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March 30 , 2011

Locally Grown

Portraits of Artisanal Farms from America's Heartland


This beautiful new book by 30-year-old writer and photographer Anna H. Blessing introduces readers to the story of the modern heartland farm. The book explores how sustainable practices – and close ties to high-profile chefs and restauranteurs – have propelled the "locally grown" culinary movement into a central feature of life in major cities like Chicago. Blessing lays out the rich histories of 25 midwestern farms through beautiful photography, fascinating anecdotes from farmers and chefs, and up-close looks at what makes each farm so unique.
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Interest in sustainable farming has been growing rapidly across the country and around the world, emphasizing locally produced and grown foods in place of the mass-marketed offerings from corporate consortia. When inhabitants of major cities choose to purchase food raised in nearby farms, they not only support vital satellite economies, but also improve the social and ecological quality of life along with the environmental sustainability of the world around them.

Now there are also innumerable top-tier dining establishments, led by esteemed chefs like Charlie Trotter and Paul Kahan, who scour farmers markets for natural ingredients and develop personal business relationships with small-time farmers to supply their restaurants with the best and most sustainable foods. Locally Grown shows how both long-standing and newly founded farms, along with urban farms and metropolitan nonprofit organizations like Growing Power and City Provisions, are boosting the sustainable food movement throughout Chicago and its neighborhoods.

Each chapter profiles a different farm, outlining locale, scale, production, and inner workings while also revealing the captivating backgrounds of each farmer. Blessing shows how each farm and farmer are making efforts to improve sustainability, and describes the behind-the-scenes practices that have made locally grown food an increasingly important part of America's food culture.

Contributions from each farmer, and from chefs they work with, are included in every chapter, lending an intimate feel to Locally Grown – recipes, how-to's and Q&As that together create a riveting account of the rapidly changing world of modern farming.

Beyond profiling these Midwest farms, Locally Grown points out the best places to find, buy, and eat sustainably grown foods, as well as details on visiting the farms.
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