Organic farming has come a long way since its early countercultural beginnings. But organic produce remains only a tiny fraction of the American food market, and organic farming itself has begun feeling some of the economic pressures more commonly associated with agribusiness. American eating habits, though changing at the edges, remain largely wedded to processed, conventionally grown foods. Part of the problem is the near total disconnect between eaters and growers––a disconnect as profound at the top as at the bottom of the nation's economic scale. This story aims to breach that gap by focusing in detail on the lives and livelihoods of a few farmers in upstate New York who have managed to resolve many of the paralyzing contradictions in America's food economy by aiming for a sustainable, mid-scale agriculture that is neither unattainably off the grid nor excessively compromised by agribusiness consolidation.
jim hinch is a writer and magazine editor in New York City. He earned graduate degrees at Oxford University and the University of California, Berkeley before working for several years as a newspaper reporter for the Orange County Register in California. Hinch has covered champion surfers, America's youngest imam, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He last wrote about immigrant social climbers in Los Angeles for DoubleTake magazine. He is currently at work on a novel for children.
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jim hinch; Medium-Size Me. Gastronomica 1 November 2008; 8 (4): 71–77. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2008.8.4.71
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