Talkin’ Beer

Posted by Carolyn on October 28, 2010 at 8:39 am


I’m just back from New York, which is fast becoming the ‘new food movement’ capital of the west. More about that soon, but first, among my many extraordinary experiences in an action-packed week, the most surreal: my unexpected appearance on Heritage Radio, a wonderful foodie channel set up by Patrick Martins, founder of Slow Food USA. The station is housed in a shipping container in the garden of Roberta’s pizzeria (see below), purveyors of some of the most delicious pizzas I have ever eaten, the ingredients for which are grown by Ben Flanner on Brooklyn Grange farm, one the city’s growing number of rooftop farms (see what I mean??).

The show was Beer Sessions, hosted by bar owner and restaurateur Jimmy Carbone, an New York-Italian bundle of Falstaffian energy and bonhomie (that’s him at the top). Jimmy is a legend amongst New York foodies, and his side room at No.43 (on East 7th Street) is a nexus of every kind of foodie activity, including, last December, the New York version of ‘Dirt Cafe Sitopia’.

Jimmy is also very serious about good beer, so when he invited me onto his show, I was somewhat nervous, having what can only be described as a patchy knowledge on the subject. My feelings intensified as I sat listening to detailed discussions about, amongst other things, the properties of artisanal beers and the problems inherent in managing seventy ‘lines’ in one bar, but I needn’t have worried. Jimmy is a great host, and somehow got me talking about London brewers and pubs, hops and taverns – and Samuel Pepys – as if I had thought of nothing else all my life. In fact, the whole thing was a hoot. Thanks, Jimmy!

If you want to hear my ramblings, and learn quite a bit about beer, click Beer Sessions“>here:


Sitopian Economics

Posted by Carolyn on October 14, 2010 at 2:47 pm

What are sitopian economics? I am no economist, so I can’t answer that question precisely. However, if we are to create a better, more equable and sustainable way of life by thinking through food (ie create sitopia) then clearly we are going to need different economic models to those we have at present. Sitopia is about understanding the true value of food and what it represents, so nothing could be more central to its cause. I am therefore always keen to ask economists how they think economics might be changed in order to create a more sitopian world. This usually leads to a lively discussion, from which I emerge with some fuzzy ideas, but nothing concrete. Imagine my delight, therefore, when Niels Peter Hahnemann responded to my challenge by writing his own sitopian economic vision. Niels Peter is married to the famous Danish chef Trine Hahnemann, so theirs is a sitopian family, and I must say that his piece, attached here, captures the essence of sitopia beautifully, and is the most eloquent description of how the messy, shared exchanges of food might translate into a new economic reality that I have read. Niels Peter: thank you!

Groningen Regional Food Vision

Posted by Carolyn on October 11, 2010 at 6:13 pm

My current work is focused on sitopia, or food-place: the idea that we can use food as a tool to rethink how we live, as discussed in the final chapter of Hungry City. I am doing this in various ways, one of the most exciting of which is my collaboration with the northern Dutch city of Groningen, with whom I am developing a ‘Regional Food Vision’. The vision is a way of rethinking the city and its region through food, to reconnect city and country, and create new social and physical networks for a better and more sustainable future. We launched the initiative two weeks ago, and there has already been considerable interest. I am thrilled to be working with Groningen, and will keep you posted as our vision develops.