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Daniel Tucker

Daniel Tucker

Emily Forman

Culinary Conversations 

When: Wed., Dec. 1, 6-8 p.m. 2010
Phone: 312-742-8497
"Farmers are the new rock stars." If you're put off by this increasingly popular mantra, you might do well to steer clear of Farm Together Now (Chronicle Books). Written by University of San Francisco professor Amy Franceschini and AREA Chicago magazine founder Daniel Tucker, with photos by Anne Hamersky and illustrations by Corinne Matesich, the book gives full-color, coffee-table treatment to 20 progressive farms across the country. According to Franceschini and Tucker, these profiles and interviews "form a portrait of the complexity of farming in the United States today." But you won't find Smithfield Foods or even Earthbound Farms here. Rather, under the loose rubric of activist agriculture the authors have given voice to a crew of visionary indie growers who run a mix of rural and urban initiatives—some for-profit and some not, some committed to educational outreach and others sequestered off the grid. They’re cultivating fish, livestock, dairy, hay, vegetables, bees, seeds, and medicinal herbs, and there's not a dewy-eyed newbie among them. From the rural Nebraska family man who started a co-op of sustainable meat growers to the young members of God’s Gang who started out raising worms and tilapia in the Robert Taylor Homes and now grow vegetables on borrowed land in Michigan, Tucker and Franceschini's subjects share a deep, articulated commitment to social and environmental justice and political change. Other Chicago-area subjects include anarchist coffee roaster David Meyers, (who I profiled for the Reader in 2009) and the Angelic Organics Learning Center; Tucker discusses Farm Together Now here with representatives from Angelic Organics and God’s Gang. Judith Dunbar Hines, director of culinary arts and events for the city's Department of Cultural Affairs, moderates. RSVP required. —Martha Bayne


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