Lentil Underground: Renegade Farmers and the Future of Food in America
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A protégé of Michael Pollan shares the story of a tiny identified group of renegade farmers who defied corporate agribusiness by launching a unique sustainable farm-to-table meals movement.The story of the Lentil Underground starts on a 280-acre homestead rooted in America’s Excellent Plains: the Oien family members farm. Forty years ago, corporate agribusiness told tiny farmers like the Oiens to “get massive or get out.” But twenty-seven-year-old David Oien decided to take a stand, becoming the very first in his conservative Montana county to plant a radically different crop: organic lentils. Unlike the chemically dependent grains American farmers had been told to develop, lentils make their own fertilizer and tolerate variable climate circumstances, so their farmers are not beholden to industrial strategies. Today, Oien leads an underground network of organic farmers who perform with heirloom seeds and biologically diverse farm systems. Below the brand Timeless Natural Meals, their distinctive company-cum-movement has grown into a million dollar enterprise that sells to Complete Foods, hundreds of independent natural foods retailers, and a host of renowned restaurants.From the heart of Huge Sky Country comes this inspiring story of a handful of colorful pioneers who have effectively bucked the chemically-based food chain and the entrenched energy of agribusiness’s one %, by stubbornly banding together. Journalist and native Montanan Liz Carlisle weaves an eye-opening and richly reported narrative that will be welcomed by everyone concerned with the future of American agriculture and organic food in an increasingly uncertain planet.
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