Monday, October 12, 2009
Local Food book review, vegetable and meat production
I've been meaning to read this one for a long time. Now that I'm reading it, I wish I'd read it earlier. It is a bittersweet tale of American Food, but at the most basic, it is a story of corn and petroleum. Corn has detoured many lives, especially people who were raised in Iowa and depended upon local industry to keep the family going, whether farmer or local tradesman. It in a very remote way, is the story of my life and that of my family. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I walked those bean fields ( that is what weeding endless fields of soybeans armed with only a corn knife was called in the late 1970's) that are alternated with corn, as a kid before mechanized weeding was done. I watched more than one farmer sell out, loose the farm, or start trucking to just keep the bills paid. My father could no longer support his family when I was a kid by running a small local grocery store, so we too, became refugees of the agribusiness. In a way, it is the loss of small town America and that is sad for me because I can see that my children will never, ever have the sort of naive existence we all had once, long before mass communication stole our innocence and agribusiness forced us all into an urban life. I try very hard to keep the kids rurally grounded, but we depend completely on the man of this house and his job. I cannot quite grasp how producing a crop that costs much more to produce it than can be made selling it, can be viable. But if you have the time and interest, get this book. I actually bought it instead of getting it from the library. For me, that is a huge statement!