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The Town That Food Saved

Nd to loan each other capital Hardwick is fast becoming a model for other communities to replicate its success Author Ben Hewitt presents the captivating story of a small town coming back to life The Town That Food Saved is narrative nonfiction at its best full of colorful characters and grounded in an idea that will revolutionize the way we ea I think I enjoyed this book in no small part because I m familiar with a lot of the organizations and places Hewitt details in the book Pete s Greens Jasper Hill Cheese Vermont Soy and the town of Hardwick in general It s also dovetailing with a debate my own small Vermont town is having over whether to allow a big box store to move in and force a total rethink of traffic patterns Let me back up I agree with other reviewers who have stated that the title of this book is misleading it is in reality a series of poignant vignettes profiles of places and people engaged in food and farming in rural Vermont interspersed with the author s sometimes ham handed attempts at talking through sustainability in a local food movement Because as Hewitt makes clear Hardwick didn t find vitality in local food so much as wrestle with a discussion between long time traditional farmers newcomers with weird soy based ideas and Vermonters not engaged in farming at all and struggling to feed their families anything at all The vignettes are delightful Hewitt is a vivid and descriptive place teller and the subjects of his profiles come to life warts and all There s a whole chapter on soil fertility that is one of the most engaging pieces of anything I ve read in years But unfortunately Hewitt himself struggles to unpack the local food sustainability growth economic access situation unfolding in Hardwick And to be fair he admits he struggles with it but oh boy the struggles They go on for days and sometimes Hewitt flips back and forth on a topic within the space of a few pages like when he decries Claire s restaurant for serving 12 entrees too pricey for a town where the average salary was in 2009 14K and then decries Hardwick for not accepting the challenge of prioritizing to eat 12 entrees and then settles on dour disapproval of the restaurant s pricing It s confusing and the wool gathering in this vein goes on for a very long time I wish he d brought in an economist or someone whose area really is food sustainability systems and let them do at least half the wool gatheringBut I really liked meeting all the farms in and around Hardwick I liked thinking about local food systems with Hewitt Hewitt farms over in Cabot and I wanted to hear about his farm as well as all the others and I m still mad that Jasper Hill has stopped producing Constant Bliss

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Over the past 3 years Hardwick Vermont a typical hardscrabble farming community of 3000 residents has jump started its economy and redefined its self image through a local self sustaining food system unlike anything else in America Even as the recent financial downturn threatens to cripple small businesses and privately owned farms a stunning n I didn t enjoy this book I don t need any convincing that local decentralized food production is a better alternative than shipping produce 1000 miles and I was interested to read about a small town that s only a few hours from where I live in NY State But despite a cast of very colorful characters the book was painfully dull at times and I didn t care for Hewitt s writing style which is often bloated and self indulgentThat said I gave The Town That Food Saved three stars because it made me think As someone who has until recently only lived in big cities I hadn t considered all of the challenges facing local food production Is it scalable How many people would have to contribute labor in order to feed a whole community Does it matter that local food tends to be shipped away from the blue collar rural farm towns to fancy upper middle class grocery stores and restaurants in bigger cities Is there a combination of large scale agriculture and local production that might be sustainable The Big Golden Book of Poetry residents has jump started its economy and NITRO: The Incredible Rise and Inevitable Collapse of Ted Turner's WCW redefined its self image through a local self sustaining food system unlike anything else in America Even as the Wild Man Creek (Virgin River, recent financial downturn threatens to cripple small businesses and privately owned farms a stunning n I didn t enjoy this book I don t need any convincing that local decentralized food production is a better alternative than shipping produce 1000 miles and I was interested to The Non-Designer's Design Book (4th Edition) read about a small town that s only a few hours from where I live in NY State But despite a cast of very colorful characters the book was painfully dull at times and I didn t care for Hewitt s writing style which is often bloated and self indulgentThat said I gave The Town That Food Saved three stars because it made me think As someone who has until Homewrecker recently only lived in big cities I hadn t considered all of the challenges facing local food production Is it scalable How many people would have to contribute labor in order to feed a whole community Does it matter that local food tends to be shipped away from the blue collar Make your own model forts & castles rural farm towns to fancy upper middle class grocery stores and Tremors of Fury (The Days of Ash and Fury restaurants in bigger cities Is there a combination of large scale agriculture and local production that might be sustainable

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Umber of food based businesses have grown in the region Vermont Soy Jasper Hill Farm Pete's Greens Patchwork Farm Bakery Apple Cheek Farm Claire's Restaurant and Bar and Bonnieview Farm to name only a few The mostly young entrepreneurs have created a network of community support; they meet regularly to share advice euipment and business plans a If I had to sum this book up in one word that word would be meh The author sets out to describe how the small Vermont community of Hardwick transformed itself from a run down town into a local foods hotspot There are a few problems with this goal which the author himself admits First of all the food revolution doesn t take place in Hardwick itself but rather in the Hardwick area including several nearby towns Also Hardwick although certainly not the most prosperous town in the world was not nearly as run down as the dust jacket would have you believe Finally there was already a strong and deep rooted local food tradition in the area the revolution was largely what the author calls agreprenuers who create small vibrant business that would fit the local bill perfectly except that they export most of their food outside the communityThere s something else the dust jacket gets wrong Lively funny and candid The Town That Food Saved tells the fascinating story of an unassuming community Well it is candid and the community is unassuming but I can t say the book is lively or funny or that the story is fascinating Mostly it s slow has too many chapters and takes forever to get to the point If you are a big fan of this genre or are looking for information on Hardwick you might check this out But it s definitely no Omnivore s Dilemma


10 thoughts on “The Town That Food Saved

  1. says:

    Hate “Big Food” and sick of shopping at the Big Y Dream about being a locavore or an agripreneur if that’s Greek to you check out a Food

  2. says:

    The title is a misnomer Hardwick VT has not been saved by food but this agricultural community has spawned some nascent o

  3. says:

    I didn't enjoy this book I don't need any convincing that local decentralized food production is a better alternative than shipping produce 1000

  4. says:

    If I had to sum this book up in one word that word would be meh The author sets out to describe how the small Vermont community of Hardwick transformed itself from a run down town into a local foods hotspot There are a few problems with this

  5. says:

    When I read non fiction books I'm accustomed to two different kinds of approaches 1 the memoir where someone tells their insider experience with a subject where they're expected to be biased and 2 the journalist where the person researches a subject and forms an opinion based on what they've found Ben Hewitt seems to approach The Town that Food Saved from the point of view of a journalist I believe that the book grew o

  6. says:

    I did like the description of the modern agriculture lifestyle in its many forms because I think it's something that people need to reconnect w

  7. says:

    First off I did like this book and it was interesting to hear of a little rural community coming back to life through localfoodagetc That is great and amazing and inspirational and neat However though it is great to hear

  8. says:

    I think I enjoyed this book in no small part because I'm familiar with a lot of the organizations and places Hewitt details in the book Pete's Greens Jasper Hill Cheese Vermont Soy and the town of Hardwick in general It's also dovetailing with a debate my own small Vermont town is having over whether to allow a big box store to move in and

  9. says:

    After reading The Town that Food Saved How One Community Found Vitality in Local Food I felt that the subtitle was a appropriate title than the actual title Indeed it did not seem as though food saved the community of Hardwick Vt Rather food seemed to be a common thread that led to the community being revitalizedBut I digress It's a book worthy of a read especially if like me you wonder whether a true local food movem

  10. says:

    To understand the effect this book had on me I suppose it makes sense to give some context After much deliberation and internal struggle I recently made a decision to return to graduate school in California to study Commun

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