Edges of Bounty: Adventures in the Edible Valley

When it comes to food, the marginal is magical.

Join photographer Scott Squire and writer William Emery as they meander—bewildered, impressionable, and wry—through the roads, back roads, and backwaters of America’s greatest agricultural valley. Leaving behind the packaged comforts of supermarkets and restaurants, the pair roamed California’s Central Valley in search of “edibilists,” or those engaged in the production of their own food.

Their travels take them from one end of California to the other, turning the familiar on its head—a jam maker advocating for “nonviolent agriculture,” medicinal Mien “bitter balls” offered at a roadside stand—and revealing the unexpected—artisan vegetable popsicles and a mysterious egret palace. Folklorists of food and questioners of its status quo, Emery and Squire exhort you: seek not the edge, but the edges.

Visit www.edgesofbounty.com for more information.

Reviews

“Edges of Bounty is...a kind of road map. An invitation, a set of possibilities. It beckons. Find a friend, grab your camera and notebook. Hit the road and look for something.”

National Public Radio's "Kitchen Sisters" Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva, from the Foreword

 

“Edges of Bounty is what happens when two people get out of the city, then get out of their car and start talking to farmers. This intimate portrait of that rare and most admirable human form, the America's peasant, reveals the soul of food and the still beating heart of the Great Central Valley. This is a small community of passionate people that we would all do well to know, if not in person, then through this wonderful book.”

Deborah Madison, author of Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America's Farmer's Markets

 

“Eccentric, passionate, and bold, this book tells the story of renegade farmers and lovers of real food. It takes us to the edge, shows us the slow and the patient, and introduces us to those who have been quietly working to return food to where it belongs: at the center of our families and communities.”

Michael Ableman, author of On Good Land and Fields of Plenty

 

“Fiercely passionate in their views and compassionate to their subjects, Emery and Squire take us on a voyage of discovery amongst those who uphold an ancient and now subversive way of life. Edges of Bounty provides hope for the future and respect for the past—powerful medicine that tastes delicious, too.”

Alisa Smith, co-author of Plenty: Eating Locally on the 100-Mile Diet

 

“Edges of Bounty is a celebration of local food and the quirky people who farm it, fish it, hunt it, and transform it. Read this book and get inspired to join the edibilist revolution!”

Sandor Ellix Katz, author of The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved: Inside America's Underground Food Movements

 

“Emery and Squire have ferreted out eccentrics, ordinary folks, individualists, and anarchists who are the unsung stewards of back road crops and critters. Their gift to us is a vision of a far more variegated and human landscape than the ruling culture of Central Valley industrial agriculture.”

—Stanley Crawford, author of A Garlic Testament: Seasons on a Small New Mexico Farm

 

“Reading Edges of Bounty, we suddenly remember what it means to be truly human, and the deep nourishment we are offered each and every day by the land, the water, the plants, the animals, and (perhaps most importantly) by each other.”

Jessica Prentice, author of Full Moon Feast: Food and the Hunger for Connection

 

“This book explores the life and work of a vanguard of 'guerrilla farmers': the resistance movement that's keeping our old cultures and wisdom surrounding food and farming alive.”

—Guillermo Payet, founder of www.localharvest.org

About the Authors

William Emery and Scott SquireWilliam Emery grew up on a small farm in the Smoky Hills of Kansas. A former editor at Heyday, he splits his time between the San Francisco Bay Area and Kansas. He is currently working on a novel, a collection of prose poetry, and a children’s book. Scott Squire is a documentary photographer working at the intersection of journalism, anthropology, and fine art. He is a principal at NonFiction Media, a social justice–oriented multimedia production company based in Seattle.

Photo by Scott Squire

William E. JusticeWilliam Emery Justice grew up on the grass seas of the Kansas prairie, far from boats but still prey to wind and storm. A fourth-generation Kansan, he attended the University of Kansas, where he studied Russian literature and language, German literature, and religion. He worked as a farm laborer, a pizza maker, a vacuum salesman (he didn’t sell a single machine), a roofer, a doughnut fryer, a bookbinder, a convenience store clerk (third shift), a copyist, and a video store clerk before becoming an acquisitions editor. He is the author of Edges of Bounty: Adventures in the Edible Valley and the children's book Kodoku.

Photo by Scott Squire