Diet For A Hot Planet

In the upcoming months, select Edible Communities magazines will feature an exclusive excerpt from Anna Lappe’s inspiring new book, Diet for a Hot Planet.

Here’s Anna with a video introduction to her book:

Praise for Diet for a Hot Planet from Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation):

As Anna Lappé reveals in this important book, we must be conscious of what we eat – not only for our own health, but for the health of the planet. When it comes to climate change, junk food may prove even more destructive than S.U.V.s. Lappé’s message is timely and empowering.”

Buy Anna’s book here: Indie Bound, Amazon, Barnes & Noble.

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Episode 13: Matthew Frank

Kate Manchester talks to Matthew Gavin Frank, author of Barolo  (University of Nebraska Press, Spring 2010). An intimate travelogue and a memoir of a culinary education, Frank’s book details the adventures of a not-so-innocent abroad in Barolo, a region known for its food and wine (also called Barolo). Upon arrival, Frank began picking wine grapes for famed vintner Luciano Sandrone. He tells how, between lessons in the art of the grape harvest, he discovered, explored, and savored the gustatory riches of Piemontese Italy. Along the way we meet the region’s families and the many eccentric vintners, butchers, bakers, and restaurateurs who call Barolo home.

Click here for more information on Barolo.

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Episode 12: Gordon Edgar

Edible Radio’s Kate Manchester talks to Gordon Edgar, the cheesemonger at San Francisco’s Rainbow Grocery Cooperative whose first book has just been published.

Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge, is the story of Edgar, a former volunteer at Epicenter Zone, the not-for-profit punk community center in the Mission district, who lucks his way into the cheese buyer position at Rainbow Grocery. Taking over a cheese counter full of industrial jacks, cheddars and bries, he slowly transforms a once-pedestrian assortment into a world-class fromagerie.

Under the premise that punk rock made him a cheesemonger, the book is a lively inside look at the world of not-so-honest cheese pushers and sales reps, including the time he throws a pretentious New York cheese importer out of Rainbow Grocery with a Cali-inspired “Dude, shut up and get the !@#$ out of our store.”

More travelog than cheese review, he travels to regional dairies for an intimate look at the artisan cheese movement. At one farm he’s excited to see cows eating their way through spring grasses, and bemoans the fact that seasonal cheeses are a dying breed, a victim of large-scale production and international free trade.

But back at the store, more customers are demanding to know where animals “grazed” before making a selection (thanks to books like The Omnivore’s Dilemma), and Edgar strives to feature dairy farmers who can supply real numbers (forage vs. feedlot) when they use the terms pasture-based or grass-fed.

Unfortunately the USDA has no standardized definition of foraging and he predicts that the term will ultimately be meaningless, citing the cynical dairy in-joke regarding access to pasture: “Yeah, they walk ’em through the field on the way to the slaughterhouse.” Or as Alice Beetz, program specialist from the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, says: “Think of milk as a means of marketing the forage.”

In later chapters, Edgar dips into “The Milk of Human Neurosis” and sharpens his activist edge with a look a “Punk Subculture and Reagan Cheese.” In “Terroir, Trucking, and Knowing Your Place,” he ponders the American Cheese Society’s use of the term terroir, slyly noting that the United States has no real land-based tradition, especially considering that our biggest contribution to the world of dairy is American Cheese.

Each chapter of Life on the Wedge ends with a couple of cheese profiles, which are more like in-depth bios than serious tasting notes, but the real attraction to this book is that Edgar takes no prisoners in his search for the truth in cheese and we all eat better for it.

Check out Gordon’s blog, and his book is published by Chelsea Green.

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Episode 11: Joel Salatin

Photo: Participant Media/Food, Inc.

Joel Salatin, 53, is a fulltime third generation alternative farmer in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. His farm services more than 3,000 families, 10 retail outlets, and 50 restaurants through on-farm sales and metropolitan buying clubs with salad bar beef, pastured poultry, eggmobile eggs, pigaerator pork, forage-based rabbits, pastured turkey and forestry products using relationship marketing.

In addition to open pasture, Polyface has 450 woodland acres, that Salatin refers to as a “forest farm.” Besides selling firewood and lumber, the farm’s pigs are finished on acorns for a month before slaughter, which saves money on grains and feed. Salatin claims that running pigs in the woods (George Washington did so with his own swine herds), and being able to manage and control this technique, will eventually make confined animal feeding operations (CAFO) obsolete.

Salatin also talks about the farm crisis: demographically, the average farmer is approximately 60 years old, and in the next 15 years 50% of America’s farmland will change hands. Unfortunately most of this land will be passed onto children who don’t want to farm the land. But the good news is that a generation of young farmers (who don’t come from a farming background or family) are slowly becoming the new rock stars of the food world, and there is going to be land available for them everywhere.

Salatin holds a BA degree in English and writes regularly for Stockman Grassfarmer, Acres USA, and American Agriculturist. The Salatin family farm, Polyface Inc. (“The Farm of Many Faces”) has been featured in Smithsonian Magazine, National Geographic, Gourmet. Profiled on the Lives of the 21st Century series with Peter Jennings on ABC World News, his after-broadcast chat room fielded more hits than any other segment to date. It achieved iconic status as the grass farm featured in the New York Times bestseller Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan.… Read the rest

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Episode 10: Aran Goyaoga

Photo: Karen Mordechai Photography

Aran Goyoaga shows us that all food blogs are not created equal. A Basque ex-pat living in the US since 1998, Aran is the real sweet behind the blog Cannelle Et Vanille, which she says are the smells and tastes of her childhood. Aran grew up in a house full of bakers and pastry chefs, and it’s clearly in her blood. 

She is a mother, a freelance food writer, stylist and photographer. Her blog is a journal of her recipes, travels and life stories, full of gorgeous photos and wonderful recipes.

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Episode 9: Elissa Altman

Elissa Altman is an award-winning columnist, humorist, and commentator on all things culinary. Once described as the illegitimate love child of David Sedaris and M.F.K. Fisher, Altman has contributed to Saveur Magazine, the Hartford Courant, Beard House Magazine, the New York Times, and blogs regularly for the Huffington Post.  Formerly a restaurant critic for The Hartford Courant, Ms. Altman has also worked in New York City as a personal chef and caterer, attended the Institute for Culinary Education, and was a longtime senior editor at both HarperCollins and Clarkson Potter. 

She is the founder of the very funny and delicous blog,, and you can follow her on Twitter  @PoorMansFeast.

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Episode 8: Lisa Hamilton & Will Harris

Lisa Hamilton photo by Madeleine Tilin

Editors note: We’re excited to announce that Will Harris is speaking at Edible Institute 2012! For more information and to purchase tickets click here: Edible Institute 2012.

Will Harris is a fifth generation cattler rancher and the owner of White Oak Pastures, the largest certified organic farm in Georgia. In 1995 Will decided to change his family’s traditional practices of raising corn fed cattle and transitioned to grass fed beef. Will is the subject of a recent documentary by the Southern Foodways Alliance, “CUD.” You can view the film online here:

White Oak Pastures website.

Lisa Hamilton is a journalist, photographer, and the author of two books: “Deeply Rooted: Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness” and “Farming to Create Heaven on Earth.” Her work has also been published in The Nation, Harpers, National Geographic Traveler, Orion, and Gastronomica. You can read more about Lisa on her website:



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Episode 7: Tom Philpott

Photo: Bart Nagel

Show notes: Tom Philpott, food editor at is among the brightest stars and is a prolific and informed voice of the contemporary food revolution taking root in this country today.  A speaker and honored guest at the first annual Edible Institute in Santa Fe, NM, Tom was gracious enough to sit down and have a conversation with us.

When he isn’t obsessing about food and agriculture and hunting and pecking at his laptop’s keyboard, you might find him in the kitchen or in the field at home at Maverick Farms in Valle Crucis, N.C. Before becoming a full time farmer, he held a day job as a finance writer and editor in New York City, and generally split his off time between his community-garden plot in Brooklyn and his apartment kitchen. In past lives, he has worked as a grill cook in an old-school Texas steakhouse, a finance reporter in Mexico City, and a community-college instructor/restaurant critic in Austin, Texas. Follow Tom’s posts at , and on Facebook, or Twitter.

Bio: Tom Philpott is food editor at, where he writes on the politics and ecology of food. He’s also a co-founder and core-group member at Maverick Farms, a center for sustainable-food education in Valle Crucis, North Carolina.
Before moving to the farm in 2004, Philpott worked as a financial journalist in Mexico City and New York City, most recently holding the title of equity research editor for Reuters, where he wrote daily dispatches on the stock market. His work on food politics has appeared in Newsweek, The Guardian, Seed, Gastronomica,  Mother Earth News, New Farm, and Sojourners. Maverick Farms has been featured in Gourmet and The NewYork Times Magazine, and in Sept. 2008, Food & Wine named Philpott one of “ten innovators” who will “continue to shape the culinary consciousness of our country for the next 30 years.” Philpott serves of the board of directors of the Boston-based Chef’s Collaborative, a nationwide group that seeks to push the restaurant business in more sustainable directions; and on the board of advisers at the Ausin, Texas-based Sustainable Food Center.… Read the rest
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Episode 6: Ari Derfel

Program notes:
Ari Derfel is a visionary, and a contemporary entrepreneur. On paper, he is the co-founder along with Eric Fenster, of Back to Earth Catering, Gather Restaurant, and Back to Earth Outdoor Adventures. In theory – if you are a traditionalist when it comes to business, Ari’s way of thinking and doing might seem unorthodox, but he’s clearly on to something big. Ari and Eric created a business plan for themselves, but the core of the plan was based on a set of shared values rather than the bottom line – not that the bottom line wasn’t important – it just wasn’t the main event.  With a shared background in event production and sustainability, as well as a passion for organic food, Eric and Ari joined forces to “green” the event industry. Each of their companies are a direct expression of their values, and operate with the same mission: “We provide experiences that celebrate life, and enhance our awareness of self, community, and the earth.”
When Back to Earth hit the scene, words like “green”, “organic”, and “sustainable” were just beginning to catch and were almost non-existent in the food and event industry. From inception, Eric and Ari built a company with these principles at its foundation. Their goal was to prove that sustainability and health did not need to be an afterthought — it could bring food and events to the next level of quality, elegance, and innovation. Word hit the street quickly, and before long Back to Earth established itself as the premier organic caterers in the San Francisco Bay Area. They received national press and awards and a flood of requests and enthusiasm.
Their most recent vision – Gather,  is an all organic restaurant at the David Brower Center in Berkeley, California. The David Brower Center is a high-profile development project in downtown Berkeley that will house environmental and social justice non-profits and triple bottom line for profits. To see more about what Ari and Eric have created, visit or

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Episode 5: Emigdio Ballon

A field with quinoa in Bolivia

Emigdio Ballon, is a member of the Quechua Indian culture and was born in Cochabamba, Bolivia. He earned his Bachelors degree in agriculture at Major Bolivian University of Saint Simon in Cochabamba, Bolivia and his Masters degree in plant genetics in Colombia. As a plant geneticist he has specialized in research on quinoa and amaranth grains and has published many articles about them in both South and North America.

Emigdio has served as an organic certification inspector in the United States and has made many presentations at major conferences on agriculture. He has studied principles of bio-dynamic farming at the Josephine Porter Institute of Applied Bio-Dynamics and continues to study and make presentations at various seminars.

In his little free time, Emigdio pursues research into germination techniques for a wide variety of crops, including traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic herbs and herbs indigenous to Northern New Mexico. His other interests include seed saving and sharing, bio-dynamic and organic farming and sustainable agricultural practices. He is also involved with Native American organizations which stress the importance of seed saving and promote the revival and continuation of traditional crops, both nutritional and medicinal. He is a founder of Four Bridges Traveling Permaculture Institute, and is developing projects to support indigenous communities around the globe. Emigdio employs traditional Quechua techniques and rituals which he learned at his grandfather’s side as a boy in Bolivia.

Quechua farming techniques have adapted to the ecological demands of the varied Andean landscape, a steep continuum of warm valleys, high plains, and cold upper slopes.  They use sophisticated irrigation systems to water their fields and often preserve food by freeze-drying it in the cold mountain air. Llama and alpaca herds supply meat, wool, grease, fertilizer, fuel, and leather.  Quechua-speaking groups built bridges and roads throughout the Andes, many of those routes are still in use today.  Quechua artisans produced high-quality textiles and pottery.  Traditional religious practices include the ceremonial use of coca leaf and pilgrimages to sacred mountains, known as Apus.
One of the most well known features of the Quechuan culture is that it is a culture that places great emphasis on community and mutual help (ayni).  The social system is based on reciprocity: you help your neighbors, they do something for you in return.

For more information, visit

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