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Fermentation is much bigger than delicious and nutritious foods and beverages. All life is evolved from bacteria; they are a fundamental context for all life. Microorganisms are present on all products of agriculture, and they quickly transform our food, either into rotting decomposition or celebrated delicacies, depending primarily upon environmental conditions. Successful coexistence with microbes in our midst is a biological imperative; ferments are human cultural manifestations of this essential biological fact. Ferments predate recorded history, and are found in all parts of the world. Like all aspects of food production, fermentation has largely disappeared from our kitchens and communities. By participating in food production and fermentation, we reclaim our food and with it power, dignity, and a complex web of biological, social, and economic relationships.
Sandor Ellix Katz is a self-taught fermentation experimentalist. He wrote Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods—which Newsweek called "the fermenting bible"—in order to share the fermentation wisdom he had learned, and demystify home fermentation. Since the book's publication in 2003, Katz has taught hundreds of fermentation workshops across North America and beyond, taking on a role he describes as a "fermentation revivalist." Inspired by grassroots food activism he has encountered everywhere he has gone, he wrote The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved: Inside America's Underground Food Movements (2006). His latest book is The Art of Fermentation (2012), a more in-depth exploration of the topic, informed by a decade more experience, the unique opportunity to hear countless stories about fermentation practices, and answering thousands of troubleshooting questions.