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Fair Food: Growing a Healthy, Sustainable Food System for All Hardcover – May 31, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; 1 edition (May 31, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1610390067
  • ISBN-13: 978-1610390064
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #648,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Publishers Weekly, April 18, 2011
“Intended as a practical guide for community food activists who want to take the locavore movement across race, class, and city lines, this book illuminate ways in which consumers can become "engaged citizens." Especially important (and rare) is Hesterman's willingness to work constructively with corporate giants like Costco and the Kellogg Foundation….The dedication to social justice is clear, genuine, and logically argued as a food issue. A helpful and hefty final chapter of "Resources" provides readers with a comprehensive national listing of organizations to join, support, or replicate.”

Civil Eats, June 1, 2011
“Unless you travel in food policy or agronomy circles, you probably haven’t heard of Oran Hesterman. It’s time you had. Hesterman, who runs the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based nonprofit Fair Food Network, has written a book that just might wake you up and get you to care about what’s going on with the food you eat and how it gets to your table. Fair Food: Growing a Healthy, Sustainable Food System for All is what Hesterman is talking about, and I’ve got to admit, this reporter covering food news cracked open his book (which landed in bookstores yesterday) a tad wary.  Would this highly educated and well-meaning agronomist-activist guy really offer anything new to the sustainable food conversation, I wondered, and more importantly, would he speak to regular people trying to feed their families in a tough economy and who might not understand the difference between grass and grain-fed (or why it matters)? Boy was I wrong and thrilled to stand corrected. Hesterman breaks free from a tradition of densely written, muddled prose intended for inside baseball players and instead speaks to us all, loud and clear.”
 
Ode Magazine, June 5, 2011
“Timely and inspiringly optimistic, Fair Food challenges and guides readers toward sustainability and health, for themselves and their communities.”

New York House Magazine, June, 27, 2011
 “A must read for those who wish to go from conscious consumer to food activist.”

Edible Buffalo, Summer 2011
“Level the playing field with the next generations of Americans by adopting what Fair Food and Hesterman promotes. With Fair Food we will be able to apply a solution to one problem in our broken food system at a time.”

New York Times (Business Day), June 4, 2011
"[Hesterman] displays a wide-ranging knowledge of production, consumption, natural resources and public policy. He also writes about reform efforts with contagious energy and palpable authority...this is an important, accessible book on a crucial subject. Food for thought and action."

Serious Eats, July 29, 2011
“Hesterman's upbeat outlook and gentle push toward activism inspired me to further my own engagement. His book is one of the best I've read on how we as individuals can be involved in the future of America's food system." 

 

Next American City website, August 24, 2011
Fair Food covers a lot of territory, which also means it doesn’t dive too deeply into any one subject. He touches on everything just enough to enhance the reader’s understanding, but not enough to be hard hitting on many of the topics he cares most about. And that seems to be the point. This book is not intended to serve as an encyclopedia for the food movement, but more of a practical guide for concerned citizens and budding activists. It fails to conjure up some of the emotions similarly positioned books do, but doesn’t leave you wondering “what can I do to change things?” Hesterman’s goal for Fair Food is not to shock the masses, but to mobilize them to action."
 
Next American City online, August 24, 2011
 “Fair Food covers a lot of territory, which also means it doesn’t dive too deeply into any one subject. He touches on everything just enough to enhance the reader’s understanding, but not enough to be hard hitting on many of the topics he cares most about. And that seems to be the point. This book is not intended to serve as an encyclopedia for the food movement, but more of a practical guide for concerned citizens and budding activists. It fails to conjure up some of the emotions similarly positioned books do, but doesn’t leave you wondering “what can I do to change things?” Hesterman’s goal for Fair Food is not to shock the masses, but to mobilize them to action."

 

About the Author

Dr. Oran B. Hesterman is the president and CEO of Fair Food Network. For fifteen years he led the Integrated Farming Systems and Food and Society Programs for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, during which time he seeded the local food systems movement with over $200 million. A native of Berkeley, California, and a former professor of agronomy at Michigan State University in East Lansing, he currently lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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Customer Reviews

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I was able to read a few chapters, put the book down and then read other chapters.
Sandra H. Cuttler
Most importantly, the book offers a compelling case for all citizens to be involved in public policy advocacy to improve government policies and economic systems.
Joel
A fantastic book filled with good writing and very useful and important information.
MFJD

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Joel on May 31, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book makes an important contribution to the movement for food justice. Unlike many who write about food systems issues, Hesterman highlights issues related to poverty, hunger, race, and class. He firmly (but politely) takes to task well-heeled "foodies" who, all too often, overlook these vital concerns, consumed only by their personal pursuit of the perfect heirloom tomato.

In contrast to some writers who want to patronizingly limit the kinds of food that low-income people can obtain, Hesterman understands that the prime reason low-income people don't eat more healthily is that nutritious food is often unavailable and/or unaffordable in low-income neighborhoods. He offers a number of practical policy and programatic suggestions for increasing the ability of all people in all neighborhoods to afford and obtain the highest quality food.

Given his expertise in both the science of agriculture and the practicality of scaling-up community food projects, Hesterman is particularly persuasive in arguing against making "small is beautiful" the one and only ethos of all food systems work. He explains that simply expanding small pilot projects will never be enough to ensure just food for all. His reasoning builds the case for a new type of food system that can be large, efficient, mass-produced - at the same time it is just for food workers, producers, consumers, the environment alike.

Most importantly, the book offers a compelling case for all citizens to be involved in public policy advocacy to improve government policies and economic systems.
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Format: Hardcover
This is both an exciting and a chaotic time for those of us who ask: how should I eat? Wrapped up in that one question are a series of answers that unravel in radically different directions: ethics, politics, health, nutrition, vegetarianism, veganism, the rights of animals, GM foods, the Farm Bill, poverty, food deserts, junk food. Omnivore's Dilemma; Supersize Me, Food Inc; memory, religion, family, restaurants, celebration, fasting; and on and on.

The genius of Oran Hesterman's new book is that in a clear readable way, and in under 300 pages, he draws the connection between how we eat as individuals and how we need to act as citizens. He trained as an agronomist and worked for many years at the Kellogg Foundation, so he's deeply rooted in the complexities of eating healthily and sustainably; but he writes in plain English, and those who have enjoyed Michael Pollan or Wendell Berry or Alice Waters will find here what is almost the missing link in recent food-writing, a book that spans personal choices on the one hand, and the looming Farm Bill on the other.

Fair Food is subtitled "Growing a healthy, sustainable food system for all." If you care about healthy and sustainable food systems, for yourself, your family, and for the wider world, then you should read this book - and then pass it on to others....
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Alexa VAN DE WALLE on June 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Oran Hesterman book, Fair Food: Growing a Healthy, Sustainable Food System for All is a book of action. An informative and motivating read, Hesterman picks up where Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser left off.

Don't get me wrong, Pollan and Schlosser with their best selling books, Omnivore's Dilemma and Fast Food Nation, created tremendous awareness about our broken food system. Hesterman takes their solid groundwork to the next step and shows the reader not only how to support local food systems with farmers markets and other direct marketing models, but also shares examples about organizations and farms that are re-creating the local and regional infrastructure to address not only supply chain, good ag and production issues but also social justice, health and environmental issues.

With chapters addressing fairness, crop diversity, soil health, green economies, activism and policy, Fair Food is not just for food activists and policy wonks (although there is some food for thought for even the most knowledgeable of the food revolutionaries). Rather, a general audience, much like those who devoured Pollan and Schlosser, will find Fair Food to be a good read with a balance of statistics, US agricultural history, story telling, activism and innovative business models. Fair Food is about the people restructuring and revitalizing food systems for a healthy and prosperous future. In my view, the 41-page Resource chapter alone is worth the $24.99 cover price.

A must read for eaters and advocates alike (besides it was fun to see so many of my colleagues and their organizations mentioned in the book). Read more of this review on Lighthearted Locavore: [...]
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michael Brochstein on June 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In some ways, Fair Food is a great book to read after reading The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. Omnivore's Dilemma enlightens us so that we might make better choices in the foods we eat by understanding where our food comes from. Fair Food enlightens us about food policy and its implications. (For instance;) Not how we can make better personal food choices but how we can be sure that all Americans will have healthy food choices in their local communities. Fair Food enlightens us in how we can make a better world for everyone by educating us about the various aspects of food policy.

A recent New York Times review of this book (June 4, 2011 - Fresh Tomatoes for Inner Cities by Nancy Koehn) took the book to task for failing to discuss certain food policy related subjects. The NY Times reviewer recommended the book in spite of these shortcomings. I agree with the NY Times reviewer. It would've have been nice if the book was longer and covered the additional topics that the reviewer thought should have been covered but Fair Food is still a very very worthwhile read in spite of this. It covers lots of important issues that should inform and influence our views on issues that impact everyone.

I hope this book is read by those (theoretically all of us) who will have influence on the next Farm Bill. As said in other reviews, this book is very "accessible" (not assuming great technical knowledge of the subjects covered) and relatively short. It has a large resources section at the end should one wish to look further into any of the subjects discussed in main part of the book.
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