From Soil to City

Staff Spotlight: Aly

Meet Aly Miller, Local Food Movement Artist!
Aly Miller started working with Local Roots NYC in the Spring of 2013 as our CSA in the Classrooms Educator. Since then, she has served our members at 7 different CSA sites in Manhattan and Brooklyn and illustrated our field guides, dozens of flyers, and our amazing infographics!

veggie roasts

You can check out her incredible designs in our Cooking Tips and on her website, or stop by the Brooklyn Farmacy to say hello. We sat down with Aly to reflect on her time at Local Roots NYC.

What kinds of roles have you had with Local Roots so far?
I started working with Local Roots in the spring of 2013- almost three years ago! I was initially hired to help Wen-Jay build the CSA in the Classroom program, which we implemented in elementary, middle, and high schools. Over the years, my interests have shifted more towards writing and design, which I put to use in creating the LRNYC Kitchen Field Guide, a few maps, dozens of flyers, and illustrated recipes and infographics. I’ve been a site leader at Cubana Social, The Pencil Factory, R/GA, AppNexus, Brooklyn Farmacy, Prospect Bar, and NYU.

What is the best thing about working in the local food movement?

My favorite thing about working with a Local Roots NYC in the local food movement in general is all of the really lovely people you meet there: farmers, educators, cooks, bloggers, and musicians–they’re all involved! I also love being a part of a movement that puts ecological diversity and sustainability at the forefront. But saying goodbye to CSA members at the end of every season is always the hardest!

What’s the weirdest CSA item you’ve ever received? The best?

The weirdest CSA item I’ve ever received were probably those dried peppers from a few summers ago. I still have them, and I have no idea what to do with them! I’m afraid they’ll make it to the compost bin if no one has ideas for me. The best item I’ve ever received was the sunchokes from Taproot Farm a few weeks ago. I have never eaten so well! I also love those amazing Japanese eggplants that we got from Norwich Meadows last summer. And the sweet Hakurei turnips from Taproot Farm!

Are you a tea or a coffee person?

I’m definitely a coffee person! My favorite spot is Stumptown at the Ace Hotel (which I discovered when I used to manage the AppNexus CSA site!). Get your coffee and walk around back to enjoy the hotel lobby’s amazing leather chairs and long tables lit by library lamps.

Where are you eating out in NYC lately?

I have to recommend Tilda All Day, which is on Fulton and St. James in Clinton Hill. They serve really innovative and affordable dishes that keep me inspired. The whipped tahini and tofu with roasted beets is divine.

What’s your favorite winter time snack, and what have you been cooking lately? Where do you get your recipes?

My favorite wintertime snack is definitely smoothies! It sounds counterintuitive to eat cold food in winter, but this time of year might actually be the most important time to chow down on those raw fruits and veggies! Smoothies are fun and endlessly adaptable to what’s in your fridge, which is why I love them! I’ve been cooking a lot of spreads lately: butternut squash and tahini puree, or roasted beets and yogurt. They look so stunning, and they’re fun crowd-pleasers. Both recipes come from the cookbook called Jerusalem.

I also read cookbooks like good literature. I often spend my lunchbreaks reading my favorite food blogs and getting ideas for how to use my CSA share! My favorite blogs are: Dishing Up the Dirt, My Name is Yeh, My New Roots, and Cookie + Kate.

Thanks Aly!