In this Book

From the Farm to the Table
summary

As with other areas of human industry, it has been assumed that technological progress would improve all aspects of agriculture. Technology would increase both efficiency and yield, or so we thought. The directions taken by technology may have worked for a while, but the same technologies that give us an advantage also create disadvantages. It's now a common story in rural America: pesticides, fertilizers, "big iron" combines, and other costly advancements may increase speed but also reduce efficiency, while farmers endure debt, dangerous working conditions, and long hours to pay for the technology. Land, livelihood, and lives are lost in an effort to keep up and break even. There is more to this story that affects both the food we eat and our provisions for the future. Too many Americans eat the food on their plates with little thought to its origin and in blind faith that government regulations will protect them from danger. While many Americans might have grown up in farming families, there are fewer family-owned farms with each passing generation. Americans are becoming disconnected from understanding the sources and content of their food. The farmers interviewed in From the Farm to the Table can help reestablish that connection. Gary Holthaus illuminates the state of American agriculture today, particularly the impact of globalization, through the stories of farmers who balance traditional practices with innovative methods to meet market demands. Holthaus demonstrates how the vitality of America's communities is bound to the successes and failures of its farmers. In From the Farm to the Table, farmers explain how their lives and communities have changed as they work to create healthy soil, healthy animals, and healthy food in a context of often inappropriate federal policy, growing competition from abroad, public misconceptions regarding government subsidies, the dangers of environmental damage and genetically modified crops, and the myths of modern economics. Rather than predicting doom and despair for small American growers, Holthaus shows their hope and the practical solutions they utilize. As these farmers tell their stories, "organic" and "sustainable" farming become real and meaningful. As they share their work and their lives, they reveal how those concepts affect the food we eat and the land on which it's grown, and how vital farming is to the American economy.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright Page
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xi-xiv
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. xv-xix
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  1. PART I. IN THE BEGINNING
  2. pp. 1-2
  1. Chapter 1. Fundamentals
  2. pp. 3-9
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  1. Chapter 2. Histories
  2. pp. 10-26
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  1. PART II. FARMERS TALKING ABOUT FARMING
  2. pp. 27-28
  1. Chapter 3. Two Views, One Farm: Vance and Bonnie Haugen
  2. pp. 29-59
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  1. Chapter 4. Farming Is a Spiritual Responsibility: Mike Rupprecht
  2. pp. 60-63
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  1. Chapter 5. Timelines: Ron Scherbring
  2. pp. 64-75
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  1. Chapter 6. The Absolute Last Thing I Ever Dreamed I'd Be Doing: Lonny and Sandy Dietz
  2. pp. 76-80
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  1. Chapter 7. I Felt It Was Just the Right Thing to Do: Dennis Rabe
  2. pp. 81-106
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  1. PART III. FARMING IN AMERICA: WHO CARES?
  2. pp. 107-108
  1. Chapter 8. They Say Eating Is a Moral Issue: Bill McMillin
  2. pp. 109-117
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  1. Chapter 9. Farming Connects Us All
  2. pp. 118-170
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  1. PART IV. IT ALL WORKS TOGETHER, OR IT DOESN'T WORK AT ALL
  2. pp. 171-172
  1. Chapter 10. Agriculture and Community Culture
  2. pp. 173-200
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  1. Chapter 11. Farming in Developing Countries
  2. pp. 201-204
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  1. Chapter 12. The WTO, NAFTA, CAFTA, and the FTAA
  2. pp. 205-244
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  1. PART V. ALTERNATIVE VISIONS, HOPEFUL FUTURES
  2. pp. 245-246
  1. Chapter 13. Healthy Food, Healthy Economics
  2. pp. 247-261
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  1. Chapter 14. Alternatives for Agriculture and the Whole Culture
  2. pp. 262-274
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  1. PART VI. AN ECOLOGY OF HOPE
  2. pp. 275-276
  1. Chapter 15. Ours for a Short Time: Peggy Thomas
  2. pp. 277-280
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  1. Chapter 16. An Ecology of Hope
  2. pp. 281-308
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 309-325
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  1. Sources and Resources
  2. pp. 326-350
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 351-363
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  1. Photos [Contains Image Plates]
  2. pp. 364-371
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