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Bringing It to the Table: On Farming and Food [Paperback]

Wendell Berry , Michael Pollan
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 18, 2009 158243543X 978-1582435435

Only a farmer could delve so deeply into the origins of food, and only a writer of Wendell Berry’s caliber could convey it with such conviction and eloquence. Long before Whole Foods organic produce was available at your local supermarket, Berry was farming with the purity of food in mind. For the last five decades, Berry has embodied mindful eating through his land practices and his writing. In recognition of that influence, Michael Pollan here offers an introduction to this wonderful collection.

Drawn from over thirty years of work, this collection joins bestsellers The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Pollan, and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver, as essential reading for anyone who cares about what they eat. The essays address such concerns as: How does organic measure up against locally grown? What are the differences between small and large farms, and how does that affect what you put on your dinner table? What can you do to support sustainable agriculture?

A progenitor of the Slow Food movement, Wendell Berry reminds us all to take the time to understand the basics of what we ingest. “Eating is an agriculture act,” he writes. Indeed, we are all players in the food economy.

Frequently Bought Together

Bringing It to the Table: On Farming and Food + The Unsettling of America: Culture & Agriculture + The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Berrys themes are reflections of his life: friends, family, the farm, the nature around us as well as within. He speaks strongly for himself and sometimes for the lost heart of the country. As he has borne witness to the world for eight decades, what he offers us now in this new collection of poems is of incomparable value. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint (August 18, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158243543X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582435435
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,711 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
(36)
4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews
109 of 112 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eating: An Agricultural Act August 2, 2009
By Susan
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bringing It to the Table is a treasure-house of Wendell Berry's work, an important collection of essays and excerpts gathered from his essays and fiction. A cantankerous, argumentative, eloquent writer who knows farming and food from field to table, Berry has been writing for more than forty years about the sadly declining state of American agriculture, the dangers of industrialized food farming, and the importance to the human community--and to the human body, mind, and soul--of good husbandry. If you've been reading Berry over the years (my husband and I chose an excerpt from The Unsettling of America for our wedding ceremony in 1986), you'll find some jewels here, all the richer for their association with other pieces in the collection. If you're new to Berry's work, you'll be astonished at his prescience: as Michael Pollan writes in his introduction, Berry is among the very first to point out the dangers of our American industrial agriculture and our disastrous separation of food production from food preparation and consumption.

Bringing It to the Table is divided into three sections. In "Farming," the essays (1971-2004) provide a compelling review of the central argument of all Berry's work: that we must "adopt nature as measure" and create farming practices that deeply connected to the "nature of the particular place." Industrial agriculture arming ignores and attempts to overcome the natural limits of place, seasons, soils, and resources. It is, Berry warns, "a failure on its way to being a catastrophe."

This place-focus continues in the second section, "Farmers.
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92 of 96 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I rated the (first) one-star review helpful, but I'd also rate it unfair. As the list below will show, long-time fans probably have all the works in this volume on their bookshelves. The value in this collection lies in the way that it draws together works on the topic at hand. If you're new to Berry, this is a reasonable place to start. If the points made by the favorable reviews appeal to you, check it out. Not everybody is going to buy every book or CD by a writer/singer, so sometimes a compilation based on a theme is a good choice. With one exception for the list below, I have all of the non-fiction in this book, so I am going to pass

Essay title ---- Appears in
Nature as Measure ---- What Are People For?
Stupidity in Concentration ---- Citizenship Papers
Agricultural Solutions for Agricultural Problems ---- The Gift of Good Land
A Defense of the Family Farm ---- Home Economics
Let the Farm Judge ---- Citizenship Papers
Energy in Agriculture ---- The Gift of Good Land
Conservationist and Agrarian ---- Citizenship Papers
Sanitation and the Small Farm ---- The Gift of Good Land
Renewing Husbandry ---- The Way of Ignorance
Seven Amish Farms ---- The Gift of Good Land
A Good Farmer of the Old School ---- Home Economics
Charlie Fisher ---- The Way of Ignorance
A Talent for Necessity ---- The Gift of Good Land
Elmer Lapp's Place ---- The Gift of Good Land
On the Soil and Health ---- Intro to The University Press of Kentucky 2007 ed of Howard's On the Soil & Health
Agriculture from the Roots Up ---- The Way of Ignorance
The Pleasures of Eating ---- What Are People For?
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to Berry on farming August 28, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is an excellent introduction to Wendell Berry's thought on farming and food. My main interest in reading Berry stemmed from reading Michael Pollan, who quotes Berry repeatedly in Omnivore's Dilemma. I had known about Berry and his poetry for many years, of course, but this collection seemed to be a good way in, rather than through his novels or poetry. I was initially concerned that the essays might seem dated or be too repetitive of the same points, and so I was delighted to discover that each essay, written between 1971 and 2006, seemed as fresh and relevant to me today as when they were written. Berry's essays on the Amish and a farmer by the name of Lancie Clippinger are absolute gems. All of the pages in this book are infused with a deep appreciation of the natural world and its astonishing interconnectedness. They approach the transcendent but never overreach.
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95 of 125 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed August 5, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The reason for the low rating is the personal disappointment over having purchased a book that is merely a compilation in newly repackaged form of material I already own.

Pros:
+It is Wendell Berry.
+The book contains a good selection of his non-fiction and even some fiction excerpts.
+The content covers important and timely subjects, some with obvious prescience.

Cons:
-The material has all appeared elsewhere, so if you already own a substantial number of Berry books you already own a substantial number of these essays.
-There aren't many if any citations, so it isn't possible from the book to track back to the previous publications (In other words, if you are introduced to new Berry material by reading this book, it may be hard to figure out where that non-fiction essay appeared previously so that that you can go get the rest of what you've been missing).
-The collection lacks samples of Berry's poetry on the same subjects.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars From Southern Appalachia
Purchased as a gift, I've read most of the essays by Wendell. True wisdom exists in what is written. The introduction by Michael Pollan sets the appropriate tone. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jerry A. Moles
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
love it! thanks!
Published 7 months ago by Kelly A. Ilseman
5.0 out of 5 stars My first Wendell Berry book, excellently put together and ...
My first Wendell Berry book, excellently put together and an interesting look into farming theories. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Marta
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good information
Published 10 months ago by Linda K Price-Albers
4.0 out of 5 stars Berry's Work Important to Thought about Farming and Food
A strong collection of essays on food production. It is less strong on food consumption - even though the material in the Food section (as opposed to Farming and Farmers) isn't as... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Interesting resource.
Published 16 months ago by RetiredRN
5.0 out of 5 stars I hope it's not too late! Wendell Berry is ...
I hope it's not too late! Wendell Berry is right on about what's important. But what draws me to all of his works is his reverence and respect for the ordinary gifts.
Published 17 months ago by Gayla
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This taught me some things I did not know. I appreciated it!
Published 17 months ago by Helen Lyons
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great, as expected
Published 18 months ago by Ernest K. Robeson
3.0 out of 5 stars This book really seems to be more for farmers. ...
This book really seems to be more for farmers. I was hoping that it would help us with just trying to eat healthier and use more organic foods.
Published 18 months ago by Jmb
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