March 2011 Publisher's Letter
A few years ago I discovered a bumper sticker at a local farmers’ market in Providence, Rhode Island with a simple yet powerful message: No Farms, No Food. It now resides on my desktop alongside other reminders that I deem important. The back quotes American Farmland Trust, an organization that promotes awareness of this modern day phenomenon: “America loses two acres of farm and ranch land to sprawling development every minute. You can help save our nation’s farms and food for future generations.” Wow.
America has long been a freely growing nation of productive industry and self-sufficient entrepreneurship. The expansion of small farming towns as well as urban commercial centers across this all-sustaining land reflects the essence of our identity as a nation. We export the hope of a better life that continues to attract peoples from around the world. Wave after wave of immigrants to our borders have dramatically altered U.S. demographics and assimilation of these newcomers has produced a melting pot with an often remarked upon work ethic. Many of these people labor on the farms that feed the citizens of our own country and others in the world.
Creating a popular destination carries the need for a place to live, complete with housing, schools, services and food. The call to feed multitudes requires sustainable as well as productive cultivation of crops. Unfortunately, half a century of conventional chemical-based farming has depleted and poisoned our soils and water supplies. The land has grown weary from the burden that behemoth agribusiness has placed on it; their answer is to genetically engineered plants to withstand creatively toxic herbicides and pesticides.
I believe that science can help us produce more food to fill hungry demands, but it must be the right kind of science. Organic farming surely provides a more natural, healthy and sustainable answer.
Local farmers’ markets are moving in the right direction, feeding towns and cities with regional seasonal foods. They have responded so successfully to soaring demand that we’ve seen a 16 percent national increase in the number of markets just this past year, from 2009 to 2010. “Think global, buy local” is not just a catch phrase anymore. Are you reaping the benefits of this trend?
We also invite you to turn to our March Community Spotlight, sharing the story of how Joyce Rosenblum, a mother of necessity and invention, first transformed her ailing family through a healthier diet and lifestyle, then began helping others to do the same through her Natural Kitchen Cooking School.
One of my favorite Yankee idioms is “Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do. Or do without.” Isaiah Zagar, the subject of our Sustainable Living department this month, goes a step further. He uses everything recycled in his art, making Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens a must-see destination. Some 40 years in the making, the dynamic South Street landmark surprises and delights at every turn. See PhillyMagicGardens.org for a taste of the fun.
Thank you for being part of the journey,
Don Moore, Publisher