Letter from the Editor
When people hear the words “food magazine,” they might think culinary expertise, recipe testing, comped meals, wine connoisseurs, and sous vide. While these are not necessarily unflattering assumptions and while admittedly a comped meal or two has been had in the pursuit of journalism, people don’t always understand all the facets that revolve around a “food magazine” because people don’t always understand all the facets that revolve around food.
The phrase farm-to-table has been replicated so many times, and this issue is no exception. We’ve got “grain to glass” in our Sips column about Split Rock Distillery’s organic spirits along with “crop to cup” in The Ubiquitous Bean, detailing the history of coffee and some advice for making the perfect brew at home. These catchy idioms have become much like the word “organic”; place them before anything, and it makes that thing more valuable. But how much thought and attention are we actually giving the process behind these poetic sayings?
Mainers have come a long way in trying to understand where our food comes from, but we still have a long way to go. In this issue, we wanted to open up the conversation to the psychological stresses of farming, because a majority of our locally grown food lies in the hands of the individuals who have made farming their livelihood.
Mental health and farming is an important topic for all of us to consider, especially in today’s political landscape. This June the 2018 Farm Bill was passed, but not without months of controversy that threatened support for the bill, which contains many safety net programs created to keep farmers in business during bad economic times. In addition to political factors, farmers are highly dependent on multiple forces outside of their control, such as droughts and natural disasters, as well as shifts in commodity prices. As you’ll read, despite the uncertain grounds farmers work upon, their desire to feed the community runs far deeper than a paycheck.
Unfortunately behavioral health care isn’t always readily available to farmers, but there is potential for this to change. Right now, passage of the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network—proposed legislation released by The U.S. House Agriculture Committee in mid-March to assist distressed agricultural producers—is in conference between the House and Senate. We’ll be keeping our readers up to date on the passage of this much-needed service on social media in our continued mission to inspire you to not only eat, drink, and read, but also think.