Food isn't just what we eat. It connects us to our family, our community, and the world around us.
We live in a challenging time in history, facing unprecedented global crises. Local food initiatives by small farmers, community workers, and activists offer solutions to these large complex problems.
Solutions at the local level can give us personal and community agency, connecting us with one another and inspiring new ways of thinking, sharing, and creating value.
This book focuses on alternative food networks, food sovereignty, and social economics, through case studies of real people and communities in both urban and rural New Zealand, as well as through a global lens.
These inspiring stories and helpful insights provide a compass that can help us to navigate towards a more equitable and sustainable future.
I liked the author's approach to her subject material. This is a serious study of food-based economics and the way community attitudes differ geographically, but it is also a collection of the anecdotes Isa Pearl Ritchie has recorded in the course of her research. The juxtaposition of the academic and the popular makes this a book that is accessible to all: Ritchie indicates those chapters which are devoted to the results of her research and suggests that those readers who are not interested in the science behind her conclusions can simply skip ahead and read the personal stories of her informants.
Because I was reading the book with a review in mind, I read it from start to finish - but I could equally have just selected a chapter that particularly interested me. The contents are clearly set out at the start of the book so the reader can pick and choose; within each chapter, there are many cross-references to other sections of the book so it is easy to pick up a thread at any stage and move backwards (or forwards) if you need to clarify something.
Having lived off the land myself for ten years (in a remote part of Europe) I am familiar with organic food production, recycling initiatives, mutually shared food items, and the sense of connectedness that is generated when you are part of a small community. Many of the case studies that Ritchie references are of people who have devoted themselves to different aspects of this lifestyle. She acknowledges that it is rare for anyone to be 100% off the grid because there are always some things that need to be sourced from outside the community, but most of her informants are making an amazing effort to be self-sufficient as far as they are able. Aside from their achievements, they come across as everyday people who happen to be living an especially interesting lifestyle. Ritchie points out that she aimed to target a diverse range of subjects in order to represent the different social and ethnic backgrounds of present-day Aotearoa New Zealand.
I had one issue with the book, however. The quality of some of the graphics, particularly the tables in the Whaingaroa chapter and the Research Methodology, was poor. The black and white reproductions meant that the accompanying colour legends became void, and some of the text within the graphics was illegible. I tried enlarging them by photographing, but the clarity was still compromised. There is a case for including tables like this on glossy paper as an addendum so that those who, like me, are interested in the data can read it.
I did like the way that a glossary of Maori words was included. Most New Zealand readers will already understand most of the terms in context, but this makes the work more accessible to overseas readers. The reference list was also comprehensive, offering many possibilities for a reader who wishes to read further on a particular topic. Because of the scope of the project, it would have been impossible for Ritchie to include detailed information on every area covered, so this is a useful resource.
It would be interesting to read a follow-up study ten years on from the original investigation - I for one would be intrigued to see how many of the original informants are still living the good life in Whaingaroa. Hopefully there will be a companion volume from Ritchie sometime in the future.
Random listing from 'Books'...
Windows Vista essentials at your fingertips!
If you like your answers quick and your information up-to-date, look no further. With this concise, superbly organised reference, you can easily find what you need to know about Vista's new Aero Glass interface, managing your files and folders, cool new networking capabilities, Internet Explorer 7 and Windows Mail, speech recognition, security, entertainment features, and much more.
All trademarks, images and copyrights on this site are owned by their respective companies.
KIWIreviews is an independent entity, part of the Knock Out News Group. This is a free public forum presenting user opinions on selected products, and as such the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinion of kiwireviews.nz and are protected under New Zealand law by the "Honest Opinion" clause of the Defamation Act of 1992. KIWIreviews accepts no liability for statements made on this site, on the premise that they have been submitted as the true and honest opinions of the individual posters. In most cases, prices and dates stated are approximate and should be considered as only guidelines.
"If quizzes are quizzical, what are tests?"