Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Know Your Grower

Gratitude to the folks over at Know Your Grower Atlanta for adding MaituFoods' owner to the Know Your Grower Atlanta website. Check out the story and bio by clicking on the link. Its an honor to be in the web of people doing such honorable work for and within the community. Love!

My Kitchen Sounds Like: "Intention" by Jah9

Monday, December 8, 2014

Grow Where You Are E-Book is Available!!!!

Yes! It is here. Now you can have the Grow Where You Are reader, sent directly to your email address in E-Book form. Check out the Grow Where You Are Reader link to pay directly through paypal or go to to get your copy today!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Keep it Moving

There is this anecdote that we like to often quote, partly for amusement but more so for the contextual relevance and incentive. So it goes, that Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer came to Bob Marley and said, "Hey, for a number of reasons we don't want to do the Wailers like this anymore." Bob's response was "Great." Just like that. Simply put. Lol! The eloquence of that response. Not only was it an acknowledgement of their rightful decision, but it was a strong stance in his own. Of course Bob took that great and went on to become just that.

I can remember 2008 and as with most defining moments the pressure was on to, do, be, or make something happen in our lives. Our first child together was on the way, I had recently quit my job and I had no clue how to continue to move forward, in any manner. I only knew that something had to be done. With a idea, a very simple idea, to feed the children at our neighborhood school where they didn't have a lunch program, the first brick in the foundation of what is today MaituFoods was laid.

It's amazing to look back and realize that before there was a "farm to school" movement, before local food was the hipster term and urban farming was a category, MaituFoods and Grow Where You Are with the support of the West End and Cascade community members established a vegan school lunch program for 4 private schools and daycares within that respective community. Together we have cultivated the land and installed green spaces and gardens in homes and communities that were considered food deserts. Without it being hip, or lucrative and profitable we established local, Vegan food programs for Pregnant Women, Post Natal Women and their families, to ensure they have access to nutritious, unprocessed foods. For schools in neighborhoods which people have forgotten or thrown away (until gentrification becomes ideal) we along with our extended team have developed curriculums along with teachers and staffs and install gardens and nutrition and skills programs for our youth all over Atlanta. We have even (with a tremendous amount of grace) been afforded the opportunity to leave the country and learn and teach in East Africa the techniques and skill set that we employ in our work.

We know, if no one else does that the last 6 years have been faced with tons of opposition, unnecessary idle-born conflict, and huge obstacles and yet we keep it moving. Because we know, like Bob, the goal is so much bigger than what we can often see in the moment and the work has to be, must be, done. Even in spite of ourselves. So in the face of negative profit margins, the financial statements in the red, the sometimes little to no support, we keep pushing. We acknowledge our place in this life and in this movement and we carry it forth to the best of our abilities, one meal and one seed at a time, in Greatness.

Go back and check out some of our beginning blog posts and see the journey:

Greetings from Planet Maitu Nov. 2009
Community Jan. 2010
Birthing Community Feb. 2010

My Kitchen Sounds Like: "Clouds" by Prince

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Maitu's Channel

So we have a MaituFoods youtube channel!!!! Check out our latest videos including our Maitu's tips channel where we give you some face-time with Maitu as we demonstrate what's happening in our kitchen and garden.

Check out our most recent video on tree planting:

All Love!!!

Gotta Respect the Process

The process deserves its respect. Demands its respect. Its the process that gets us to the end result and therefore it should be canonized. Ok that's a stretch, especially when in the midst of the process. When things are coming together but have not quite taken off, when the ingredients are all there but the dish is still just its diverse, individual parts waiting for its fulfillment into the amazingness you have the desire to serve up and share. The truth is the process is tedious and sometimes extravagant. Sometimes in the process its hard to see the end result, to taste the sweetness in the labor. And that's the kick, hence the previous litany of gratitude for the process. There is sweetness in the labor. The process is what conditions you, what makes you. Its going through the process and coming out on the other side that makes it all worthwhile. Not just because of the end result, but because of who you become standing side by side with the greatness that is the end result. The awesomeness of this process of growing food, of exploring food culture and ritual, of serving our community from the best of ourselves is that it never ends, and therefore the lessons, the growth, the experience never ends.

My gratitude to the many people who have for the past few months been a part of and helped make this process, this journey that MaituFoods is upon worthwhile. From our private clients and families, to the Green For All and WAWA teams, LRAM collective, Georgia State, Whole Foods Farmer's Market, UGRO, the whole Grow Where You Are family, all the contributors and supporters for our Campaign and all the community members and organizations who have and are supporting us. Our gratitude like the impact of your support is immeasurable. Know that there is always a place for you at Maitu's table. All Love.

My Kitchen Sounds Like: "The Grind Date" by De La Soul

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Status of Food

 Image of MaituFoods "Green Gold" Salad Ingredients

Think of what today's society considers delicacies. Food-like substances, poor food combinations,  and the decadent, degenerative palette of the so called prosperous. When we really begin to examine the culture of food associated with wealth, or really a monetarily and possession rich status, I begin to wonder if someone, somewhere is playing a joke. No really, are our taste and health sensibilities being "punk'd"? A diet of excess leads to disease, a diet of decadence leads to deterioration , improper food-combining (which is common) leads to imbalance. So great, its wonderful that we can afford that great cut of choice meat, all and anything that one can desire to eat can be theirs. Yet, that prime cut or that gmo soy product cannot be properly assimilated by your beautifully orchestrated and designed body, so it sits, cajoling dis-ease. Couple that with a life of mental acuity with little to no physical dexterity and we find that true wealth won't last that long. Then the status of our health measured up to the status of our wealth (which is drastically changing) begins to see a huge inequality on the scales. Where are our priorities when we fight to be the richest country and our citizens remain the most health impoverished? And it has become our excess, our love for the richness (seemingly) that has paved the way to our poverty. Then in turn has wrecked havoc in all arenas of life and livelihood.

Look at the simplicity of nature. Without trifle it consumes, regenerates, decays and lives in harmony and balance. So much so that its life cycle ensures the livelihood of all others in its environment. A true model of richness, a real status of wealth and abundance. So really what is the ultimate standard of living? What are we working towards? Where does our true wealth lie and what status are we truly reaching for? Love.

My Kitchen Sounds Like: "Poor and Clean" by Gregory Isaacs

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Sharing the LOVE experience

Life offers up opportunity to remember the importance of interconnectedness. Indeed, such opportunity also offers the chance to understand more about self. I find in my relationships, the conversations and the moments of experiences therein give a richness that color life in a whole other way than the vastness of internal beauty and self conversation. I suppose that line, in and of itself, exemplifies how much I like my world, especially the internal one. However, moments with my friends, children and in respect to this moment, my mate, offer up an understanding unique to that person and/or opportunity. A uniqueness of experience and perspective that I may not have come to on my own.

Oftentimes because of the nature of "work", or more so service that my family does, our conversations lead to ideas of love. Love for our service, our creativity, our community, family and self. My mate hip me to the renewed realization of the intimacy of sharing and serving food and food experiences in the manner that I (we) do. It's true, in as personal and private as I am, with my customers, who are really like family members I share a very intimate, close relationship, perhaps unbeknownst to even them. But in each dish, each meal experience, I am tailoring it with my thoughts, my stories, my favorite music. Essentially I am imbuing it with my love. There are glimpses of my romanticism, hints of my sensuality and tenderness. I would like to believe its colored by my creativity and marked by my sense of responsibility and work ethic. I am dedicated and fulfilled in a sense. I am sharing, giving out my love. I am grateful for you who choose to receive. Love.

My Kitchen Sounds Like: "Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" by Nina Simone


Travel is great for the palette. There are tastes from the Caribbean, Dubai and Kenya that have found their way to my plate and in my food memory bank. For those times when travel is not possible in the moment, research is the next best thing. Whenever food is beginning to become "stale", we pick a country, a technique, a food memory, or regional food/dish and hop in the truck and go on a food field trip as I like to call them. Yes, its true, they are not the same as having the authenticity that one may receive from say being in the region, with the atmosphere and people. These opportunities however allow me to have what I choose and still have the open experiences of the chef/restaurant offering up their interpretation of home and what that means to them. I almost exclusively stick to family restaurants, no chains, no fast food joints. When I can, I talk with the Chef, get to know them and if the vibe offers, ask to be taught what I love on their menu. In turn my food experience becomes richer, therefore hopefully ensuring that what I am then able to share is that much more rich and varied.  I am able to share (hopefully) the best parts of my enrichment. The excitement, the textures and colors that stood out, the tastes..oh yeah...the tastes. I can offer my own variation of it all in a way that is familiar and intimate to me. Just last month alone I believe we tried over 60 different dishes and techniques based on our research. In as much as I do this, I live this. And that essentially is my training, a training that only grows. These 2 weeks our "research" has included Southern Indian, Ethiopian, Chinese and Trinidadian. Fun times behind, even more fun times ahead. Love.

My Kitchen Sounds Like: "Around the World In A Day" by Prince                                     

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Yummy Bites/Gursha

Recently I have been exploring food culture and rituals with our children. Connecting ideas of unity, consideration, sharing, community and respect for the importance of the moment. Through personal experience and study, I am constantly reacquainted with the Ethiopian ritual of Gursha. Gursha which translates as "mouthful" is the act of hand feeding another. With a heightened sense of awareness this act of Gursha conveys much more than the seemingly simple act of sharing food. Within this ritual lies principles of trust, thoughtfulness and interconnectedness. What a perfect lesson and experience to teach young children. It is my understanding that the traditional practice of Gursha is a means of expressing openness. In our interactions we are essentially "ingesting", sharing and/or being exposed to one anther's presence, essence, aura, personality, words, etc. In each exchange there is potential for trust, indeed, vulnerability. On one hand, receiving Gursha is to be vulnerable and trusting of the hands and the person that is serving. In exchange, to be the giver expresses trustworthiness, tenderness, selflessness and consideration. The physical manifestation of Gursha is a bridge to connect the subtleties of spirit and senses. to explain that to 2-5 year olds.

Children are, (at least mine are) very aware of what they like. So we start there. Find the yummiest bite on your plate. Make it up, just the way you like it. How you want to see it. What you want it to taste and feel like. Make it the best bite ever. Now before you place it in your mouth, find someone at the table you enjoy sharing with. Now give them your yummy bite. Yeah..give it...its OK. Now, how did that make each of you feel?

These rituals we hold onto and carry forward with the hope that the experiences, the lessons can transcend beyond the dinner table and extend to and influence how we relate to one another in life. Cheers to yummy bites and the sharing thereof. Love

My Kitchen Sounds Like: "Perdido" by Duke Ellington

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Grow Where You Are

Grow Where You Are! Both a challenge and a call to a higher standard of being. In the 2nd edition of the aptly titled reader by Eugene Cooke, we find a manual for not only gardening, but for a way of life intent on expressing itself to its fullest capacity. Mother Nature, well she is the vessel of receptivity and nurturing. Grow Where You Are the reader is creativity, imagination and practicality, stretched out on a canvas. Digestible for any and everyone. More than an how to guide of Urban Farming, it is a shared experience of a man intimate with the Earth.

Filled with images, ideas and experiences from Eugene's 20+ years journey in Farming, it's one in the same, art, poetry and a glimpse into Eugene's expertise. More importantly, (at least to me) we get a view of Nature's playground through the eyes of an artist who finds his home in the soil.

A work that one can return to again and again. Grow Where You Are is fun, it's engaging, it's a stimulus. Get one, Read it and Grow.

Facebook: Grow Where You Are
Twitter: @Gebsite

My Kitchen Sounds like: "Harvest for the World" by The Isley Brothers