Publishers' Note Fall 2011

Wellwod Orchard
Pressing apples at Wellwod Orchard

Written on

September 01 , 2011

Recently we saw The Cave of Forgotten Dreams, a documentary by Werner Herzog. The film takes the viewer on a visual journey exploring the 30,000-year-old paintings inside the cave of Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc, in southern France. Powerful images of long-extinct animals, crafted by torchlight, transported us back in time. In the film, Herzog explores the very nature and origins of humanness and our urge to communicate; it’s astonishing to realize that at our core there is a need to convey meaningful information. And 30,000 years later, we’re still hard at work connecting with each other, trying to share what is meaningful.

While doing some image research for this issue, we went to our local library and borrowed the 1948 edition of Green Mountain Farm by Elliot Merrick. The opening paragraph reads, in part: “It seemed pretty impossible in those early days that we would ever have a farm. We had practically no money, my wife and I were both city bred, I had just been fired from my job as a truck driver, and it was in the depths of the Great Depression of 1932.” The book reads like a contemporary farm blog, Merrick’s voice being intimate and straightforward. In his account, he offers unique insight into a Vermont that is at once familiar to the reader, yet far removed. There is a tradition of writer-farmers in the state (click here), and all of them sought to communicate what was meaningful in their lives. Much like the cave painters, these writer-farmers captured aspects of their environment, internalized them, and imbued them with significance. In both instances, we are today able to identify with their human spirit and our commonality.

Since we’re on the subject of communicating, we want to let you know that Local Banquet is now on Facebook and Twitter. So, check us out as we delve into the world of social media. We’d love it if you would visit our Facebook page and leave us a post, comment on one of our articles, let us know what interests you, and “like” us. And “follow” us on Twitter, as we “tweet” about what’s happening in Vermont’s local food realm.

Today our ancestors wouldn’t recognize the tools we use in this information age, but they would have been familiar with the urge in the Vermont food and farming community to pass on knowledge (not just through books, but through innovative events like crop mobs; and to the next generation—click here). We’ve come a long way from those caves in southern France but then again, maybe not as far as we think.

Meg Lucas
Barbi Schreiber

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Our stories, interviews, and essays reveal how Vermont residents are building their local food systems, how farmers are faring in a time of great opportunity and challenge, and how Vermont’s agricultural landscape ties into larger questions of sustainability and the future of our food supply.