The location of a tomato patch never pulled weight on my lunchtime decision-making scale until about six years ago. Today, I question this detail on a regular basis. Before I order my BLT or caprese salad at a restaurant, I want to know where, how and by whom that tomato was grown. Not only does locally produced food taste better because it’s fresher, but knowing I’m supporting a local farm family helps me enjoy my meal that much more.
This change in food-source consciousness isn’t exclusive to small-scale-farming-magazine editors. Every day, more people are becoming engaged with their food and the people who grow it. They’re making deliberate choices about and honestly assessing how they’re getting nourishment—from physical, social and environmental perspectives. The media messages surrounding the Food, Inc., documentary, the work of author and food activist Michael Pollan, the White House gardens, and the USDA farmers’ markets are helping to drive this consciousness—not to mention the launch of our Urban Farm magazine. What’s most exciting to me, though, is that so many of you are stepping in to answer the public’s evolving culinary demands.
In this issue, we look at a few farmers who are making a difference in locally and sustainably produced food. Meet Ben Bergmann and Noah Ranells of Fickle Creek Farm in "Farming in Sync with the Land." Learn about farmers using the permaculture growing method in "Change Your Garden." And find out how you can profit from the eating-local wave by supplying farm-fresh goods to dining establishments in your area in "Making a Culinary Connection
With people becoming hyperaware of their food choices, the responsibility all farmers face to provide conscientiously produced food is greater than ever. The word “farmer” evokes a different image today than it did even a few years ago, and—though the work of a food producer has not gotten any easier—the activity of farming may finally be getting the respect it deserves.