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Ep 25: Eden East Austin – Farm to Table Restaurant in the Heart of Austin, Texas

Listen as Sonya Cote, Executive Chef and Kayce Braden, Projects Manager tell us about the farm to table experience of their restaurant Eden East Austin, why it is important for consumers to care about where their food comes from, and how they are doing their part in building a better food system.

About Eden East Austin:
Located in East Austin, Eden East is a true farm-to-table dining experience. The restaurant serves a monthly prix fixe menu every weekend and an a la carte brunch on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Every Thursday, Eden East offers an a la carte dinner paired with live music or a DJ. Each month, chefs develop a menu based on the most vibrant seasonal ingredients from the farm, as well as local farms and ranches.

Website: https://edeneastaustin.com/

About Sonya Coté:
Sonya Coté is a perfect blend of chef, artist and storyteller. With a background in art and graphic design, Coté has had quite a vibrant career. Even as her culinary endeavors expand, she remains an artist. Each new plate is her canvas that tells its own story.

As many Austin diners know, Coté is the free spirit behind Hillside Farmacy and Eden East, the latter being located on an urban farm that her and her partner David are currently maintaining.  At Eden East, patrons can dine al fresco under the stars on a menu that is based on what’s in season on the farm and as well as shop produce and local goods at farmers market. 

Coté’s story begins in a coastal community in Rhode Island, where she grew up with a love for camping and an affinity for cooking. Her restaurants reflect her love of the outdoors and all things local. She first left Rhode Island for Dallas in 1989, being “fascinated by the Wild West and its stereotypes, but living in the city, I was surprised that people didn’t know their neighbors.” Since then she has planted roots in Austin and created an amazing community.

Coté has received numerous accolades, including recognition as one of Marie Claire’s “Women on Top. She competed on Food Network’s “Chopped”. Her restaurant Eden East was named one of Austin Monthly’s “Best New Restaurants.” Soon after, Coté was named one of Tribeza’s “People of the Year.”

About Kaycee Braden:
Kaycee Braden has a passion for food.  From her earliest memories to her current daily activities, she knew she could find an outlet for her passion and how food is shared, sold & grown, within the food community. The recent “Farm to Table” movement became a way for Kaycee to share what she had learned through her travels & help grow this community in Austin by bringing healthy food resources & alternatives to “big ag”.

Fresh faced & starry eyed, she started her journey into the food scene by earning her Permaculture Design Certification with an emphasis on community development and ethno botanical horticulture in her early twenties. Wanting to dig deeper into learning more about food justice Kaycee found herself traveling across the globe study in depth small agriculture and the effects of the green revolution in Rajasthan, India. She then went on to graduate with her BA from Evergreen State College in sustainable agriculture & community development.  She then set out to begin her life pursuing her passion.

Kaycee is a proud Texas native, a world traveler who has resided in many places.  She has recently come back home to Texas to bring us her experiences and love of food culture to the everyday operations of a restaurant located in the heart of Austin.  Austin Texas has quickly become a busy, thriving food community with deep roots. She began her employment at Eden East upon her arrival to the city while still attending culinary classes.  Through the years, she worked through each department of the restaurant including kitchen, then ultimately ending up as the General Manager. After success in this role, she then became a valued partner to the business.

Her hard work and dedication has brought Eden East Restaurant & Farm much success.  Through her education, guests & employees both can learn about the inner workings of a restaurant & an urban farm.

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Ep 21: Water and Rural Economics – Gary Siegwarth, 2018 Independent Candidate for Iowa Governor

Gary Siegwarth ran for Governor of Iowa in 2018 as an Independent Candidate and formed the Clear Water Party of Iowa.  Listen as he discusses the future of agriculture, what he learned while running for Governor, and why water connects us all. 

Bio
Gary Siegwarth has been a Natural Resource Biologist for the Iowa DNR Fisheries Bureau the past 26 years. He has managed Big Spring Trout Hatchery near Elkader the past 18 years. Prior to that he was the Interior Streams and Rivers Research Biologist for the State of Iowa. Prior to his career in natural resources, Gary operated the family farm in Jackson County. In 2018, Gary ran for Governor of Iowa as an Independent candidate and formed the Clear Water Party of Iowa. Part of his mission was to raise awareness and to change our way of thinking for both natural resources and the potential of the future of a more diverse and transparent agricultural system in Iowa.

Gary’s Website: https://garyforgov.org/

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Ep 11: Benjamin Weiner – CEO, Gold Mountain Coffee Growers

Host Kari Ginger learns more about the work that goes into producing quality coffee with Benjamin Weiner, founder of Gold Mountain Coffee Growers in Nicaragua. Benjamin discusses the daily life of coffee farmers, coffee processing, direct trade, sustainability, and the social and economic impact of coffee in Nicaragua. Benjamin Weiner is the founder of Gold Mountain Coffee Growers, a direct trade social enterprise that connects farmers of exquisite specialty coffees in Nicaragua with roasters throughout the world. Gold Mountain Coffee Growers has its own farm in Nicaragua called “Finca Idealista.” Ben is also a consultant on coffee harvesting and post-harvest processing and a licensed Q Grader. Ben created Gold Mountain Coffee Growers in 2007, when small local farmers asked him for help connecting with international markets. They were upset that the coffee economy did not allow them to support their families effectively. He bases the entire social enterprise on quality. Gold Mountain won the SCAE excellence award for sustainability in 2016 for what their specialty coffees achieve economically and environmentally for coffee communities. Ben is a lawyer by training who served as a foreign policy advisor in the United States Senate before jumping exclusively into coffee. In the U.S. Senate he drafted legislation for a Senator and worked to make U.S. agencies more efficient. He also worked on issues such as environmental cleanups in Vietnam, improving the plight of refugees and persecuted populations, and cutting down on duplicative U.S. military spending. Ben holds a degree in Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis and a law degree from Boston College Law School.
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