Ask Farm Aid | January 2, 2005

An Introduction to Ask Laura

January 2005

Wow, 2005!! How did we get here? Writing 2005 on my rent check reminds me that I have been at

Farm Aid and out of college for almost three years and I wonder, how did I end up at such a great, wacky place?

I found my way to Farm Aid, fresh with a degree in Italian in my pocket, with a passion for food and digging up answers to hard questions. As soon as I met the fantastic staff here in Somerville and started learning a little about food and farm issues, I made it my mission to convince the powers that be that I was completely indispensable to the organization as the girl with the answers. Ask me anything, I said! Well, word got out and staff members would come to me with a radical range of questions from the standard “what was the average farm income in 2002?” to the slightly more off beat “was that rBGH study from a few years ago done on rats?” I love it! Hunting down answers to these kinds of questions must run in the family because my sister is a research librarian and now we have contests: 1, 2, 3: “What is an immature male turkey called?” “Ready Set: It’s a jake!”

Okay, in all seriousness, I really like food. Food has always been important to me and my family. My mother and I regularly have cook offs with new combinations or improved family recipes. Shopping for local products or family farmed food is the best way to bring along some added value to my recipes and a competitive edge over conventional foods.

I also really like food with a story. Like telling my family, over Easter dinner, about the pork roast and how I ordered it from a farmer that I know who really needs support because he and his wife just had their first baby. Oh, and it tastes fantastic too! Having a story to tell helps me share values that are important to me with my family. So there it is, food is a top priority and I love to shop for fun products and local foods.

Why, you might ask am I sharing the story of how I ended up at Farm Aid with all of you? Here goes: We have a new project in mind and we need your help to keep me on the hunt for the most hard-to-find answers! Here at Farm Aid, we think we know a lot about food. We have spent a year getting our best information into our 10 Ways Guide and out to as many of you as possible, but we recognize that there are many questions that we were not able to answer in this short booklet.

As a challenge to my research skills and knowledge about all things food and farm related, I would like to invite everyone to submit e-mails with your food, farming and shopping questions to asklaura@farmaid.org. All your questions will be answered but the absolute best, hardest, most interesting question will be posted on our website monthly complete with an answer from, you guessed it, yours truly.

So lay it on me! Shopping dilemmas, recipes, how to locate local food, how to get local food in your store, what’s in season, what are garlic scapes? Anything you can think of, bring it on! I can’t wait to see what you all are thinking about and chances are if you are stumped, then other people are too. This way we can help everyone who is working to make the 10 Ways a reality and hopefully have some fun along the way.

Until next time,

Laura, the Farm Aid Shopper

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