Resource Guide Sets the Table for Change
Farm to Table: The Essential Guide to Sustainable Food Systems for Students, Professionals, and Consumers by Darryl Benjamin, sustainable food system educator and activist, and chef Lyndon Virkler, dean of the New England Culinary Institute, is a beautifully produced book that has much to offer the farm-to-table novice. The authors draw on their substantial educational experience (Virkler has an MS in adult and higher education and Benjamin has taught at over a dozen northeastern institutions) and background in writing and literature to present readers with an overview of the evolving terminology, tactics, and organizations contributing to the farm-to-table movement.
The text is divided into two sections, Farm and Table, and relies on short, subject-focused sections supported by colorful visual and verbal illustrations to make the book read much like a blog. This makes it easy to enjoy in an intermittent “pick-up-and-put-down” manner, but less satisfying as a straight-through read. Even though it does not develop themes or use terms other than “farm-to-table” to unify the book, the authors do summarize the origins of the farm-to-table movement. The long-time alternative agriculture community will be perfectly comfortable with the goals of the farm-to-table farm philosophy, which strives to achieve the goals of providing a good living to farmers while both mimicking nature to provide a balance of resources and preserving soil and adjacent landscapes for future generations. Consumer advocates and food-system activists will appreciate the telling of how the movement evolved from one focused on the producer and means of production, to one that addresses societal goals through food systems and food regimes.
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