Selling Local: Why Local Food Movements Matter

Selling Local: Why Local Food Movements Matter

Selling Local: Why Local Food Movements Matter

Selling Local: Why Local Food Movements Matter

Synopsis

In an era bustling with international trade and people on the move, why has local food become increasingly important? How does a community benefit from growing and buying its own produce, rather than eating food sown and harvested by outsiders? Selling Local is an indispensable guide to community-based food movements, showcasing the broad appeal and impact of farmers' markets, community supported agriculture programs, and food hubs, which combine produce from small farms into quantities large enough for institutions like schools and restaurants. After decades of wanting food in greater quantities, cheaper, and standardized, Americans now increasingly look for quality and crafting. Grocery giants have responded by offering "simple" and "organic" food displayed in folksy crates with seals of organizational approval, while only blocks away a farmer may drop his tailgate on a pickup full of freshly picked sweet corn. At the same time, easy-up umbrellas are likely to unfurl over multi-generational farmers' markets once or twice a week in any given city or town. Drawing on prodigious fieldwork and research, experts Jennifer Meta Robinson and James Robert Farmer unlock the passion for and promise of local food movements, show us how they unfold practically in towns and on farms, and make a persuasive argument for how much they deeply matter to all of us.

Excerpt

After decades of wanting food in greater quantities, cheaper, and standardized, Americans now increasingly look for quality and crafting. Grocery giants like Walmart and Target have responded by offering “simple” and “organic” food displayed in folksy crates with seals of organizational approval, while only blocks away a farmer may drop his tailgate on a pickup full of sweet corn at a four-way stop. Meanwhile, easy-up tents are likely to unfurl over multigenerational farmers’ markets once or twice a week in any given city or town. No longer peopled by women and old men, markets see sons shopping with their fathers as mother and daughter farmers share produce stands while buskers, students, political activists, photographers, and journalists ply their arts in the aisles. Ostrich, bison, goat, mutton, and every cut of the familiar chicken, pork, and beef come with dazzling endorsements of their local provenance: free-range, cage-free, local, non-GMO, grass-fed, heirloom, biodynamic, natural, organic, community-supported, cooperative, nonprofit. Mac ’n’ “cheez” out of a box may still taste like home cooking to some, and canned-soup casserole may be the pinnacle of culinary adventurousness for others, but chances are, even someone who grew up on those mid-century delicacies is changing what she or he wants to eat and where it comes from.

This book is about is about local food and why it matters. Food organizes our relationship to the world in important ways. “Eating is an agricultural act,” says Wendell Berry, and our decisions about what we eat change how food is grown, the people who grow it, and the world we live in. Food has become central to the current cultural movement about making and accountability that is sweeping the country. Like its cousins in upcycling, artisan, small-batch, handmade, vintage, craft, and other labor-intensive endeavors, the movement arises concurrently with vast technological advances, population migrations, financial precariousness, and unprecedented environmental change. It . . .

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