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Author Margot Anne Kelley: Foodtopia: Communities in Pursuit of Peace, Love, & Homegrown Food

Author Margot Anne Kelley: Foodtopia: Communities in Pursuit of Peace, Love, & Homegrown Food In-Person

Books will be available for purchase.

Visit Margot's website for more information about her and her work.

Join Margot to learn more about the five generations of Americans who have gone back to the land in search of a better life and better food.  Discover the important roles that Maine has played throughout--including as a hotspot for local and organic farms today.

This event is being co-sponsored by the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance.

About the book

Ever wonder if there’s a better way to live, work, and eat? You’re not alone. Here is the story of five back-to-the-land movements, from 1840 to the present day, when large numbers of utopian-minded people in the United States took action to establish small-scale farming as an alternative to mainstream agriculture. Then and now, it’s the story of people striving to live freely and fight injustice, to make the food on their table a little healthier, and to leave the planet less scarred than they found it.

Throughout America’s history as an industrial nation, sizable countercultural movements have chosen to forgo modern comforts in pursuit of a simpler life. In this illuminating alternative American history, Margot Anne Kelley details the evolution of food-centric utopian movements that were fueled by deep yearnings for unpolluted water and air, racial and gender equality, for peace, for a less consumerist lifestyle, for a sense of authenticity, for simplicity, for a healthy diet, and for a sustaining connection to the natural world.

Millennials who jettisoned cities for rural life form the core of America’s current back-to-the-land movement. These young farmers helped meet surges in supplies for food when COVID-19 ravaged lives and economies, and laid bare limitations in America’s industrial food supply chain. Their forebears were the utopians of the 1840s, including Thoreau and his fellow Transcendental friends who created Brook Farm and Fruitlands; the single taxers and “little landers” who created self-sufficient communities at the turn of the last century; Scott and Helen Nearing and others who decamped to the countryside during the Great Depression; and, of course, the hippie back-to-the-landers of the 1970s.

Today, food has become an important element of the social justice movement. Food is no longer just about what we eat, but about how our food is raised and who profits along the way. Kelley looks closely at the efforts of young farmers now growing heirloom pigs, culturally appropriate foods, and newly bred vegetables, along with others working in coalitions, advocacy groups, and educational programs to extend the reach of this era’s Good Food Movement.

Foodtopia is for anyone interested in how we all might lead much better—and well-fed—lives.

(David R. Godine, 2022)

About Margot

Margot is a nonfiction writer and a passionate gardener.  She lives on the Saint George peninsula with her husband and cats.

Follow her on Instagram: @margotannekelley

A bit more information about Margot:

Margot has a Ph.D. in American Literature and an MFA in Media and Performing Arts; for nearly 25 years, she taught at the college level. She is the author of two books for general audiences focused on people in relation to the natural world, Local Treasures: Geocaching Across America and A Field Guide to Other People’s Trees. Since leaving academia, she served as the editor of The Maine Review and co-founded a community development corporation that runs a food pantry and community garden, among other programs. 

This event is being co-sponsored by the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance.



Saturday, April 22, 2023
2:00pm - 3:00pm
Laurence E. Crofutt Community Room
  Books & Authors