“I’m going to be in the West Wing tonight–would it be all right if I took your book along?”
Oran Hesterman’s Fair Food: Growing a Healthy, Sustainable Food System for All won’t be released till June, but galley copies were seen in high places well in advance. With Hesterman’s blessing, a friend delivered it to the White House in March. Another got it to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. It’s been blurbed by everyone from Governor Rick Snyder and Senator Debbie Stabenow to environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and chef Alice Waters.
Hesterman, fifty-nine, is reaping the harvest of a forty-year commitment to healthy food–as an undergrad at the University of Califonia-Davis, he lived in a tepee on an organic farm. He built a business growing alfalfa sprouts, sold it to finance a PhD in agronomy and business, taught at MSU, and funded community-based agriculture at the Kellogg Foundation.
Hesterman left Kellogg to run the Ann Arbor-based Fair Food Foundation–only to see its chief funders decimated in the Bernie Madoff scam. From the ruins, he built the Fair Food Network, whose initiatives include “Double Up Food Bucks,” a program that matches up to $20 in Bridge Card food assistance at the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market and more than forty other markets around the state. Hesterman currently has one more reason to eat healthy: he’s about to embark on an arduous, three-month national book tour to promote Fair Food.