Globally, one in six of us is urgently hungry or starving, according to the U.N. Yet obesity afflicts two-thirds of Americans and costs $147 billion in annual medical bills, Time Magazine reports. Industrial agriculture produces cheap food but erodes soil, poisons the environment with chemical inputs, and consumes 19% of U.S. fossil fuels. Peak oil, climate change, and wobbling economies further jeopardize our ability to feed ourselves.
The Call of the Land, a new book by journalist Steven McFadden, joins a growing chorus voicing a revised vision for food and agriculture. Picking up where Food Inc., the recent documentary on industrial agriculture, leaves off, the book documents a wide range of proven, positive pathways to food security, economic stability, environmental health and cultural renewal.

Among the positive solutions featured:

  • The Food Depot of Santa Fe encourages home gardeners to plant an extra row for the hungry and donate the produce to local food pantries.
  • Canada’s City Farmer teaches people how to plant and harvest edible rooftops.
  • A Pasadena, CA family’s urban homestead grows 6,000 pounds of produce on a mere fifth of an acre.
  • Milwaukee’s Growing Power empowers inner city youth to raise healthy foods and reduce their community’s risk of obesity and diabetes.
  • American Farmland Trust protects over 1 million acres of farmland.
  • Sharing Backyards in Vancouver, B.C., links property owners with landless gardeners.
  • North American gardeners and farmers can extend the growing season with cold frames, hoop houses, and high tunnels.
  • Farmers markets and CSAs can accept food stamps to increase access to fresh produce.
  • Food shed co-op distribution sites help small-scale farmers reach their markets while avoiding costly deliveries.
  • Appalachia’s Growing Minds serves local foods in the schools, offers farm field trips and nutrition education, and hosts a school garden.
  • Portland, OR’s Fruit Tree Project gathers untended fruit before it falls and donates the harvest to those who need it most.

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