From Publishers Weekly
Some people may ask, "whats wrong with getting my food from some distant land, if the food is cheap and the system works?" The point Halweil, a senior researcher at the Worldwatch Institute, makes throughout this book is that those prices are artificially low, and the system is actually broken. Halweils writing is journalistic in its reliance on interviews with farmers and activists, but the books abundant statistics, graphs and suggestions for action lend it the tone of a policy paperone that is, nonetheless, impassioned and accessible. Halweil gives readers reasons for pessimism (the thousands of gallons of fossil fuel used to ship fresh greens around the world; unprecedented risks of contaminated food) and optimism (the spread of "farm shops" across Europe; the Vermont diner thats thriving by using almost entirely local food); fortunately, his optimism usually prevails. Following each chapter is a short success story, such as that of David Cole, who jumpstarted Hawaiis cattle-raising and crop-raising business. Halweil makes a strong argument that a system dominated by "globe-trotting food" sold in impersonal megastores is bad for the health of economies and people alike, while "eating local" and encouraging regional self-sufficiency is good for both the environment and the human race. Besides highlighting projects already underway, which will inspire and encourage farmers and activists everywhere, Halweil offers ideas for the individual consumer (such as hosting a "harvest party" at your home or in your community). Even when describing the decline of local agriculture, his tone remains upbeat. An essential read for those interested in the sustainable agriculture movement, this book may also appeal to general foodies and those who are concerned about the land and the environment.
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“Now it is up to the rest of us to do something with this amazing gift of a book.” (Mark Ritchie, President of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy in Minneapolis)
“An insightful and timely book indicating just how important food, farms and rural cultures are.” (Jules Pretty, author of Agri-Culture: Reconnecting People, Land, and Nature)
“A definite 'must read' for farmers, food activists and the general public.” (John Jeavons, author of How to Grow More Vegetables)