"Replanting the Rust Belt"

Until recently the American food revolution seemed to have bypassed the Rustbelt region which rims the Great Lakes from Buffalo to Detroit. But an "interdependent web of chefs, butchers, farmers, millers, bakers and brewers" there are "cooking sustainably, supporting agriculture and raising families — all while making world-class food with a strong sense of place."

"Pittsburgh in springtime is an edible city.

Blossoms spangle the pear trees on the streets, the hills are covered with maples in leaf and vigorous spring greens like knotweed and dandelions push up through cracked asphalt.

'See that?' said Cavan Patterson, gesturing to a vast abandoned truck depot across from his foraging and food supply business on Butler Street, Wild Purveyors. 'Japanese knotweed would grow like crazy there,' he said. 'It seems to love vacant lots.' ...

These cities of the Rust Belt, which edges around the Great Lakes from Buffalo to Detroit, are linked in many ways: by a shared history of industry, by a network of defunct canals and decaying railroads, and by thousands of acres of farmland.

Now, the region is linked by a group of educated, ambitious chefs who are building a new kind of network. Its scale is tiny compared with the steel and shipbuilding empires of the region's past. But they are nonetheless convinced that an interdependent web of chefs, butchers, farmers, millers, bakers and brewers will help bring the local landscape back into balance.  "

Julia Moskin reports for the New York Times May 7, 2013.

Source: NY Times, 05/08/2013