Paris, 19 February 2007
EFITA newsletter / 297 / European Federation for Information
Technology in Agriculture, Food and the Environment
Next AgriMMedia seminar: Marketing and sale via Internet of services and
products proposed by farmers
7 March – PARIS – during the Paris Show of Agriculture – an exceptional event
Looking for a summer course on Agricultural Statistics
(design of experiments, analysis of statistical data, biometrics)
Basically I would like to know if there is any institution
in Europe or USA, which is offering a summer course on Agricultural Statistics
(design of experiments, analysis of statistical data, biometrics).
Contact: George ADAMIDES
15th Seminar in Work Science
5 -6 March 2007 – VIENNAScientists of different countries give 56 lectures
on means, ways and roles of labour science as well as engineering in sustainable
food and energy production systems in Agriculture. They will discuss their topics
with experts in research, industry, consulting, teaching and farming. The main
questions will focus on working processes based on new scientific cognitions
to force a sustainable production.
Contact:Dr. J. Frisch
…is the most frequented permanent (every year since more
than a half century!) agro-political conference in Austria, held in Vienna (policy
day) and outside of the Austrian capital (“days” for plant, pig and poultry
production, milk, veterinarian questions and the “peasant women’s day”).
The meetings will be held next week. The traditional date
in February is due to the time for participation for farmers which are available
only during winter. That means that practical topics are in the centre of all
"OESFO” means “ÖKOSOZIALES Forum Österreich”
Contact: Franz Greif
European Arable Farmers Club (EAF) spring meeting
3 – 5 March - 2007 - PARIS
Participants will have an ideal opportunity to establish
new contacts and share information, particularly with French farming colleagues.
Contact: Malene CONLONG
Anthropologist's talk on cheese gives a taste of 'terroir'
Robin H. Ray, News Office Correspondent
January 2, 2007
Plates of handcrafted cheeses, carefully arranged for identification
purposes, were distributed to an eager group of auditors on Dec. 11, in connection
with a talk given by Heather Paxson, lecturer in anthropology.
However, Paxson admonished the hungry spectators to hold
off eating the five mouth-watering cheeses (four American and one French), as
she would cue the moment to taste each cheese during her talk, "Reverse-Engineering
Terroir: Crafting Nature-Culture in American Artisanal Cheese Production."
The French term "terroir," "famously untranslatable
and, for most Americans, unpronounceable" as Paxson noted, means variously
"rural," "regional," "of the earth or locality,"
or, as she translates it, "the taste of place." It comes from the
world of viticulture and describes a specific cluster of vineyards, or even
vines, whose wine takes its identity from a combination of natural parameters--grape
and soil type, climate and topography--and less quantifiable cultural parameters.
"In certain renditions," Paxson noted, "terroir"
can refer also to "the soul of the cultivator, as well as the collective
cultural know-how behind agricultural products associated with a place that
help to constitute its tradition."
Paxson's interest was piqued by the recent importation of
the term "terroir" and how it is being used by artisanal cheese makers
in the United States. Her ethnographic fieldwork took her to the 2005 annual
meeting of the American Cheese Society (ACS), where "terroir" was
the subject of several papers and panels. It also took her into the field(s):
She spent two weeks observing and working at Major Farm in Putney, Vt., makers
of Vermont Shepherd, "one of America's most distinguished cheeses."
The small-scale producers, who are not so much reviving
as inventing their cheese traditions, are anxious to distinguish themselves--legally
if possible, but certainly culturally--from the large-scale dairy operations
that churn out mass quantities of cheese. The latter are seeking variously to
squash, industrialize and co-opt artisanal cheese making--lobbying Congress
to outlaw cheese made with unpasteurized milk, for example, and some of the
small producers hope that by developing awareness of cheese "terroir"
and consequent labeling constraints, they stand a better chance of surviving
and even flourishing.
It was one of the participants at the ACS conference who
suggested that the artisanal cheese producers are in the process of "reverse-engineering"
terroir: "They think backwards from European examples in order to fashion
innovative models of terroir, and of cheese, suitable to the nature-culture
demands of distinctly American landscapes," said Paxson.
Some approaches that cheesewrights have taken toward terroir
take the form of an "ahistorical materialism" on the "nature"
end of the spectrum (cue Cheese 1, Humboldt Fog, an aged goat cheese made by
Cypress Grove Chèvre of Humboldt County, Calif., and Cheese 2, Ada's Honor,
an award-winning mold-ripened chèvre made by Carlisle Farmstead in Massachusetts).
The California cheesemakers claim that the particular material conditions on
their farms--climate, fodder and so forth--create cheeses that "could not
be replicated elsewhere."
Also closer to the "nature" end of the spectrum
is the notion of terroir as "New World innovation." This approach
is exemplified by David Major of Vermont Shepherd, who found in the Basque country
a close geographic analog to his northern New England dairy farm, and chose
his materials and methods accordingly; and by Mike Gingrich at Uplands Dairy
in Wisconsin, who modeled his "best of show" Pleasant Ridge Reserve
(Cheese 3) on the French Beaufort (Cheese 4), and in many people's opinion bested
Nearer to the "cultural" side of the nature-culture
spectrum, one finds notions of terroir with more political and overtly moral
content, as part of the "slow-food" movement and as a facet of environmental
awareness. Here we find the Kehlers, two brothers and their wives who make a
variety of cheeses (including Cheese 5, Constant Bliss) at Jasper Hill Farm
in Vermont's Northern Kingdom.
According to Paxson, the Kehlers "view cheesemaking
as [their] personal response to globalization," and they are trying to
find ways to make dairying economically and environmentally sustainable in that
struggling region. Paxson noted that the Kehlers' approach finds an echo in
the State of Vermont's push to increase agritourism as a way of boosting the
local economy. Finally, Paxson cited Anne Topham of Fantôme Farm, Wisconsin,
who sells her goat cheese exclusively at the Madison Farmer's Market and views
it as part of a "network of connections" including her goats, her
farm and her customers.
Paxson's interest in cheesemaking may seem far distanced
from her previous research, which focused on ideas of motherhood and reproduction
in Greece, but as she said in an e-mail, "I am most generally interested
in how people craft a sense of themselves as moral persons" through, for
instance, food and sex.
She added, "It's interesting just how relevant MIT
is turning out to be in my research….[M]any artisan cheesemakers speak of what
they're doing in the language of engineering, or they see themselves as, in
a sense, hacking the system of food production in this country, bypassing industrial
production and figuring out for themselves how to make cheese, say, using plastic
bowls from K-Mart punched with holes as cheese molds. Teaching at MIT has given
me an appreciation for the ethos of this sort of practice."
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk
10, 2007 (download PDF).
Contact: Philippe POUCHIN
A woman was taking a nap on Valentine's Day afternoon. After she awoke,
she told her husband, "I just dreamed that you gave me a gorgeous necklace
for Valentines Day! What do you think it means?"
"You'll know tonight." he said.
That evening, her husband came home with a small package for her. Thrilled,
she opened it and found a book titled "The Meaning of Dreams."
FIRST (the second will be published next week)
A Man was walking down a street when he heard a voice from behind, "If
you take one more step, a brick will fall down on your head and kill you."
The man stopped and a big brick fell right in front of him. The man was astonished.
He went on, and after a while he was going to cross the road.
Once again the voice shouted, "Stop! Stand still! If you take one more
step a car will run over you, and you will die."
The man did as he was instructed, just as a car came careening around the corner,
barely missing him.
The man asked. "Who are you?"
"I am your guardian angel," the voice answered.
"Oh, yeah?" the man asked "And where the hell were you when I
Contact: I. KITRON
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