The famed UK chef/activist, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, has a lot to share with an American public hungry for great recipes as well as important food for thought. I had the pleasure of having breakfast with Fearnley-Whittingstall and he shared with me his passion for vegetables, how he wants to help change people’s lives, and his inspiring work to help raise awareness about the importance of how and what we eat. Read more
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In the Basque Country—an autonomous community in Northern Spain—the official unemployment rate for young people lingers around 40 percent, but some estimate it might be even higher. It’s a region where the steel and manufacturing industries once dominated, but have since faced huge declines. Finding a first-time career, or returning to an old one for that matter, is increasingly difficult. Read more
So you’ve tried raising chickens and bees and now you’re ready to take your animal husbandry skills to the next level. How about a cow? According to Joann S. Grohman, author of Keeping a Family Cow, the recently updated edition of her 1975 book The Cow Economy, finding and keeping a bovine friend might be easier than you think. Read more
David Gumpert is an advocate and a journalist who writes almost exclusively about raw milk, private food buying clubs, and the conflict around various government attempts to regulate the two. In his new book, Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Food Rights, Gumpert delves deeply into an array of legal cases brought against small producers selling their food outside the commercial realm and raises the question: “Is there such a thing as private food?” Read more
Editor’s note: In honor of National Farmers Market Week, we bring you a view from the other side of the market stand.
I’ve spent over 1,000 Saturdays and Sundays selling at farmers markets, and even after all this time I still love to answer questions. Farmers markets are one of the few places where customers can directly connect with their food, meeting face-to-face with the people who grew it. Questions are expected at market, and even encouraged. From livestock breeds to production practices, organic certification to chemical usage, I’ve been asked just about every food-related question under the sun.
What do you get when you cross a U-pick and a CSA (community supported agriculture) membership? The Masumoto Family Farm adopt-a-tree program. For the last nine years, peach and nectarine lovers in California have filled out “adoption forms,” paid $600, and made the trip to this Fresno-based organic farm for two consecutive summer weekends to harvest between 350 to 450 pounds of fruit from their adopted tree. Read more
There’s nothing like serious catastrophe to really bring into stark relief how close members of a small organic farm are. When the fire started that decimated the processing and packaging barn of our small organic farm in less than 20 minutes, I was four miles away. It was a typical day. I’d been trying unsuccessfully to hook up an implement to my big trusty tractor for about 30 minutes, and I was so mad I was about to chew nails. I hate to admit defeat, but I just tossed my grease gun down and texted my boss to come get me. The message I received back from Erick said “barn on fire come home.” Read more
In 2011, Beth Burzynski, Sabina Bastias, and Sara Brody started a food buying club made up of 18 student households looking for a better way to buy food. At the time, all three women were still in school at the University of Colorado Boulder. “I didn’t think I was going to college to do this,” Brody said, but a shared commitment to food access united the three women and inspired the creation of the Second Kitchen, a bulk buying club dedicated to the education and nourishment of their fellow students. Read more
Farmer Rebecca Thistlethwaite never anticipated that she would start a family farm, scale it 430 percent, and then close it all within six years. But then, who would? Despite their farms closing, the light at the end of their 80-hour farming workweek tunnel turned out to be enlightenment. She, her husband, and daughter took a year off of farming not to rest, but to search for the most innovative and successful farming models across the U.S. Their time off-farm proved invaluable and has manifested into an essential handbook for running a truly sustainable farm: her new book, Farms with a Future. Read more
On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that genetically engineered (GE) wheat–which was planted in trials that ended in 2001 and has not been approved for sale–was found in eastern Oregon. While the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) says the GE wheat is safe to eat, countries like Japan have already halted imports fearing contamination. This has happened before, with rice after traces of unapproved GE strains were found in the 2006 harvest. Read more