No Vermont town ever let anybody in it starve.
Dorothy Canfield Fisher
Everyone seems to have a food thing these days–vegan, gluten-free, paleo. And while it might be easy to dismiss GMO as another thing you don’t have time to worry about, it has implications for the larger food system.
GMO stands for genetically modified organism. That is, organisms whose genetic makeup has been altered with or without the addition of genetic material from an unrelated organism. It’s often used for medical research and food production. But beyond traditional cross-breeding for new strains and hardiness, Alisa Gravitz of Green America, writes in the book’s introduction, the modifications “show up in every cell of the plant, from its roots and flowers to the fruit and grains we eat.” GMOs are found in corn syrup and soy, animal feed, and seeds designed to resist pesticides or even to act as insecticides; not for beauty, flavor, or health.
The world needs an industrial food system, but we also need to know what goes into it, what our alternatives are, and to be aware of potential environmental damage–the loss of biodiversity, and the rights of farmers who can’t save seeds and whose fields have been overtaken by GMO plants.
The impact of food on human health problems is constantly under debate, and you’re going to die from something; if you want it to be a fast food burger, that’s your choice. But there are nicer ways to eat–for your palate and the planet. This book is a call to attention–watch what you eat.
Tracey Medeiros steps in with recipes like Smoky Lamb Bolognese, Buckwheat Crackers with Black Walnuts, Spring Breakfast Tacos, and Strawberry Basil Shrub that draw you to the kitchen and the table. But it’s her farmer and producer profiles that will remind you good food comes from people not factories.
And while you may not be able to get Jon Satz’s bio-dynamic tomatoes and berries, there’s a market near you with a farmer growing good local food that will support local jobs and the local environment. Or you can use the recipes from area inns and cafes–Honey-Glazed Pork Bellies from Woodbelly Pizza or Chèvre Gnocchi with Mushroom, Garlic, and Sunchoke Cream Sauce from chef Doug Paine at the Juniper Restaurant. There are drinks, desserts, breakfasts, mains and sides, some with traditional Vermont flavors (yes, maple) and all inspired by the profusion of local food and flavors that will inspire your own farm market cooking.