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November 18, 1990|Charles Solomon

OUR SUSTAINABLE TABLE: Essays, edited by Robert Clark (North Point Press: $10.95, illustrated). The authors of these discussions on what might be called the philosophy of eating argue that agriculture is not just a business but also an activity that influences the way a society lives. Alice Waters of Chez Panisse in Berkeley ties good eating to wholesome ingredients, which depend on the health of the land, the sea and the planet as a whole; Mark Kramer offers respectful portraits of farmers who regard their work as a calling and a commitment to feeding the hungry. Wendell Barry describes the pleasures of working the soil and knowing the source of one's food so persuasively that even the most unrepentant city dweller finds himself longing for a few acres planted with lettuce, tomatoes, squash, etc.

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