LOCAL by Douglas Gayeton
A Local Way of Life
Book review by Linda Harmon
Douglas Gayeton is a storyteller driven by his love for nature and his desire to preserve it for future generations. In the just-published LOCAL: The New Face of Food and Farming in America (Harper Design, 2014), Gayeton documents in a witty and beautiful way how the movement to a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle is through food, the way we eat and how what we grow, transport and market is impacting the Earth.
The book takes readers across the country, introducing leaders within the sustainability movement – like Temple Grandin, Alice Waters, Wes Jackson and John Mackey – and boots-on-the-ground workers like farmers, fishermen and dairy producers, and sharing their insights. These are the interesting people, issues and concepts at the forefront of the sustainable farming movement.
It's a readable account that approaches our food system from several sides: taste, quality, health and security.
Gayeton uses the first few pages to make his message clear, promising to "seduce people with quirky collages and folksy handwritten notes that quietly introduce tools to fix our crappy food system."
He believes by defining more than 200 new vocabulary terms that have grown up around the sustainability movement, he can help illuminate the facts we encounter as consumers. These words can link our food choices to the environment and draw attention to the way our food choices contribute to, or take away from, a better future for our planet.
Along the way, Gayeton covers the local food movement, certification, unconventional agriculture and food as our future and our past, among other topics. He defines and illustrates terms like grass-fed, heirloom, GMO, pasture-raised and seed sovereignty. He explains terms that may be familiar but you aren't exactly sure of their meaning, like biodynamics, identity-preserved grains and antibiotic-free livestock, too.
Sound dull? It isn't. It's worthy of display on any tabletop, a reference book that pulls readers in.
It combines two subjects near and dear to my heart – food and the environment – and does so with a unique and engaging style.
He uses this same format in materials from his organization Lexicon of Sustainability. With Lexicon, Gayeton and his wife, Laura Howard-Gayeton, produce art-filled educational programs, including photographic art installations that let local farmers, chefs and sustainability proponents from across the country share their stories in pictures and words.
Both Gayeton and Lexicon are focused on educating the general public and supporting the movement to a healthier, sustainable environment.
The book goes a long way toward that goal in a fresh, hip, down-to-earth way. It is a very enjoyable read.
LOCAL: The New Face of Food and Farming in America
by Douglas Gayeton (Harper Design , 2014)
*For more info about the Lexicon of Sustainability, visit LexiconOfSustainability.com. Michael Pollan, author of the best-selling The Omnivore's Dilemma, calls it "one of the cooler websites I've seen in a while and much more fun than its name suggests."