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Talk and panel discussion to explore the culture and politics of food on Feb. 18 and 20

February 11, 2005

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-For the first event of a two-part series at Middlebury College on the culture and politics of food, organic farmer David Zuckerman of Full Moon Farms, Burlington, will give a talk on Friday, Feb. 18, at 4:30 p.m. in the Robert A. Jones House on Hillcrest Road, off College Street (Route 125). The second event, a brunch followed by a panel discussion, will take place on Sunday, Feb. 20, at 11 a.m. in the Ross Commons Fireplace Lounge on College Street (Route 125).

Zuckerman, whose talk on Friday is titled "The Future of Farming in Vermont: Issues Facing Farmers and Policy Makers," is a member of the Intervale Farms Program, which helps farm businesses get started by offering a range of services, including advice to new farmers and sharing equipment and other elements of infrastructure. A representative to the Vermont State Legislature since 1996, Zuckerman is currently a member on the House Agriculture Committee, having previously served on the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee. His work contributed significantly to legislation passed last spring requiring that genetically modified seed sold in Vermont be labeled, making Vermont the first state to pass such a law.

The Sunday panel discussion, titled "The Politics of Food," will address various issues related to food, before and beyond the dinner table: small-scale agriculture and the diversity it offers the food industry; the global effects of consumption patterns and how to change them; and political action regarding food issues. Panelists will include Middlebury College Director of Dining Services Matthew Biette, an active member of the National Association of College and University Food Services who maintains an ongoing dialog with students regarding the quality, cost, nutritional value and environmental impact of food served on campus; Middlebury College Organic Garden Advisor Jay Leshinsky, who is also an expert on vegetable and flower seed production and market gardening; Paul Ralston, president and roastmaster of Bristol-based Vermont Coffee Company, which blends and roasts fair-trade, certified organic, sustainable coffee exclusively, and sells it in Vermont only; George Schenk, founder and president of the Vermont-based American Flatbread, a pizza manufacturer and restaurant chain which uses only sustainably-produced ingredients in its products; and Kirk Webster, owner and operator of the Champlain Valley Bees and Queens, in Middlebury. Webster's work includes the selective breeding of queen bees, instead of the use of chemical treatment, toward producing honey bee populations resistant to the Varroa and the tracheal mite, the two biggest threats to North American honey bees.

Sponsored by the Middlebury College Organic Garden, both events, including the Sunday brunch, are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Middlebury College student organizer Sharyn Korey at 802-443-6712.