If you've been out in your garden recently, you know that everything is blossoming . . . and I'm thrilled to share that Ceres Community Project is as well. Here are just a few highlights of the difference we're making here in Sonoma County and around the country:
♥ Thanks to our wonderful new home, we are now serving more than 60 families each week in Sonoma County - about 50% more than our average for 2011 - and we're on track to provide 40,000 beautiful, delicious and nourishing meals to clients from Healdsburg to Petaluma, Sonoma to Bodega Bay.
♥ Thanks to the Ceres Community Garden and our move to four days a week, teen involvement has doubled from a year ago. In June, 125 teens participated in over 1,000 hours of service learning in our kitchen and garden. Take a look below to meet some of the teen leaders who keep things cooking along at Ceres.
♥ At the end of June, I spent a week in Nashville helping the Heimerdinger Foundation - named in honor of well known assistant NFL coach Mike Heimerdinger - launch a project based on the Ceres model. They raised $70,000 at their kick off event and plan to begin delivering meals in October after they spend time training with us next month. This week we are hosting project leaders from Geneva, Illinois and Santa Cruz. Both teams plan to start projects by the end of the year.
♥ A year ago Sebastopol resident Margo Miller nominated me for an e-chievement award from national NPR program e-Town. The broadcast aired earlier in July (click to listen)on about 350 NPR stations helping to spread the word about the work we are doing together. We've already received donations, cookbook orders, and a call from Melissa Blair, MS, the Deputy Director of Family Health and Wellness for the Tennessee Department of Health! I recently participated in another hour long interview for Bread for the Journey radio. You can listen to that one by clicking here.
♥ Last but not least, we want to acknowledge long-time Ceres donor Greg Young. Greg was a very early investor in the Ceres vision, and has continued to partner with us every step of the way. Most recently, Greg chose to honor his wife Moira Chatton, who passed away eleven years ago this July from cancer, by dedicating the gardens at the Ceres building in her honor. You'll notice the beautiful plaque on the left as you enter the garden honoring Moira's "life-long commitment to ecological stewardship and community service."
Thank you for being part of Ceres, and for sharing your gifts, your time and your financial resources so that together we can build a healthier community for all of us and for the earth.
Greg Young with Cathryn and Ceres'
Board Member, Padi Selwyn
Harvest of the Heart: SOLD OUT!
If you were hoping to attend our fabulous event at Shone Farm on August 11, we're sorry to tell you that it's sold out. If you aren't able to be with us, but would like to take a look at the evening's menu and the Silent and Live Auction items, here's a link to the Event Booklet.
The event is still a week away, but already hundreds of people have been involved, from the dozens of volunteers who've been gathering auction items, procuring food donations, organizing the food preparation, creating the decorations and preparing the guest packets, to our fabulous table hosts and the many, many individuals and businesses who donated to the incredible silent and live auctions.
Thanks to our event sponsors, 100% of what guests spend on tickets and auction purchases will go directly to support our work. We're thrilled to have Whole Foods as our Presenting Sponsor for the second year in a row. They are joined by Corporate Sponsors Dixie Bohlke Event Coordination, Exchange Bank, Sonoma Compost, Wild Brine, and Willow Creek Financial Services, and Sponsors Heck Foundation, Redwood Credit Union, and Padi Selwyn & Reuben Weinzveg.
This year's auction includes something for everyone. For active folks, we've got rounds of golf, canoeing and an animal tracking adventure. More of a contemplative type? How about a traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony for up to 12 guests at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center? Avid gardeners frustrated by finding one too many prized flowers pulled under by our gopher population can bid on lessons from local legend The Gopher Guy. For gourmets, there are gift certificates to some of Sonoma's best restaurants, and wine lovers will have a chance to bid on a 1977 bottle of Dow's Silver Jubilee Port along with current vintages from the best local wineries, plus some great tasting packages and wine and food pairings.
Live auction packages include A Year of Bliss, featuring treatments from Bliss Organic Day Spa in Sebastopol paired with private restorative yoga instruction and acupressure treatments for twelve months of sublime relaxation and wellness. There's also Sailing on San Francisco Bay on a private yacht with a stop for lunch at famed Greens Restaurant; a week in Northern California's Lakes Basin region - a hikers' and golfers' paradise - in a lovely home that sleeps up to eight; a sculpture created just for this event by Patrick Amiot and Brigitte Laurent; and a Jeroboam of 2007 Shafer Hills Select Cabernet Sauvignon, rated an almost perfect 98 by Robert Parker. And much more!
Finally, we're very excited about a new offering this year - The Key to Wine Heaven. We'll be selling 50 keys for $100 each. At the end of the evening, the guest whose key opens the lock will go home with an instant wine cellar valued at over $3,000.
Thank you to everyone who is working so hard to make Harvest of the Heart a huge success. If you aren't able to join us this year, we hope you'll be with us next year. Watch for the Save the Date announcements early in 2013, and then remember to buy your tickets early!
Teen Leader Christina
Teen Leaders Reflect
on their Ceres Experience
As summer draws to a close, we will be saying good-bye to a number of our teen chefs who have graduated from high school and are leaving the area to attend college or other future pursuits. We send them on their way with our profound thanks for lending their hearts and hands at Ceres.
With gratitude and warm best wishes for the work you'll do to transform your future communities to:
Marbeya Garcia Bermudez
Shelby, Linnea, Christina and Larissa spent some time with me, reflecting on their experience with Ceres. All of these young women are Teen Leaders after 1-1/2 to 2 years in the kitchen, and they all spoke of the strong bonds they've formed during their time with us.
They also talked about their appreciation for Ceres' Teen Leader program. As new volunteers, they looked to the teens in white Chefs' coats as people they could model on, learning not just techniques, but also a way of teaching supportively as a peer, rather than within a hierarchical framework. For Shelby, who has become more confident and outgoing through being a Ceres volunteer, becoming a Teen Leader meant she felt a responsibility to be "friendly on steroids". Linnea is grateful for the opportunities Ceres gave her to learn leadership skills that she wasn't learning elsewhere in her community, and that she knows will serve her well in her future. Larissa learned that "it's ok to make mistakes, and ok to ask for help", and she foresees that both of these lessons will help her in school and life in general.
Christina is grateful that at Ceres, teens are given a chance to make a contribution and be recognized for it, while Larissa was motivated by knowing "we're working to help other people and building a stronger community". Linnea knows that for herself and many other teen volunteers, hearing of the struggles our clients face gives her a different perspective on her own life and problems. Shelby says it's evident from the atmosphere in the kitchen and garden that the teen volunteers are happy to be there. It's "not just a resume builder. Their hearts are in it".
While there was universal agreement on how strange and sad it will be not to have a Ceres shift as part of their weekly routine, each of these teens also feels that for them, "Ceres is not over yet". They all plan on coming back to visit and lend a hand when they're home on breaks. We look forward to welcoming them back and hearing how Ceres continues to impact and inform them as they move forward into new phases of their lives.
Larissa (who now proudly wears the
white chef's coat of a Ceres Teen Leader)
Whole Foods Deli Program supports Ceres
Whole Foods Partnership Expands!
Visit the deli counter in your local Whole Foods Market these days and you are likely to see the Ceres Community Project's logo adorning at least several of the items. The unique program, which was developed by Team Leaders in the Sebastopol store, has just been extended to all nine stores in Sonoma and Marin.
The items with the Ceres logo are based on recipes from Ceres' Nourishing Connections Cookbook which is also available for purchase at each store. Current recipes for sale at Whole Foods Market delis include Tuscan Kale Salad, a Caesar salad-like blend of raw kale, lemon, garlic, bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese - one of the top sellers at the Sebastopol store, Fruity Quinoa Salad with goji berries and toasted almonds, White Bean Salad, and Pumpkin Curry Soup with Coconut Milk. Whole Foods Market is donating $1.00 from every pint sold to support Ceres.
This fabulous program grew out of the Sebastopol team's desire to move beyond the in-kind donations we were getting and the occasional 5% days, and create an ongoing way to demonstrate their shared commitment to the work we are doing.
Through the end of September, Ceres Community Project will also be the recipient of the bag donations from all nine Whole Foods Market stores in Sonoma and Marin County except the San Rafael store which held a 5% day for our Marin Project earlier this year. The stores are pooling the donations to participate as the Presenting Sponsor for Harvest of the Heart, Ceres' annual fund-raising gala which takes place August 11 at Shone Farm in Forestville.
Since 2008, Whole Foods Sebastopol has provided nearly $50,000 in in-kind support as well as $10,000 in cash donations. Ceres' program in Marin is benefiting from in-kind donations from the San Rafael store and was recently the recipient - for the second time in two years - of $5,800 from that store's 5% day. "Ceres is a perfect fit for us," noted Sebastopol Store Team Leader Colin Davidson. "We share strong values about healthy eating, community building, and supporting the health of the planet. As Ceres takes their incredible work to more communities across the country, we want to have a way that local stores can partner with them to improve community health."
How Safe are Sea Vegetables?
JoEllen DeNicola NE, Ceres Nutrition Director
Since the Fukushima nuclear accident the question of whether sea vegetables (seaweeds) are safe to eat has repeatedly come up. So I did some research to help clarify the question at hand, can we eat the sea vegetables that we know are so good for us, if they come from the Pacific waters?
My first conversation was with Dr Ryan Drum who holds a BS in Chemical Technology and a PhD in Botany (Phycology). Professor Drum is an herbalist and herbal educator. He has spent several decades researching and publishing papers on herbs and seaweeds. He lives on Walden Island near San Juan where he continues his studies and collects seaweeds. If you are interested in learning more about sea vegetables, I recommend a visit to Dr. Drum's website to read through his collection of articles.
I had heard Dr. Drum on KQED a few weeks back where he noted that seaweeds have the capacity to absorb heavy metals as well as release them. Taking the Precautionary Principle to heart, I suggested to our Ceres Project chef that we simmer the Kombu we use in our Immune Broth for 20 minutes only, as Dr. Drum recommended during this program. I was relieved to hear from Dr. Drum that he does not feel there is a concern about toxicity and that he continues to encourage including sea vegetables in our diets.
Dr. Drum explained that it is the fucoidin and algin components of brown seaweeds such as Kombu, Sea Palm, Bladderwrack, and Sargassum, that aggressively uptake heavy metals. The algin will take up heavy metals but the good news is it does not easily release them. The algin in the seaweed helps to create the bulk to carry away toxins.
The fucoidin detoxifies heavy metals and is anti viral as well as helping to regulate the body's metabolism and promote more rapid tissue healing after wound or surgical trauma. Brown seaweed broth is recommended if one has had a sports injury, bruising falls, muscle and joint damage, deep tissue cuts, or surgery. Another benefit of the brown seaweed family is that they have more minerals than other sea vegetables, which helps support the production of enzymes in our body.
Dr. Drum noted that there is little if any need to worry about the contamination of the seaweeds with Iodine 131 as its half life is 8 days. By the time the seaweed is dehydrated, packaged and put on your table to eat, the Iodine has decomposed. This is not true of Cesium or Strontium as their half life is more on the order of two to three decades. However these latter heavy metals are ubiquitous in our atmosphere; where ever there is a nuclear power plant there is Cesium and Strontium as well as Tritium. These toxins may affect our bones, teeth and tissues if they accumulate in our body. While seaweeds may have miniscule amounts of these toxins tied up in their structures, they act like medicinal mushrooms with a large capacity to detoxify such heavy metals and rarely will release them. Eating sea vegetables will help you take the heavy metals out of your system.
Besides Kombu, Nori and Sargassum are the two sea vegetables that Dr. Drum recommended to eat. Both Nori and Sargassum are anti-cancer and anti-tumor foods that help to detoxify not only heavy metals but other pollutants like PCBs and dioxins. I had never heard of Sargassum. Like all brown seaweeds, it is rich in minerals and can be used in soups and broths or cooked with grains and legumes. It can be found at local Asian stores, but check and see where it is sourced. Dr. Drum suggested sourcing either locally or from Korea or the Northern California Coast.
My last question was to ask if cooking Kombu at a simmer for 2 hours is safe. Dr. Drum said that it was safe and hence Ceres will return to the practice of putting the Kombu into the Immune Broth for the full cooking time.
I continued my research by visiting the website of one of our local sea vegetable companies, Rising Tide Sea Vegetables. Sourcing their seaweeds from the clear Mendocino Coastline, they have also been concerned with the Fukushima incident. Rising Tide participated in UC Berkeley Nuclear Labs testing of foods in the Northern California area this past year. The results noted that their sea vegetables were not toxic. You can read more about these tests on their website.
I hope this clarifies the question of whether to eat sea vegetables or not. Of course if you have Iodine allergies you would want to refrain from eating seaweeds. But for all those with out this allergy, the benefits of sea vegetables far out weigh any fear of heavy metal toxicity. Enjoy them with the knowledge that they are a health food.
Deliciously Nutritious Nori Rolls
This Month's Recipe
Click here to get the recipe for our delicious Nori Rolls.
Current volunteer job openings:
- Bilingual Client Liaison
- PR (hanging posters around town for our events, writing PSAs and press releases)
- Marin Cookbook Distribution (work with Whole Foods Market stores to keep them in stock)
- Delivery Angels (deliver meals to our clients on Wednesdays at 5:00 or Friday mornings at 9:00)
"I am so fortunate to have found such a giving and loving group of people at Ceres! It never feels like work to move various projects forward and gives me such a feeling of satisfaction and contentment it is almost a guilty pleasure!"
~ Active Ceres Volunteer
New to Ceres? Please come to our next Volunteer Orientation night on August 21st at 5:30 to learn more about our volunteer opportunities. Please contact Kosima Grundy, (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
"Something amazing happens when we surrender and just love. There is a melting of hearts, a letting go of egos. That is what I felt shift at the Ceres Enrichment Series held this month at our beautiful new location here in Sebastopol. Our presenter, Angie Stephens, along with two gracious women who shared their cancer journeys, set the stage for our growth and learning. I give my gratitude to them and to everyone who showed up. Our willingness to share, to stay open and vulnerable, and most importantly to love one another is what the world so desperately needs".
Gayle Parker, Volunteer
Upcoming Education Programs
Thank you to all the folks that came to the July Tea and Talk on the Benefits of Vegan and Raw Foods. Kathy Emmer, NC stressed the health benefits of creating nutritious dishes, and had samples of Roasted Portobello Mushrooms and nut milks.
Our next Tea and Talk is on Wednesday, August 15th at 6pm. It is a potluck social! Please bring your favorite dish to share and come enjoy time with your Ceres Community. JoEllen DeNicola, the Nutrition Director, will be there to answer nutrition or cooking questions. Click here for more information.
The last two Healing Foods Cooking Courses of the year will be held this August and September. Click here for details, and please call or email email@example.com if you would like to register for the course.
Healing Foods Basics introduces Ceres' approach to food and nutrition, and covers the basics of setting up a Healing Foods kitchen. The class is held the first Thursday of every month from 6pm to 8pm. Please pre-register by clicking here.
Class & Event Calendar
Harvest of the Heart, Ceres Community Project's Annual Fundraising Celebration~Saturday, August 11, 5:30-9:30
Tea & Talk: Ceres Community Connections presents -- Let's Talk! Potluck and Informal Q&A. Wednesday, September 19, 6-7:30 pm.
With JoEllen DeNicola, Ceres' Nutrition Director. Click for more information.
Healing Foods Cooking Course--New Series starting on August 16th and September 13th. These will be the last series offered in 2012.
This multi-part course provides valuable hands-on cooking instruction and knowledge to support healing and long-term health. Open to those dealing with serious illness and their caregivers, with limited slots open to healthcare professionals. Please click here for more information. *NB: you must attend a Healing Foods Basics class as a prerequisite to enrolling in the series.
Volunteer Orientation, Tuesday, August 21, 5:30-6:30 pm in the Ceres Meeting Room at 7351 Bodega Avenue in Sebastopol
Healing Foods Basics--Thursday, September 6, 6-7:30 pm
Get an overview of Ceres' approach to wellness, with tips on nutrition, healing foods, pantry basics and much more. Sliding scale. Click for more information or to register.