Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

JOIN THE CLUB! With Farm Aid 2013 just days away, we're chatting with HOMEGROWN member and From Scratch Club founder Christina Davis. Chris is also HOMEGROWN's barn-raising partner in putting together the awesome lineup for this year's HOMEGROWN Skills Tent on the concert grounds. Not familiar with From Scratch Club? Well, if you live in New York State's Capital Region, you might want to sidle over toward these folks—a small group making a sustained connection to their kitchens, gardens, and communities by being advocates for local food, farming, and home cooking—and make friends. You can start by getting to know Chris, below! (That's her in the teal pants, center, along with Marisa McClellan, author of Food in Jars, and Alana Chernila, author of The Homemade Pantry, plus 50-odd FSC participants at an August 2012 food swap; photo copyright Tim Raab 2012.)

What is Meet Your Neighbors? We can spend a fair amount of time tending our online gardens, but it’s easy to forget there’s a real person behind every quiche recipe, chicken inquiry, and hoophouse design here on HOMEGROWN. Well, nuts to that! MYN gives us a chance to meet over the back fence and shake hands.

Views: 157

Comment by HOMEGROWN.org on September 17, 2013 at 11:39am

All right, Chris, first things first: Where did the idea for From Scratch Club come from, anyway?

Comment by From Scratch Club on September 17, 2013 at 12:09pm

Well, back three and a half years ago my then-1 year old son was diagnosed with multiple life threatening food allergies (at that time: dairy, soy, gluten, all nuts, sesame, pea protein). I had come from a not-so-home-cooked background and lived all of my 20's in various large cities (eating out a lot or just cooking rice-n-beans) so I had NO IDEA how to cook! With a few friends, Amanda, Sarah, Leslie & Emma, I started a once-a-month recipe swap at a local coffee shop.

Then a few months in I thought: "Let's share recipes on a private blog"... I didn't know anything about blogs, but I thought the medium would be a way to easily share recipes & pictures of said meals.

Basically, as an only child I tend to reach out to people: friends, co0workers in time of need. I needed to learn how to cook almost everything from scratch, so I created a forum to do so = From Scratch Club!

Comment by HOMEGROWN.org on September 17, 2013 at 12:12pm

So stinkin' cool—and what an awesome reminder of the power of food to connect us! OK, so we know there's the blog, where things started. And we know there are food swaps (exhibit A: the photo above). What other pies does From Scratch Club have its finger in?

Comment by From Scratch Club on September 17, 2013 at 12:23pm

HAHA! We love pie.... but that's for a separate conversation :)

Our programs focus on getting the word out about food in ANYWAY that we can. Our motto has become: {MAKING} food matter together (which I will give credit to the Homegrown Skills Tent teacher: Erika Tebbens-- 12:30 Curing Bacon 101-- for coining our motto). Without a team effort in the good food movement, there is no cultural shift. 

So with that said:
1. we have the blog which has over 30 contributors from Alan Richardson, a well-known cookbook author to Elizabeth Barbone, a national gluten-free advocate and chef to the ladies of FSC: Erika, Christine, Becky, etc...

2. The Food Swaps: Monthly in Troy, NY and seasonally either in Saratoga Springs or Schenectady, NY

3. FSC Podcast: A real way to get the word out to those who don't read blogs: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/from-scratch-club-podcast/id506...

4. FSC Academy: Where we teach extremely detailed DIY classes on everything from Home Dairy 101 to Food Preservation to Seasonal Soap making. We teach these classes whereever we are asked to go: The Arts Center in Troy, NY. Honest Weight Food Coop, Healthy Living Market & Cafe in Saratoga Springs to local churches.

5. Community Outreach: Although we don't do these as much as we used to, we try to do local tabling- demoing our smaller projects, like making homemade butter in a jar, at various farmers markets around the Capital Region.

Lastly, and probably my most favor project is the FSC Book Club which my FSC Partner-in-Crime Christine Hmiel, captains. Basically its a No-Stress, Cook-Along Book Club based on Goodreads. When we select a book, the author has to agree to hand with us on the forum to answer questions, hang out and chat, etc... its been AMAZING!  http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/78962-fsc-book-club 

Comment by HOMEGROWN.org on September 17, 2013 at 12:28pm

Usually I drool over pie but right now I'm drooling over all the cool stuff you guys have going on. So, let's say someone in the Capital Region wants to get involved. How would he or she go about doing so? And then let's say someone not in the Capital Region wanted to get involved. Are there ways that could happen?

Comment by From Scratch Club on September 17, 2013 at 12:36pm

First things first, if folks are local, they should come to a FSC Food Swap! They can mingle with FSCers, but most importantly, they can meet the amazingly talented DIYers in the Capital Region! Folks who don't want to swap can come- not problem- as a Swap-Curious attendee-- as the gathering is sooo social and more than just a swap, we invite anyone and everyone to come out and celebrate DIY & Home Cooking.

Tickets, for our next swap happening the day after Farm Aid, Sunday September 22nd 4-6pm at Oakwood Community Center, Troy NY, can be found here: http://fscfoodswapsept2013-eorg.eventbrite.com/

As for those not local, comment on the blog, comment and chat with us on our Facebook pages or simply join the FSC Book Club. The book club is 228 dedicated members strong and its REALLY a unique platform for folks to chat-food. Home Cooked food. 

Comment by HOMEGROWN.org on September 17, 2013 at 12:41pm

Hooray for all! OK, so, tell us honestly: Are you mosaic-tiling your kitchen back splash, Martha Stewart–style, in your spare time between 2 and 3 a.m.? What's next on your own DIY agenda, food or otherwise?

Comment by From Scratch Club on September 17, 2013 at 12:51pm

HAHA! No No and No! I am playing LEGOS with my 4 year old son whenever I am not cooking :) For the record, my DIY Spirit pretty much stops at the kitchen doorway. Can I create curtains: nope. Can I hem my pants: npoe. Can I knit- nope. haha!

The great thing, about FSC that I am most proud of, is that we are REAL people. We have fulltime jobs, we have other hobbies, we love fast food, but we also love everything about REAL food: the farms, the farmers, the cookbooks, and the time taken to cook/grow/preserve your own. We do not preach and DO NOT "do DIY 24/7". We try to give realistic projects and recipes to try....just a little "DIY" in a family's life moves the food dial farther from "convenience-food/large farms" to the "local organic, family-owned, home-made" section of the dial. 

The next thing I'm tackling is my upcoming classes at The Arts Center & Healthy Living Market: Waterbath Canning & Home Dairy 101 and of course, FARM AID!! We all can't wait! Personally, I wanna tackle more DIY non-dairy milks in my life and honestly, since going fulltime (see below), I need to tackle organizing meals. I've gotten off the bandwagon and its making me twitch!

I should also mention that from all the four years of FSC, I have scored the best job in the world for a person like me: Demo Coordinator at Healthy Living Market & Cafe in Saratoga. I am the home cooking advocate/educator and Local Vendor advocate (vendors can come in as much as once a month to meet & greet with Guests). FSC has given me more than I could ever mention.... The community, the friends, the kitchen confidence... I am so grateful.

Comment by HOMEGROWN.org on September 17, 2013 at 12:57pm

You deserve all kinds of good things, my dear! And speaking of grateful, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us today and for playing such a mega important role in pulling together the HOMEGROWN Skills Tent schedule for Farm Aid 2013. Before we let you go, one last question. It's one we ask all Meet Your Neighbors interviewees, but given your focus on REAL food and REAL people, you might have an answer that all of us—even the busiest of folks—can steal. What's for dinner in your house tonight?

Comment by From Scratch Club on September 17, 2013 at 2:04pm

To make life easier for my husband & I, we always do a theme-night during the week. "Taco Night", "Brenner Night", "Pasta Night". These rotate and aren't the same every week, but its a REALLY helpful way to organize weeknight dinner at home.

Tonight is Rice Night: For our leftover white rice it is: Fried Rice with West Wind Acre's Ground Beef and veggies from our Denison Farm CSA... then for our leftover batch of brown rice, I will make a super-quick Orange Chicken (orange juice, soy sauce, fish sauce, scallions, shallots, salt to taste). 

When in a pinch I always try to cook rice in my rice cooker, while I'm at work, so at least I have that if nothing else!

In conclusion, thanks for having me for this series of Meet your Neighbor! See you Saturday #RoadToFarmAid2013


You need to be a member of HOMEGROWN to add comments!



HOMEGROWN.org created this Ning Network.



Join us on:


  • Add Videos
  • View All


  • Add Photos
  • View All

© 2023   Created by HOMEGROWN.org.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

Community Philosphy Blog and Library