Synopses & Reviews
"Journalist and photographer Hamilton presents a multicultural snapshot of the American sustainable agriculture movement, profiling a Texas dairyman, a New Mexican rancher and a North Dakotan farmer, all who have converted from conventional to sustainable agriculture for economic and personal reasons. Harry Lewis, born to a family of former slaves who began farming in a Texas 'freedom colony,' switched to organic farming to avoid price-gouging by agribusiness but also to support his core philosophical tenets. Virgil Trujillo, whose Native Americans ancestors were the first settlers of Abiquiu, N.Mex., practices holistic resource management at a dude ranch/retreat center. David Podoll 'set out to prove organic agriculture wrong,' but instead was converted; he and his brother now buck the North Dakotan trend of farm consolidation and corn, soybean and wheat monoculture by focusing on the family garden and breeding plants for diversity, beauty and strength. The book vividly shows how these stubborn individualists rooted in the soil struggle are forging a path away from monolithic agribusiness to sustainable agriculture for its promise of spiritual integrity, community and food security." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"A concentrated, evocative look at agricultural methods that place a premium on health and ecology." Kirkus Reviews
"Hamilton’s in-depth portraits of independent farmers offer invaluable perspectives on American agriculture, past and present, while offering hope for a life-sustaining future." Booklist
A century of industrialization has left our food system riddled with problems, yet for solutions we look to nutritionists and government agencies, scientists and chefs. Lisa M. Hamilton asks: Why not look to the people who grow our food?
Hamilton makes this vital inquiry through the stories of three unconventional farmers: an African-American dairyman in Texas who plays David to the Goliath of agribusiness corporations; a tenth-generation rancher in New Mexico struggling to restore agriculture as a pillar of his crumbling community; and a modern pioneer family in North Dakota who is breeding new varieties of plants to face the futures double threat: Monsanto and global warming. Threads of history and discussion weave through the tales, exploring how farmers have been pushed to the margins of agriculture and transformed from leaders to laborers.
These unusual characters and their surprising stories make the case that in order to correct what has gone wrong with the food system, we must first bring farmers back to the table.
A century of industrialization has left the food system riddled with problems, yet for solutions people look to nutritionists and government agencies, scientists and chefs. Hamilton asks: Why not look to the people who grow the food?
About the Author
Writer and photographer Lisa M. Hamilton focuses on food and agriculture, particularly the stories of farmers. Her work has taken her from castration time on a Wyoming sheep ranch to a meeting of radical plant breeders in Iowa; from dairy farms in the highlands of Bavaria to sacred rice paddies along the coast of Japan.
She is the author of two books: Deeply Rooted: Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness and Farming to Create Heaven on Earth. Her work has also been published in the Nation, Harper's, National Geographic Traveler, Orion, and Gastronomica.