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In the midst of our busy lives we often fail to just say thank you, but thanks is all I can say in response to the wonderful article in the new B&C by Robert Joustra and Alissa Wilkinson, "Making Peace at the Dinner Table" [May/June]. Thanks to CTI for their commitment to a publication like this. Thanks to John Wilson and the staff at B&C for exhibiting a breadth and depth of cultural awareness. And thanks in particular to these two writers for working hard to strike just the right notes. You navigated a difficult subject using a difficult writing format of alternating voices while engaging with a difficult author to treat with deference and criticism. I learned a lot from the article, and it is the type of article I could only find in B&C.
As I sat down with customary eager anticipation to read my latest issue of Books and Culture, I turned first to "Making Peace at the Dinner Table," by Robert Joustra and Alissa Wilkinson. My own emotions veered quickly from the peaceful as I read Mr. Joustra's commentary. I hurled the volume across the room, as well as one can manage to hurl such a slim bulletin. While Wilkinson offers us a fair-minded and nuanced, if ultimately disappointing, treatment of these books and the issues explored in them, Joustra gives us nothing but invective and snark. From him we get Michelle Obama's "token locavore" garden, and from there the verbiage and tone spiral ever downward, culminating in "An overfed economy has the luxury of demanding local, high-quality, fresh produce, along with the labor and cost-intensive methods that sustain it. But the rest of our hungry planet begs us to be rid of such infantile nostalgia when we go abroad."
Joustra accomplishes his evisceration of the local, organic, sustainable agriculture movement with a series of unsubstantiated and highly debatable allegations about the yields and benefits of the conventional agribusiness approach relative to organics. He is ...