Edible Monterey Bay

Grist for the Mill

At a time when the pressures of contemporary life seem bent on scattering our minds, shattering our communities and dragging us away from what is natural, sensible, intelligent, kind and fun, thank God for food. One of our most elemental and universal needs, food drags us back to reality. Food provides essential glue to our communities. Food slows us down and brings us to our senses. Food is an expression of our love.

In this issue, our talented writers and photographers tell the stories of our region and our times through the lens of food, as they always do. But we think the stories this quarter are especially timely, and we’re particularly proud of them.

In our main feature, Elizabeth Limbach investigates the dire plight of our farmers and farmworkers at a time when their struggles to keep their farms and families thriving are being exacerbated by an anti-immigration national agenda. The story explains why the very food on your table—and your ability to sleep at night—will depend on the citizens and leaders of our country informing themselves about this topic and making practical and humane immigration reform a reality.selves about this issue and making practical and humane immigration reform a reality.

Our cover image is a reference to two stories related to Big Sur, the first about the efforts of Nepenthe and other local restaurants and community organizations to get this willfully wild corner of the planet back into business after the past year’s extreme fire-and-flood cycle essentially cut it off from vehicular travel. The other is an essay about a lovingly foraged dinner held by a group of Big Sur friends to break the monotony of living on canned sardines. Both demonstrate the incredible community-building power of food.

Paul Lee’s memoir about Alan Chadwick and the founding of UCSC’s Alan Chadwick Garden, provides a fascinating view of the man, his ideas, and the garden that would eventually have a profound impact on the university community, the region, and—with the garden’s evolution into the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems—agriculture around the world.

In this issue you’ll also learn about an artisanal bread maker who with his business has taught customers that it’s not so hard to make their own, and a Santa Cruz group that is reclaiming the San Lorenzo River from neglect by—what else?—throwing parties on its banks with delicious local food and drink.

To stretch the horizons of your cooking at home, we offer stories on getting to know Asian greens, cooking with seawater and making Indian pickles. And, with the help of some wonderful sponsors, we are bringing back the print version of our local farmers’ market guide in beautiful illustrated form. (The digital version also remains at www.ediblemontereybay.com.)

Finally, on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of Edible Communities, the network of magazines of which this one is a part, we offer a reflection on the national local food movement by one of its most important leaders, Marion Nestle. Her message? Keep your eyes on the prize, now more than ever.

Best wishes for a healthy and happy summer,

Sarah Wood and Rob Fisher