Closing the Food Gap: Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

By Mark Winne

Call Number: HC110 .P6 W53 2008

From the War on Poverty to new farmers’ markets, a food expert tackles America’s dangerous dietary split

Limp lettuce. Rotting apples. Dusty cans of spinach, corn, and peas under glaring fluorescent lights. Such a setting does not appeal to the modern shopper, who much prefers softly lit stores stocked with fresh produce and healthy prepared meals, or even open-air markets. But for many impoverished Americans, as Mark Winne explains, such pleasant shopping experiences are simply not an option.

Closing the Food Gap tells the story of how we get our food: from poor people at food pantries or bodegas and convenience stores to the more comfortable classes, who increasingly seek out organic and local products. Winne’s exploration starts in the 1960s, when domestic poverty was “rediscovered,” and shows how communities since that time have responded to malnutrition with a slew of strategies and methods. But the story is also about doing that work against a backdrop of ever-growing American food influence and gastronomical expectations.

Calling largely on his own experience in this field, mixing in surprisingly witty observations on our evolving relationships with food, Winne ultimately envisions realistic partnerships in which family farms and impoverished communities come together to address their continuing struggles.

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