The Town That Food Saved

How One Community Found Vitality in Local Food


  • Valerie Imbruce Bennington College



Review, Local Food, Economic Development


First paragraphs:

I picked up the book The Town That Food Saved: How One Community Found Vitality in Local Food with a healthy dose of skepticism. The title sounds like a booster for how the local food movement can bring prosperity, not to mention salvation, to a hard-scrabble town. In this case the town in question is Hardwick, a rural, working-class town in northern Vermont where the unemployment rate is high and the median income low.

I recently moved to Vermont to start teaching at Bennington College, a small liberal arts college in the southern part of the state. The gossip about Hardwick was immediate. The buzz carried one message: Hardwick is a local food mecca where local agricultural development really is bringing social cohesion and economic growth to the town. Vermont in general has a very active and thoughtful local agriculture movement made up of farmers, food processors, chefs, wholesale distributors, food service directors, individual consumers, municipal and state government officials, activists, scholars…the list goes on. It would not be surprising that such a model town exists in Vermont. I had yet to see the evidence or understand what is going on in Hardwick. So along with my skepticism I started the task of reviewing this book with great curiosity....


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Author Biography

Valerie Imbruce, Bennington College

Valerie Imbruce is a faculty member and the director of environmental studies at Bennington College in Bennington, Vermont. She teaches the courses Environment and Society, The Agrarian Myth, Population, Food, and Farms, and Agroecology. Her research focus is on changing patterns of agricultural production due to urban demand, immigration, and sustainable agriculture ideology. She has conducted fieldwork in the Northeastern U.S. as well as Latin America.
Cover of "The Town That Food Saved"



How to Cite

Imbruce, V. (2010). The Town That Food Saved: How One Community Found Vitality in Local Food. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 1(1), 161–162.