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Co-Op Groceries Are The Best! Tour Report Back

August 11, 2011
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Starting last year at Mess Hall in Chicago we kicked off a slow moving book tour that has included 25 events from Seattle to Louisville to Philadelphia. We’ve had audiences ranging from 7 to 150, though most have been full houses – a testament to the interest in the topic more than anything. The venues have included bookstores, lecture halls, grocery stores, farmer training centers and pie shops. The people who have showed up at these events have been actual farmers, planners, artists and the emerging category of “agri-curious” (thanks to Full and By Farm in Essex, NY for introducing me to this term).

 The book has been used widely as a document and networking tool for this emerging food movement that is gaining strength every day. The National Family Farm Coalition bought copies for their members and farms featured in the book have used the attention to do everything from gain new customers and apply for funding to networking and speaking publicly about their work. City Slicker Farms, Devon Pena, Wild Hive Farm/Bakery, Anarchy Apiaries, God’s Gang, On-The-Fly Farm, AquaRanch, Jim Knopik, Freewheelin’ Farm, and Tryon Life Community Farm have all joined us in person at book lectures. Numerous other farm and food projects have come and shared their news and ideas at the events as well. We hope it continues to be useful to future generations through the classrooms which have expressed interest and already started using it in their food related curriculum.

Thanks for your support, for the wonderful reviews, and for coming out to these events. Thanks to the farmers who we profiled for being so open and generous. And thanks especially to the folks at Bloomingfoods (Bloomington, IN) and Common Ground (Urbana, IL), two food co-ops that uses the viral power of their customer receipts to promote our readings. What a great idea! If there is one lesson to be learned by self-organizing a 25 event national tour its that it is hard work to get a room full of engaged people to discuss food politics and farmers stories.

There are murmurs of doing a sequel book in a few years but until then you will have to keep in touch with us through this irregularly updated blog (we are looking for guest bloggers by the way). As life takes new directions, new projects emerge and the enthusiasm around a book being “new” fade – we go back to life as usual and/or newly imagined. Keep in touch!

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