Liz Carlisle is back, helping amplify the stories and work of Montana farmers as they change our food system for the better. Her first book, Lentil Underground, told the story of David Oien who, forty years ago, decided to take his family farm organic, against the admonition of corporate agribusiness. Because of his efforts, Timeless Natural Food is now a million-dollar enterprise focused on growing nutritious and land-friendly pulse crops like organic lentils, barley, and chickpeas.
In her new book Grain by Grain: A Quest to Revive Ancient Wheat, Rural Jobs, and Healthy Food (Island Press, 2019), Carlisle introduces us to another unsung hero: her coauthor Bob Quinn, a small-town farmer who is rebuilding his rural community, one opportunity at a time. Quinn grows kamut, an ancient variety of wheat, and has helped more than a hundred other farmers convert to more environmentally friendly and economically stable practices. He writes about the high cost of cheap food and the problem with our commodity mentality, “the disconnect that comes from buying and selling an anonymous, standardized product with little information about where it came from or where it is going.”
But he offers hope for all of us as we start to “reconnect the dots between our soils and our suppers” and begin to recognize that a healthy food system benefits everybody.