Deeply Rooted book cover

 

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The food revolution taking place in this country cannot be truly successful without an agricultural revolution. We must inspire our farmers and create millions more of them. The extraordinary farmers Lisa Hamilton profiles in Deeply Rooted embody the future of American agriculture.
— Alice Waters
In a time when agribusiness and the global economy are making the rules, and when most people of the land are striving to be obedient, these people have had the courage to use their own intelligence in their own places. They have been appropriately rewarded for their independence, and readers of this book will be rewarded also. As for me, when I read of the Podoll family's thinking about local adaptation and their effort 'to get the maximum from the minimum,' I wanted to stand up and shout.
— from a letter to the author by Wendell Berry

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?

In this narrative nonfiction book she tells three stories, of 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 community; and a modern pioneer family in North Dakota breeding new varieties of plants to face the future's double threat: climate change and the patenting of life forms. In unique ways, these "unconventional farmers" reject the passive role that modern agriculture has insisted they accept and instead reclaim their place as stewards of the land and leaders within society.

Threads of history and discussion weave through the tales, exploring how farmers have been pushed to the margins of agriculture and how that has led to the broken food system we grapple with today. These unusual characters and their extraordinary stories make the case that in order to repair the damage, we must bring farmers back to the table.