farmer

Photo Credit: AP Exchange | Daily Texan Staff

Each Saturday, the farmer’s market at Republic Square Park is filled with white tents housing various vendors and the occasional string quartet. Daily Greens is one of the busiest of those white tents. The Austin-based company sells bottles of cold-pressed drinks that are each packed with six pounds of locally sourced produce, consisting of nine servings of fruits and vegetables.

The juices are also sold at Whole Foods, Central Market and other natural grocers around the Austin area. Daily Greens founder and CEO Shauna Martin created the company after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. 

At 33 years old, with a nine-month-old son and no family history of breast cancer, the diagnosis was a shock. A vegetarian for most of her life, Martin always considered herself healthy, but she still sought out a way to combat the draining chemotherapy treatments with a change in diet.

“Being diagnosed with breast cancer was a real wake-up call for me,” Martin said. “I developed the cleanse to help me detox from all the poisons
and trauma.”

Soon, juicing became an integral part of her diet as a meal supplement. Her friends and family teased her for consuming what they called “pond water,” but the hobby eventually turned into a day job.

“I convinced a friend to start making the juice with me for no pay, and we would spend every weekend making juice until midnight,” Martin said. “I would take what we made to the farmer’s market the next morning and each weekend we would sell out. So I kept making the juices, all the while keeping my day job as a corporate attorney.”

Apart from creating a product that Martin said is akin to drinking from the fountain of youth, she also became the board president of the Breast Cancer Resource Center of Texas. Through the center, Martin co-founded the Pink Ribbon Cowgirls, a social network for young breast cancer survivors in the Austin area. 

Runi Limary, a patient navigator at the BCRC, worked with Martin during her time as the center’s board president. 

“Shauna Martin personifies a strong, young breast cancer survivor,” Limary said. “First and foremost, she’s a mom, [a] wife and [a] career-minded woman. She has accomplished a tremendous amount since she was first diagnosed with breast cancer.”  

Sean Hickman, a Daily Greens employee, can be found working the tent any given Saturday and speaks to customers about Martin’s positivity.

“[She] has not just overcome a fatal disease, but she has become a source of awareness,” Hickman said. “Shauna is a perfect example of how you can fight for your health.”

Martin makes an effort to push her product to an audience that doesn’t just include health gurus. Vitality, one of the seven Daily Greens juices, is based off of the sweet and savory taste of barbecue sauce. It was created in an effort to bring meat-lovers into the juicing game.

“Our cleanses are designed to help folks ease into a healthier lifestyle,” Martin said. 

Freshman Tayla Daniel moved to the U.S. from Australia in high school, said the juices remind her of the clean eating attitude in Australia. 

“During the summers, my mom would grind all the fruits and vegetables and just drink that,” Daniel said. “You wouldn’t add anything to it. With Daily Greens, it’s the same. You can taste that it’s healthy and that it’s doing good for your body.”

Daily Greens, which is in the process of expanding to Whole Foods sites across the country, is gaining popularity. Martin said she couldn’t be happier.

“When pure exhaustion sets in, the only thing that keeps you going is an unwavering belief in what you are doing,” Martin said. “I believe in Daily Greens and the health benefits of drinking a daily green juice with all of my heart, and that is what drives me every day.”

Working through Partners In Health, medical anthropologist Paul Farmer has established a dozen public health care clinics around the world to combat a variety of infectious diseases and empower poverty-stricken communities. Photo courtesy of PBS.

As the director of Partners in Health and United Nations Deputy Special Envoy for Haiti, Paul Farmer has a legacy of healing and activism that spans from Mexico to Russia. In celebration of his new book “To Repair the World,” the author and medical anthropologist will speak about his experiences as an international health advocate on Monday. 

Farmer’s success in the realm of public health stems largely from his ardent convictions about medical treatment in general.

“The fight for health as a human right ... has so far been plagued by failures,” Farmer said in an interview with National Public Radio in 2008. “Failure because ill-health, as we’ve learned again and again, is more often than not a symptom of poverty and violence and inequality. We do little to fight those when we provide just vaccines.”

The Partners in Health organization that Farmer co-founded in 1987 takes this idea a step further. According to the organization, medicine isn’t the solution to a country plagued by disease, malnutrition, violence and lack of infrastructure. The solution, they argue, is giving each community the tools necessary to combat poverty.

Among the Creole-speaking population of Haiti, “Dokte Paul” has attained somewhat of a celebrity status. Many other health care professionals had written off the Caribbean island as a lost cause, but Farmer saw an opportunity to reach out and bring advanced medical care to an undeveloped nation. 

“The assumption that the only health care possible in rural Haiti was poor-quality health care — that was a failure of imagination,” Farmer writes in “To Repair the World.”

Farmer’s visit is part of a biannual lecture series hosted by the Humanities Institute and comes in the context of planning for UT’s new medical school. He currently holds a Ph.D. in anthropology and a degree in medicine from Harvard University. 

According to Lynn Selby, a graduate student in the department of anthropology, Farmer works as a medical anthropologist examining the “social and cultural dimensions of illness, health and medicine,” and often advocating the idea of social justice. 

For Deliana Garcia, director of the Austin-based Migrant Clinicians Network, Farmer’s humane and pragmatic model in Haiti and other countries has worked better than previous attempts.

“Context is everything to him,” Garcia said. “He can look at the human emotional piece, he can look at the programmatic piece, he can look at the dollar motivational piece, he can look at the absence of the science and he can hold all of those things simultaneously and still work toward solutions.”

Melissa Smith, a physician at the Seton McCarthy Community Health Center, is excited to see what impression Farmer will leave on UT students.

“We have an opportunity with the new Dell Medical School at UT-Austin to train new physician leaders to respond to the challenges of the 21st century,” Smith wrote in an email. “Dr. Farmer’s approach of working in partnership with communities, to focus on the root causes of health problems and to find innovative, cost-effective ways to provide high quality medical care, would transform medical education and ultimately, the health of our community.”

CHICAGO — In Chicago, a bustling urban metropolis where skyscrapers are as likely to sprout up as anything a farmer might plant, someone decided there was just enough room to grow something a little more organic: Marijuana.

On Wednesday, a day after the discovery of the largest marijuana farm anyone at the police department can remember, officers became farmers for a day as they began to chop down about 1,500 marijuana plants that police said could have earned the growers as much as $10 million.

No arrests had been made as of Wednesday, and police were still trying to determine who owns the property that housed the grow site on the city’s far South Side. But police said they were hopeful that because of the size of the operation, informants or others might provide tips about those involved, including a man seen running from the area as the helicopter swooped low.

 

West Side Story: So if marching bands are not your thing, an alternative musical attraction this weekend is the renowned musical theater production West Side Story. A made-in-America musical, “West Side Story” is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” But for all you football-watchin’, beer-drinkin’, fried-food-eatin’ football fanatics, do not let the romantic undertones be a turn off. There are gang rivalries, knife fights and a shoot out. How appropriate. The Broadway cast album for this musical won the Grammy for Best Musical Show Album in 2010; one song on the “West Side Story’s” score is “Something’s Coming”. “Something’s coming, don’t know when, but it’s soon; Catch the moon, One-handed catch!” sings Tony, the musical’s ruffian “Romeo.” Could he be forecasting a Longhorn victory?

Chevrolet Main Stage: During the course of the State Fair of Texas, 24 musical artists are scheduled to perform at the Chevrolet Main Stage, the Fair’s outdoor concert venue. Fairgoers this weekend will have the choice of country, country and more country music. JB & the Moonshine Band, a dynamic group of four East Texas boys, will play on Friday at 8:30 PM. Saturday night’s entertainment will be provided by Jack Ingram, born and raised in The Woodlands, also at 8:30 PM. Sugar Land’s native Katie Armiger will wrap up the weekend, bringing her talent to the Main Stage at 1:00 PM on Sunday. A lot of Texas country music to compliment a lot of Texas football spirit.

Big Tex: No trip to the State Fair of Texas is complete without a good look and admiration of its official mascot, Big Tex. This year will mark Big Tex’s 59th birthday. Standing 52-feet tall, he will greet Fair visitors with the biggest Texas welcome they will most likely ever hear. Tex wears size-70 cowboy boots custom made by Twisted X Boots and flaunts a 75 gallon Stetson hat. This year Dickies has set him up with a new shirt, pair of jeans and belt. So recycle your Vogue magazine and let Big Tex show you what fashion forward means to the Lone Star State.

Illumination Sensation: When the sun goes down, the Fairgrounds will light up with the breathtaking theatrics of Illumination Sensation. Visitors will line up on the grassy esplanade and watch as the show takes place over Fair Park’s 700-foot reflecting pool. Illumination Sensation pairs pyrotechnic events — for example, spewing liquid fire over the waterscape — with classical as well as modern music. Unique aspects of the show also include a 3-D light projection screen and high-tech graphics. Illumination Sensation combines the elements of light, fire, music and water to create a spectacle that not even the Red River Rivalry can rival.

Farmer Mike: He is The Picasso of Pumpkin Carvers. Using a folding Buck knife and a chisel, he tackles and transforms more than half-ton gourds into three-dimensional Puff the Magic Dragons and other famous personalities. He will be whittling away at pumpkins at the State Fair of Texas from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM on Friday and Saturday and 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM on Sunday. His name is Mike Valladao, but you can call him “Farmer Mike”. Sporting a pair of orange overalls, Farmer Mike broke out onto the pumpkin-carving scene at the Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival. That was 25 years ago, and he is still going strong. Farmer Mike has become such a sensation that he was invited and made an appearance on “The Tonight Show.” Get pumped up for the game this weekend by watching Farmer Mike working on his prized pumpkins.

Midway: “Besides the food, the carnival is my favorite part of the Fair. Word to the wise, though — if you’ve been doing some celebratory hydrating a little too much before the game, you may want to stick to the kiddy rides” warns Leslie Slaughter, a pre-journalism sophomore anticipating more than 70 rides that will be at the State Fair’s Midway this year. If heights do not bother you, get an aerial view of the State Fair of Texas while riding on the $5 million Texas Skyway, a gondola ride spanning 1,800 feet across Fair Park. Other headline hallmarks of Midway are the 212-foot Texas Star Ferris wheel and the 1914 Dentzel carousel. If the football game is not enough excitement, look to the Thrillway region of the Midway for an adrenaline rush. Just remember to heed Slaughter’s warning ... if you choose to combine fried food, pre-game beverages and high-speed coasters, there is a good chance that the opponent you will be going up against this weekend will be your stomach.

Food: Two words: fried food. The State Fair, widely referred to as the Fried Food Capital of Texas, will feature more than 200 food locations. Since the invention of the first “corny dog” in 1942, the evolution of fried food is furthered every year at the State Fair of Texas. The tradition of the Big Tex Choice Awards, honoring vendors with Best Taste and Most Creative prizes, began in 2005 and has since sparked a fried food creativity competition. Last year’s Best Taste went to Buffalo Chicken in a Flapjack while Fried Bubblegum won Most Creative. New items to look out for this year are Heavenly Deep Fried Brownies, Deep Fried Biscuits and Gravy and Deep Fried Chicken Skin. And while the wide receivers are catching footballs, make sure to be cheering them on with a mouth full of Deep Fried Cake Balls.

TEXAS!: This year marks the 125th Anniversary of the State Fair of Texas as well as the 175th Anniversary of Texas’ statehood. In commemoration and celebration of these landmarks, the TEXAS! exhibit will have on display an array of intriguing historical objects which will surely spark pride every Texan’s heart. The State Fair has released a list of artifacts that will be part of TEXAS!, including Davy Crockett’s pipe and pistol, Santa Anna’s spurs and vest, the sword used to capture Santa Anna, Sam Houston’s battle of San Jacinto report, Stephen F. Austin’s pocket telescope, the only original Juneteenth document declaring emancipation for all Texas slaves and a life-sized replica of the Alamo.
 

In India, a farmer takes his own life every 33 minutes because of the rise of corporations and the systemic problems in the country’s agriculture, said journalist P. Sainath during a talk Tuesday.

Sainath, a rural journalist for an English-language newspaper called The Hindu in India, told a group of around 50 people about the failure of mass media to report and analyze economic inequality in India during a lecture at the Flawn Academic Center.

The Association for India’s Development Austin and Austin-based online magazine Nazar sponsored the event and opened the lecture with a presentation about their current agenda to spread adequate news across Texas. They also emphasized their support of a variety of social-development projects and campaigns that empower the lives of poor and underprivileged people in India.

UT journalism professor Bob Jensen introduced P. Sainath, gave background on his award-winning career and shed light on his work of reporting the epidemic of farmers dying by suicide in India as a result of the collapse of the rural economy.

“Sainath has done groundbreaking work on the effect of the global economy on the lives of ordinary people rural India, and is one of the best journalists not only in India, but around the world,” Jensen said.

During his lecture, Sainath discussed the strong links that media and corporations have, using an example of General Electric’s failure to pay taxes last year and NBC’s failure to report on it.

“Mainstream media is a small part of much larger conglomerates of corporations, and the media has a structural compulsion to lie on particular issues,” Sainath said. “They are too heavily invested in the market to ever tell the truth about it.”

He said in the U.S., family farms go bankrupt each week.

“Corporate farming, while it is huge, employs hardly anyone,” Sainath said. “There are 700,000 people employed in corporate agriculture. Even prisons hold three times as many people.”

Sainath said the Indian media need to rethink their priorities and raise issues that matter the most.

“Corporations run the world, they run the government and they run your life,” Sainath said.

Cell and molecular biology graduate student Sucheta Arora, a member of the development association, said Sainath’s lecture provided perspective she doesn’t hear in the mainstream media.

“Media needs to focus on things that actually matter and be free from corporate control,” Arora said.


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The aroma of fresh herbs and meats cooking on the stove was inescapable Wednesday afternoon thanks to the employees of Dai Due butcher shop using the shared kitchen space of Spirited Food Co. Wednesday is hog day, and they had 272 pounds of meat to make into breakfast sausages, salted pork and smothered pork chops in spring onion gravy for the farmer’s market on Saturday.

Dai Due owner Jesse Griffiths was easy to spot as the lone man among his all-female coworkers, sporting a frizzy, copper-colored beard and colorful tattoos that are partially covered by his shirt sleeves.

The tattoos depict some of his favorite things to eat — a redbreast sunfish and blackberries.

“And they’re both native to Texas,” Griffiths added, turning his bicep slightly to give a better show of the ink. “You can find these things locally.”
Local is a keyword in Dai Due’s mission. The name comes from an Italian adage, “Dai due regni di natura, piglia il cibo con misura,” or “From the two kingdoms of nature, choose food with care.” The butcher shop is Griffith’s way of serving Austin residents meat prepared with traditional methods.

“We only use what’s locally made, and we also try to go back to the traditions of the people who have settled here, like the Cajuns, Mexicans, Germans and Southeast Asians,” Griffiths said. “Each wave of immigrants contributed to our food culture and made a profound influence in how we view food.”

Not only did these immigrants contribute to the medley that makes up American cuisine, but they also used their resources efficiently, he said. In comparison, Americans tend to waste by not using all parts of the animal.

Purchasing locally grown and raised food means Dai Due can only pursue what’s in season in Texas. The menu for the farmer’s market changes each week depending on this. A particular sausage in the winter won’t be the same sausage in the summer because the seasoning will be different, Griffiths said. Some Cajun and Mexican influences can be seen in this week’s menu, which includes wild boar chorizo and egg tortas, crawfish boudin balls and game hens with spring herb butter.

A small sign hanging in Griffith’s office reads, “A messy kitchen is a happy kitchen.” That particular afternoon, the tables pushed together were covered with blocks of cheddar, trays of spring onion stalks and their chopped bulbs, jugs of maple syrup, coffee mugs, chicken thighs and lard. On the stove, pots of whole rabbits, bison tongue and ham hocks sat simmering.

Griffiths sliced the spring onions with an gentle yet swift precision, his dexterous hands comfortable and experienced with a knife. It’s a reflection of the accumulated years he’s spent in the food industry.

It’s been five years since Griffiths started Dai Due as a roving dinner club, but his experience in the food industry goes back to his high school years in Denton as a busboy employed by two to three restaurants at a time. He didn’t come from a strong cooking culture at home, though, growing up on fried chicken, frozen pot pies and fish sticks.

After moving to Austin in 1998 when he was 23, he dabbled as a baker and a line cook and used the money he saved to travel to Italy, France and Spain where he worked as a farmer and hotel chef.

“The way food is traditionally handled in Europe is very different from here,” he said. “They try to get the best product while doing the least to it, versus here where we try to make the cheapest product by doing the most to it.”

During this period in his mid-twenties, his restlessness drove him to travel back and forth between the two continents, and it was in Venice that he had the life-altering meal that would change his philosophy on cooking. While working at the luxurious Boscolo Hotel Dei Dogi one January, he observed a chef cooking fish caught from the lagoon with arugula and radicchio, two leafy vegetables commonly used in Italian cuisine.

“When I saw it, I thought there was nothing to it, and it was ridiculous he was serving it at a fancy place,” Griffiths said with an air of bemusement. “There was just a bit of lemon and some olive oil because Italians cook everything in olive oil. Then, as I was eating it, I realized that was real cooking right there, so beautiful in its simplicity.”

Griffiths brought that minimalism back to Austin when he opened Dai Due. Like the chefs in Venice who rode gondolas to the fish market and used whatever was grown in their city, Griffiths also wanted to feed people in a way that was intimate to the natural source — using fish caught in the Gulf of Mexico, citrus from the Rio Grande Valley, vegetables grown in Travis County and wine produced in the Hill Country.

The full-time staff at Dai Due is a close-knit, four-person crew. They bantered with fondness toward each other while songs by The Strokes played from speakers, courtesy of one of the employees, Morgan Angelone. With her short brown hair pulled back under a headband, Angelone somewhat resembles Rosie the Riveter — except this Rosie could skin a wild boar.

Angelone helps teach classes offered by Dai Due that promote sustainability. A few weeks ago, Dai Due gave a hog workshop at Madrono Ranch in Medina, about two and a half hours away from Austin, where she and Griffiths educated people on how to hunt, cut and cook wild boar.

The biggest challenge in gathering food directly from the source is that Dai Due lies at the mercy of uncontrollable variables, such as farmers forgetting orders or poor weather affecting crops, Griffiths said. Despite the occasional frustration of things not going as planned, it’s something he’s learning to accept.

Griffiths hopes to expand Dai Due in the future to have its own physical butcher shop, more educational classes and possibly the opportunity to cook for a homegrown celebrity.

“I want to cook for Willie Nelson,” he said firmly. “And I sure hope Willie Nelson reads The Daily Texan.”

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WHAT: Dai Due Butcher Shop
WHERE: Farmer’s Market at Republic Square Park, 4th and Guadalupe Streets
WHEN: Saturdays, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
MENU: www.daidueaustin.net