The Town That Food Saved

I confess I had never heard of Hardwick, Vermont before picking up Ben Hewitt's book The Town That Food Saved. The anecdotal nonfiction work tells about the history of the town, built upon the industry of granite, that suffered a severe economic downturn and looked to a local stimulus of food and agricultural business to provide jobs while promoting healthy food, organic farming and sustainability.

It's hard to describe the width and depth of food related businesses that this book covers, but I found the whole work remarkably fascinating. From exploring the simple but profound work of banking seeds to the impact of hormone use in the world of dairy farming, this work is one that will make anyone think twice about the everyday food we buy, prepare and eat.

It is the people of Hardwick, as well as their strides towards a system of local food production, that make Hewitt's book an engaging and entertaining read. The various interviews of farmers, businesspeople, restaurateurs, and politicians - many classified by Hewitt's invented portmanteau "agripreneurs" meaning agricultural entrepreneurs - lend a charming readability to the narrative. Hewitt presents the problems and conflicts openly and admits that there are not concrete solutions to the dilemmas Hardwick (and many towns like it) faced yet the positive economic and environmental strides being made are heralded.

Overall, The Town That Food Saved is an interesting book for anyone whose curiosity is piqued by the origins of the meals on their plate.  Ben Hewitt could just have easily switched the last two words of the title because this deeper look at the ingenuity of Hardwick's people may just have an impact on the food culture of an entire nation.

3 Response to "The Town That Food Saved"

  1. Sam says:
    February 16, 2011 at 1:26 PM

    That does sound interesting. I would like to eat local but it's very hard living in London and being on a budget.

  2. StephanieD says:
    February 16, 2011 at 8:26 PM

    Oooh, this sounds like one of my favorite books - The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, also an eyeopening book about the origins of everyday meals.

  3. louisamayalcottismypassion says:
    February 17, 2011 at 5:48 PM

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