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I found it funny when my friend mentioned last week that he was reading War and Peace. I was, at that same moment, in the process of organizing two food-centric features for this week's paper that could essentially be reduced to the same themes.

War: the farm feud that pits four area farmers markets against each other. Peace: this year's Dish insert, themed around comfort food we eat to achieve emotional and physical warmth.

As always, there's more to say about war. While doing cursory research, I ran across this 2007 statistic: We lose, on average, more than an acre of farmland per minute to development, according to the American Farmland Trust.

So even if many of us are turning our eyes to the soil versus the supermarket, much of it remains imperiled. Small family farms, in particular, stand as agricultural soldiers having to fight on multiple fronts. They face everything from patented, genetically engineered Monsanto seed and political and bureaucratic battles to big-business price competition and a generally apathetic populace of consumers. Remember: Our dollars are our weapons.

Anyway, while my friend trudges onward in that great work of fiction, we hope you'll venture to a farmers market, pick up a few ingredients, and then try to make some peace-granting meals at home.

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