Publishers' Note—Winter 2016

Work That Educates, 1914; photo by Lewis Wickes Hine, 1874–1940, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, DC.
Work That Educates, 1914; photo by Lewis Wickes Hine

Written on

November 24 , 2015

We think a lot about food here at Local Banquet. How it’s grown and who’s growing it and the practices that enhance and sustain our planet.

But what if the crops you want to eat are not grown at all in the state where you live? Or what if you want to take your locally sourced farming knowledge and share it far beyond the state where you live?

In New Crops for New Americans we present a photo spread that shares the story of crops as cultural archetypes. The New Farms for New Americans program, based in Burlington, has been assisting refugees and immigrants in the growing of distant crops here in the state. They recently worked with UVM Extension to compile a book that celebrates their efforts. We celebrate the book, and these unusual crops, on these pages.

In this issue we also look at what’s happening agriculturally beyond our borders and travel with some of Vermont’s farmer ambassadors to far-off lands such as Nepal, Burma, and Cuba. Click here to read about how these Vermont farmers are sharing their expertise and years of hands-on knowledge and problem solving directly with local farmers to improve on-farm production.

Back at home we take a look at the Vermont Farm Fund, a revolving loan fund, as it celebrates five years of offering “no-hassle” loans to Vermont farmers and food producers. In place of paying back a loan, the VFF likes to say that recipients “pay forward” their loans so that the money is again available to other Vermont farmers in need. Find out more here.

Over the years of publishing Local Banquet we’ve gained a deep respect for those who work the land locally, but international issues are always knocking on our door here in Vermont. We aren’t isolated, and we hope this issue is a reminder that international cross-fertilization in agriculture can yield some impressive and heartening results.

Meg Lucas
Barbi Schreiber

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What we do

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.