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Taste of Home: Migration, Food, and Belonging in a Changing Vermont

Authors: Pablo Bose & Alisha Laramee

From: Opportunities for Agriculture Working Paper Series, Vol. 2, No. 4


In this paper, we look at the question of food and migration in the context of both rural and urban Vermont. In the case of the former, we focus on the situation of foreign-born migrant farm workers on dairy farms and orchards and their search for familiar flavors and ingredients. We examine in particular the food supply chains that bring desired foodstuffs to workers on isolated farms and the paradox of desiring and purchasing the tastes of Latin America and the Caribbean while living and working in the midst of apparent bounty. In the case of urban Vermont we focus on newly resettled refugees from diverse regions of Africa, Asia and Europe and examine the ways in which newcomers have attempted to adapt new ingredients to familiar recipes or recreated old dishes to maintain a connection to a distant homeland. For both rural and urban newcomers, we also examine the possibilities of growing familiar and foreign crops as well as learning local food preservation practices on community and personal plots. The paper is based primarily on qualitative research with several migrants and newcomers relating their own experience with the food and migration dynamic.