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James Beard Award-winner Chris Smith and Tessa L. Desmond discuss okra as a model crop for a new, more resilient approach to agriculture in a changing climate.
This event will be in-person. You can also watch on YouTube (linked here).
Smith’s book, “The Whole Okra,” is a lighthearted, information-rich collection of okra history, lore, recipes, craft projects, growing advice and more. Foremost, it’s a foodie’s book but Smith also provides practical tips and techniques for home and market gardeners. Smith has grown over 75 varieties of okra, and he describes the nuanced differences in flavor, texture, and color. He also gives directions for seed saving, for a plant breeding project, and what to do with a stockpile of okra seed that can be used to make okra oil, okra flour, okra tempeh, and more.
As executive director of the Utopian Seed Project, Smith is at the vanguard of public plant breeding for climate resilience in a warmer, less certain agricultural landscape. In addition to okra, Smith has farming expertise in collards, taro, and other tropical and sub-tropical crops which he is adapting for Western North Carolina. The Utopian Seed Project is a food and farm-focused non-profit that advocates for seeds and the diversity they represent. In addition to his work with Utopian, Smith collaborates on The Heirloom Collard Project, hosts a seasonal Trial to Table event series in Asheville, and publishes Crop Stories, a crop-specific multimedia project. In addition to his work on the “The Whole Okra” book, Smith co-hosts “The Okra Pod Cast.” n 2023, he was awarded the Organic Growers’ School’s Organic Educator Award. Visit utopianseed.org for more information about his work and blueandyellowmakes.com for his blog.
Chris Smith is executive director of the Utopian Seed Project, a food and farm focused non-profit. A passionate advocate of seeds and the diversity they represent, Chris collaborates on The Heirloom Collard Project, hosts a seasonal Trial to Table event series, and publishes Crop Stories, a crop specific multimedia project. His book, "The Whole Okra," won a James Beard Foundation Award in 2020 and he is the co-host of "The Okra Pod Cast." In 2023, he was awarded the Organic Growers School's Organic Educator Award. More info at blueandyellowmakes.com and utopianseed.org.
Tessa Lowinske Desmond is a scholar and a farmer. She teaches classes on food, farming, and literature in the Effron Center for the Study of American at Princeton University and co-directs The Seed Farm@Princeton and the Princeton Food Project. She also owns a homestead farm where she cares for sheep, chickens, and a big kitchen garden. Her research interests focus on community-engaged scholarship and community seed saving. She is also a board member with the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey.
Presented in partnership with The Seed Farm at Princeton, The Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey, and Land, Language and Art, a Global Initiative from the Princeton University Humanities Council.
Part of the Mayors Wellness Campaign.
|Mon, May 29||Closed|
|Tue, May 30||9:00AM to 9:00PM|
|Wed, May 31||9:00AM to 9:00PM|
|Thu, Jun 01||9:00AM to 9:00PM|
|Fri, Jun 02||9:00AM to 6:00PM|
|Sat, Jun 03||9:00AM to 6:00PM|
|Sun, Jun 04||12:00PM to 6:00PM|