In a food industry shaped by the abundance, cheapness, and convenience that giant corporations can offer, small-scale ventures struggle to survive, as anthropologist Cathy Stanton discovered when she joined the effort to save a small food co-op in a former mill town in western Massachusetts. On the margins of the dominant system, Stanton found herself reckoning with its deep racial and class inequities, and learning that making real change requires a fierce commitment to community and a willingness to change herself as well.
Part memoir and part history lesson, Food Margins traces the tangled economic and political histories of the plantation, the factory, and the supermarket through the life of one New England town. Stanton tells a complex and compelling story of a rural community imagining and creating a viable alternative to the mainstream in a time of increasingly urgent need to build a more socially and ecologically just food system.
“Stanton’s writing is accessible and enjoyable, not academic. She is engaged, committed, and even hopeful without being naive or cynical. She mixes scholarly inquiries with personal experience, resulting in vivid and unexpected insights into the American food system.”—Brian Donahue, author of Reclaiming the Commons: Community Farms and Forests in a New England Town