Raising Kale tackles honest food issues served with joy. What
does broccoli have to do with a chefarmer in Illinois and a
school kid in California? And what is a chefarmer anyhow? If
eating your vegetables can make you healthier, listening to
Raising Kale will make you smarter–without any snooty side
effects. Raising Kale shares vegetable stories from across
America. I’ll talk to chefs, community activists, healthcare
providers, and even elementary kids.
The series hails from America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital, Sacramento,
California, hosted by Amber Stott, Chief Food Genius of the
nonprofit Food Literacy Center.
You don’t have to run a business or have a visionary idea to help
improve our food system. We need these people–but we also need
you! You can plug into the amazing projects that exist around the
country, and during each episode, I’ll tell you how.
In this week’s episode, we hear from Lisa Gross, owner of
Kitchens. She’s the founder of a business that at every
level values women in ways that are revolutionary. Packed into
one company, she has managed to capture what America needs most
right now: meaningful cultural exchange, putting women at the
center of the story, celebrating diversity, celebrating
immigrants, and being revolutionary by paying women for their
talents (talents, I will add, that have been taken for granted
historically as household “duties”).
As the daughter of a Korean immigrant and a Jewish New Yorker,
Lisa Gross was raised on one grandmother’s denjang-guk and the
other’s matzoh ball soup. Her company, The League of Kitchens, which
employs immigrant women as in-home cooking instructors, is borne
out of her passion for New York City, her love of cooking, and
her connection to the immigrant experience. Lisa is an artist,
educator, and social entrepreneur.
This week, I speak with Kara Heckert, a regional director at the
nonprofit American Farmland
Trust. Its mission is to save America’s farms and ranches.
Kara works there on agricultural sustainability and natural
resource conservation in California. America’s farmers are facing
some very real challenges right now. Wildfires, drought, loss of
farmland, and a history of discrimination. In this episode, we
look more closely at all these issues.
“Supporting our local agriculture and farmland needs to be looked
at as a public health issue. Local food is seen as healthier…
local farming is better for the climate… there’s all sorts of
In this week’s episode, I talk about rice with farmer Michael
Bosworth. Michael is a different kind of rice farmer. While the
majority of California rice is grown for sushi, Michael has
shifted to nurturing unique varieties of grains grown less with a
focus on yield and instead with a focus on flavor. His new
company, True Origin
Foods, was a small idea before the pandemic hit.
Today, with the rise in home cooking and the growing consumer
desire to buy local, Michael’s business model is
thriving. Michael Bosworth is founder and CEO of Next Generation Foods, and
co-founder of his newest venture, True Origin Foods, an
artisan rice and pantry staple food brand. He’s a California
farmer, born and raised!
This week’s episode, I speak with Joan Smith, a date farmer whose
fruits are so delicious they’ve been featured in magazines! She
shares her favorite date recipes, fun facts about date plants,
tales of her farm dogs, and how she makes a point to give back to
Dates are such a fascinating desert fruit. They grow on date palm
trees, which may be one of the oldest cultivated trees in the
world, dating back over 5,000 years. They’re not only tasty, but
they’re a pretty cool food to learn about, too.
Today’s guest teaches us all sorts of fun facts. I learned so
much talking to her!
As Americans search for ways to cook more at home with limited
time, the blender provides easy answers. It’s a useful tool in
our search for healthier eating, too. What easier way to turn
kale into breakfast?
No one cooks with a blender better than my friend, Tess!
Tess Masters is an actor, lifestyle personality, and cookbook
author. She’s been featured in the LA Times, Washington Post,
Glamour, and more. She was recently the spokesperson for
KitchenAid. She runs the popular website, The Blender Girl.
Today’s guest is one of these Americans–a busy mom who wanted to
leave a better food legacy for her family, so she started a meal
planning company, The Fresh
20. In this episode, we talk about her tips for being
practical in the kitchen, how she raises healthy children, and
how she feels inside her healthier body.
Melissa Lanz is a former marketing executive who quit her day job
to focus on healthy food. She’s an author of the book The Fresh
20, and runs a meal planning service with the same name.
She’s been featured in The New York Times, Instyle, among others,
and as a contributing editor for Shape Magazine. She’s also a
wonderful cook, a mother, and a good human.
It’s an exciting time to meet the heroes hard at work
preserving the food traditions of their ancestors and sharing
them with the rest of us. Beth Lee is one of these heroes.
Beth Lee shares recipes from her multicultural family on her
website, OMG! Yummy. Her recently released cookbook is a journey
into the baking traditions of the Jewish diaspora, called The
Essential Jewish Baking Cookbook.
We start Season 2 in America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital, Sacramento,
California. Our farmer, Sara Bernal, works on an urban farm
that’s run by the nonprofit, Center for Land-Based
Sara Bernal is a farmer, a community activist, a rad human, and a
true Kale Raiser! She has lived and worked around the world from
Bangladesh to Italy, but it’s in West Sacramento, California
where she’s transforming her community through food. She’s the
program manager for the nonprofit Center for Land-Based Learning,
where she runs an urban farm program that trains new farmers,
feeds the hungry, and tirelessly makes the world a better place.
When Rockstar Gavin Rossdale of the band Bush heard about this
podcast, he offered to lend his celebrity status to help us get
the word out. When he’s not singing and playing guitar, Gavin’s
passion is cooking! If he wasn’t a musician, he would have been a
David Lebovitz started his culinary career at Chez Panisse in Berkeley,
California, working with Chef Alice Louise Waters (episode 4 guest). He’s
been featured in Oprah, Bon Appetit, and many more culinary
publications. In 2019, Saveur magazine awarded his website their first-ever
Blog of the Decade. David shares his journey from washing dishes
in a strip mall steakhouse to living and cooking in Paris.
Danielle Nierenberg is the president and co-founder of the
nonprofit think tank, Food Tank. The nonprofit focuses on
building a global community for safe, healthy, nourished eaters.
In other words, they keep consumers informed about issues
affecting our food. Danielle has traveled the world to learn
about solutions to our broken food system.
In this episode we hear from scientist Michael Mazourek, who’s
designing new vegetables. He’s doing something radical with our
food–he’s making it taste better! He is an actual kale
raiser–as in, he breeds the seeds that grow vegetables. It
all started with a challenge from chef Dan Barber to build a
better butternut squash.
Diana Flores wants to transform school kitchens into school
restaurants. She serves as the director of Nutrition Services for
California’s 3rd largest school district, Sacramento City
Unified. It’s a low-income school district that’s cooking up
30,000 school lunches per day! Diana is proactively pushing back
against heavy-handed restrictions that limit the quality of their
meals. In this episode, you’re going to hear how school lunch
is supposed to be done!
In this episode we speak with Robert Egger, an original
nonprofit kale raiser. He has started multiple nonprofits in his
career, including DC
Central Kitchen and LA Kitchen. He flips the script on what
solving hunger looks like. His work is responsible for feeding
seniors, giving jobs to the homeless, and training the formerly
incarcerated–all in an effort to improve our food system. He
describes a visit from President Obama, where formerly
incarcerated culinary trainees were giving the President
instructions in the kitchen.
This week we learn how food creates careers for people who were
once considered unemployable. We’ll hear from Aviva Paley,
co-founder of Kitchens for Good - an incredible job training
program for the homeless and also talk to one of the program’s
trainees about his new career as a vegan chef!
Since 2014, Lisa Lin of the recipe site, Healthy Nibbles, has
featured healthy recipes like avocado toast with orange honey
shrimp or easy blueberry smoothies. Hailing from America’s
Farm-to-Fork Capital, turning farmers market crops into healthy
meals comes easily to her.
A few years ago, Lisa started including something special on her
website: her mom! Some of Lisa’s most popular recipes are classic
Chinese dishes she’s learned from her mom, like scallion
Alexandra Garcia is passionate about improving the lives of
people and the planet. She currently serves as the Chief Program
Officer for the World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit founded by
Chef Jose Andres. The organization’s goal is to change the world
through the power of food. Listen to hear how Alexandra is
building resilience though breadfruit!
Alice Waters is widely known in California for her pioneering
efforts to create California cuisine at her restaurant Chez
Panisse, which focuses on farm-fresh, seasonal ingredients. She
also established one of the first school-based programs, Edible
Schoolyard, to inspire children to cook and eat this way. She’s
an author, an activist, and a true kale raiser.
How does food connect to social justice? And what does that have
to do with school lunch? Our third guest Krystal Oriadha is
the Senior Director of Programs and Policy for the National Farm
to School Network. She’s raising kale all over the nation!
What is a Chefarmer? Our second guest Ken Myszka of Epiphany
Farms diverted his career as a successful chef in elite
restaurants, moved to Illinois to follow his heart and his
values, and became a farmer–and quickly failed at