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The Town That Food Saved: How One Community…

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

by Ben Hewitt

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Mr Hewitt presents some very valuable information and insights regarding Hardwick, Vermont, and their burgeoning local foods movement. Unfortunately, he dilutes the impact of his text by excessively interjecting internalized questions that occur to him during interviews, farm visits, etc, even when he has no means to answer them later on. Bottom Line: If you line out 50% or more of the sentences ending in a question mark, you'll get all the important information he presents in half the time and you won't lose any critical facts/perspectives. ( )
  dele2451 | Jan 3, 2014 |
The author reviewed in a personal way the many pieces of a community food system in Vermont. Some very interesting observations: 4 characteristics of a viable food system: 1 - based on sun, 2-feeds the locals, 3-person can make a living, and 4-the process is circular (not linear) seeds to plants to seeds, food to waste to plants to food... ( )
  addunn3 | Aug 20, 2013 |
Not interested. It's all about them selling food. ( )
  picardyrose | May 31, 2011 |
The Town that Food Saved tells of Hardwick, Vermont, a small town that falls on hard times with high unemployment and a low median income. As the traditional jobs dry up in Hardwick a group of young entrepreneurs come to town and imagine a revitalized economy based on local, specialty food businesses like Vermont Soy and Pete's Greens. The unusual and interesting part of this book is that Hewitt careful addresses the issues of how local is local (10miles? 100?) and when does a company get too big to be retain the personality and benefits of a small, independent operation? One of the big conflicts in Hardwick comes from the tension between the small farmers who have quietly been operating local, organic, sustainable farms for decades and the brash, vocal new entrepreneurs who envision a bigger, richer future for the small town. Hewitt talks a hard look at these two groups, compares the similarities and differences in their goals, and provides an interesting, unbiased analysis of the situation.

The Town That Food Saved succeeds best when Hewitt is focused on the quirky characters, unique businesses, and attention grabbing anecdotes that he delivers throughout the book. Too often he gets mired down in historic details or pedantic discussions about terminology or methods. Still, the book is worth reading for the in depth exploration of issues about what constitutes local and sustainable and why those are important ideas in our food sources.

I listened to The Town That Food Saved on audio, read by Arthur Morey. He has a lovely, deep, sonorous voice that, at first, made the dull parts of the book even harder to pay attention to. As the pace quickened in the story and more personalities were introduced, his resonant tones added a pleasant dimension to the story. ( )
1 vote frisbeesage | May 14, 2011 |
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, this is an interesting book for anyone whose curiosity is piqued by the origins of the meals on their plate and wants a deeper look at the ingenuity of Hardwick's people and the impact they could have on the food culture of an entire nation. ( )
  elbakerone | Feb 16, 2011 |
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The captivating story of a small town coming back to life, grounded in an idea that will revolutionize the way we eat. Over the past 3 years, Hardwick, Vermont, a typical hardscrabble farming community of 3,000 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 number of food-based businesses have grown in the region. The mostly young entrepreneurs have created a network of community support; they meet regularly to share advice, equipment, and business plans, and to loan each other capital. Hardwick is fast becoming a model for other communities to replicate its success.--From publisher description.… (more)

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