The Blog

Rap For Food will be back soon…

Hello Friends & Fans,

Thank you for your support of Rap For Food over the years. As most of you know my wife and I made a move out to Austin, TX for a job opportunity after getting married in August. While my passion for supporting local food and community gardening has not waned, my focus has been on this new chapter in Austin and starting a family. I’m looking forward to performing again, but feel that Rap For Food will have to change the scope of its activities to continue to be sustainable in the future.

The whirlwind of activity, concerts and partnerships were such an amazing learning experience but I never transitioned out of that exploration into a more focused organization. Rap For Food is on the back burner for now, but I am hopeful for another opportunity to explore this idea– either as a program inside of a larger organization or simply as a music project and see where it goes from there.

I am grateful for this experience, but recognize that the best way forward is to close the door on it and make a space to re-invent it. I am especially grateful for Alexi Ernstoff and Tanya Mefta, two passionate musical activists that made Rap For Food what it was. What exactly was that? An organization, a musical performance group, a service provider to non-profit organizations? I’m still not sure exactly, but I’m sure that we captured the imagination of a community. I’m sure that it fulfilled me in a way that nothing had before, and I’m sure that idea is as relevant and necessary as ever.

The first step is into the garden to plant some new seeds and see what grows. Polish off the old tools and toss the ones that don’t serve a purpose. Let go of what never bore fruit and make the space for new growth. Rap For Food will be back soon…

With love and gratitude,


The Homegrown Songwriting Competition

**Contestants please complete this form to begin your submission and recieve updates on the competition**


The Homegrown Festival’s Songwriting Competition is back in 2014 and better than ever with the help of local singer/songwriter and teacher Spencer Michaud. This year features a live judging panel and competition at The Yellow Barn September 3rd at 7:30pm to determine the winners. This competition is open to local artists interested in competing for a chance to win $100 and a spot on the main stage at the 7th Annual Homegrown Festival on Saturday September 6th! Submissions will be judged by local musicians and teachers—with special consideration given to those that incorporate a theme or message related to one of the many HomeGrown Festival themes including eating good food, celebrating our local food heritage, and supporting a vibrant and thriving local food economy.

The winner will receive a $100 prize and perform on the acoustic stage at 8:45pm before the closing act. The winner will also be invited to perform live on Tree Town Sound hosted by Matthew Altruda on Ann Arbor’s 107One FM after the festival.

Three runners up will win $50 and have the opportunity to perform on the acoustic stage at 7:00pm or 8:30pm and receive special mention on the website and

Submissions are due by Saturday, August 23rd. Qualified submissions will be invited to perform live at the Yellow Barn on Wednesday, September 3rd. Winners will be judged and provided individual feedback during the event. The winners will be announced at the conclusion and invited to perform the following Saturday, September 6th. No submitted materials will be used or otherwise transmitted without the performer’s consent. If you are unable to submit a recording via e-mail or link please ask for an alternative method.

September 6th, 2014 Performance & Prizes

Due to limited time and space at the festival, performers are asked to limit their equipment needs and group members if possible. Submissions for groups larger than two performers will be considered individually based on equipment needs and setup time.

The winner will receive a $100 prize and an opportunity to perform one song on the main stage before the final act at 9:00pm. The next three runner ups will each receive $50 a slot to perform on the acoustic stage at either 7:00pm or 8:30pm.

Submission Guidelines

Please complete this form and include your lyrics and a link to the song. If it is not online, please submit a digital track via e-mail to by the end of the day on August 23rd.

Additional consideration will be given to those that incorporate themes or ideas related to the HomeGrown Food Festival into their song. This includes but is not limited to cooking at home, local food production, farming, gardening, community organizing, vegetables, animals, minerals, etc. Whatever the festival means to you!

All submissions will be reviewed by a volunteer panel of local musicians and teachers. All submissions will be judged by same criteria included but not limited to lyrics, melody, chord structure, harmony and unity. Submissions of different genre’s may be judged with additional criteria and or separated into categories depending on the number and variety of submissions. Inquire for details.

Please include your name, phone number, and a brief description of yourself, your music, and any other pertinent details. Let us know your inspiration.

All entries submitted must be original songs and shall not infringe any copyrights or any other rights of any third parties. Songs may have multiple co-writers, but only one name should be designated on the entry.

More about Rap For Food

Our mission is to support localization, sustainable food systems, and youth gardening through the arts. In addition to building the organization, we are currently working on recruiting more artists to join us in educating youth about sustainability, growing our own food, and community gardening. We are also recruiting volunteers to assist us with outreach at regular events.

Rap For Food joins county Waste Knot Program

Rap For Food will be accepted into the Waste Knot Program at the Annual Awards Ceremony on April 11th. Here’s some information on the program:

The Waste Knot program aims to develop relationships within the Washtenaw County business community to increase waste reduction and recycling activities.
To achieve its mission, the Waste Knot Program provides community-wide recognition and organization-based technical assistance along with value-added education to organizations that exhibit leadership in waste reduction and recycling or to organizations that desire to become leaders in waste reduction and recycling.
More and more organizations have discovered that integrating waste reduction and recycling, sustainability and community leadership into their business practices leads to profitability. Over the last 2 years, the program has grown by 50% and some of our partners have saved over $120,000 a year by implementing waste reduction strategies .

To join Waste Knot we had to explain how we reduce waste in the events we run. We always use compostable products from BeGreen, and take the food waste to compost in Project Grow’s Compost Education Center. That and promoting sustainability and it was an easy sell!

Thank you Washtenaw County for this great opportunity!

On Your Dinner Plate Podcast is Now Live!

On Your Dinner Plate, hosted by DJ Smackdab (Tanya Meftah) and Homegrown (Lucas DiGia), ran from May to September of 2012 on WCBN 88.3 FM. On Your Dinner Plate featured interviews with food producers, farmers, activists, educators and others connected to the local food movement over jazz music!

Click here or visit to listen in!

Claire Matre and Malik Yakini

Claire Maitre and Malik Yakini in the studio.

Swaroop Bhojani of Hut K Chaats.


Mary Wessel-Walker of Harvest Kitchen.


Our Fearless DJ Smackdab.


The Food ReMix – Sunday, February 24th

 An afternoon of Hip-hop from Food & Environmental Justice advocates.

Rap For Food has partnered with The Detroit Contemporary to bring you an afternoon of hip-hop from artists deeply rooted in the Food Justice and Environmental Movements. This is a truly unique collaborative event with artists traveling to Detroit from Denver, Colorado and Ann Arbor. Bring the family for an unforgettable look at Food Justice through the lens of artists actively involved in their communities.

Sunday, February 24, 2013, 3:00– 6:00 p.m. Admission is $5 per person.

The Detroit Contemporary, 5141 Rosa Parks Blvd Detroit, MI 48208

About the artists

MIKE WIRD & PAPILLON. Straight out of Denver, Colorado, Mike has shared the stage with numerous world-renowned performers. From Paris, France, Papillon has travelled the globe, heralding consciousness through his art.  Both of them are educators, organizers, entrepreneurs, b-boys, DJs, musicians, emcees/poets, producers, natural holistic health and wellness advocates, (O.G) organic gardeners, natural builders and permaculturists. Mike is Co-founder of Regenerative Lifestyles LLC, an eco-social enterprise, and Co-founder of Denver Earthships.  Papillon is founder of ButterSideUp Recordings & Entertainment (B.S.U.R.E.) and ButterSide Art For Education (B.S.A.F.E.).  Together, they work towards understanding and addressing today’s cultural and environmental issues.

S.I.R.I.U.S provides ‘nourishment for thought’ using captivating messages which challenge our conditioned sense of normalcy. (Savior Is Really In (U)niversal Self) also known as Kadiri Sennefer has roots that stem from the famed Black Star Community Bookstore and Power Movement Family (PMF). He is an active member of Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (DBCFSN) and serves as Compost Operations Manager at D-town Farm. He is also a member of the 5E/Heru collective, East Michigan Environmental Action Council (EMEAC) and Detroit Future (DF).

BRYCE’s captivating lyrics and masterful prose speak to the listener whose own story is one of spiritual development and community-minded family focus while ever-striving for personal greatness and the pinnacles of commercial success. He the founder of Detroit’s first environmental-justice based recordings company Detroit Recordings. As a producer and songwriter for AEeTech  Edutainment, Bryce has produced over 60 songs for MTV and VH1.

MONEY WELLZ. His rhymes are striking and spit with conviction, yet his flow seems effortless. Born to parents who are both teachers and community activists, it is no surprise that his raps convey a message of black consciousness.  Money Wellz, a Detroit native, is not only a MC but also the C.E.O. of Power Movement Entertainment formed in 2004 to promote social change. He is currently continuing the production of positive media geared toward moving people to action against social injustice.

HOMEGROWN. Community gardening enthusiast Lucas DiGia performs family friendly songs inspired by his work serving as President of Project Grow. He is a member of the steering committee for The Homegrown Festival and The Local Food Summit as well. Lucas founded Rap For Food to reinforce youth gardening and support educational programs related to gardening, food security, and healthy eating.

About the Detroit Contemporary

The Detroit Contemporary’s mission is to create positive social change by providing a space where new ideas are shared and supported, where creative expressions are celebrated, and where the imagination is the driving force behind both our work and play.

Reskilling Festival – Sunday, February 10th

Rap For Food’s founder Lucas DiGia is teaching a class at this year’s ReSkilling Festival! Check out The Art of Biochar if you are interested in attending. Or check out the full list of workshops to see what else is out there. Haven’t heard of the festival before? Read below for a description and to see pictures and interviews from the founder.

The Ann Arbor ReSkilling Festival aims to help people learn skills for resilient, low-energy living—from canning to meditation to quilting and starting a garden. The concept of reskilling is about preparing for our low-energy future by acquiring new skills related to what we eat, wear, use and live in. As Transition Towns founder Rob Hopkins points out, “We no longer have many of the basic skills our grandparents took for granted.” Reskilling means providing for ourselves and our communities by growing, preserving, creating, building, and teaching.

Ann Arbor has hosted 5 day-long ReSkilling Festivals since 2009 — with our largest attendance at 225 people. The festivals are free and open to the public, and each one is pretty different! Localizers around the country have contacted us about our success with this event (notice that our event is one of the top google hits when you type in “reskilling”!)

The Rudolf Steiner High School (2230 Pontiac Trail, Ann Arbor 48105) graciously offers their building and grounds for the festival, and just visiting this high school building nestled in the woods is an experience in itself. During the festival, sessions happen all day long at the school — in classrooms, stone circles, the woods, and old homes on the property. The commons are vibrant all day with food and conversation.

Want to learn more?  Click here for a CTN interview with our very own Laura Smith

See photos from last winter’s festival here, and past Ann Arbor ReSkilling events on our previous blogsite:

Want to get in touch with the organizers? Reach us here:

Slow Food Film Festival – Wednesday December 12th




Whole Foods Market joins with Food Gatherers and Slow Food Huron Valley to present an evening of film, food, music and friends. Admission is $5. Tickets are available at the door. Seating is limited. All proceeds from the event benefit Slow Food Huron Valley and Food Gatherers.

The evening opens with a special performance by artists from Rap For Food( Rap For Food supports educational programs related to youth gardening, sustainable food systems, and healthy eating through the arts.

The performance is followed by a screening of the movie Food Stamped, a humorous but informative documentary film that follows a couple as they attempt to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet on a food stamp budget. Through their adventures they consult with members of U.S. Congress, food justice organizations, nutrition experts, and people living on food stamps to take a deep look at America’s broken food system      Trailer:

food stamped banner ad

Welcome to Rap For Food

Our Mission is to support localization, sustainable food systems, and youth gardening through the arts. In addition to building the organization, we are currently working on recruiting more artists to join us in educating youth about sustainability, growing our own food, and community gardening. We are also recruiting volunteers to assist us with outreach at regular events.

Listen to our 2012 season of On Your Dinner Plate @! On Your Dinner Plate, hosted by DJ Smackdab and Homegrown of Rap For Food, is all about talking local food over dinner jazz. With 15 episodes, we interview people across the spectrum from food cart owners, market managers, farmers, educators, activists and more!

We are working on our new website!

In the meantime:

Find us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter

or contact us directly at or 734-369-8695.

Click Here to read our last newsletter!