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Aug 31

…this book unearths “sacred cows” on both sides of the debate…

Harry Stoddart has a wealth of professional, academic and practical experience in agriculture and the blend of that knowledge is skillfully demonstrated in Real Dirt.  This book deals with key issues that confront the global food production systems and as an author, Stoddart is able to artfully detail the issues while offering potential solutions. In a thoughtful and occasionally “down home” way Stoddart explains the impact on the environment of a variety of agricultural systems.  Sections of the book could be considered an educational primer on the biology of food production.  The book provides the casual reader with a thoughtful and deeper understanding as to how society can have an impact on the way our food is produced.

More important than an analytical explanation of the challenges facing food production are the solutions offered.  Stoddart recognizes that this book unearths “sacred cows” on both sides of the debate as to how agriculture can continue to be sustainable.  The author advocates for rational dialogue to foster integration of these systems rather than following an either/or philosophy.  This book could be the fuel for that discussion and as opined by others and paraphrased – debate and fulmination by persons of goodwill is simply a better idea in the making.

The book although primarily a technical assessment is not without conclusions based on opinion.  The reader will find passages that give cause to disagree with a conclusion and raise the desire to challenge a point of view.  Detailed explanations will enhance the ability of the general consumer to raise the intelligent question, advocate for improved public policy, drive positive change and made informed demands of the system that feeds their bodies and their minds.

Read it – you will be informed, entertained and find a personal role for your involvement in our food production practices.

Dr. Frank Ingratta, Guelph, Retired Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (Ontario)

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