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Archive for the ‘18 Reasons’ Category

Good Food Education: Visit our 18 Reasons Table at the Good Food Awards Marketplace!

18ReasonsLogoWe are thrilled to be spearheading the first ever Good Food Education component of the Good Food Awards. In planning their event for this weekend, the organizers of the Awards asked us to bring our experience in food education to the Good Food Marketplace at the Ferry Building!

Come find our table on Saturday, January 19th to test your knowledge of all things artisanal. We’ll challenge you to trivia about what it means for makers of chocolate, coffee, charcuterie, beer and other foods to produce in a socially and environmentally responsible way (while aiming for maximum tastiness).

1gfaWe will be giving away great prizes like a copy of Bi-Rite’s Eat Good Food, Good Food Awards t-shirts and 18 Reason’s memberships to whoever can answer trivia stumpers about how Good Food is produced. Find us near the Beer & Spirits Garden!

Here are some teasers to get you warmed up for the kind of questions we’ll be asking:

Q. Fill in the blank: All chocolate entries for a Good Food Award must be made from _____ to bar or _____to bar.

A. Bean, Liquor

Q. What type of resource conservation must Good Food Award Finalist breweries practice?

A. Water


Community Corner: December

Updates on our work to build community through food and service last month

Shak moving thousands of lbs of produce from Tomatero Farm to Community Partners United

Highlights:  December was all about depth with key community partners:

  • In our first 18th St. Holiday Joy Drive, we collected 172 toys in four days! This means 172 families will had a happier holiday courtesy of Arriba Juntos, our guests and amazing staff. You all rock!
  • We helped Community Partners United feed 250 families living in housing projects in the Western Addition. With Matt, Simon, and Chili’s help, we provided 250 free range turkeys, 500 bunches of cooking greens, and over 1,100 lbs. of fresh produce – cranberries, sweet potatoes, onions, carrots and satsumas!
  • Through proceeds of our EAT GOOD FOOD book sales, we were able to provide Nextcourse and Community Alliance for Family Farmers (CAFF) with a donation of $8,750  each.
  • The Creamery spread some holiday sweetness by donating 900 sugar and gingerbread cookies to St. Anthony’s Foundation, A Women’s Place shelter and SF General Hospital.
  • We’re becoming a shareholder in People’s Community Market, making sound investment in the nutritional, social and economic needs of the West Oakland community.
  • We continued our yearly holiday giving by supporting the organizations our staff cares about including, LYRIC, Homeless Prenatal Program, Mission Preparatory School, Compass Family Services, Mission Community Market, SF SPCA and 18Reasons!

Get Involved with Organizations We Support:

  • Love digging in the dirt? Garden for the Environment needs volunteers for their demonstration urban garden every Wednesday and Saturday. Just show up ready to work – call (415) 731-5627 for more info.
  • Project Open Hand needs over 100 volunteers every single day to help provide 2,500 nutritious meals and 400 bags of groceries to the needy. Fight the post-holiday slump and sign up for an orientation: (415) 447-2313.

Know of great volunteer opportunities? Spending some quality time at a worthy local organization that could use Bi-Rite’s support? Let Shakirah know!

Who we donated to in December (43 organizations):

18 Reasons


Alameda County Food Bank

Animal Care and Control

Arriba Juntos


Chefs Collaborative

Children’s Book Project

Community Alliance with Family Farmers

Community Partners United (c/o SF Parks Alliance)

Community United Against Violence (CUAV)

Compass Family Services

Cornucopia Institute

Creativity Explored

Curry Senior Center

Garden for the Environment

Health at Home – SFDPH

Homeless Prenatal Program

KPFA Radio

Larkin Street Youth Services


Margaret Jenkins Dance Company

Mercy Housing CA

Mission Community Market (c/o SF Parks Alliance)

Mission Graduates

Mission Preparatory School

National Kidney Foundation

Next Course

Our Family Coalition

People’s Community Market

Project Open Hand

San Francisco Living Wage Coalition

San Francisco Rock Project

Sauvie Island Center

SF Parks Alliance – Urban Sprouts



Shukuru Foundation

Slow Food USA

Southeast Mission Geriatric Services

Streetside Stories

The Daphne Zepos Teaching Award\American Cheese Education Foundation

Three Squares/Cooking Matters




Live from 18th Street, it’s the Bi-Rite Christmas Spectacular!

We’re not as pretty all lined up as the Rockettes, but we still want to wish you a Merry Merry!

Our guest Phil playing Santa at the Joy Drive

This Christmas, we feel extra fortunate to be part of such a giving community: in our first ever 18th St. Holiday Joy Drive, we collected 172 toys in 4 days! This means that 172 low-income families in the Mission will have a happier holiday this year, because of our guests and staff. You were super generous, giving everything from jewelry making kits and baseballs to classic children’s books, board games, remote control cars, one awesome twisty skateboard and a Mr. Potato Head! THANK YOU.






The Circle of the Gift

Lamotte's Romanesco Broccoli

“A work of art is a gift, not a commodity. Or, to state the modern case with more precision, that works of art exist simultaneously in two ‘economies,’ a market economy and a gift economy. Only one of these is essential, however: a work of art can survive without the market, but where there is no gift there is no art.”

-Lewis Hyde, “The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World”

It calls your attention from the street, but step inside and you feel its full presence. Viewed either as a collection or as dozens of individual works, Michael Lamotte’s selection of stunning photographs from his project: From the Source (on display at 18 Reasons through January), embodies Hyde’s astute claim: “a work of art is a gift.”

Lamotte's Saucisson Provencal

Lamotte has a gift. Talent is a gift. Lamotte is unarguably a talented photographer. And his photographs, the physical artifacts of his gift, possess the same spirit as their maker, making them a gift in and of themselves.

On opening night, I observed the gift of reciprocity as the photographs (and the artist) were given a new energy from the outpouring of supporters who came to pack our community space. In the receiving of these works and the witnessing of Lamotte’s talent, the community was also bestowed with a gift.

Perhaps what makes artists involved with, and artworks exhibited at, 18 Reasons most special is their unique stance under the umbrella of modern art. The art here never stands alone. Food, agriculture, and community always stand by its side to form a network of interconnected purpose.

Lamotte’s From the Source project is a testament to this. It is a visual survey of local food taking form as both a blog and as aesthetically gripping black and white images of foods from small, local producers. Its intention is to foster a deeper level of appreciation for the foods and those who make them. In support of Lamotte’s work, several local food vendors whose products are represented in From the Source were present on opening night, some gracious enough to donate food for the public to enjoy free of charge. This is proof that giving breeds more giving.

This enacting of the gift economy is symbolically important because all three overarching entities—18 Reasons, Bi-Rite, and Michael Lamotte’s From the Source project—share the same core value: to create and strengthen community. All three aim to show that richness is measured in giving—an important message to spread especially during a holiday season that has become colored by commodification, consumerism, and a hollow desire to accumulate.

The clincher: although it is unavoidable, as Hyde points out in the above quote, that works of art exist in both a market economy and a gift economy, Lamotte turns the commodification element of the market economy on its head by vowing to donate all proceeds from works sold in the show to benefit the SF Chapter of Slow Food. Hence, the circle of the gift continues to grow!

Gifting an Experience Instead of an Ebelskiver

Shak looking "hella cute" in our new 18 Reasons aprons (Olivia's words)

This holiday season, consider giving the cook, gardener, and eater in your life a hands-on experience at 18 Reasons, our community art and event arm, where we teach folks from all skill levels how to feel comfortable cooking at home. This seems more useful to us than an Ebelskiver Pan or whatever else they’ve acquired in holidays past! If there’s a food lover on your list, we have the perfect gift to match their appetite:

Membership:  A year’s worth of discounts to 18 Reasons classes and treats at our supporting businesses. ($35-90, details here)

Aprons: Fresh off the presses, these were hand-printed by a San Francisco artist; the apron is 100% organic cotton, and is adjustable using the trusty sliding strap. Buy yours at Bi-Rite Market or 18 Reasons; all proceeds to go to our youth community work. ($35)

18 Reasons Gift Box: A starter kit for new members to the 18 Reasons community. Available at Bi-Rite Market and 18 Reasons, includes an 18 Reasons apron, 18 Reasons membership, copy of Eat Good Food, and a coupon for 20% off your bill at one 18th Hour Cafe on Thursdays from 6-10. ($100)

Our new 18 Reasons Gift Box

Classes: Hands-on opportunities to grow, cook, and eat delicious food; check out our exciting lineup of January events below and sign your friend up today!

Polenta: The Delicious Economy of Italian Cooking: three part hands-on cooking class all about how to eat well and spend little with our favorite Viola Buitoni (January 6, 8 and 20; $250 for 18 Reasons members; $300 for the general public; tickets here)

Flavor in Spades: learn how to add depth of flavor and a certain je ne sais quois to your cooking (Mondays, January 7, 28 and February 4; $55/65 per class; $150/180 for series; tickets here)

Unsung: Cooking with the Neglected and Beautiful Vegetables of Winter (Sundays, January 13+17 and February 10+24; $110/125 per class; $400/450 for series; tickets here)

Urban Gardening School: Six month edible gardening introduction (Third Wednesday and Saturdays of the month, January-June; Sliding scale: $350-425; tickets here)

Taking Stock: The Eat Good Food Pantry:  two part class on how to create delicious flavor from pantry basics based on Bi-Rite Market’s favorite oils, vinegars, beans, grains, and more. (January 14 and February 11; $100 for 18 Reasons members; $120 for the general public (for both classes); tickets here)

Food Lit Book Club: Read, Eat and Discuss: (Third Sunday of the Month, January-March, 11AM-1PM; $30 for all three sessions; tickets here)

Feeding Your Soul: Mindful Cooking & Eating: (Wednesday, January 16, 7-9PM; $25 member price; $35 general; tickets here)


Cooking in the Outdoor Classroom…with Kaiser’s Support!

One of the most pressing issues facing our children and communities today is the obesity epidemic.   In San Francisco, as in other areas throughout the country, the obesity epidemic disproportionately impacts low-income communities. Among low-income San Francisco youth ages 5-19, 43% are overweight or obese according to the San Francisco Childhood Obesity Task Force.  The city’s Latino and African American children have the highest rates of obesity, at 28.3% and 24.6% respectively. Furthermore, in San Francisco, only 25% of kids eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables each day, as reported by the 2009 California Health Interview Survey.

We believe that we can change these statistics, and with Kaiser’s support, we are going to put our beliefs into action.

18 Reasons is honored to be part of Education Outside’s Grounds for Healthy Kids Project, which just won a $20,000 grant from Kaiser Foundation Hospitals! Over the past year, we have developed a cooking and gardening curriculum together called Cooking the Common Core, which we can now fully implement in ten San Francisco Unified School District elementary schools , thanks to this support from KFH. We couldn’t be more excited!!

Launched in Spring 2012 in partnership with 18 Reasons, Cooking the Common Core is the first SFUSD teacher training series to promote garden-based cooking in order to inspire kids to prepare and eat healthy food.  This new garden-based cooking series, geared towards 4th and 5th grade teachers and outdoor educators, is focused on using the art and science of cooking to teach the new Common Core academic standards.  As we have discovered, cooking is a fun and creative way to bring subjects such as math to life for students and teachers in their green schoolyards, all while instilling a love for growing and preparing healthy food.

The Cooking the Common Core pilot workshops took place in Spring 2012 and were a huge hit among the 48 teacher participants, with 100% of participants reporting increased knowledge of outdoor classroom teaching techniques, ecological concepts, and confidence in implementing the Cooking the Common Core standards-based content.  One participant remarked, “This training was extraordinary!  Great content, inspiring, well-delivered, exceeded my expectations.  I will teach both lessons in the near future.”

In 2013, we look forward to offering three Cooking the Common Core workshops aligned with English language arts and math Common Core Standards, and expect to serve approximately
60 teachers in SFUSD.  We will be serving some of San Francisco’s most under-served children.  The initiative’s target population includes 4,000 students, 200 teachers, and 5,000 parents from the following San Francisco public schools: ER Taylor (Portola); Bret Harte (Bayview-Hunters Pt.); Fairmount (Bernal Heights); Buena Vista/Horace Mann K-8 (Mission); Hillcrest (Excelsior); Jefferson (Inner Sunset); Sanchez (Mission District); New Traditions (Western Addition); Alvarado (Noe Valley); and Sherman Elementary (Marina/Cow Hollow).

I’ll be leading the 2013 workshops along with Joyce Lin- Conrad and Rachel Pringle of Education Outside , who together have more than a decade of experience teaching and developing cooking-related garden programming for youth. Each stand-alone workshop will provide teachers with all of the skills, lesson plans, inspiration, and supplies needed to implement two basic cooking lessons with their students in the garden classroom. At the end of the workshops, each teacher or team of teachers will receive a cooking kit to bring back to their school. The kits will contain the majority of the equipment, tools, and non-perishable supplies needed to execute the outdoor cooking lessons with a class of 20 students. Equipment and tools include a portable stove, cutting boards, knives, vegetable peelers, graters, and mixing bowls.

Want to join in on all this fun? We could use more support for Cooking the Common Core and the rest of our youth programming including culinary career courses at the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco,  career readiness mentorship with NextCourse and cooking and gardening summer camps at the Sanchez School.  To donate please click here and thank you!


18 Reasons Gallery Opening: From the Source

We’re celebrating our next 18 Reasons gallery exhibition this Friday, December 7th from 5-8 pm:

From the Source: A Visual Survey of Local Food
new works by Michael Lamotte

Food photographer Michael Lamotte’s black and white images of products from local purveyors, artisans and farmer’s markets will grace our gallery from December 7th thru January 25th. Treating food products as formal objects, Lamotte’s exquisite large format prints will be accompanied on opening night by tastings from several vendors featured in his work. The producers behind INNA Jam, Josey Baker, Dandelion Chocolate, and more are expected to be in attendance, highlighting the mutual support felt and shared between local food photographer and local food artisan.

The Gallery at 18 Reasons
3674 18th St

Holiday Party Platters from our Catering Team

Mini Crab Cakes with Lemon Aioli

I know you have turkey on the brain right now, but Thanksgiving is only the first holiday of the season.  This year our catering department is sure to be busier than last year, so we encourage you to plan your Holiday party early and call us to put in your order as soon as you can!

Our Peak of the Season Holiday menu will be available beginning Friday, November 30th; here’s a sneak peak at our savory menu:

Savory Tartlets with Truffle, Cauliflower, Ricotta, Parmesan and Chives

House-Smoked Salmon with Tobiko Caviar on Anna’s Daughter’s Rye with Caper Cream Cheese and Fresh Dill

Focaccia Flatbread with Pears, Bacon and Goat Cheese  

Mini Crab Cakes with Lemon Aioli

Beef Tenderloin Skewers with Horseradish-Chive Sour Cream Sauce

Mini Empanadas with Butternut Squash, Wild Mushrooms, Mascarpone, Rosemary and Chile Flakes

Spanish Tortilla with Spinach, House-Made Chorizo and Manchego Cheese; served with Romesco sauce

Looking for a venue to host your holiday gathering? Our community space 18 Reasons (located at 3674 18th Street, next door to the Creamery) is available to rent.  Book it for your party…we’ll cater the food and drink!  Dates are filling up fast, so submit a rental request here and call us (415-241-9760 x 1) with any questions.



18 + 2: 18 Reasons’ Outdoor Classroom Educator Training

18 Reason’s mission is to deepen our relationship to food and each other through educational programming. Over the past year we’ve worked with our friends at Education Outside to incorporate food education into San Francisco’s public school curriculum. To reach kids we need not only to work directly with them, but also work with their educators. We believe training the educator is a great way to expand our impact on the eating habits of young people. Since 2001, Education Outside has spearheaded the effort to transform San Francisco’s asphalt school playgrounds into living green schoolyards designed to improve student learning, foster the next generation of environmental leaders, and cultivate healthy kids.


The Label as Site of Intervention

A visual icon Americans have shopped for for decades

As 18 Reasons’ curator, my mission is to weave together the visual arts with the shopping, eating and cooking experienced in our Market, Creamery, and Farm. In that vein, I’m struck by the opportunity we have this month to begin shifting the visual culture of food shopping from the commercial to the behavioral—public health intervention through design.

In 1955 Berkeley, beat-poet Allen Ginsberg wrote his legendary poem, A Supermarket in California. In it, Ginsberg uses a fictional account of a visit to the supermarket as a metaphor for his dissatisfaction with issues such as economic materialism, domestic life, commodification, and sexual repression. Because I don’t have the space to properly divulge into such issues in this short post, I’d like to focus solely on the poem’s second line and bring its relevance into the present time.

Ginsberg writes, “In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket…”

What a tragic tone he casts—a society grown so estranged from its food sources that it is left to shop for images, simulations of food. But in 2012 a similar statement can be made regarding our grocery shopping habits. Shopping for images, for better or worse, has become the primary way in which many consumers hunt and gather their food today. Removed from the source and reliant on the package, labeling has become one of the main places where we meet the story of our food.

As we walk down the grocery aisles, visual identifiers such as slogans, logos, distinguishable colors, fonts, and buzz words jump off packages in an attempt to grab our attention and increase product sales. We seek Chester the Cheetos Cheetah because he is familiar. We seek words like “natural” and “fresh” because they have subconscious ecological, social, and health-based connotations. Although this detached relationship to our food is unfortunate, and largely caused by the predominantly industrialized food system, this vision-based form of harvesting remains a central part of our grocery shopping experience.

A visual icon we may be able to shop for more often if Prop 37 is passed

But here in California, in 2012, we have an opportunity to reimagine this visual relationship as more than just a marketing strategy, to reimagine our food packages as more than a place for a company to sell consumers its products. The label can become a site of intervention.

Prop 37, the initiative to mandate labeling of genetically modified foods, if passed, affords us this chance. By voting Yes on Prop 37, consumers get one step closer to having full, transparent disclosure regarding their food products.  Voting Yes on Prop 37 does not mean you are casting a vote on whether or not GMOs are good or bad; voting yes simply declares that we as consumers have a right to know how our food is produced. Voting Yes declares that we as consumers crave conscious choice.

The importance of voting with our forks has been stressed, but many times before the food reaches our forks, we must vote with ours eyes at the supermarket. And in order to accurately vote with ours eyes, we must vote at the polls.

Holiday Guide & Menus 2012

Click here to view and print our Holiday Guide! We’re taking pre-orders now, give us a call at 415-241-9760 x 3.

We’re so excited to bring you our first ever Holiday Guide, your one stop shop for a tasty holiday, Bi-Rite style. Inside you’ll find:

-Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah menus

-Turkey options: pre-order yours today!

-Holiday Wine Blitz details

-Sweet Weeks details

-Catering ideas–platters or full service

-Cheese platter tips and our favorites for the holiday

-Pies, holiday ice cream and other sweets from Bi-Rite Creamery

-Gift ideas: 18 Reasons classes, gift boxes, chocolates, special occasion booze, and more…

-Ordering info and deadlines for holiday pre-orders



Non-GMO Month at Bi-Rite: Two Opportunities for Conversation

We recommend voting YES on Prop 37 November 6th. But this isn’t about politics (yes genetically modified organisms are bad vs. no they’re not). It’s about transparency.

Transparency has been the foundation of Bi-Rite since the beginning, and it hinges on our ability to answer questions from our guests. It’s why we source direct, and work independently with hundreds of producers—so that we know the people who make the food, and there’s no middle man that’s a barrier between us and the information. So if we don’t have an answer, we know who to go to to get it. We want our guests to feel confident and comfortable and trust that what they’re buying at Bi-Rite is what they want.

We’ve been doing all we can to spread awareness around the big vote on November 6th–we want Californians to know that this is our opportunity to make a change at a state level that could go on to affect national policy as other California initiatives have. So we’ve organized two events that will happen in these last three weeks before the vote, and want to make sure you join us if you want to learn more about the complicated issue of GMO’s (or if you just think a scoop of non-GMO Caramel Apple Ice Cream sounds tasty!).

GMO Primer Discussion

This Sunday, October 21 from 1-3PM, 18 Reasons is hosting Dave Murphy, founder of Food Democracy Now! and Rebecca Spector, West Coast Director of the Center for Food Safety, for a conversation about GMOs and their affects on our health, environment, culture, and crop-diversity.  Oliveto Restaurant, 5655 College Avenue, Oakland (Right next to Rockridge Bart stop!); Register here: www.brownpapertickets.com/event/281022

Scoops for the Right to Know

We’ve partnered with Straus Family Creamery, true leaders in responsible dairy practices and champions of the campaign to require labeling of GMO foods, to spread the word about the vote on November 6th. Anne and Kris at the Creamery have come up with a special non-GMO ice cream flavor–Caramel Apple, so fall right now–which we’re scooping all the way through November 6th. The clincher is that the weekend before the vote, Saturday November 3rd and Sunday November 4th, we’re offering scoops of this flavor for just 37 cents!

The best thing about the upcoming vote is that it’s sparking conversation about what’s in our food, and our staff, guests and producers are all learning about the ins and outs of GMO’s together. Please share your thoughts in a comment!