June 24, 2016
When Kristen Beddard moved to Paris five years ago, it wasn’t to fulfill a childhood dream of living in the French capital, or with the hopes of falling in love in the land of éclairs and socially acceptable daytime drinking. It wasn’t because her career, which was beginning to take off at a New York advertising agency, had brought her there, and it wasn’t because she had decided to explore Europe as some recent college graduates often do. Kristen’s Paris story doesn’t start as intentionally as any of those scenarios; it starts with the somewhat unexpected transfer of her husband to a city she barely knew with a language she didn’t speak.
While Kristen’s story begins with struggles – learning enough French to go grocery shopping, making new friends after leaving perfectly good ones behind, struggling to find a job as a foreigner in a new city – what she did with her time in Paris is truly a story of success. After several frustrating attempts – and failures – to find kale in Paris markets and supermarchés Kristen launched The Kale Project, a blog that documented her endeavors to find kale in her new home, and her subsequent quest to reintroduce the forgotten vegetable to the French. Five years later, The Kale Project has thousands of supporters and has also been featured in The New York Times. But the true testament to Kristen’s hard work is that kale can now commonly be found at markets and health food stores in Paris and the rest of France. Bonjour Kale, Kristen’s memoir of Paris, love, and recipes, tells her story of finding a home in Paris, sharing her love for her favorite leafy green, and all the surprises that the life of an expat brings.
June 14, 2016
Despite the growing number of community composting systems in Paris, many city dwellers find themselves far from an urban garden or apartment courtyard equipped with composting facilities to welcome their green waste. In response to an absence of composting options, industrious and eco-minded Parisians have taken it upon themselves to find ways to compost at home.
Parisian apartments are not known for their extensive floor plans or outdoor spaces – I’ve never had a kitchen that I couldn’t cross in two long strides and was lucky enough to have a balcony in two out of my seven apartments in the city – but where there’s a will there’s a way, and it turns out that city composting is possible even in the smallest of urban apartments.
March 29, 2016
Once you start composting, you can’t go back. Maybe it’s the immediate difference you see in the amount of waste you throw away each day, or the excitement of seeing food turn into rich and healthy soil, or the fact that composting is a simple way we can nourish the earth that nourishes us.
I live in the countryside now, and when I adopted a brood of chickens from a friend who was moving into an apartment, the only caveat was that she be able to stop by whenever she wanted to visit the chickens and feed them her food scraps. “I just can’t throw food away,” she explained, and I completely understand. Before I moved to the Loire Valley, I had already become a composting convert.
March 15, 2016
While the idea of requesting a doggy bag in a restaurant feels foreign to the French, steps towards reducing food waste in the country are a source of national pride. Restaurants that serve over 180 meals per day are now being pressured to provide doggy bags to customers who request them, a practice that is rare- but might change- among French diners. The initiative is the result of a growing anti-gaspillage or anti-food waste movement, which has lead to groundbreaking legislation in the country.
While the doggy bag measure is one step towards reducing annual food waste in France, which amounts to over seven tons of food each year, other larger sweeping laws are tackling the problem on an industrial level. One such measure is a unanimously passed law that was enacted in early February requiring supermarkets to donate unsold and almost-expired food to charities.
November 23, 2015
BioCoop, a French organic grocery chain, has opened BioCoop21: Paris’ first all bulk, organic pop-up shop with over 250 options to buy 100% en vrac. The aroma of ripe fruit welcomes customers who come to fill up on groceries at this pocket-sized shop in Paris’ 10ème arrondissement. Small paper bags or durable glass containers can be purchased for one’s dry goods, which include teas, coffees, grains, and legumes. Ideally, clients will bring their own containers, cloth, and paper bags for their bulk shopping needs.
October 20, 2015
I presently have the wonderful fortune of spending fall in Paris, carb overloading and seizing every opportunity to practice my French. But when my phonetics fail me and the non-French accent is detected, forcing a sometimes defeated “j’habite à New York en fait,” I am always met with enthusiasm and professions of love for the city I’ve called home for the last eight years.
October 8, 2015
Once a country girl, always a country girl. Or at least it turned out that way for Zoé Kovacs, one of the owners of L’Epicerie Végétale, a new flower and produce market and cold-press juice bar in the 11th arrondissement.
Having made a name for herself as a fashion photographer with clients like Sephora, Zoé and her business partner Guillaume Servet reached a point where life in the fashion fast lane was no longer what they wanted. After spending nearly a year working for a small organic produce store and learning the ins and outs of working directly with independent producers, Zoé and Guillaume opened L’Epicerie Végétale at the end of September. The vision? To make everything as local and seasonal as possible.
September 23, 2015
When Emily Dilling moved to France in 2005, she immediately started looking for ways to become involved in the French food movement. She was startled to discover that there was not as much out there as she had hoped. She was disturbed to see that the things France is known for, like eating in season and from the land, were becoming further and further displaced. There were fewer local producers at markets and good, quality bistrot food was seemingly becoming obsolete. To chronicle her discoveries of local produce, wine, cheese, coffee (to name a few), she launched a blog called Paris Paysanne. Emily wanted to prove that it was possible to live a local and sustainable lifestyle in an urban environment.
September 8, 2015
Gabrielle Gerard and Marion Jaubert, fashion school friends turned business partners, are the dynamic women behind Ambrym, a French label dedicated to sustainable and locally made fashion. Together they have created a line of clothing, and a shop in the 10th arrondissement, that resembles their unique stories as well as their shared history.
Their shop, next to the Canal St-Martin, looks exactly like what you’d imagine a space shared by two creative ladies would, sketches and paintings that inspire their designs are hung on the walls, while jewelry and clothing are lovingly presented. It’s immediately clear that this friendly and welcoming space was created by two amies. While the project is a collaboration, Gabrielle’s childhood and background heavily influence the collections.
August 13, 2015
Paris is set to become home to the city’s first participative food cooperative, scheduled to open in early 2016. After a successful campaign to get investors and funding from local residents, La Louve, which is based off the model of New York’s Park Slope Food Coop, has signed a lease for a space on rue des Poissonniers in the 18th arondissement.
The lease signing marks an epic moment in the long history of La Louve, which began with two Americans in Paris, Tom Boothe and Brian Horihan. Inspired by the coop model that can be found around the United States, these 18th arrondissement transplants decided to bring the dynamic and collaborative American-style food coop to their adopted home. After two years of finding kindred spirits and motivated partners, the association Les Amis de La Louve was created and began to gather community support.