Footing the Bill

Originally posted at Kitchen Dancing on August 25th, 2007. View original post here

The first in a series of articles on the Farm Bill.

From econ.lastate.eduSome of you might know that in the past month I began a new job, working for a fantastic media reform organization (Free Press). One of our main talking points at Free Press focuses on how the current media system we have (i.e. ultra consolidated, corporately controlled, homogonous, infotainment) is not the natural outgrowth of market forces. It is easy to view our consolidated media – where a mere six companies control more than 75% of what we see, hear, and read – as the result of business deals and the laws supply and demand at work.

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The Smell of Tomatoes

Originally posted at Kitchen Dancing on August 14th, 2007. View the original post here.

I may be going out on a limb here – but does anyone else know that incredible, unique, and lovely smell of tomatoes? Not just tomatoes, but more specifically, tomato stems freshly snapped from the vine. There is nothing like it.

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Food, Place, Memory

Originally posted at Kitchen Dancing on July 27th, 2007. View the original post here.

My friend Abby Dallmann recently returned for a brief visit in the middle of a two year stint working and living in Hungary. My wife (and co-author of this blog), Erica lived in Hungary for a year when she was sixteen, and so the two of them swapped stories and compared notes about the area. When Erica was there, living in a small town called Szeged, it was nearly impossible to find a person who spoke English, or find many foods commonly found in America.

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Sexy Tomatoes

Originally posted at Kitchen Dancing on July 16, 2007. View the original post here.  

Not long ago NPR did a story about the Florida Tomato Committee, who hired an advertising firm to create a new image for the little red crop with an identity problem (is it a fruit or is it a vegetable? You call it tomato, I call it tomato…). Why do Florida tomatoes need an advertising agency? It seems that in the wake of recent storms and distribution problems, grocery stores began ordering fewer and fewer tomatoes. So Florida farmers were suffering crop damage from the weather and lower than normal demand. The reporter painted a grim picture of Florida fields, stained red with rotting tomatoes.

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Wants and Needs

Originally published on Kitchen Dancing on July 16, 2007. View original post here.

The first time Erica and I walked through the big barn doors into the cool shade of the CSA barn, we were struck by the commotion inside. The roof over the biggest room in the barn is held up by two 8×8 timbers. Both are surrounded by tables where big baskets overflow with lettuce, kale, and cabbage. On our first day carrots, radishes, and a few early chives were laid out on the table in neat piles as well.

Families and farmers milled around the tables of vegetables, while friends stood in the corners getting caught up, nibbling on the fresh produce they were carrying. The entire place smelled of warm dirt, kicked up from kids chasing each other in one door and out the other.

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Picking Strawberries


Originally posted at Kitchen Dancing on July 12, 2007. View the original post here.

It’s hard not to think about the sweetness in life when you are picking strawberries. Working side by side with my wife, we crouch over the thick bushes and push the leaves aside looking for the perfect berry. The ground is littered with missed opportunities, rotten fruit left hanging too long. We laugh at the sadness brought on by the dark red spots rotting at the base of the bushes. We laugh because we both think of the strawberries dying, the personification of the berries is complemented by the bright red stains on the ground. We talk about the energy contained in each berry, of good summer sun and hands that planted each bush, the energy of compost and soil, plowed and enriched. And while the berries might be lost, and our taste buds may be mournful, the energy is multiplied in seeds spread as each dark red berry is returned to the earth.


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Why Blog About Food?

Originally posted at Kitchen Dancing, on July 8, 2007. View the original post here.

When Erica and I began talking about doing some sort of joint writing project food was a topic that surfaced fairly early. As with most things there are probably innumerable reasons why we chose food but a few key reasons pop into my mind.

For the past three years we have been members of a community supported agriculture farm (CSA) in Amherst, Massachusetts. The experience of being a member of this farm has radically reshaped our relationship to our food and has consistently pushed our thinking about food issues. It has been a wonderful experience which has made us so much more aware of what we eat and where our food comes from. At the same time, and in part due to our experiences on the farm, Erica and I have embarked on a number of other food related adventures. We have begun to do biweekly potlucks to build community and connect friends from different parts of our lives. I have been teaching a food unit for the past two semester in my writing classes which has encouraged college students to use writing to take a critical look at the personal and cultural aspects of food in their lives. Finally, in trying to make the most out of the food we get at the farm, we have begun canning and preserving food. Almost without realizing it, food has taken on an increasingly central role in the way Erica and I think about our lives, our community, and the broader world around us. I want to talk a bit more about each of these below.

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