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Eat Here: Reclaiming Homegrown Pleasures in a Global Supermarket (The Worldwatch Environmental Alert Series) Paperback – November 17, 2004


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Some people may ask, "what’s 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. Halweil’s writing is journalistic in its reliance on interviews with farmers and activists, but the book’s abundant statistics, graphs and suggestions for action lend it the tone of a policy paper—one 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 that’s 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 Hawaii’s 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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Review

“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)
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Product Details

  • Series: The Worldwatch Environmental Alert Series
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (November 17, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393326640
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393326642
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,173,820 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Renate Haeckler on December 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is very well done. He not only describes the problems in the American food system, but does a fantastic job of describing international problems, something that is lacking in many books published in the US. The writing is easy to understand even though it broaches some complicated issues. If there were any weaknesses, I think it's that he doesn't cover the nutritional losses of old food enough.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Cippel on February 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
Many Americans do not understand that their food purchases have an impact beyond their waistlines. "Eat Here" is both a wake up call for such people and a guide for all concerned citizens on how to improve the world's broken food system. It argues that changing the food system is anything but a pipedream and then sets out a clear path to that end.

In the first part of the book, author Brian Halweil clearly identifies the many failures of our current way of eating. The long distance transport of food is a major contributor to climate change. Instead of the tastiest fruits and vegetables, supermarkets stock those most amenable to shipping. Family farms are disappearing at an alarming rate, killing rural communities in the process. Water supplies and fisheries are contaminated by agribusinesses whose poor crop rotation practices ensure that much of the fertilizer they apply cannot be absorbed into the soil. The list goes on.

Halweil then lays out a cogent plan for remaking the system. The key for him is rebuilding markets for local food, and he suggests a partnership between consumers and local farmers to achieve this. The first step is for consumers to start demanding local food with their voices and their dollars. This argument, in my view, is "Eat Here's" biggest strength, for it emphasizes that consumers, who often see themselves as anonymous actors in a macroeconomic world, can be powerful agents of change. For those concerned about the money cost of food (that is, nearly everyone in these tough economic times), Halweil makes two important points. First, many local products are cheaper than their national counterpart is because local farming usually cuts out the middleman and fuel costs.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Wabi Sabi on August 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is required reading for everyone, not just farmers. It's packed with informative fact and real-life stories. A resource to aid those interested in knowing where their food originates (local is best) as well as how their food is cultivated. This book offers many suggestions to help readers find creative ways to support regional agriculture and a healthier lifestyle.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Linda Blossom on April 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is a must read - it should be assigned reading in classrooms. More people care where their food comes from but this goes beyond that and goes to the farmer and the other reasons why we should all care. A little education goes a long way and if we take heed we can help each other as this goes to the heart of what is community. The Walmarts and other big centers for anonymous food are the antithesis of community and their paltry attempts at throwing money at communities does not change that. The first goal is to get people to care what effects their actions and their shopping in particular have on others, both here and abroad and this addresses one part of that.
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By Amy Aldrich on June 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
Well, this book was certainly interesting...but not so engaging for me as coming home to eat. There is a whole lot in this book that I was not aware of before reading it and while I understood that eating locally was preferable...until I read this, I only had a hit of the ideas behind they why of it all. It's a fairly quick read and I do think Halweil makes a compelling case for necessity of a return to a more local food economies. I think this is probably a book that everyone should read. I give it a solid A.
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