What brings you to the food issue? Are you trying to find that tiny restaurant for a transcendent dining experience? Is it a recipe you need that will unlock your creativity and wow your friends and family? After all, what is more pleasurable than eating or preparing a delicious meal? (Please don’t say your answers aloud.)
Perhaps you’ve read about pesticides and are suspicious of the out-of-season products from out-of-town places in your conventional grocery store? Maybe you’re frustrated because you and your neighbors don’t have access to a supermarket at all.
Are you concerned that our national politics and our corporate-dominated food systems are undermining our local economy? Are you worried about the implications of factory farming: the inferior food, the inherent cruelty and the massive ecological devastation?
Since we began publishing Grid—I know that’s only six months ago, but still—no other topic has attracted more interest than food. Perhaps the reasons for this are obvious; as Will Dean points out in his introduction to the food section, “Everybody eats.” Beyond that, food occupies a critical part in the sustainability movement. It’s an intersection of beauty and social justice, of business and health. It’s a battle between autonomy and dependence.
In this issue, we’ve tried to make room at the table for all of these entry points. We’ve included recipes from some talented, local restaurateurs. Dynice Balcavage—who has a blog called urbanvegan.com, as well as book due out this fall—contributed recipes for some delicious, animal-free cuisine.
We’ve highlighted the amazing story of 17-year-old Laquanda Dobson, a standout student at University City High School, whose love for food has propelled her to become an advocate for urban nutrition around the country.
We take you to Lancaster County, where you can witness the power of collaboration amongst farmers, who, when freed from the oppressive constraints of trading with far bigger players, can produce healthy food for local residents—and actually make money while they’re doing it.
Last, but certainly not least, we’ve created a map highlighting farmers’ markets from around the region. After all, food empowerment is not a spectator sport, so grab your reusable shopping bags, find a farmers’ market near you and see for yourself just how tasty a revolution can be.
Alex J. Mulcahy