Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness
By Lisa M. Hamilton
(Counterpoint, Hardcover, 9781593761806, 304pp.)
Publication Date: May 2009
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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 future’s 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.
Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness: Even though Lisa Hamilton narrows her focus to the extent that Deeply Rooted doesn't capture the breadth that it might have otherwise, she still conveys the raw truth that a positive food future lies in the hands of irascible individuals rather than corporations and captains of industry.