Good food is the new normal, taking care of our own is the new ethic, community-sanctioned entrepreneurship is the new model for growth, and the rise of the individual is the new old story. Those are the conclusions I reached after immersing myself in the food scenes and systems of seven American cities over the course of 18 months. And their tales are the ones I tell in my new book Food Town, USA (Island Press).

These are seven cities generally not found in the Who’s Who or What’s What of Food in America. Which cities, you ask? I could tell you but then you might not buy the book; or I won’t tell you and you’ll find out soon enough from readily accessible sources who just can’t keep a secret. With the exception of one place known fairly well to East Coast foodies, these cities won’t appear on anyone’s “Great Places to Eat” radar. That’s the point, because even in the relatively well-known food city, you’ll discover that it’s not really about the great farm-to-table meal or IPA or latte you’ll indulge in when visiting, it’s more about the unique ways that food is used to fight opioid addiction, give refugees a leg up, build community wealth, and heal the racial pain that still divides America. In other words, I wanted to write about the infinitely creative ways that food strengthens our quality of life, but I also wanted to make manifest how food mends the hurts that inflame our communities. The stories are idiosyncratic to these seven cities, but the lessons are universal.

With those thoughts in mind, I am proud to announce that Food Town, USA Seven Unlikely Cities That are Changing the Way We Eat (978-1-61091-944-9/$28.00) is finally available! Many of you already know that healthy, sustainable food is changing communities across this country and revitalizing towns that have been ravaged by disappearing industries and decades of inequity. Chances are you are one of those responsible, with lots of comrades no doubt, for embedding these transformations into your community. In Food Town, USA, I explore seven unlikely places where the local food revolution is alive and well. From brew masters and city council members, to farmers and philanthropists, to chefs and fisherman, I learned from those on the ground how food is causing remarkable transitions.

If you’d like to purchase a copy from Island Press, use the code WINNE, which is good for a 20% discount. You can also order it from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and your local independent bookseller.

I hope you will consider sharing the book with your own networks. You can help in a few ways:

  • Forward this message to your own contacts or share the news on your social media networks. Feel free to include the discount code, WINNE.
  • If you’d like to review it for a publication or website, you can request a review copy from
  • Share my recent podcast interview from The Tidbit. Go to:
  • If you’d like to use it in a class, you can request an exam copy at
  • Encourage your organization to ask for details about a discounted bulk purchase.
  • Review the book on Amazon, Goodreads, or another review site.

If you have any questions or ideas for how to use the book in your own work, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.

In case I haven’t been personal enough, let me add a personal note. To quote from the endorsement I received from Mark Bittman, “[Food Town, USA] reminds us that when we devote ourselves to people and places we care about, wonderful and unexpected things seem to happen.” Researching and writing this book caused me to not only fall in love with all seven towns, I also fell in love with the good works that the over 100 people I interviewed were doing. My experiences of these places and people reminded me again, as it has so many times over the course of my life, that when we turn our attention to food – its sources, its preparation, and the impact it has on others – not only are we individually more fulfilled, our communities become more meaningful places to live.

I hope you enjoy the book.