This week’s issue of Seven Days features an interview with renowned food writer Ruth Reichl. Last week, I met Reichl at Sterling College in Craftsbury Common, where she spent three days co-teaching a summer course called “Food Writing From the Farm” at the college’s School of the New American Farmstead.
There wasn’t enough space to run the entire interview in print. Here are extended questions and answers from our front-porch conversation on the Sterling College campus:
It's no secret that food sells, especially when it comes to magazines. Yet the striking blueberry pie that appears on the cover of Vermont Law School's Loquitur — as well as the picture of dean Marc Mihaly sautéeing a veggie omelette — promise something different than recipes within.
The entire Winter 2013 issue of Loquitur, VLS' alumni magazine, is devoted to food — "Good Food," as the cover promises — as well as the people who work to grow, make and protect it.
“We focused this issue of Loquitur on food for several reasons," writes Peter Glenshaw, VLS' director of communications, in an email. "Our faculty and alumni are actively engaged in this sector, and with the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law, we are now seeing a new generation of students express a deep interest in the topic."
Besides the usual alumni news, this Loquitur highlights VLS graduates who have become farmers or food producers; a piece about how the legal needs of the farmers and producers might create a new crop of law-related jobs (written by Ben Hewitt, author of The Town That Food Saved); and a profile of VLS' one-year-old Center for Agriculture and Food Systems, which is developing food-ag curriculum for students and advocacy and policy guidance for farmers and food producers.
"Food offers a good platform to convey the importance of legal education and the power that law has on something we do every day — eat!" adds Glenshaw.
This weekend, the brand-new executive director of Slow Food USA, Richard McCarthy, will tour some of Burlington's culinary hotspots — the Farmers Market, the Intervale South End Kitchen and Hen of the Wood among them.
Why is he here? This year, Slow Food Vermont was one of the top four U.S. chapters in terms of new membership; McCarthy's visit is a reward of sorts.
"I have been so proud of our chapter for the past five years, coming up with good, clean and fair programming for all in Vermont," writes Mara Welton, co-owner of the Intervale's Half Pint Farm and the leader of Slow Food Vermont. "I'm in awe when I reflect on the growth of our chapter, the awareness of Slow Food increasing, and all of our events having such an amazing response. It will be really wonderful to share that with the man himself."
Slow Food USA is a branch of Slow Food International, an organization founded in Italy in 1989 with the goal of preserving local food traditions — or, in Slow Food's words, "to counter the rise of fast food and fast life."
Millions of people worldwide now count themselves as Slow Food members, even as the organization has gone through growing pains with regards to its mission.
McCarthy joined Slow Food in 2001, a few years after working with neighbors and growers to create New Orleans' Crescent City Farmers Market in 1995.
On the eve of his visit, McCarthy took some time to answer a few questions.
When Sandor Katz, author of the James Beard Foundation Award-winning The Art of Fermentation, spoke at Sterling College last spring, he attracted a standing-room-only crowd. Now he's returning to the institution, this time as a teacher.
Katz, also known as Sandorkraut, will be at Sterling from July 7 through 18 to teach "Fermentation with Sandor Katz."
According to Christian Feuerstein, Sterling's director of communications, "He is going to be available to [help students] learn fermentation one on one." Topics covered will include vegetable fermentation; making tonic beverages; culturing molds; and fermenting oils, legumes, grains and nuts. Of course, the New York Times-bestselling author of Wild Fermentation and The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved will include his namesake sauerkraut among the foods in which he shares his expertise.
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