Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Michael Pollan's Open Letter to the Next President

Farmer in Chief by Michael Pollan, NY Times, October 9, 2008

There are many moving parts to the new food agenda I’m urging you to adopt, but the core idea could not be simpler: we need to wean the American food system off its heavy 20th-century diet of fossil fuel and put it back on a diet of contemporary sunshine. True, this is easier said than done — fossil fuel is deeply implicated in everything about the way we currently grow food and feed ourselves. To put the food system back on sunlight will require policies to change how things work at every link in the food chain: in the farm field, in the way food is processed and sold and even in the American kitchen and at the American dinner table.

Now go read the rest of the article.

And join me at www.foodmake.org.

Food Makers of Baltimore

I have a 1/2 bushel of apples sitting in a cooler on the porch waiting to be peeled, cored, cooked, and canned.

Last year a friend of mine was bold enough to ask to pick apples from an untended orchard (well, several), and she was given permission. Sadly for her (or happily for me), she was not able to can all that she had picked and had 90 pounds waiting for someone to do something with them. Hallelujah! She sent me a note, and I picked them up. Two friends of mine were kind enough to help me can them. Ten hours later, my fingers had blisters, and my counter held two dozen quarts of applesauce. It lasted my family through April.

This year, circumstances have kept me from doing much canning yet. Just some hot sauce to use the 100 super hot peppers my tiny apartment garden produced and a few jars of pizza sauce. Tomorrow I plan to can the 1/2 bushel of apples. Thankfully I have a good friend with an apple peeler. I have never used one before, so I am excited to see if I can get through them without blisters this time.

My reason for sharing all this is to introduce a new group called Baltimore Food Makers. I have met so many people in the few years I've lived here who share my passion for home made food: home grown, home preserved, and home prepared. I have met community garden organizers, container gardeners, kombucha, beer, wine, and cider brewers, bread bakers, yogurt makers, cheese makers, and so on. I want to meet more of you. I want to learn from you. I want to show the people of Baltimore that growing, processing, and preparing food from scratch (or seed) is not just for our grandmothers or farmers hundreds of miles away. We need to reclaim these skills for our generation.

We need a place to start meeting one another, a place to share our resources. I have put together a website and a Google group to do just this.

Collectively we have so many useful skills. We don't need experts to sit us down and teach us how to do these age-old kitchen procedures. I just need you to come to my kitchen so I can watch you do it once. You need me to show you the basics of sourdough baking and give you some starter. Someone else needs to borrow some piece of kitchen equipment that you have sitting in your closet and only use a couple times each year.

I am calling all of you to come together and speak up. Tell us what you know. Tell us what you have to offer our community. And come here to learn. Come here with your questions, with what you wish you learned if only you found someone to show you, with what equipment you would love to try out but wouldn't want to buy for yourself.

Food Makers of Baltimore, unite!

visit: www.foodmake.org and join our conversation at the Food Makers Google group.