Let’s forget Rome and Florence for the moment and fast forward to a small hamlet on the Liguria coast. Nestled between Genova to the north and Camogli to the south lies a brightly painted village named Recco.
It is famous for its water polo team, steep cliffs above the sea, and foremost for its focaccia with cheese.
Upon arriving in Sori, which is a stone’s throw from Recco, we sought out the nearest place to sample this local delicacy. The woman in the trattoria above our apartment made it from scratch for our lunch. At first sight, I thought we had made a language gaff—the focaccia wasn’t at all what I expected. Continue reading →
There is aculinaryline that dissects themidriffoftheEuropecontinent. This line proceeds in gradients of latitudesthat mayblur as you move from north to south.
The people of the northraiseherds of cows and goats. Their milk issometimeswhipped into butteror agedinto cheese.Almosteverythingedible isbathed ineithercreamor butter.
Here the pigsfeaston chestnutsandinturnmakegood sausage.The pickles are fermented,and thekrautsoured to nourishsturdy soulsthroughlongwinter months.
Below thisimaginaryline,treespervade. Hot ancient orchards dot the hillsides drippingwithgreat bundles of green-black olives.They’repressedinto a nutty oilforthe baseofsaucesand ragouts or a simpledip for crusty bread.
Tomatoes and vegetables of every size and elongation are bathed in this southernsun.
Every scaled andnauticalbeastisnettedandfishedfrom the sea.
Italy, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Greece,andCyprusallsurround the Mediterranean Sea,thesearethepeople who inspire thesouthernMediterranean diet.
I first met Jim Thomas, Co-Director of the ETC Group, at a Sustainable Ag and Food Systems Funders conference. Jim had been tracking emerging technologies and their intersection with food and agriculture for some time. When I first heard him speak, in his lilting almost playful cadence, about something called “synthetic biology,” my ears perked up.
He was talking about a new form of genetic engineering that can alter genetics on a worldwide scale – one with little or no government oversight. Continue reading →
As a follow up to my interview with Chuck Benbrook, I was astounded to see the verdict come through on the case of Alva and Alberta Pilliod. The jury awarded them an astonishing $2 billion in damages for their exposure to the herbicide glyphosate and their subsequent fight with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Chuck testified in the case on April 17th, and he focused on Monsanto’s “stewardship” and lack thereof for its Roundup-brand herbicides.
Charles Benbrook is an expert thinker, strategist, a true comrade marching in the field of agricultural science. He is an expert on GMO high-input conventional farming and the ramifications of herbicide use.
Despite the fact that he is a highly esteemed visiting professor at the University of Newcastle, and principle of Benbrook Consulting Services, I know him simply as “Chuck.” He’s my friend and go-to-person in a world sometimes gone mad with unsustainable farming practices. Continue reading →