We hear of new philosophies about food but what about the ancient philosophies. Jean Jacque Rousseau said “Give me milk, vegetables, eggs, and brown bread, with tolerable wine and I shall always think myself sumptuously regaled.” And Plato seems to be the originator of today’s very popular Mediterranean Diet. Henry David Thoreau’s simple rows of beans beside his famous pond inspires foodies yet today. A new book by Martin Cohen, “I Think Therefore I Eat” looks back through the centuries at the opinions and food choices of the world’s greatest minds, who may help us tackle today’s food questions. He is an author, radical philosopher, eiditor, reviewer and a foodie of sorts who lives with his family in the South of France from where he joins the Farm To Table Talk. In this conversation we start with what it’s like to be a writer, living (and eating) in the South of France then dive in to the food experiences and perspectives of the greatest philosophers of all time. I THINK, THEREFORE I EAT: THE WORLD’S GREATEST MINDS TACKLE THE FOOD QUESTION (Turner Publishing, November 20, 2018)
Globally and locally, the public has been warned that the world’s climate is changing and it is not getting better. Almost everyone now agrees on that but many don’t agree whether to call it climate change, global warming, weird weather or something else that aligns with their politics. The scientific reports are snowballing now from the US government, World Resources Institute and experts from every corner of the globe. Farming systems, the source that sustains the world, is being blamed for 25% of the problem at the same time that there is another scientific consensus that the world will need to grow 50% more food to feed the world’s growing population. We need more food at the same time that we need to reverse the trend of producing green house gases. So what? Coastal cities will flood, fires will rage, droughts increase but food will be grown in different ways, different regions and higher cost. Not terrible news if your biggest worry is paying $25 for a future daily latte but tragic news if you are responsible for feeding a a family on poverty level income. Sam Fromartz is co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Food and Environment Reporting Network. He joins Farm To Table Talk podcast host Rodger Wasson to discuss the state of these emerging stories and implications for what we eat and how it’s grown. www.thefern.org
Central city markets have existed for hundreds of years to connect farmers and consumers–a rich tradition that continues to this day in some cities with the addition of new looks and new services to meet the changing needs of modern cities. Findlay Market in the Over the Rhine neighborhood in downtown Cincinnati has been in continuous operation since the early 1800’s and even stayed open throughout the Civil War although the battle lines between the North and the South were close by. Today Central Markets like Findlay have added a range of new services to provide for the needs of a diverse community. Under one roof with seasonal fresh market outdoors and surrounded by artisan and food vendors the old market is the center of new activities — from Kitchen incubator to healthy food prescriptions. Andrew Pytlik, the Findlay Market District Manager, joins our table to share the story of a perpetual marketplace that is vital, relevant and progressive–bringing everyone together for a healthy local food system. www.findlaymarket.org
“Left a good job in the city…” is not just John Fogerty’s lyrics to a great song, it should be the theme for thousands of new farmers, also tired of “workin for the man every night and day.” Morgan Gold is one of them. Over the past 12 months, Morgan and his wife quit their jobs in Washington, DC and moved to a farm in a remote part of Northern Vermont. They planted a 600 tree integrated orchard consisting of chestnuts, hazelnuts, elderberries, butternut, mulberries, apple, black locust, Siberian pea shrub and many others. They are also in the process of developing a flock of egg-laying ducks that live in a mobile duck house that travels through their orchard. Their ultimate goal is to develop a long-lasting sustainable farm that is sustainable on three levels – environmentally, financially and personally. To do this, they have been documenting their farm’s development through a YouTube channel to build a brand to heavily sell future farm products. If you are pursuing a back to the country dream of your own or just curious/envious of those who are, join Morgan Gold and Rodger Wasson at this Farm To Table conversation. Check out Morgan Gold’s you tube videos: Small Vermont Farm Tour: https://youtu.be/qNaqPKNQE7U ; The Duck Harvest: https://youtu.be/FTayhLvq41o ; Watching Ducks in Slow Motion: https://youtu.be/8-NBIWFO-J4; Why Leave the City?: https://youtu.be/eww5MDtdZsc
Should your scales get a holiday too? There is a debate about whether diets work and even whether we should bother to step on the scales. Maybe it’s not about your weight or your pants size or how many calories you burn. Well-being coach, author and registered dietitian nutritionist Rebecca Scrichfield believes we should focus on awareness, self-compassion, mindfulness and joy in making our food choices. Author, speaker, registered Dietitian and founder of Whole Body Reboot, Manuel Villacorta is a weight loss expert who is not ready to ditch the scales but recognizes the importance of watching waist size, maybe instead. Rebecca Scrichfield and Manuel Villacorta join the Farm To Table Talk table to explore the weight loss controversies and how we should care for our bodies. www.manuelvillacorta.com www.bodykindnessbook.com/podcast/
For many Farm To Table fans and ‘foodies’ of all types, Top Chef is their favorite show. For young Chefs it can also be an obsession to one day be chosen to compete. Caitlin Steininger is one of those Chefs whose goal it was to make it to the Top Chef competition. She made it and shares her experience with Farm to Table Talk. Caitlin and her sister, Kelly Trush, started the Cooking With Caitlin brand when she was just 19. They write food columns. do regular radio show, have a prominent web presence and have a popular restaurant, CWC (Cooking With Caitlin) in Wyoming, Ohio. They source locally, including produce grown for the restaurant at Cait lin’s children’s elementary school. Farm To Table Talk is ‘cookin with Caitlin’.
Fear of chemicals in our food system scares some people to death. Is it warranted? Both organic chemicals and synthetic chemicals are used to grow, process, transport, preserve, package and serve our food, from farms to tables. Consequently traces of chemical residues can be found in all of us. Given declining trust in large corporations and government institutions some worry about this a great deal and some don’t give it a second thought. For the most part Federal government agencies and food manufacturers are assuring that safeguards are adequate and the fear is not warranted while many NGO’s draw attention to what they see as shortcomings in regulation and increased risks evidenced by certain scientific studies. The Genetic Literacy Project takes a more reassuring perspective on food safety. Its Founder and Executive Director, John Entine is also the author of “Scared To Death” and “Crop Chemophobia”. This episode of Farm to Table Talk explores the current facts, perceptions and ‘phobias’ about our food and how it is grown.
Across America there are a few special places where farm based, private, non-profit organizations carry out programs for the pubic good. In the Ohio River Valley on the northeast rim of the 2 million population Cincinnati metropolitan area, is one of those special places: Greenacres Farm. The Farm was established by Louis and Louise Nippert to preserve for the public an area reflecting the traditional environment and historic significance of its woodland and farmland–encouraging conservation and appreciation of nature, music, arts and sustainable “generative farming” of livestock and vegetables. A picturesque drive through rolling hills and pastureland brings us to Greenacres Farm for table talk with Peggy Schatz, Farm Sales & Office Manager; Chad Bitler, Research Scientist; and Dave Chal, Garden Production Manager. It’s a lively conversation that explores the past, future and consumer interest in biodynamic and generative farming. www.green-acres.org
There is an art and a science to farming and to food production.The science is based on objective analysis of methods, components and systems. The art is more subjective and includes impressions, feelings and instincts. The term Artisan describes small, specialized, less mechanized systems of specialty farming and food production.It’s not hard to recognize that food “artfully” produced and prepared by a creative chef or artisan practicing their kitchen craft for sale on line or at Farmer’s markets are functioning in a Farm/Art nexus. This perspective allows us to appreciate a farmer’s field or a chef’s creation on our plate as art.No wonder that Artists find inspiration in the country and where food is produced for the Artisan’s touch or Supermarket bounty. Many farmers see their crops as commodities, but there are artists who see beauty and creativity in their efforts. Artists are interpreting their visions through all paint media, fiber arts and sculpture.
Today County Arts Councils throughout the country are beginning to recognize the link between Agriculture and the Arts. One of the pioneers in this movement was the Madera County Celebrate Agriculture with Arts Show. As I toured their exhibit I realized that I was spending longer with some of this farm art than I did viewing the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris. At a field day in the midst of a crowd that equally appreciates art and the art of farming and food production, Farm To Table Talk explores these ideas and learns about a successful Agriculture and Arts project with Alison Flory the Executive Director of the YoloArts.Org.
When a public institution has research, education and public outreach responsibilities that touch the needs of virtually the whole world, it gets to be called the World Food Center. That happens at UC Davis where a World Center started, stalled and then re-started with renewed focus. Today “the World Food Center (WFC) mobilizes the research, educational and outreach resources of UC Davis, in partnership with consumers, public and philanthropic entities, and the agricultural, marine and food industries, to promote innovative, sustainable and equitable food systems. Based in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the World Food Center works on local, national and global scales to support scientific research and policy development leading to implementation of food production and distribution systems that support the health of people and the environment while addressing the challenges of population growth and climate change.” Dr. Kent Bradford is a distringuished Professor of Plant Sciences and the Interim Director of the World Food Center. Dr. Bradford joins our Table Talk Table to explain the Center’s mission and what it means to farmers, the food chain and consumers in California and world-wide.