Food Chain Traveler Newsletter #10
Got Milk?

In this newsletter: An update on my employment// Something I learned// Things to read, watch and do.

Hello fellow travelers,

I became a milkman! Each Saturday this summer and fall, you'll find me on the streets of Amsterdam, selling organic butter, milk and cheese. If you want to know why, keep on reading this newsletter.

Also I'm happy to report that our project De Seizoenarbeiders is really gaining momentum. Right now we have about 40 people working on 7 farms throughout the country, with numbers steadily rising. I hope to inform you a little more in depth in my next newsletter, but if you want to stay updated, follow us via @DeSeizoenarbeiders on Instagram or listen to the podcast that the wonderful people of Het Voedselkabinet made about us.

Finally, the Black Lives Matter protests of the past weeks and increasing revelations in media on the living conditions of seasonal workers in agriculture have reaffirmed that there is a lot of work to do working towards equality and equal opportunity. I hope to be able to remind myself and others that the act of eating is also an agricultural, moral and political act, and has to be intentional and responsible. More on that in this and future newsletters.

For now, I wish you a lot of good food and meaningful engagements with the people around you, and I hope you enjoy your weekend!


MILKMAN// So, this summer and fall, from June to November, I'm spending each Saturday as follows:

0630 Wake up
0700 Cycle 20km to a dairy farm in Weesp
0800 Say hi to the 58 Montebéliarde cows
0830 Load the car with milk, butter and cheese
0900 Drive to Amsterdam
0930 Sell dairy
1630 Drive to the farm, unload the car, say bye to the cows
1730 Cycle back home

Why? Because I met Marten and Myrte of More than Milk Amsterdam (MOMA) while volunteering at the farm where they process their dairy.

I learned from them that in a radius of 12 km around Amsterdam, roughly 200 farmers produce nearly 1.500.000 liters of milk per week. Enough to fulfil the entire dairy consumption of Amsterdam. However, less than 0.5% of this milk finds its way directly to the city.

Marten & Myrte started MOMA to counter the anonymity and lack of taste of mass produced food, and to use dairy as a way to facilitate a conversation between the farm and the city. Conversations about taste, culture and climate. About what we seek in our food and the landscape around us, and about the future of our food system.

I really felt a connection with their drive, so when I saw they were looking for an extra milkman for their Saturday route, I jumped on the opportunity!

Every other week I'm inviting a co-host along to introduce a new perspective and start conversations and share recipes. Today I'm joined by Melissa Korn of Ik Eet Cultuur, a platform dedicated to the search for meaning of culture and identity through the lens of food. 

Hope to see you along our route!

Learn more about MOMA in this short video.
BOOK TIP - BUTTERMILK GRAFFITI// I've asked my first MOMA co-host Melissa for a book tip, and she did not disappoint :)

Why should people read this book?
"Edward Lee is someone who can write as well as he can cook. In this book we follow him during is travels in the US, tasting the cuisines of 'new Americans'. Lee, with his Korean roots, can describe like no other what it is like to take root in a new place through food. He did that himself with buttermilk, an ingredient that is inextricably linked to the southern states of America and that he has made his own."
What does this book have to do with dairy?
"In this book, the Korean-American chef Edward Lee explains how buttermilk and graffiti together symbolise who he is. Graffiti stands for his youth, and with that his Korean education in Brooklyn, because he grew up fanatically practicing his graffiti skills. Buttermilk represents getting to know his new home town of Kentucky in the southern US, where this dairy product is an ingredient of iconic status. Lee explains that every migrant has their own 'buttermilk graffiti', and uses this book to search out some of those stories."
"PS: also check out his cookbook Smoke & pickles for more buttermilk recipes :)"
THINGS TO READ, WATCH & DO// Read or watch interesting things online about food, history and equality, like this documentary about American labor leader and civil rights activist  Dolores Huerta// Read some of the good food books I'm collecting and reviewing on Goodreads. Like the product biography Milk: A 10.00 year Food Fracas by one of my favorite authors Mark Kurlansky. // Listen to some great podcasts like this one by Meant to be Eaten about Farmworkers Rights Amid & Beyond the Pandemic// Support local food producers, today and tomorrow.// Follow a (dairy) farmer online, like Mossgiel Farm in Scotland or Sylvanaqua Farms in the US.
Go visit a farm. If it feels unsafe, do so online for now.
Make some buttermilk pancakes, or do the buttermilk biscuit :D
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De Seizoensarbeider · Hoofdweg 229-2 · Amsterdam, Netherlands, Noord Holland 1057CV · Netherlands

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