Politics of the Plate: Food Journalist Barry Estabrook Speaks
Jeff Gangemi Dec 06, 2011 News 0 comments
Barry Estabrook is a journalist and former contributor to the now-defunct Gourmet magazine, who reports on food politics for various publications, and his blog “Politics of the Plate”. He also wrote the book Tomatoland about industrial tomato production, based on his James Beard Award-winning piece in Gourmet.
This week, Estabrook wrote a piece for The Atlantic, wherein he argued that organic food can feed the seven billion people on Earth. He was countering a claim by Steve Kopperud that food movement activists like Michael Pollan and Marion Nestle were ignoring the masses in promoting local, organic food production.
“I hate it when people just spout things off and it’s taken as gospel. Because it gets repeated so often, people start to believe it, and it’s simply wrong,” says Estabrook of the claim that organic food can’t feed the world’s population.
Estabrook recently spoke with FarmPlate about organic agriculture and other topics. For him, what’s top of mind is farm workers, “more specifically, the abuses that agricultural workers suffer,” he says.
And though Estabrook says abuses akin to slavery happen all over the United States, he also claims that those abuses are significantly more common on large commercial farms.
For Estabrook, a more just and healthy food system comes with transparency. “I sort of divide the world of agriculture and farming into two groups – one group that really wants you to come and see the farms. They’re the ones that want people to come visit and take part. The others would put you in jail for trespassing.”
Estabrook was gracious enough to name a few restaurants and producers in his region of Vermont and New York that he says are clearly in the former group:
Mary’s Restaurant • Bristol, VT - seasonally-changing, eclectic menus with an emphasis on local products
Hen of the Wood Restaurant • Waterbury, VT - seasonal American food celebrating the farms of Vermont and the northeast
Good Companion Bakery • Ferrisburgh, VT - classic European artisan breads, plus grassfed Angus beef, all-natural pork and poultry
Orb Weaver Farm • New Haven, VT - cheese and more
Champlain Valley Creamery • Vergennes, VT - cheese
Caledonia Spirits & Winery • Hardwick, VT - spirits with local ingredients
Whistlepig Whiskey • Shoreham, VT - rye whiskey made from locally grown grain
Flying Pigs Farm • Shushan, NY - pastured meat and poultry
Stay tuned to the FarmPlate blog for more from our conversation with Barry Estabrook later this week!
Images courtesy of Politics of the Plate.
Jeff Gangemi is FarmPlate's Director of Partnerships and Communications. A lover of both local and far-flung foods like soup dumplings and carnitas tacos, Jeff believes in the power of food, writing and entrepreneurship to effect social change.