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"Fields of Plenty"

Just a note to say that I am busy reading Michael Ableman's "Fields of Plenty: A Farmers' Journey in Search of Real Food and the People Who Grow it." Similar to Jenny Kurzweil's "Fields that Dream," Ableman uses the stories and methods of many individual farmers to provide a context for the current state of American agriculture. Having read about half of Ableman's book so far, I would say that Kurzweil's is a better read--the stories of the farmers she tells are more gripping, and overall she makes a better case for the use of local foods. Ableman's book, though, has its advantages. He travels the country to interview many farmers from different areas, and his thoughts on each visit are detailed at each stop. His descriptions of the farms are more detailed than Kurzweil's, and I feel a better understanding of the work of each farmer from Ableman's writing.

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In addition, Michael Ableman is a farmer, in addition to being a writer. This allows him to interact with the farmers he interviews in a different manner than Kurzweil is able to. The farmers he speaks to feel often feel that Ableman is "one of their kind," and are more inclined to let him into the secrets of their business.