local food

American Wine from American Grapes?

Perhaps one of history's most experimental gardeners, Thomas Jefferson documented his cultivation failures as often as his successes. In the summer of 1809, his squash "came to nothing," as did his Old World grapes, the famous wine fruit, Vitis vinifera. The squash may have just been unlucky -- Jefferson had plenty of success with his favorite vegetable, peas, or with imported plants from Italy or Mexico. But with the vines at least, he may have just needed to think more creatively.

Food For Thought on Farm-to-Table

I caught a great talk this weekend on Atlanta's international cuisine with a smattering of local food predictions and suppositions thrown in by the panel's moderator. The lecture went down at the Decatur Book Festival, a two-day event filled with talks, book signings and many mulling page-browsers. While most of the talk focused on Atlanta's "arterial corridors" of international cuisine, one audience member steered the speakers toward the topic of local agriculture and the farm-to-table initiative.

Agribusiness Isn't Pleased by the Obamas' Organic Garden

In case it isn't obvious by now, everyone's looking to get a piece of the new first family. From shelter enthusiasts torn up over the Obamas' adoption of second-chance breeder dog, to big-name designers peeved by the First Lady's fashion choices, every decision the family makes seems to carry a wealth of import.

Last month, National Geographic featured a striking picture of the Science Barge, a hulking metal platform with an unusual cargo: a carbon-neutral hydroponic farm. The floating laboratory produces tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, strawberries and pumpkins all while docked in the Hudson River. New York Sun Works, a nonprofit that promotes sustainability, launched the barge as an educational tool. The project incorporates solar and wind power, biofuels and rainwater reclamation while producing no carbon emissions or wastes. It saves even more energy by reducing the food miles (the distance food travels from field to table) of fresh produce for city dwellers. The barge's creators hope it will also serve as a test ground for the type of hydroponic farm that could exist on city rooftops someday. Since hydroponic farming doesn't require as much water and land as field methods, it's considered a good alternative to urban farming in areas where space is tight and the soil isn't always the best.