Moon and Stars is an organization based in Vermont's Upper Valley. Our mission is to connect community, traditional food, and regenerative farming through heirloom corn and the arepa-making process. The organization strives to provide nutrient-dense and culturally vital food, while both engaging community in ancestral knowledge and creating new ideas about cultural and environmental sustainability.
An arepa is a round patty made of ground corn. Is a staple dish in Colombia and Venezuela. Traditionally arepas were made with heirloom native open pollinated corn specific to each region of the Andes. The characteristics vary by color, flavor, size, and thickness depending on the region. It can be topped or filled with vegetables, eggs, cheese, hogao (tomatoes, scallions sauted on olive oil), beans.
Over the last 50 years the tradition of growing heirloom corn to make the arepa has declined, as corn has become one of the world’s most commodified and genetically modified grains. With the aperture of the Free Trade Agreement in the 90's Colombia went from producing one million hectares of corn down to 300,000 and started importing GMO corn from the US. We believe that significant cultural heritage around food has been exploited. The growth of conventional GMO corn has proven detrimental to waterways, ecological systems and biodiversity. Growing corn organically and sustainably can help to restore soil habitats through the process of regenerative agriculture, using cover cropping, rotational grazing and no-till processes. At the same time it brings back to life that part of our culture.
What if we could grow an heirloom corn, produce a traditional arepa and help regenerate ecology and community?
With our regenerative business model we believe that we can grow organic, heirloom corn, provide a high quality nutritional arepa, cultivate community and demonstrate a new way forward connecting regenerative farming practices and cultural traditions.
Connecting communities through traditional foods, music, education and cultural celebrations, we aim to build a regenerative community that supports a local economy. By partnering with like minded small farms and markets to source ethically grown produce to create our recipes, we are contributing to the resiliency of community, decreasing our dependency on industrial agriculture and thereby reducing our carbon footprints while co-creating a thriving, multicultural and just local food system.