The Town That Food Saved: How One Community Found Vitality in Local Food
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The Town That Food Saved: How One Community Found Vitality in Local Food

by Ben Hewitt
     
 

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"For nearly a century, the blue-collar community of Hardwick, Vermont, has known hard times. The town's median income runs 25 percent below the state average; its unemployment rate, 40 percent higher. But over the past three years - amid an economic crisis that threatens to cripple small businesses and privately owned farms across the nation - Hardwick has

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Overview

"For nearly a century, the blue-collar community of Hardwick, Vermont, has known hard times. The town's median income runs 25 percent below the state average; its unemployment rate, 40 percent higher. But over the past three years - amid an economic crisis that threatens to cripple small businesses and privately owned farms across the nation - Hardwick has jump-started its economy with a stunning number of food-based businesses built by a group of young, innovative entrepreneurs who support each other by sharing advice, equipment, and capital." "The Town That Food Saved is rich with appealing, colorful characters, from the optimistic upstarts creating a new agricultural model to the long-established farmers wary of the rapid change in the region. Ben Hewitt, a journalist and Vermonter, delves deeply into the repercussions of this groundbreaking approach to growing food, both its astounding successes and potential limitations." The Town That Food Saved tells the story of an unassuming community and its extraordinary determination to build a vibrant local food system unlike anything else in America. Hewitt's thoughtful examination of the future of our food system is grounded in ideas that will revolutionize the way we eat - and quite possibly the way we live.

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Editorial Reviews

Suki Casanave
…an earnest, well-written account of how cooperative agricultural enterprise is creating jobs, bringing business back to main street and attracting investors…The author, who lives a few miles from Hardwick, has crafted detailed portraits of the "agrepreneurs" driving the town's transformation…But what makes Hewitt's undertaking especially interesting is that he peers inside the workings of his own community. His…narrative is driven by relentless scrutiny and assessment.
—The Washington Post
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.)
School Library Journal
Adult/High School—Gourmet called Hardwick, VT, "one of the most important food towns in America." Like many communities, it has struggled and at times failed to maintain a viable economy that supports its citizens. Over the last few years, new food-based businesses, such as High Mowing Organic Seeds and Vermont Soy, have emerged at the hands of forward-thinking agripreneurs. Complete with historical details, compelling characters, and competing viewpoints, this book is a highly readable account of the creation of a new agricultural business model. Hewitt does not shy away from discussing the skepticism from long-established farmers or revealing that the benefits of this new food-based economy are not accessible to all of Hardwick's residents. Environmental science and sociology teachers will find a wealth of discussable topics ranging from what defines sustainable agriculture to the dynamics of community involvement. The literary tone and humor make this book more accessible and entertaining than some of the seminal works by Bill McKibben and Michael Pollan. Recommend this title to students with little or no background on this topic or to those who have read similar works and are looking for the next addition to the conversation.—Lynn Rashid, Marriotts Ridge High School, Marriottsville, MD
From the Publisher

“Hewitt is an amiable skeptic and a storyteller of rare skill who seems incapable of crafting a dull sentence.” —TheAtlantic.com

“these pages are full of characters: charismatic leaders, philosophers, quiet activists. It's a brave and well-reported book; these are, after all, his neighbors.” —Los Angeles Times

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781605296869
Publisher:
Rodale Press, Inc.
Publication date:
03/16/2010
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

BEN HEWITT is the author of The Town That Food Saved, and the upcoming Making Supper Safe, and articles for magazines such as Bicycling, Discover, Gourmet, Men's Journal, National Geographic Adventure, Outside, the New York Times Magazine, Yankee and many others. He and his family live in a self-built, solar-powered house in Cabot, Vermont, and operate a 40-acre livestock, vegetable, and berry farm.

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