Celebration Table: Crowdsourcing a More Sustainable Local Food Culture.

by: Nick Cope

July 3, 2012

WILD friend Shannon Mustipher tells a different kind of story. As a creative professional living in New York, she faces the daily stresses that many of us encounter, however, she has decided to take the city head on and get back to her roots (that’s a pun). Now she is raising funds to expand her understanding of sustainable agriculture. Without further adieu, Shannon speaks for herself:

Two summers ago I decided to take a hiatus from my work as a fashion stylist to gather inspiration for the next phase of my career. My plan was simple: to do nothing for the next three months apart from anything that felt simple, easy, and fun. As the weeks rolled by, a curious pattern emerged: I planted a vegetable garden behind my brownstone and wandered the city’s Greenmarkets, sometimes visiting two in one day. Cookbooks began to crowd my Kindle and coffee table; while my kitchen, which had in prior months seen scant use, began to hum with activity.

I became intrigued by the history of food in America, and began to research the history of the dishes I’d eaten growing up in Charleston, SC. I discovered that the the Afro Carribean roots of Lowcountry cuisine, contained within it a simple and economically accessible approach to eating sustainably today. By summer’s end, it was clear that my future lay in food; I wanted more than anything to help people eat better.

After completing internships with an organic farm, a local CSA, and a Brooklyn-based food activist, I began writing a zine called Superette, and consulting with food industry clients to incorporate sustainable and traditional practices into their business.  In a short time, I have already worked with great clients, including The Stand Syrups and Preserves, Art in the Age Spirits, and Kinfolk Magazine.  This spring, I was offered an opportunity to further my dream of making a meaningful contribution the movement underway to grow a new generation of healthy eaters – I have been approached to create food educational programs for youth.  I also was offered a spot at Sterling College’s highly selective sustainable food systems intensive in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, where I plan to focus my studies on developing these workshops and  proposal for the accompanying cookbook, called Celebration Table.   It’s projects and recipes – and my work with food overall, emphasizes the value to be found in working together to build and nurture communities

To learn more about my project and how you can help make it a reality by contributing or spreading the word, please click on this link to my campaign page.


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