Fair Food: Growing a Healthy, Sustainable Food System for All

Overview

Our food system is broken, and it’s endangering what’s most precious to us: our environment, our health, our soil and water, and our future. In recent years, a host of books and films have compellingly documented the dangers. But advice on what to do about them largely begins and ends with the admonition to “eat local” or “eat organic.”

Longtime good food pioneer Oran Hesterman knows that we can’t fix the broken system simply by changing what’s on our own plates: the answer lies...

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Fair Food: Growing a Healthy, Sustainable Food System for All

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Overview

Our food system is broken, and it’s endangering what’s most precious to us: our environment, our health, our soil and water, and our future. In recent years, a host of books and films have compellingly documented the dangers. But advice on what to do about them largely begins and ends with the admonition to “eat local” or “eat organic.”

Longtime good food pioneer Oran Hesterman knows that we can’t fix the broken system simply by changing what’s on our own plates: the answer lies beyond the kitchen. In Fair Food he shares an inspiring and practical vision for changing not only what we eat, but how food is grown, packaged, delivered, marketed, and sold. He introduces people and organizations across the country who are already doing this work in a number of creative ways, and provides a wealth of practical information for readers who want to get more involved.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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. Given the current abundance of food writing that argues for a sustainable revolution, it's understandable that Hesterman (founder of the Fair Food Network) occasionally feels the need to justify his work. However, intermittent jabs he employs in order to distance himself from Michael Pollan read like sour grapes—especially if the whole point is that we have to work together. Ultimately, though, each chapter provides methodical and thoughtful instructions for shifting how we eat along every step of every food chain from institutional kitchens (like college cafeterias) to public policy. 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. (May)
From the Publisher

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."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781610391023
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs
  • Publication date: 6/5/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 791,829
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Oran B. Hesterman is the president and CEO of Fair Food Network. For fifteen years he co-led the Integrated Farming Systems and Food and Society Programs for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. 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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Table of Contents

Preface to the Revised Paperback Edition vii

Introduction xi

Part I Our Broken Food System

1 The System and Its Dysfunctions 3

2 The Problem Is … 21

Part II Principles of a Fair Food System

3 A Fair Food System 49

4 Strength Through Diversity 77

5 Nurturing the Land That Feeds Us 93

6 Feeding the Green Economy 111

Part III From Conscious Consumer to Engaged Citizen

7 Becoming a Fair Food Activist 131

8 Institutional Change 155

9 Shifting Public Policy 175

10 Resources 215

Questions for Discussion 277

Acknowledgments 283

Notes 287

Index 299

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