Food Margins

A book cover for "Food Margins" showing a brick building with signs and a mural
Published May 2024 by University of Massachusetts Press

Food Margins: Lessons from an Unlikely Grocer tells the story of my involvement in a small food co-op in Orange, Massachusetts, one of the poorest towns in one of the wealthiest American states. Part memoir and part history lesson, the book traces the tangled economic and political histories of the plantation, the factory, and the supermarket through the life of one New England town and tells the story of a rural community imagining and creating a viable alternative to the mainstream in a time of increasingly urgent need to build a more socially and ecologically just food system.

Available at Quabbin Harvest or The Book Forge in Orange. Or you can buy it directly from the University of Massachusetts Press or your favorite independent bookseller. Or, you know, Amazon too.

Scroll down for a list of upcoming author appearances and talks.

Here’s how we settled on the title. And here’s a short video trailer:

Press and reviews

Food Tank’s “20 Food Systems Reads that Will Inspire You This Summer

Civil Eats’ “Summer 2024 Food and Farming Book Guide

Hero in aisle five: Wendell author’s new book, ‘Food Margins,’ delves into the anthropology of groceries,” Tinky Weisblat, Greenfield Recorder, June 4, 2024

Podcast interview on New Books Network, hosted by Brian Hamilton, May 23, 2024

Q&A with Olivia Weeks: Can a small-town food co-op survive? Daily YonderApril 12, 2024

“Cathy Stanton presents a piercing, passionate, and profoundly braided account of the community’s effort to save a small food co-op.”—Julian Agyeman, coeditor of Cultivating Food Justice: Race, Class, and Sustainability

“Stanton’s writing is accessible and enjoyable, not academic. She is engaged, committed, and even hopeful without being naive or cynical. She mixes scholarly inquiries with personal experience, resulting in vivid and unexpected insights into the American food system.”—Brian Donahue, author of Reclaiming the Commons: Community Farms and Forests in a New England Town

Food Margins leaves the reader gripped with the question of whether [the food co-op] will survive and with a deep appreciation of what it takes to bring fresh food to the shelf.”—Amy Wu, Civil Eats

“Stanton explores the challenges that small businesses face in the shadow of giant corporations and the deep racial and class inequities that compound such struggles. The story of the co-op and Stanton’s efforts is rooted in the understanding that this tale is just one of many in a time when food systems are growing increasingly inequitable and unsustainable.” —Food Tank

Events and talks

Sat, Sept 28 – Author talk at Forbes Library, Northampton (time TBD)

Sat, Sept 12, 7 pm – Non-fiction book club at Whitelam Books, Reading, MA (open to all)

Wed, Aug 21, 5 pm – Montague Center Library, Montague, MA

Wed, Aug 7, 6 pm – Author talk at East Longmeadow Public Library, East Longmeadow, MA

Tues, Aug 6, 6 pm – Author talk at Springfield Town Library, Springfield, VT

Thurs, July 25, 7 pm – Author talk at Maynard Public Library, Maynard, MA – Register here



Wed, June 26, 6-7 pm – Author talk at Athol Public Library

Mon, June 24, 5:30 pm – Author talk at the Public Library of New London, CT

Mon, June 10, 6:30-7:50 pm – Author talk at Greenfield Public Library, Greenfield, MA

Tues, May 28, 6:30 pm  – Wendell Free Library (hey, that’s my town!)

Thurs, May 23, 2024, 4-7 pm (pre-party tour of Minute Tapioca Factory at 3 pm) – Book launch party at Honest Weight brewery in Orange – Facebook event page with more details here

Sat, May 18, 2024, 6-8 pm – Pre-publication fundraiser for Quabbin Harvest Co-op at the Wheeler Mansion in Orange – Facebook event page with more details herePurchase tickets here – 100% of ticket proceeds will benefit Quabbin Harvest Food Co-op

Sun, March 10, 2024, 2 pm – I’ll be telling a co-op related story at the Academy of Music in Northampton as part of this year’s Field Notes storytelling event from CISA