Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

edible ASPEN interviews Eliot Coleman

edibleASPEN magazine, based in Colorado, interviewed Eliot Coleman (as well as our beloved Joel Salatin) in their Fall 2010 issue. Read Eliot’s interview below and click here to see the full piece online.

edibleASPEN: What has been the biggest change in the way people perceive food in the last decade?

Eliot Coleman: Back when we started, people would come to the farm stand because they remembered farm stands from when they were young. But now, local has become such a popular concept for food the biggest change is that the customers are driving to the farms instead of the other way around. People want local. In fact, the local movement has gone to a place in about five years that it took organic 40 years to do.

EA: Why do you think that is?

EC: I suspect lots of credit might go to Alice Waters or Michael Pollan. You can’t have books read by that many people without having some effect, and we have more and more competent young growers.

EA: What is your impression of the organic farming movement in western Colorado? How does it compare to other parts of the country?

EC: I’m pretty familiar with that part of Colorado. I spent summers running a kayak camp at CRMS—there’s actually a great farm there [at CRMS, it’s perfect. You guys [have] more winter sun, and it probably gets colder up in the mountains. But the biggest hangup is water. There’s no rain! That is what would have kept me from settling there.

EA: What is it going to take to systematically change the way people eat in the United States?

EC: I think that’s happening; it’s just a case of getting the information out there. There’s always going to be a certain percentage of people that don’t change. For example, you can’t have more or stronger information about the dangers of tobacco than we have, yet 25 percent of people still smoke cigarettes. You are going to have that same percentage that are always going to eat Twinkies, but in time, companies with large plants are going to start encouraging farmers to set up farm stands at closing time, where people can buy organic produce. That would be a very smart idea. These companies are all paying huge health insurance amounts and just getting people to eat more fruits and vegetables will improve health, lower company costs and make a farmer happy at the same time. Those sorts of changes can happen.

Eliot Coleman is the author of, most recently, The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year-Round Vegetable Production Using Deep-Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses


New French edition of The Resilient Farm and Homestead available

Great news for French-speaking fans of Ben Falk’s The Resilient Farm and Homestead: An Innovative Permaculture and Whole Systems Design Approach. The French language translation is now available from Imagine Un Colibri, from French booksellers, and on Amazon.fr. Falk’s book is a technical manual that details the strategies he and his team have developed for […] Read More

How to Make Biochar

Doing some spring cleaning around your property? By making biochar from brush and other hard-to-compost organic material, you can improve soil—it enhances nutrient availability and also enables soil to retain nutrients longer. This excerpt from The New Farmer’s Almanac, Volume 3, explains how to get started. To make biochar right in your garden, start by […] Read More

Generosity as Activism, and Other Homesteading Principles to Live By

“Like everyone I know, we occasionally find ourselves faced with a decision to which there is no obvious answer,” says Ben Hewitt, coauthor of The Nourishing Homestead. “Do we borrow money to build a bigger barn, or do we keep getting by with what we have? Do we spend our meager savings on trees and […] Read More

Pass the Walnut Syrup?

Everyone knows and loves maple syrup, and in some states (like Chelsea Green’s home state of Vermont), it’s big business. However, it’s a widespread myth that maples are the only trees that can be tapped to produce sap, according to Michael Farrell, sugarmaker and director of Cornell University’s Uihlein Forest. Sap can also be collected […] Read More

4 Books for Growing Food in Winter

Don’t let cold weather stop you from producing and enjoying your own food. For many, the coming of winter simply means cultivation moves indoors or under cover. Small farmers, homesteaders, home gardeners, and commercial growers can extend the growing season with techniques outlined in these essential books. There’s no need for urbanites and small-space dwellers […] Read More
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