Agroecology, A Guiding Principle For Food Entrepreneurship

Ryan Donnell for The New York Times

Our attention has been on food entrepreneurship recently, and here we continue the thread. With agroecology, a new word and robust concept, we have new food for thought. And for that we thank one of our favorite food writers, who we have relied since the first year of this platform. Many of the food stories we have linked to over the years have been authored by him. A year ago we linked to this story, which marked the first time we noted him as an activist. We expect, after reading Bringing Farming Back to Nature, which he co-authored with Daniel Moss, that he has found his new calling:

Workers in a paddy field in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. Credit Noah Seelam/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Farming the land as if nature doesn’t matter has been the model for much of the Western world’s food production system for at least the past 75 years. The results haven’t been pretty: depleted soil, chemically fouled waters, true family farms all but eliminated, a worsening of public health and more. But an approach that combines innovation and tradition has emerged, one that could transform the way we grow food. It’s called agroecology, and it places ecological science at the center of agriculture. It’s a scrappy movement that’s taking off globally. Continue reading

A Food Writer & The Shock Of The New

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Food has recently returned to the center of our attention, and in the outback of Belize we have had some lovely surprises. An unexpected essay, from one of the food world’s most prominent writers, gives another view altogether from the USA:

The New Foodieism

To care about food now is to care about the future of this country.

By Mark Bittman

Like many of us, I spent the winter muddling through a mental miasma, pondering the meaning of life and democracy. I did, of course, think about “food” — how it’s produced, marketed, discussed, consumed, and so on — during my self-imposed hiatus from near-constant writing, which began more than 18 months ago. Continue reading

Pepper Terroir

Chili.  Chili Pepper.  Capsicum.  Multiple monikers for a simple fruit in the nightshade family that has successfully colonized all cultures around the globe.

Chili Peppers and garlic at the Ernakulum Market, Cochin

This new world crop was part of the so called “Columbian Exchange”, using those newly opened passages to cross oceans and then continents.   Both the Spanish and the Portuguese had interests and influence across Asia and India, and these fiery fruits were quickly incorporated into local cuisine.

Chili Peppers (whole and ground) at Yangnyeong Market, Seoul

Oaxaca, Mexico has been a culinary mecca for decades and the chili has played an enormous role.  A market excursion wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the chili stalls.  As I’ve written in previous posts, this form of “shopping” goes way beyond simple provisioning.  It’s a both lifestyle and a lifeline to a different time…

Mark Bittman is referring to a particular terroir in his article.  But using an anthropomorphic conceit I’ll ask readers to consider the concept of “slow food” as a citizen of Pangaea.