March 16, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
To commemorate today’s book release, here’s an excerpt AND a chance to win a book!
I’m giving away a signed copy of Louisville Diners. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post that answers the following question: What is your favorite diner and why?
You have until Saturday, March 21 at 12:01 a.m. to leave a comment. I’ll announce a winner Monday, March 23.
Leave a comment
March 11, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
I’ll never forget that moment. The Food Literacy Project had just blown past its goal of meeting a $5,000 challenge grant from Kosair Charities after a raucous 20-minute reverse auction during our major fundraising event last September, the Field-to-Fork Dinner.
In retrospect, it wasn’t surprising. We’d had the Mayor speak, shown an incredibly impactful short video of our work with area children, and had a young man who’d participated the last two years say a few words about his experience to a packed room of 150 generous foodies. Then, as I struggled to keep up with calling out the flood of bid cards during the auction, Malcolm ran all around the room pointing out other cards I hadn’t noticed and earnestly thanking these generous donors for their support. When we learned that we’d raised more than $20,000, I made a beeline straight to him and his mother to say that he should be very proud of the role he played ensuring that his experience will be available to thousands of kids next year and into the future.
The Food Literacy Project does great work improving the lives of kids in our city by teaching them about fresh food, how to cook and eat it, and the benefits of getting your hands dirty growing it.
As you may have heard in a recent WFPL news story, the pilot year of the Farm to Family initiative at Hazelwood and Wellington Elementary Schools (made possible through a partnership with KentuckyOne Health, the Johnson & Johnson Foundation, and Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health) is showing promising results. Our intervention nearly doubled the number of kids who reported eating five servings of fruits and vegetables every day, from 23% to 41%. We also increased the number of kids who have eaten a vegetable they grew themselves from 59% to 91% and who know a healthy recipe from 63% to 93%. These are staggeringly successful numbers that are undoubtedly changing the lives of children and their families in our great city. More importantly, we’re empowering a new generation of kids, like Malcolm, by giving them a skill set that goes far beyond growing vegetables and cooking them.
Brackets for Good is a fun new fundraising competition in its first year in Louisville. It started when a group of people in Indianapolis realized they knew only a few non-profits to which they could donate. They decided to play on their city’s love of basketball and created a unique way for deserving programs to “compete” to raise funds, while also making it easy to learn about organizations doing good work in the area.
(Donors visit the Louisville Brackets for Good page, select the organization they want to support, and enter a points/dollar value for a donation. The winning organization receives an extra $10,000.)
The Food Literacy Project is honored to have been selected to participate in this year’s event. Even though we’re a lot smaller than some of the other organizations taking part, we’re confident that the more people hear about us, the more they want to support what we do.
So we’re planning to win the whole thing.
As a sign of our confidence, the Board of Directors has committed to dropping a $1,000 money bomb on the first day of round three of the tournament, which is this Saturday, March 14. But we need your help more than ever to make sure we win the second round. Please consider going to the Brackets for Good website to learn more about us and the other fine organizations taking part. Also please take a moment to “like” us on Facebook and to follow us on Twitter and Instagram so you can know about all the ways we’re inspiring a new generation to build healthy relationships with food, farming, and the land.
As for that moment I’ll never forget, it was the look of pride and achievement on Malcolm’s face when he realized what he’d helped accomplish. We at the Food Literacy Project are fond of saying that while we grow vegetables on the farm, it’s thoughtful, intelligent, caring, (and, yes) healthy kids like Malcolm that are the real fruits of our labor.
March 9, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
The Us Weekly was enough to make my Saturday a little brighter. Then I made it up the steps with my mail in one hand, my Chinese takeout in the other, when I saw a History Press/Arcadia Publishing box at my apartment door.
I’ve spent the past few weeks handling the business side of the publication of my first-ever book entitled Louisville Diners (brace yourselves, this is the first of many mentions of the book title). The work isn’t as sexy as you’d think. Writing is easy, but I’ve learned that you also have to handle your business like a boss.
So anyhoodles, a March 16 publication date had been floating around for a few weeks, but the arrival of my first copies from the publisher and confirmation of that date put everything into place. If I hadn’t been so hungry for Chinese and celebrity gossip, I might’ve dropped everything in my arms and ripped open the box right at my threshold. There was also an 18-pound
terrorterrier waiting for me who was more worried about a potty break than my debut into the publishing world. Eventually, I ripped through the box with my car key, jumped up and down without shaking anything to the ground, and shed a couple of happy tears as Roscoe gave me the stink eye for not leashing him up fast enough. I didn’t care about his judgement — a hard copy of my first-ever book was in my hands.
March 2, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
Last week was a whirlwind of wonderful. Between hosting two events (the University of Louisville’s Fryberger Greek Sing and The Moth StorySLAM), I was a judge at Desserts First, a fundraiser for the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana that took place at the Mellwood Arts Center last week. I’m pretty sure my participation as a judge ranks in the top five best experiences of my life.
February 26, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
I am the worst tooter of my own horn. It would be more noble to say it’s because I am modest. Really, it’s because I’m forgetful. I get so caught up in living that I forget to share the love with friends and family. My bad, guys.
Anyhoozers, here is an attempt to remedy that.
I’m co-hosting The Moth GrandSlam at 7 p.m. this Friday at the Kentucky Center for the Arts. I’m usually at the merch table at the Moth StorySlams at Headliners Music Hall, which usually take place on the last Tuesday of every month. I hosted one show in December, and the crowd was great, so I’m thrilled to have a chance to emcee the big event.
February 18, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
I’ve crept out of the warmth of my apartment for two reasons this week: to walk Roscoe and make a run to Kroger for more groceries.
Winter has reared its DESPICABLE head in Louisville. It’s cold. It’s snowy. It’s about to get worse as temperatures drop to -5 degrees tonight. Reporter Jacob Ryan did a story for WFPL News about being homeless in Louisville during this bout of winter weather. With the temperature dropping below 35 degrees, Wednesday night will be a White Flag night during which homeless shelters take in everyone who needs shelter. The shelters get overcrowded, and the food can run low. Here’s a blurb from Jacob’s article:
White Flag nights bring nearly 300 more people into shelters than other nights, said Natalie Harris, executive director of the Coalition for the Homeless. There are about 650 emergency shelter beds in the city… Local shelters have already used up all the funding provided by the city this year for White Flag nights, Harris said. Now, they are “operating solely on donations.”
It’s easy to complain about being cooped up in the house for a little too long, or having to dig yourself out to get to work. Yet a bunch of our neighbors are scrambling for the necessities in packed shelters. Between a third round of Scrabble and another Netflix marathon, why don’t we take a second to give a little back to our Louisville neighbors? You can donate to the Coalition for the Homeless here.
Leave a comment
February 16, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
This is going to sound like poppycock, but I don’t care. I might not ever leave the East End of Louisville. The grocery stores on this end of town keep me in their orbit, and now my favorite is setting up shop.
Aldi will open at Westport Road on March 5, according to Business First of Louisville. For those who haven’t been blessed with an Aldi in their vicinity, this European discount grocery store chain is Trader Joe’s brother in price, operations and origin. I’m a huge fan, as I’ve written about on the blog here, here and here.
My fellow East Enders need to check out my blog post about navigating Aldi for the first time. Your grocery budget will thank you for visiting a grocery store with inexpensive cooking staples and so much more.
Leave a comment
February 13, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
- 502 Restaurant Week begins Feb. 18 and runs through March 4. This is your chance to enjoy a three-course meal from some of the city’s best restaurants at a prix fixe menu ($50.20 per couple or per person depending on the restaurant). I believe that’s French for “special-occasion food.” Here’s a list of participating restaurants. (Insider Louisville)
- This week’s latest beef: Iggy Azalea v. Papa John’s. In short, a Papa John’s driver got a little too excited to deliver a pizza to Iggy and shared her number. Then Iggs took to social media to complain, and now the driver has been reprimanded. Don’t mess with Australia, John. (The Hollywood Reporter)
- There’s a new Mellow Mushroom in the Highlands (1023 Bardstown Road), and the pizza chain has really done a great job of incorporating their business into the community (just check out that Col. Sanders art piece in the slideshow). Hmmm, maybe Walmart could learn a thing or three. (Business First of Louisville)
- The folks who brought us Eggs Over Frankfort will open Eggs Over Baxter this spring at Baxter Centre, 962 Baxter Ave. I featured Eggs Over Frankfort in my upcoming book (PLUG!), so I’m pretty excited about this addition. (Insider Louisville)
February 13, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
Volunteering with the Girl Scouts for the past year and a half has given me the chance to help girls grow into independent thinkers and leaders. To help empower these young ladies, I’ve had to put on my big-girl pants and take chances.
I camped for the first time in my life last year (it was in a lodge, BUT STILL). I learned how to build a fire so I could teach second graders about fire safety. And I’ve learned how to lead and cooperate with the eight wonderful women who co-lead our colossal troop of 45 girls. At some point between mediating a cheating allegation during a tense game of Marco Polo and holding my breath as I showed a timid girl how to light a match, I became a stronger woman along with my girls. So when the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana asked me to be a guest judge at their annual foodie fundraiser, a resounding “YAAAAAS” was the only suitable response.
Leave a comment
February 4, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
Food trucks brighten up the dreariest days of cubicle life. These mobile eateries are pretty easy to find in downtown Louisville — just look for the huddled masses. The trucks are often parked along Main, Market and Fifth streets to attract the cubicle crowd from the surrounding offices. My brethren and I welcome the options with open wallets.
Recently, I came upon a food truck called Chick Cow on my way to grab some lunch. I had my sights set on taking a little drive to get an Ollie’s Trolley burger, but this new-ish food truck caught my eye and stomach.
Since I was meeting someone for lunch, I bought the Kentucky Klucker, aka a chicken wrap, and the Uncle Henry’s Heehaw Burger, aka a cheeseburger, so me and my lunch companion could get halfsies of each. It was a wise decision, if I do say so myself. The chicken was grilled, juicy and tender, so it kind of felt like I was eating a healthy meal. I can’t say that about the angus burger that comes on a buttered bun — it tasted too good to be good for me, too. The burger and the wrap were $7.53 apiece, and they each came with an order of steak-cut fries.