Tag Archives: Ohio

Columbus’ Big Helping of Southern Cookin’

Collard Greens

The following is an excerpt from a business profile I wrote some years ago for Business First. I’ve reprinted it here for any foodies out there!

In his book, “Side Orders: Small Helpings of Southern Cookery & Culture,” food writer John Egerton paints Southern cooking with a palette of Creole, Cajun, country and soul. Glory Foods sought to capture the slow-cooked flavors of traditional Southern recipes and serve canned products fully seasoned with onions, garlic, spices and smoked ham flavor. Turnip greens, okra, collard greens, black-eyed peas, green beans and the flavor of smoked ham – “the crown jewels of the Southern kitchen” according to Egerton – are among Glory Foods’ growing line of culinary gems.

Read more @ Glory Foods Business Profile – Business First of Columbus.

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Mid-Ohio Foodbank Welcomes Home Gardeners

 Jalapenos © Pamela J. Willits

Jalapenos at Mid-Ohio Foodbank © Pamela J. Willits

Mid-Ohio Foodbank’s This Is Hunger brochure sums it up best – Hunger is not a one-organization issue, it’s a community issue.

As part of the local gardening community, I recently bundled up the surplus from my home garden and delivered it to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank’s warehouse on West Mound street.

There I had the opportunity to spend some time with Christina Christian, MOFB’s digital marketing manager. The Mid-Ohio Foodbank jumped on the social media marketing train long before must of us realized it had already left the station.

With a strong presence on Facebook and Twitter, Christina spends a portion of her day promoting fund raisers and food drives through social media. On-line networking sites have expanded their audience, helping to broadcast their message beyond the reach of their mailing list.

Since the economic downturn, the Mid-Ohio Foodbank has seen a 30% increase in need. Serving as a distribution point, the MOFB supplies food to more than 500 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and senior housing sites in central and eastern Ohio.

The statistics are staggering. Forty-four percent of those in need have had to choose between food and heat or electricity, twenty-nine percent have had to choose between food and shelter, thirty-eight percent of all requests involve children and fourteen percent are for senior citizens.


The good news is that their weighty commitment has them handling over 30 million pounds of food each year. And for every dollar they receive from donors, they distribute $8 worth of groceries. Thanks to the value of their non-profit status buying power, they’ve elevated stretching the dollar to an art form.

Come this October, the Mid-Ohio Foodbank will be stretching those dollars even further as they move into a new LEED certified (environmental friendly) warehouse in Grove City. The move will also triple their storage space.

My Garden Tomatoes © Pamela J. Willits

My Garden Tomatoes © Pamela J. Willits

So, while it’s too late to re-think this year’s backyard garden, it’s never too early to start planning for how you could expand your existing garden to create a surplus to share next summer. And between now and then, the Mid-Ohio Foodbank will still welcome any donation of fresh produce.

For up-to-date info and events, Join their Fan Page on Facebook, Follow them on Twitter @Mid_OHFoodbank or Call 614.274.7770.

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Will Exxon and Tech Start-Ups Battle Over Algae DNA?

Algae Pond © Larry Hamill

Algae Pond © Larry Hamill

In a recent talk before the Columbus Metropolitan Club, Ross Youngs, CEO of Algaeventure Systems, noted that while solar and wind power may have their place, “we’ll will never lift a plane off the ground or drive a truck down the freeway without high energy liquid fuels.”

And to that end, Youngs has been working on developing what may be the next big thing in biofuels – an algae based energy source. Headquartered near Columbus, Ohio – a city sited by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the best places for tech start-ups – you could say research is blooming at Algaeventure Systems.

However, last week’s announcement that Exxon will invest up to $600 million in research of algae based biofuels brings new competition for a share of the pond.

As part of Exxon’s research strategy, they have enlisted the help of genomics pioneer, Craig Venter. The announcement came on the heels of Dow Chemical declaring that they would be dipping their big toe into the algae pond in pursuit of a potential technology bloom.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Exxon and Venter’s company, Synthetic Genomics, will spend the next five years determining the most suitable strain of algae, as well as figuring out the best way to grow it and how to economically mass produce it.

The Economist noted that Dr. Venter believes it may be possible to produce ten times more fuel per hectare from algae than can be had from corn. An added benefit could be that the exhaust from industrial plants, which are currently powered by conventional fuels, would supply carbon dioxide, the raw material needed for photosynthesis to produce the algae.

However, in a CNN interview with Gillian Madill of Friends of the Earth, Madill warns of a possible monopoly on biofuel. “Many of these oil companies are making steep investments in synthetic biology because they can literally own the very microorganisms that aim to produce fuel because of the current patentability of DNA. If synthetic biology proves successful, ‘Big Oil’ will not only own the fuel itself, but own the very life form that produces it,” said Madill.

Clearly, the stakes are high. According to Chad Hummell, industry and government sales manager for Algaeventure Systems, the United States Air Force is the single largest consumer of fuel in the world. Ironically, some of that fuel is used to protect fuel sources in the Middle East.

While we can hope that competition to own the fuel of the future won’t become reminiscent of the competition for fuel in the Mad Max -The Road Warrior and Beyond Thunderdome movies, you have to wonder about the survival of tech start-ups looking to solve our energy problem.

As biotechnology start-ups continue to pursue venture capital to fund research, will they find that life in a small pond is not sustainable when big fish like Exxon and Dow Chemical hold the lure of deep pockets?

Or will they find themselves bogged down in the murky waters of a legal battle over ownership of DNA, as Madill suggests?

Share your thoughts….

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Can Social Media Save Ohio Libraries?

Governor Strickland has proposed eliminating $200 million from the Public Library Fund over the next two years.

If approved, the proposal would cut the Columbus Metro Library’s state funding by 50%. The results would be devastating: closing branches, halting new books and materials and shutting down programs and services that are vital to our children and community.


The Columbus Metropolitan Library encourages you to do the following:

* Post a tweet on Twitter or update your Facebook with the following message:

Our libraries are in jeopardy. I contacted my elected officials to save Ohio libraries. You should too. Find out more: http://bit.ly/B7IJ7
(or use http://www.columbuslibrary.org/save_our_library)

* Change your profile picture on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites to the Save Ohio Libraries image below.

Ohio Lib
* E-mail your family, friends, neighbors and colleagues.

* Call the Governor’s office at 614-466-3555 and state your opposition to this proposal.

* Visit the CML website to learn more.

* Visit the Ohio Library Council website for more information.

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