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  • Writer's pictureMax Sinsheimer

SOLD! Reaping What She Sows (by Nancy Matsumoto)

Following hot on the heels of winning a James Beard award for Exploring the World of Japanese Craft Sake with her co-author Michael Tremblay, I am thrilled to have sold Nancy Matsumoto's Reaping What She Sows: How Women Are Rebuilding Our Broken Food System to Carl Bromley at Melville House.

“Our food system is broken,” Mark Bittman and Michael Pollan told us. And as the COVID-19 pandemic ripped through global supply chains, we felt the alarming truth of that message. Nancy’s book begins where those authors left off, taking readers on a tour across North America to understand how we can fix that broken system by carving shorter, healthier routes from producer to consumer.

Reaping What She Sows is divided into seven main chapters that explore seven different areas of the food system: grains, produce, dairy, meat, seafood, coffee, and wine and spirits. They describe how traditional food chains work in these categories and introduce readers to the trailblazing women—and they are predominantly women—who are forging an interconnected alternative food system. Bookending these chapters are an introduction and a conclusion devoted to two North American food networks, both victims of colonialism: Indigenous and African American women leaders. They provide valuable lessons in how to work outside the prevailing system.

Through strong reporting and storytelling, interspersed with vivid examples of women who are working to bring back these old modes of growing food and feeding people, readers who did not think they were interested in food systems will see how vital they are to our health and happiness. Reaping What She Sows will provide readers with a narrative and conceptual blueprint to be able to take control of household food buying in ways that grow and strengthen the alt food system, and they will feel a sense of agency and possibility.

Nancy Matsumoto is a Toronto- and New York City-based writer and editor who covers food, agriculture, and the environment. Besides the James Beard Award-winning Exploring the World of Japanese Craft Sake, Nancy is the editor of By the Shore of Lake Michigan, a forthcoming English-language translation of a Japanese poetry anthology, and the co-author of The Parent's Guide to Eating Disorders, which won a National Parenting Publication award. Her articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, NPR, Saveur, Food & Wine, and Civil Eats, among many other publications.

This is my second book with Melville House, an independent press with offices in Brooklyn, NY, and London. They’ve published many important nonfiction titles already, and I know they’ll get Nancy’s message into the right hands. Congrats to Nancy and her editor, Carl!


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