make it possible for Southern Soil to become a reality.

LeeAnna Tatum


P.S. The bird photos are here for no other reason than I really like birds and am particularly proud of these photos I got in my front yard!

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SOIL a growing food




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Southern SOIL


a growing food movement

Closing the Food System Loop Through Commercial Composting

by LeeAnna Tatum

We’re all familiar with the farm-to-table concept -

waste placed in an airtight landfill stops the earth’s

eating foods that are fresh, local and seasonal with

natural cycle of decomposition. This cycle plays a

a clear connection between the land and the plate.

crucial role in the health of our environment … More

But what about the other half of the equation?

than 72 percent of all materials entering landfills can be diverted through composting. Composting

Nature works in circles, cycles and systems;

provides a way in which solid wastes, water quality,

but human advancements and industry often

and agricultural concerns can be joined.” Taken

disrupt these patterns. One such disruption is

from a UGA extension publication on food waste

the removal of food waste from nature’s cycle of

and composting, for the full publication click here.

decay and renewal; this not only creates negative environmental issues by adding methane into the

The publication goes on to say, “An increasing

environment, but also deprives the soil of a valuable

number of communities, businesses, institutions,

resource of nutrients, microbes and organic matter

and individuals are expected to turn to composting to divert materials from landfills and to lower

To complete the circle - farm-to-table-to-farm -

waste management costs. Although waste stream

it’s important to keep food waste out of landfills

managers view composting primarily as a means

and return it to the soil where it can continue the

to divert materials from disposal facilities, the

cycle of nourishment. Just as the soil feeds us, it’s

environmental benefits, including reduction in water

important for us to feed the soil.

pollution, and the economic benefits to farmers,

Composting is the process which closes the loop in the system. Composting is a fairly simple process and something that all of us can do. However, a staggering percentage of waste going into America’s landfills is biodegradable food scraps. Food that ends up in landfills does not biodegrade as it would in a natural environment. “Once in the landfill, organic matter may react with other materials and create toxic leachate. Food

gardeners, and landscapers can be substantial.” Environmentally conscious couple Michael and Maria Wedum are on a mission to help the City of Savannah divert food scraps from the landfill and restore the depleted soils of the area’s local farms. A daunting mission, to be sure, but one that provides a practical solution to multiple problems all while bringing the community together in a united cause. The couple founded COR Composting (COR stands for Code of Return) one year ago with a (con tinued on page 10)

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simple principle in mind - close the loop! Closing

have an outlet for food scraps that they don’t have

the loop means taking food and wood waste out

the space in town to compost themselves.

of the landfills and creating a beautiful organic amendment with which to feed the soil. Their goal

In the following statement for Southern Soil, Russell

is to become the natural alternative to a landfill

explains why participating in this composting

serving the Savannah community.

program is important to her and her businesses. A lot of new thinking about climate change is emphasizing the importance of dirt and organic farming. It is becoming clearer to us that healthy soil and the microbes that live there sequester a LOT of carbon. So not only is composting essential to any effort to become more sustainable in the obvious way of diverting waste from landfills, it is also a really important step in returning nutrients to soil and helping regenerate soil.” We could not handle the volume of compost we generate by ourselves and it would not work to be doing that in the city anywhere


so it’s great that Michael and Maria have taken on the business of composting. We’re gearing up to start inviting our customers to compost too and I can’t wait! It’s very important to The Sentient Bean and Brighter Day in our ongoing effort to minimize waste that COR is around to make composting possible. Last year we diverted 36,130 lbs of organic waste from the landfill and into COR’s stream. I’m really hoping they continue to grow and can get a commercial recycling system for all the biodegradable toIn its short lifetime, COR Composting has already

go products that we use. Now if we can just

helped local restaurants divert more than 145,000

get recycling back on track!

pounds of food waste from the local landfill. Brighter Day and The Sentient Bean are two

In addition to seeking out more commercial clients

commercial clients. Co-owner of both businesses

for food-scrap pickups (restaurants, grocery stores,

Kristin Russell is grateful for the opportunity to

schools, etc.), the Wedums are also thinking small

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when it comes to growing their business and

trash service to just divert a few kitchen scraps?

providing a service to their community.

But people want to know that they’re making a difference. Especially for the community, it’s a

COR Composting now has a presence at Forsyth

matter of pride to say everybody counts, everybody

Farmers’ Market where they offer composting

makes a difference. So when we set up this station

service for individuals and households.

at the market … it’s super simple. All you have to do

“Every single person in the community can be involved in this and feel good about it,” Maria explained. “And we’re starting to get some inquiries from people who want to compost but they don’t

is put your scraps in this bucket with a lid, keep it closed until you come to the farmer’s market, give it to us and we’ll give you a clean bin and you can go on your way.”

know how or they don’t have the space. They are

“The drop offs will be free. It’s basically a $10 buy

either interested in someone teaching them or to

in. Buy the bucket and the lid and you’ll get the list

have somewhere they can drop it.”

of what can go in there.”

“We started thinking of the small-scale, of the

The couple hopes to see COR Composting grow

average resident and family household,” she

into an industrial composting business capable of

continued. “Why should they have to pay a monthly

handling large volumes of food scraps and also

service fee when they’re already paying for

producing an end-product compost at a large (con tinued on page 12)


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enough volume to help build the soils of local

“We didn’t intend for this to become a big business

farms. But a lot of care is being taken to grow

when we started doing what we’re doing,” Michael

incrementally enabling the company to develop at a

explained. “... it has to be done and we know how to

pace and scale that is manageable.

do it. And we actually care, we have the energy to do it because it’s something we want to do.”

Currently leasing a small plot of land from Bethesda Academy, their goal is to eventually find property in

Developing a commercial composting facility

or near Savannah’s city limits in order to be capable

capable of diverting much of Savannah’s

of handling large waste haulers.

biodegradable food waste from the local landfills will require a community-wide effort.

“Our first tiered goal, as far as commercially, would

The leadership of the City of Savannah needs

be to have a volume of about 500 tons a month,”

to see and understand the value of this type of

Maria explained. “Right now we’re working at about

alternative waste management, the businesses and

six to seven tons a month … what’s really holding us

restaurants that produce food waste will need to

back is creating that commercial facility and finding

be willing to spend the extra little bit that it will cost

the land. Once we’re able to be regulated in that

them to divert their food waste, individuals will need

way, we could easily work with a local waste hauler.”

to make the extra little bit of effort that it takes to

“We’re coming to a point where we have to worry 12

separate food waste from the rest of the trash.

about climate change, we have to worry about

But the benefits would be monumental for the

where our trash is going,” Maria continued. “I think

community and well-worth the efforts of doing

this is a solution. I think when it comes to the

something “new”.

progression itself, the city is coming around to it.”

The table below shows the number of pounds of food waste that have been diverted from landfills since each restaurant started with COR. BUSINESS NAME Green Truck Sentient Bean La Scala Henny Penny Fox and Fig Coffee Fox Foxy Loxy Hyatt Regency Coffee Fox West Collins Quarter

DATE JOINED 11/12/18 12/29/18 1/28/19 2/11/19 2/18/19 2/25/19 8/26/19 9/26/19 12/2/19 12/12/19

LBS. DIVERTED 37400 lbs. 36500 lbs. 2850 lbs. 28050 lbs. 14000 lbs. 6065 lbs. 2700 lbs. 14630 lbs. 180 lbs. 3575 lbs.

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From that same UGA extension report on food

seen that its something much larger than us. And

waste and composting: “To date, 51 percent of

as much as it’s hard to make a change or make

Georgia’s landfills are in closure or will be closed

a difference - we all want to save the planet, or at

within 5 years, and 62 percent will be closed in

least not be the ones that destroyed it - that is as

fewer than 10 years. On average, Georgia landfill

simple as separating your food waste … that in

tipping fees are between $30 and $40 per ton. As

itself makes a huge difference.”

landfills fill up and close at an alarming rate, waste disposal and tipping fees to the businesses and

“Most of the inert things in the landfill aren’t

institutions generating the waste will continue to

going to cause any detrimental problems, but


we shouldn’t be burying our food waste because it creates a much worse problem. And if we do

COR Composting is poised to provide an alternative

compost,” he continued, “just something simple like

to the landfill and help Savannah move toward

taking it to the farmer’s market or … compost at

becoming a more ecologically sound community.

your house if you have that desire. All of us doing this little piece will create more food, healthier soil,

“We’re just a small business, two people starting

healthier air, healthier water and in the end healthier

out doing something that we wanted to do,”


Michael said, From that, we’ve progressed into something much larger than ourselves and we’ve

Michael went on to explain, “compost isn’t about (con tinued on page 1 4)


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one person, it’s not about people, it’s about the planet and our responsibility to be accountable for what we’re doing. If we want to eat food, we have to be able to grow food and to do that we have to be able to put our food back to where it’s supposed to go. Just like the forest doesn’t ship its leaves and branches to a landfill, it uses those to regrow itself continuously over and over, and that’s what we’re supposed to be doing but we just forgot. Because somebody decided to take care of our trash for us so we didn’t have to any more. 14

But we’re getting to a point where we’re going to have to.” “The success of this requires people to be onboard and to change up the system. Be more innovative … just going back to the roots of how nature intended … It’s super simple and it’s possible. It’s possible to have solutions to all those problems, it just requires change. It’s all very possible and if we do it together, the transition should be smooth,” Maria concluded.

Serve up your business to the right audience...

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To advertise, call 912-688-4168 or email us at

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Southern SOIL

Small Farm


I n t h is series, g et t o kn o w mo re a b o u t t h e sma ll far m o p era t io n s t h a t a re u sin g su st a in a b le met h o d s t o help meet t h e lo ca l d ema n d f o r f resh f o o d . An d meet the f a rmers t h a t a re ma kin g it h a p p en !

Gannon Organics is located on the beautiful campus of Bethesda Academy in Savannah, making use of the land that was used for the now-discontinued farm program. Brendan Gannon, former farm manager for Canewater Farms, uses organic methods to grow seasonal produce. Gannon, originally from South Carolina, was first introduced to farming in New York. After getting a degree in journalism, he interned at a farm in his spare time.


“I started interning for an urban farm there (in New York City) and I just really enjoyed it. So, I started a garden for a restaurant in Brooklyn and then decided I wanted to get into farming full time,” Gannon explained. He spent three years working at a farm in upstate New York before deciding to move closer to family. “I wanted to move back to the South to be close to family - I’m from the low country originally. I moved

“I wanted to stay in the area because my fiance is

down here and Canewater Farm was an awesome

from Brunswick and we just bought a house. So I

spot and I was glad to help grow that business.”

was looking for land in the area and just reached

Gannon managed Canewater Farms for four years before the family operating the farm decided to move out of State. With the land no longer available for farming, he set out to find a place where he could continue to do what he loves.

out to Bethesda (Academy), knowing that they had land … I didn’t know that their program was ending here … but they asked me if I was interested in using it.” Gannon Organics was officially launched in

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“I’m hoping it will help with weed control,” Gannon explained. “The idea is that I can drive back through and kind of hill it - like you would potatoes. Hopefully it will save time doing that. I want to do semi-permanent ridges, the idea being that when I’m done with one crop I can hill it back up, amend it and replant back into it. So all the tractor tracks will stay in the same spot.” Gannon grows an array of seasonal crops. This winter, those include: kale, cabbages, baby greens, arugula, turnips and radishes. Gannon Organics produce can be purchased locally in Savannah at the Forsyth Farmers Market and is also used by several local restaurants. November of last year and is currently in the process of getting its organic certification. Gannon continues to hold a job off the farm to make ends meet while getting this new operation up and running. He is the sole employee and is working to clear the three acres available to him for farming while also keeping the process of planting and harvesting going.

Please help support our local and sustainable food system by shopping from the small farms in your area and by patronizing restaurants and retailers that source locally! The directory on our website is a great place to start your search. Remember to always ask questions about where and how your food is produced and ask your favorite restaurants and retailers to source from local farms!

He is working to build the soil through the use of cover crops, crop rotation, resting the soil and adding organic material through compost. He is currently experimenting with a ridge system that he hopes will help with weed control. Saving time and labor in this one-man operation is an important key

Gannon Organics contact info Phone: 843-504-1708 Email: Follow on Instagram!

to success.

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Southern SOIL


Farmer Sam McPherson of Potlikker Farm, Georgia Sea Grill Executive Chef Timothy Lensch and Restaurateur and Farm Owner Zack Gowen

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Restaurateur, Farmer, Chef and a Recipe for Change

by LeeAnna Tatum

I recently had the opportunity to visit Potlikker

The folks I met up with were restaurateur Zack

Farm on Blythe Island. I had been intrigued for

Gowen (owner of Georgia Sea Grill and Potlikker

more than a year by this farm which I discovered

Farm), farmer Sam McPherson (who manages

on Instagram, drawn in by the name and hooked

Potlikker Farm) and Executive Chef Timothy Lensch

on the photos and snippets of information: daikon

of Georgia Sea Grill. And what they are up to is

radishes, radicchio, kohlrabi, purple peas, okra,

something quite extraordinary.

patty pans… It’s not a completely new concept to have a “A passion project out on Blythe Island from the

restaurant with a farm or a farm that develops a

folks behind Georgia Sea Grill.” That’s what the

restaurant, but it’s still quite rare and something

profile said.

unique in this area. But what Zack and his team are really doing is even more exciting than that. They

I was curious and wanted to know more. I wanted

are generating a local food system and sparking a

to know who these folks were and see what they

greater movement toward organically grown, clean

were up to.

foods. (con tinued on page 20)

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Born and raised in the area, Zack has been in

Simon’s Island, Zack began looking for farmable

the restaurant business for more than a decade

land nearby.

having spent much of that time owning a sports bar. As part of a franchise, Zack was limited in his

“I was searching around for land for a while and

ability to choose how he sourced the food for the

somehow stumbled on this land for sale … it still

bar. When he decided to branch out on his own

had the pictures of the fields with the goats (this

and open Georgia Sea Grill, a whole new world of

used to be an old goat farm) and I went out and

opportunities awaited him.

looked at and thought, this is perfect!”

Beyond simply opening a new restaurant, Zack

Once he had the farm, he needed a farmer.

knew he wanted to diversify into other areas involving food - specifically organic foods like those he would choose for himself and his own family. “I wanted to do something more than just a restaurant

heart’s at … he’s the first person I

A passion project out on “Blythe Island from the folks behind Georgia Sea Grill. ”

and not doing just another restaurant … kind of diversifying and staying in the same realm 20

“I’ve known (Sam) for a while and know where his

and knowing where the food comes from,” Zack

thought of.” Sam has been farming for five years but has been passionate about

growing food for most of his life. When Zack approached him about farming, Sam was in a transitional period and looking for his next move,


knowing that he wanted to work with food.

So, not long after opening the restaurant on St.

“My wife and I had an organic cooperative in the area so we sourced local vegetables as well as growing our own … Zack used to order from the co-op back in the day. After we were done with the co-op … my wife and I started looking at other things to do,” Sam explained. “I’m from the military, I have my GI bill, so I thought about going back to school … So when I did, I went for culinary.”

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drive from the restaurant. It was already known as Potlikker’s place due to the original owner who, among other things, had farmed and run a shrimp boat. Considering their own plans for the farm, the name seemed a perfect fit.

Part of his culinary training was to complete an apprenticeship at a local restaurant. “I wanted to go work at Georgia Sea Grill to do my apprenticeship. And it was about that time that Zack had found this place (Potlikker Farm), it just

“Growing up, we knew that potlikker was someone

was serendipitous.”

who was really poor but knew how to make it

The property is on Blythe Island and just a short

Sam said. “...So, we loved it.

because they drank the potlikker (or pot liquor), (con tinued on page 2 2)


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And we found out, he was a real potlikker, like he

Sam grows a mix of plants traditionally grown in

used everything.”

the area like corn, okra, tomatoes and peas along with some more exotic crops like a Japanese mustard green that tastes a bit like wasabi. This past season, he also grew some habanadas which have all the flavor of habanero with none of the heat. All this variety is a dream come true for Chef Tim Lensch. “Habanados are


The second year of

wonderful because

the farm is currently

some people can’t take

underway and more and

the heat of a habanero,”

more of the land is being

Tim explained, “but these

cleared and farmed. The

have all the taste and

property was originally

smells and everything

very overgrown and

and you just knew the

neglected but is being

heat was coming but

methodically reclaimed

it never did. They were

and put to use.


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“Pretty much for the most part, he (Sam) shows up

to microgreens … I’m glad that Sea Grill has the

with a bunch of stuff. I go through it and use it all.

reputation that we want local.”

Honey, turnips, peas, flowers for garnishes,” Tim said.

“I’ve always been around southern food and acknowledged it,” Zack said, “but having Georgia

“At the end of the day, I love it. We’ve been like

Sea Grill, I’ve gone from acknowledging it to

this as soon as Zack gave me the opportunity.

embracing it. It’s been quite an amazing journey.”

Whatever I can get locally, I do … the longevity, the freshness, the care that goes in it, it’s just night and

“The food is grown with love by Sam and handled

day from something that’s widely produced.”

with love from Tim … they’re both in tune and they see the big picture,” Zack continued. “It’s fun being

Tim enjoys the freedom to create new dishes with

outside of the box!”

unexpected ingredients and gets the opportunity to showcase farm-fresh foods every day.

Moving beyond the restaurant and the farm, Zack continues to diversify. He also has a catfish

“Some of the stuff he (Sam) shows up with like

farm which will be producing its first harvest

the gagon cucumber… and I was like what do we

within the next couple of months. The catfish are

do with this? We ended up making a huge thing

organicallyfed and will be processed for use in the

of gazpacho and it was great,” Tim commented.


“There’s been a few things that he’s brought that I

(con tinued on page 24)

had no experience with. So it’s fun for me because


I’m getting introduced to new things.” The relationship between the restaurant and farm and the relationships between restaurateur, chef and farmer works really well. “It’s the best possible scenario … to have a chef to give everything to that will just take anything I give him and make magic out of it. And to have an owner that I’ve already worked with and worked for - it’s the best possible scenario,” Sam said. “There’s not a lot of places around here that can say, we have a farm,” Tim agreed. “It’s wonderful being able to work with Zack and being a part of his story … Meeting all the farmers over the years. I don’t ever know who or what is going to come in the back door. From fish to mushrooms

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Potlikker Farm is also in the process of moving

Having a restaurateur and business owner who is

beyond being simply a supply line for Georgia Sea

willing to think outside the box and take risks to

Grill. The plan is to be able to also supply other area

pursue different avenues of sourcing and providing

restaurants and to also sell directly to the public

sustainable food is a great asset to that local food

through an onsite farmstand and participation in


local farmers markets. Add to that a farmer who is committed to growing This next phase in the plan is meant to help develop

foods using methods beyond organic standards

a community of growers and consumers for

and a chef who takes delight in preparing those

sustainably produced goods within their local area.

ingredients and you have the right recipe to kickstart a local food movement.

“The potential for growth in the clean food organic market down here - the sky’s the limit,� Sam said.

Sometimes a recipe just comes together. The right mix of ingredients combined correctly at just

Within the last few years, two major organic

the right time to create something truly special -

growers: Sapelo Farms and Canewater Farms have

something worth noting, worth sharing and worth

left the area, leaving a void that begs to be filled. For


Zack, there is risk but it is also a niche market that is waiting for a supplier. 24

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Chef’s TABLE In some restaurant kitchens, there is a table reserved for special guests who have a privileged dining experience that includes a front row view of the chef at work. This is referred to as the “chef’s table”. In this series, we aim to give our readers a chef’s table experience as we introduce you to some of our area’s chefs and their cuisine with a behind the scenes glimpse into their kitchens and a taste of their fare.

Chef’s Table: Cha Bella (Savannah) 26

Article by: LeeAnna Tatum Photos: Tara Ruby

There are three things you won’t find in the kitchen

The key word with Michael is “fun”. He likes being

at Cha Bella: a microwave, a freezer, or a deep fryer.

in the restaurant, enjoys bantering with members of the staff and enjoys working with food - creating

What you will find is three chefs who work together

dishes from scratch.

in a family atmosphere of cooperation and camaraderie … everyone doing their part to get food on the table. Each bringing their own individual tastes and talents to a decidedly team-oriented menu. Chef Michael Lacy is one of the restaurant’s four co-owners. Having grown up in the restaurant business, Michael pursued other career opportunities for a while before returning to his true passion - food.

Chef Michael Lacy

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where creativity is encouraged and enjoys getting to try out new things in the kitchen. She also likes working with basic ingredients and not relying on pre-packaged components. “We change our menu pretty much whenever we feel like it,” Candice explained. “If we cook something at home and we find something very fun that we did that we want to try in the restaurant …. Or if something comes into season … It’s a lot of fun. It gives us a chance to create. I think that’s Chefs Michael and Candice in the kitchen “We have three rules in the kitchen: money grows on trees, always play with your food, and nobody uses the f-word in the kitchen … which is ‘fried’! The other one we use all the time,” he laughed. Michael not only gets creative in the kitchen but also does some of the carpentry

one of the better things about not being a one-chef driven place, that we all have freedom … to explore, push your creative bounds - which is a lot of fun.” Chef Jameco (Meco) Bragg has been working at the location since before it became Cha Bella. He started out as a dishwasher when he was 14 and worked his way onto the line. He started cooking when he was 19 and hasn’t looked back! 27

and other work in the restaurant with his life partner and fellow chef, Candice Carver. “It’s a labor of love,” he said of the work that goes into keeping the historical building in repair and making updates and improvements. “We all do the work ourselves, it puts heart in the building … There’s definitely a lot of character here.

Chef Meco

Online, it says this building is haunted, there’s a ghost. I hear voices,” he said with a laugh, “ … it

“I just love cooking because it’s the best thing in

could just be in my own head.”

the world, to me,” Meco said with a grin. He enjoys being able to experiment and develop new dishes

Chef Candice Carver enjoys being part of a team

for the restaurant. (con tinued on page 28)

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It was a cold, rainy evening when I visited Cha Bella, which is unfortunate because they have a great outdoor patio space complete with swings! When the weather cooperates, there’s also a small garden plot used there to grow herbs and veggies for use in the kitchen. Tara Ruby, my dining partner and photographer for the evening, and I were served menu items of the chefs’ choosing which included: Spice Braised Short Ribs, Sage and Thyme Chicken, Mushroom Spiced Braised Short Ribs

and Ricotta Ravioli and Key Lime Pie for dessert.

The menu changes frequently and is apt to represent seasonal ingredients that are available locally. Reflective of the team in the kitchen, the menu is diverse and creative.

28 Mushroom & Ricotta Ravioli (Garlic kale, sage brown butter, almond slivers) While we enjoyed all the dishes prepared for us, our favorite dish was the short ribs. They were fall-offthe-bone- tender and a depth of flavor that made Sage & Thyme Chicken (Gruyere and prosciutto, with pumpkin risotto, toasted pumpkin seeds, balsamic reduction) The atmosphere too is eclectic, part fine dining and part corner bar; this is a place where long-term relationships are important and developing repeat customers is valued over simply drawing large numbers in the door. The clientele here is more likely to be locals than tourists. Key Lime Pie

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me want to lick my plate clean. They were served au ju with gnocchi and honey-glazed carrots. The pumpkin risotto served with the chicken dish is also worthy of its own mention creamy and delicious and a unique preparation. The sage brown butter over the ravioli was also a highlight and the pie was delectable.


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The Need to Feed:

Community Gardening - Past to Present

by Sheila Moon

Community Gardens: Defintion: Community gardens are collaborative projects on shared open spaces where participants cooperatively maintain the garden and share in the harvest of fresh fruits and vegetables. There are many types of community gardens including those in neighborhoods, empty lots, allotments, schools, libraries and churches. There are also gardens that provide vocational training. Each type has benefits and concerns which should be considered before starting a community garden.

I became interested in community gardening while

up. After moving around a bit we settled in South-

living with my husband in South City St. Louis

east Georgia and became members of the Zion

area. We noticed empty lots between houses in

Lutheran Church in Guyton, Georgia.

the city and we kept thinking it would be nice if we could get permission to garden in those empty lots.

About a year later, I was diagnosed with breast can-

There was at least one on every block in our part of

cer and gardening not only became a want but a


need! I was blessed enough to have caught it early but with having a young daughter I wanted to do

But there was always something that stopped us

everything I could to ensure it wouldn’t come back.

like: Who would oversee it, how would we pay for

Gardening we heard was hard in this part of the

the expenses of gardening, and how would we

country. But the need for fresh healthy vegetables

water it?

was driving us to at least try. After being mentored through one full growing season by a few elders

We moved to my husband’s childhood home after

of the church, we started looking around for some

finding out we were having our daughter Isabella.

land to use for a garden.

The house was out of the city and the problems of poverty or the lack of space for gardening was as

There was an empty lot next to the church and we

they say, “out of sight, out of mind”, and we never

thought that maybe we weren’t the only people with

implemented any of our ideas of community gar-

a passion for gardening. We had also learned that

dens in St. Louis.

food was scarce for some families here and a lot of folks with real needs fell through the cracks.

However, we did plant gardens in every backyard where we lived, wanting to be able to give my

Now not only was there a need for us, but once

daughter the fresh food that I had enjoyed growing

again we saw the need to garden to feed others. (con tinued on page 32)

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That week Chris and I started talking about these

My hope in writing this series on community

people who might need our help and how a com-

gardens is that I inspire you to become part of my

munity garden could help to provide for families in

family’s dream, that there is enough food (at least in

our community.

our corner of the world) for all!

Our church allowed us to plant on a small plot of

Now, that I have shared my own history with com-

land that was empty at the time and that was the

munity gardens, here is a bit about the history of

blessing we needed. The rest is history! With the

community gardens themselves here in the U.S.

mentoring from elders in our church and the helping hands of church family and our friends in the

From the late 1800s through the 1940s, commu-

community we established The Zion Community

nity gardens were started with one purpose and


one purpose only - to grow food. Vacant lot gardens were started because of the recession of the

As I did research to write this series on community

1890s. The first city in the United States to start an

gardens, I realized that this is certainly not a new

urban gardening program was the city of Detroit.

concept and has come full circle in history from


starting out of a need to feed, the need to teach, the

The Mayor started this initiative because of a

need to beautify, and back to the need to feed and

recession that started in 1893, which left many new

to teach our children how to do the same.

immigrants unable to find work and hungry. These

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plots of land were known as “Pingree’s Potato

Just like teachers today, they used these gardens

Patches,” named after the mayor who started the

not only to promote healthy eating, but also to raise

program. Unemployed workers were supplied with

awareness of environmental health, and they incor-

plots of land, along with seeds to plant, tools, and

porated these gardens in teaching critical thinking

instructions on how to take care of these gardens

in areas of science, literature, and history.

which were printed in three different languages for the immigrants. This plan for vacant lot gardening

As times changed, once again it affected the gar-

in Detroit was such a success that other cities from

dening focus. The United States entered into World

coast to coast began their own gardens.

War I and food once again became the primary focus of community gardens.

As economic conditions improved, children became the focus of public gardens. Schools began to plant

The U.S. wanted to increase exports to Europe be-

gardens in order to teach children individual pro-

cause it was suffering from a food deficit. Citizens

ductivity and self pride in taking on responsibility

were encouraged to become “soldiers of the soil”

for assigned areas of these gardens. Just like to-

and gardening became an act of patriotism.

day, teachers used these gardens not just for food, but as learning tools with different motivations.

There was a special commission for these “War Gardens” which used this notion to build public (con tinued on page 3 4)


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support for the school gardening movement and

The 1960s and 70s saw a resurgence in urban

used posters to promote them. This commission

gardens as poverty took hold in the inner-cities.

recorded that at one time during 1917, there were

These community gardens served many different

3,500,00 war gardens which yielded some $350

purposes to many different people. People found

million worth of crops.

that having a garden in their neighborhood provided a common space to meet and talk with friends.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, attention

And it gave children and the elderly a place to get

was focused on the economic crisis which brought

exercise while gardening. Many immigrants used

about the Thrift Gardens. Cities began to develop

these gardens to express their ethnic backgrounds

gardens to provide their large populations with

and cultural traditions.

desperately needed food with help of community service organizations.

Presently, growing food that is safe to eat has become a driving force that once again, is making

With the onset of Word War II in 1941, the need

community gardens popular. While our need for

arose to bring back the Liberty Gardens which took

clean food pushes us to grow and buy local, some

on a new name, Victory Gardens. Reports estimate

interesting things are happening along the way.

between 18 and 20 million American families with Victory Gardens provided the U.S. with 40 percent

Our palettes change and we become big fans of

of all the vegetables grown in 1944.

fresh produce. Our children learn to connect to nature and enjoy the outdoors, not only learning how


When WWII ended, so did the Victory Gardens.

to take care of and be responsible for growing food

Moving to the suburbs became the American

for themselves but also for others. By depending on

dream as did backyard gardening which provided

our community gardens for our fresh produce, we

these gardeners much more privacy than the com-

adults learn that there is more money in our pock-

munity gardens of the past.

ets and more love in our hearts as we grow food to feed ourselves and our neighbors.

a growing food movement

Spring Fling Spring is approaching soon, planting for certain

plant, don’t let that kill your motivation, I always say,

crops has already started. But if you haven’t started

“Better late than never!” Go ahead and give it a try!!

yet, don’t fret I have come up with a short list to

Last, but not least don’t get caught up in having to

jumpstart your process.

be perfect. Yes, there are certain things you should

Here is a link to the UGA Extension’s Vegetable

do that will guarantee your gardens success but

Planting Chart and, as you will see, we are at the

during our first year I can tell you we were not at all

beginning of these growing seasons. However, if

perfect! Have fun!!

you see something that is borderline too late to

Short List •

Find your location : with a minimum of six hours of sun

always add later in the growing season.

Find your garden team: there are master gardeners in training out there their advice and time donated is invaluable.

Decide time and talents: remember to delegate so others feel part of the plan

Decide what you want to plant, remember to plant flowers as well.

Use the growing chart as a guide.

Test your soil for what you are planting

Use products to help balance your soil for what is right for what you are growing.

Find your water source

Most importantly - become knowledgeable, build

Plot out your garden using rows, raised beds, or individual plots. Start out small you can

friendships, reach out into your community, and

Start Planting

Set up signage and a center communication point at your garden

Decide upon a set of guidelines and clearly post them

Decide how you will share your garden information with your community

Set times to share produce with everyone in your area

Set up a time to celebrate all your hard work!


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Photos by Heather Brasell

Photo by Heather Brasell.

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Native Plant Highlight: Coral Honeysuckle Lonicera sempervirens

by Heather Brasell

This article is courtesy of the Coast Plain Chapter of the Georgia Native Plant Society. The GNPS is dedicated to promoting the stewardship and conservation of Georgia’s native plants and their habitats. The Coastal Plain Chapter serves the people in the Coastal Plain ecoregion of Georgia. This includes all areas south of the Fall Line in middle Georgia, from the Alabama and Florida borders to the Atlantic ocean. To learn more, please visit their website. When I first came to Georgia 33 years ago, I

shrubs and started to climb. Only then did it start

knew nothing about local plants. We had a lot of

flowering. I have since learned that it is quite

Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) in the

common for vines to flower only after they get up

yard. Although the flowers are beautiful, I learned

off the ground.

the plant is invasive and I promptly started to pull it up wherever I saw it. Then I came across a vine


that looked a bit different. The leaves had a waxy,

Coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) was

bluish color and the terminal leaves were fused

the 2019 Plant of the Year for Georgia Native Plant

or united, surrounding the stem (perfoliate leaf).

Society. Other common names include trumpet

There were no flowers on the plant at that time. I

honeysuckle, scarlet honeysuckle, and woodbine.

decided not to pull it up until I identified it.

“Sempervirens” means evergreen. Plants are

Some time later, my husband and I went to the Woodbine Crawfish Festival in Woodbine, GA. At the welcome desk, they were handing out free

evergreen to semi-evergreen throughout the US (hardiness zones 1-8), but are deciduous in colder climates.

seedlings of “woodbine.” I recognized my mystery

Coral honeysuckle is a perennial, woody,

vine immediately. Of course, they had photos of

twining vine growing to 20 ft, trailing across the

the flowers and lots of information to share. I later

ground and climbing shrubs and trees. Bark is

found out that woodbine is an alternative common

orange-brown in color, and papery and exfoliating

name for coral honeysuckle. I also learned it is

in texture.

a native plant in the same genus as the invasive Japanese honeysuckle.

Simple, opposite leaves are medium-sized (1-3 inches long) and oval to elliptical in shape.

Back at my home, the coral honeysuckle continued

They are glossy green on top and silvery green

to spread along the ground, but I never saw

underneath. Both surfaces are smooth and waxy,

flowers. After a few years, it reached some

especially on new growth. Margins are entire and (con tinued on page 38)

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slightly rolled down. Leaf tips are blunt or have a

Natural Habitats

short point. Terminal leaves are joined at the base

Coral honeysuckle is widespread throughout

so they completely surround the stem (perfoliate). The vine starts producing showy flowers as early as January and are one of the first plants providing nectar for hummingbirds. Flowers are most abundant from March to June, but continue

southeastern US, growing in woodlands, thickets, and fencerows. It can grow in many areas because of its hardiness. It grows in a wide variety of soils, from sandy to clay loam and with a wide range of pH.

intermittently for a longer period. Flowers grow in several whorled clusters at the end of new growth. Individual trumpet-shaped flowers, about 2 inches long, are red on the outside and yellow inside. Five small lobes at the tip of the tube open to expose the stamens and stigma. Fruits are bright red berries, about a quarter of an inch in diameter.


Don’t confuse this beautiful native honeysuckle with the invasive Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica). Japanese honeysuckle is in Category 1 in GA Exotic Plant Pest Council’s list of invasive plants of concern, indicating it is an exotic plant that is a serious problem in Georgia natural areas by extensively invading natural communities and displacing native species. Japanese honeysuckle has a similar growth habit and distribution. However, the flowers are white, fading to yellow as they age. Leaves are not waxy, are not fused, and lower leaves are lobed or deeply toothed. Considerations for Your Garden This plant is an excellent twining vine for trellises and arbors. It is also effective as ground cover to reduce erosion, although it may not produce flowers on the ground. Because it is evergreen

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and flowers for an extended period, followed by

problems, although new shoots may sometimes

production of red berries, it is a visually appealing

be attacked by aphids.

plant year round. It propagates easily from layering. I just pull up the Coral honeysuckle is a low-maintenance plant.

vines lying on the ground to find sections that have

Although it grows in a wide range of soils, it

already rooted. You can also grow it from cuttings

prefers well-drained, slightly acidic soil. It produces

taken during summer and fall from young vines.

abundant flowers in full sun, but fewer flowers in

To propagate

shaded locations. Coral honeysuckle grows quickly

from seeds,

without being overly aggressive. You may want

collect seeds

to do some pruning to control spread and shape

when they are

the plant. It is drought tolerant. I have it growing

ripe and clean

in semi-shaded locations on well-drained sandy

them to avoid

soils and I have never had to water it even in the


droughtiest of times. It can tolerate poor drainage

Stratify by

for short periods, but needs good drainage and

storing in sealed containers for at least two

adequate circulation to prevent powdery mildew.

months in your refrigerator (34-40 degrees

Coral honeysuckle has few pest or disease

Fahrenheit). (con tinued on page 4 0)

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Coral honeysuckle is a wonderful plant for wildlife.

Bennett, C. 2015. Southeast foraging. Timber

It is a host plant for spring azure and snowberry

Press, Portland, OR.

clearwing moths. Flowers provide a nectar source, attracting hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. Children love to pluck the flowers and suck the nectar from the stem end. In late summer and

Georgia and surrounding states. The University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA.

fall, fruits attract songbirds, including northern

Duke, J. A. 1997. The green pharmacy. St. Martin’s,

bobwhite quail, purple finch, goldfinch, hermit

New York, NY.

thrush, American robin, northern cardinal, pine siskin, and sparrows. The flowers are edible. Plant parts have been used as herbal remedies, although I did not research their efficacy. Flowers can be infused into butter, milk, vodka, or any kind of liquid. Infusions can be used to treat sore throats or coughs. Leaves may be dried and smoked for asthma. Bee stings


Chafin, L. G. 2016. Field guide to the wildflowers of

Foster, S., & J. A. Duke. 2014. Peterson field guide to medicinal plants and herbs. Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, Boston, MA. Horn, D., & T. Cathcart.2005. Wildflowers of Tennessee, the Ohio valley and the southern Appalachians. Lone Pine Publishing and Tennessee Native Plant Society, China.

can be treated by chewing the leaves to apply the

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center. American

juice. Other medical benefits have been described


for Japanese honeysuckle. Such benefits include


colds, flu, bronchitis, pneumonia, tonsillitis, viral infections, and much more. Experimentally, flower extracts lower cholesterol and have antiviral, antibacterial, antioxidant, and tuberculostatic properties. They have at least a dozen antiviral compounds.

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Photo courtesy of Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser

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Some Kinda Good in the Neighborhood by Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser is a culinary TV personality, food enthusiast and the author of “Some Kinda Good,” a memoir with recipes. She writes about Southern, coastal cuisine, locally sourced and in-season. Connect with her on social media by liking Some Kinda Good on Facebook, or follow @SKGFoodBlog on Instagram and Twitter. To learn more, visit

March Brings Springtime and Picnic Weather The first day of spring is on March 19 and I am excited for it. If you’ve read my articles for any length of time, you know this is my most favorite time of year. The earth literally blooms back to life with azaleas and magnolias at every turn, even the birds seem to tweet a little louder. I immediately start dreaming of boating and laying out on the beach. The Farmers’ Market returns too. The spring season brings so much to look forward to, and along with the pretty, warmer weather, comes an opportunity to picnic. Also in March, is Savannah’s largest party of the year: St. Patrick’s Day. Themed picnics can be a lot of fun, especially when planned around a holiday. Last spring, I threw a company picnic for my co-workers complete with mini shepherd’s pies, chicken salad in cabbage cups and Irish soda bread with homemade herb butter. We had roasted red pepper

hummus served with green and orange strips of bell pepper, and for dessert old fashioned thumbprint cookies filled with green pepper jelly and orange marmalade to mimic the colors of the Irish flag. Fresh fruit skewers with green grapes were also on the menu. What a spread!

I planned the picnic on the day of Savannah’s annual Greening of the Fountain event, and we had a great spot on the grass, right in front of the Forsyth fountain. The food was spread out on a long close-to-the-ground table to (con tinued on page 4 4)

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showcase my Some Kinda Good St. Patrick’s Day feast. Comfy pillows and blankets helped to make the event extra special. You can get all of the recipes from my company picnic on, as they are delicious any time of the year. No matter where you live, there’s bound to be a sunny spot, community park or even a grassy knoll in your own backyard to eat outdoors and enjoy the new season. If you enjoy cooking as much as me, create a festive menu or use the one I provided today. You could even purchase your own picnic items---with a big blanket,


you’re set to go! It need not be fancy. Take advantage of springtime, get some fresh air and spend some quality time with friends and family. Good food and good company, that’s what it’s all about!

a growing food movement

Some Kinda Good Thumbprint Cookies with Orange Marmalade 2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup of your favorite jam, such as:

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Green Pepper Jelly

Orange Marmalade

In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar, butter and vanilla. Beat at medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add flour and mix until well incorporated, 2 – 3 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Shape the dough into 1 -inch balls. Place the balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Using your thumb, make a small indentation in the center of each cookie, pressing gently until the edges crack slightly. Fill each cookie with 1/4 teaspoon of jam. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool. Enjoy!

Photos: Luxury picnic styled by The Savannah Picnic Company.

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l i o S n r Southe Swag Show your support for the local sustainable food movement southern style!



or w m k oo B e

a growing food movement

reading the best and weeding the rest



Farmacology: Total Health from the Ground Up by Daphne Miller, M.D. is one doctor’s exploration into the connections between what she refers to as “ecological farming” or whole-system farming and human health. Far beyond simply exploring what healthy eating and farm-fresh foods can do for the body, Miller immerses herself in farmlife to better understand the possible correlations between a healthy farm system and the human body. She draws comparisons between the soil and skin, the effects of stress on egg-laying hens compared to the stresses of modern life for humans, and the micro-organisms of a healthy soil as compared to those in a healthy digestive system. In its decidedly simple approach, Farmacology tackles some highly complex issues within the medical field including: improving immune systems through exposure to dirt, rejuvenating skin care with the natural power of plants and even learning to work with the body’s response to cancer cells instead of waging all out war. Miller approached her research with the

scientific mind of a doctor, but also with the openness to learn from others about their own fields of expertise. Her findings and conclusions are somewhat revolutionary while remaining firmly rooted in the systems of the natural world that we can see and touch and understand all around us - in short, her conclusions just seem like common sense. Farmacology is well-written and enjoyable to read. It leaves the reader with plenty to think about and even some practical advice to follow for living a healthier life. Especially worthwhile for anyone in the health field.

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