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The Town That Food Saved: How One Community Found Vitality in Local Food Paperback – June 7, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Through the last decade the Northern Vermont town of Hardwick, population 3200, gradually evolved into a nationally respected source of local food and began to reap benefits. Hewitt, an area resident and family farmer, previously wrote about the area as a potential example of localized agriculture and economics, especially for a population whose residents' median income was below state average. But curiosity and healthy skepticism, along with his own investment, spurred him to this deeper investigation into the local personalities (and characters) driving the movement, and to observe, participate and reflect upon such odiferous activities as pig slaughtering. The resulting blend of analysis and reflection highlights the possibilities and perils of what Hewitt argues will impact the agricultural and economic future for better or worse. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
A microscopic burg in northern Vermont may just be the epicenter of a new food movement, a scenario that alternately amuses, enthuses, and enrages its 3,200 residents. With a hardscrabble reputation left over from its heyday as a mining metropolis, Hardwick has had to rely on a can-do/can-do-without stoicism before, though the current economic downturn is certainly testing its mettle. Enter a group of young, energetic agribusinessmen—agripreneurs is Hewitt’s newly minted term—whose vision for a revolutionary farm-to-table locavore movement aimed at turning Hardwick’s, and possibly the nation’s, food crisis around has captured national media attention and garnered local skepticism. The irony plays out in Hewitt’s beguiling profiles of the players at the heart and on the periphery of dovetailing associations; from the charismatic media darling who produces heirloom seeds to the craggy erstwhile hippie couple who offer a mobile slaughtering service. Adroitly balancing professional neutrality with personal commitment, Hewitt engagingly examines this paradigm shift in the way a community feeds its citizens. --Carol Haggas --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Hewitt's main argument is that a centralized food system is bad for our country. And while I don't disagree, I don't buy his argument that the centralized industrial food system could collapse at any time. I think he overstates that possibility. Yet to understand how centralized our food system has become, he offers some statistics: in 1900 there were 76 million Americans and about 30 million farms. Today there are 307 million Americans and 2 million farms. A lot of food is being produced in a few places and trucked all over the country. Local food, he argues, is better for our people, our environment, and the well-being of our communities. I agree. Perhaps the problem I had with this book is that I've read so much of this before. Hewitt introduced me to the town of Hardwick and its residents and their personal stories, but not to the concept of local vs. industrial food. Michael Pollen did that years ago.
Apparently Hardwick has received a lot of national attention (especially since the author wrote an article for Gourmet Magazine about the town a few years ago), but some of the attention has not been well-received by residents. Many of them are just doing what they've always done and don't see the big deal in it. Those residents who like the limelight would like to "sell" Hardwick's model to other towns, and if it can work, it's not a bad thing. I'm just not sure Hewitt needed over 200 pages (much of it, unnecessary detail) to tell this town's story.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Showing that niche food markets and overpriced restaurants will not be a solution to industrial agriculture.No effective local alternative exists.Read more