The Faces of Local Food:
Celebrating the People Who Feed Us   

Faces of Local Food
By Charlotte Caldwell


Why do we purchase milk, eggs, grains, vegetables, fruits, meats, and seafood from across the country and around the world when we could be purchasing these items from local producers?

American writer, environmental activist, and farmer, Wendell Berry says, “eating is an inescapable agricultural act.” Berry’s statement begs the question: Does the average person, as they sit down to a meal, think about their connection to a farmer, to the dirt, and to the sweat and hard work required for producing the food on their plate? Often we give thanks for our food, but how often do we give thanks and celebrate the producers of our food? Maybe eating is an inescapable agricultural act, but it seems the connection frequently escapes our consciousness and stops abruptly in a grocery store.

In The Faces of Local Food, we step out of the grocery store and into the world of farmers, fishermen and ranchers; chefs and retailers to hear their stories—histories, motivations, experiences, challenges, and insights. In these fifty-two stories, we visit an urban food desert, a high-tech vertical farm housed within a shipping container, school farm programs, and the warehouse of a local food hub.

Through these people we glean insights that will foster a paradigm shift in the way we consumers understand and value our local food producers, and will inspire us to buy local, which supports our health and environment, conserves farmland, and keeps our dollars within our community.

Each of these narratives echoes a common theme—educated and responsible consumers are necessary for the sustainability of local producers.

Is local food sustainable? I’m optimistic, but the answer to that question resides with each of us—in what we value and how we choose.  Let’s choose wisely.  

Publication release date: February 2018


“The Faces of Local Food is full of beauty and deep insights. It will propel every reader to think differently about our farmers and fishermen—and the food they toil to bring us. The book comes at a critical moment for our fragile planet. It’s time for all of us to learn more and then do more.”  

John Piotti, President,    American Farmland Trust


In the beautifully photographed The Faces of Local Food, Charlotte Caldwell provides a hopeful portrait of the women and men whose daily decisions to grow, market and cook food comprise a movement that is quietly yet substantially forging a new way to organize our lives. What’s especially encouraging in this collection is the "everyday life" nature of the work. While each of the profiles alone may sound familiar (from your own farmers market or community), it is the combined heroism — from the mindful consumer, the risk-taking producer, and the stakeholder in the future — that adds up to an unexpectedly resilient movement. 

Richard McCarthy  Executive Director   SLOW FOOD USA


Charlotte Caldwell’s book offers us rare insight into the deep knowledge, passion, and integrity of those who produce and distribute local food in America.   Their stories are a joy to read and an inspiration.  If you are not already convinced that buying locally produced-sustainably grown food is vital, then the portraits and stories offered here—which deeply illustrate the economic, environmental and community impact you can have with your food dollar—will do the trick. 

John Fisk, Director    Wallace Center at Winrock International

With Foreword by Ivan Doig:

“…childhood is the one story that stands by itself in every soul. It is also the chorus within the pages of this inspired project—and beautiful book—Charlotte Caldwell has achieved with her photographs and interviews that truly, almost miraculously, add up to the Visions and Voices of one state’s history of rural schooling.”

The story of Montana’s one-room schoolhouses, as recollected and recounted by those most intimately connected to those places, is the story of the American frontier and the high value placed on education by those who came to homestead, mine, or work the railroads. These stories—told by students and teachers, many of whom are now in their eighties or nineties—tell of adventures traveling to and from school, the school day, recess games, family life, daily chores, and above all, the sense of community, as defined by these iconic humble schoolhouses. Their voices share memories and perspectives about a way of life, gone for the most part, and breathe life into these visions of rural heritage.

Currently there are sixty operating one-room schools in the state of Montana. 


"Visions and Voices" beautifully tells the story of the essential role that one-room schoolhouses played in making Montana the place it is today.  In her images of these structures and her interviews with those who spent time in them, Charlotte Caldwell captures an important piece of Montana history that should not be allowed to disappear. Places tell stories, and many of these deeply moving stories evoke echos of Ivan Doig's marvelous "The Whistling Season." Montanans of all ages who care about their history should read this book, and people elsewhere who simply like great stories should read it as well.I love it!"—Richard Moe, President Emeritus, National Trust for Historic Preservation
"With iconic images wedded to colorful, heartfelt prose, Caldwell offers a fascinating journey across Montana and deep into the identity of the hardy souls determined to plant themselves within this immense landscape and make a go of it.  The small building sheathed in clapboard, with few visible signs of connection to its community, marked that determination, collecting the received wisdom of inhabitants and immigrants, blending them slowly with the hard won experience of life under the Big Sky, creating an authentic and unique society."—Hugh Ambrose
"Charlotte has captured the historic majesty of Montana's rich tradition of community-based education through these narratives and her photography.  Her work makes an important and beautiful contribution to keeping this story alive for future generations to enjoy."—Denise Juneau, Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction

How To Order  

Please help preserve these endangered treasures.  If ordered directly from the Montana History Foundation, 100% of the profit goes directly to the Preserve Montana Fund for the stabilization and preservation of Montana’s Historic One-Room Schoolhouses.  Thank you.

Montana History Foundation  (406) 449-3770 

Or buy through the Amazon link below. 

Visions and Voices: Montana's One-Room Schoolhouses
By text and photography by Charlotte Caldwell

Published by: Barn Board Press, Montana
Publication Date: September 2013
Second Printing: August 2014
Distributed by: Farcountry Press, Helena, Montana
Length: 312 pages, hardcover, 325 photographs


To a child, nearby nature can be a universe. Through Kirby’s Journal, Charlotte Caldwell provides children with a portal into their own backyard galaxy.
— Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods

Bronze medal winner of the 2015 Moonbean Children’s Book Award for environmental issues.

Finalist in the 2016 AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science)/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books for their Middle Grade Science Book Prize.

Finalist for the INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards.  

The North American Nature Photographers Association chose ten insect photographs from Kirby’s Journal for presentation at their 2010 Annual Summit show.  

“Eleven-year-old Kirby records close observations of butterflies made in [Kirby's] grandparents’ Charleston, South Carolina, backyard during a summer vacation that is as good as a safari. The grandparents provide background, beginning with body parts and going on through classification, identification, the food web, and survival strategies. Kirby makes notes on oversized journal pages and adds color photographs. This pseudo-journal makes a clever invitation to a possible lifetime passion.”—Kirkus Reviews

“The life cycle of butterflies is presented in detail through this attractive and readable fictitious journal. Watching butterflies in the backyard, Kirby learns about gardening, photography, and scientific observation. The photographs will attract browsers, especially images depicting the fascinating, minute-by-minute views of a monarch butterfly cracking its way out of its chrysalis. Kirby is a personable and likable character whose diary will appeal to kids. An entertaining and enlightening addition.”—School Library Journal

 “Kirby’s Journal blew me away with its seamless combination of pertinent information on butterfly gardening, life cycles, and habitats mixed with other tidbits about insects and backyard wildlife in an interesting, well-rounded story of one child’s summer. The result is a wonderful guidebook, resource, and story.”—Amanda Segura, horticulturalist and garden education coordinator, Riverbanks Zoo and Garden

Published by: University of South Carolina Press
Publication Date: June 30, 2015
56 pages, 92 color photographs

The Cow’s Boy: The Making of a Real Cowboy

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to grow up on a real ranch with cows and chickens and horses?  The Cow’s Boy: The Making of a Real Cowboy invites you to pull on your boots and work gloves to join Luna, a Black Angus calf, for her story about the boy who feeds and takes care of her.  

The Cowboy is an American icon, a symbol of independence, and the American Frontier.  Shadowing a young cowboy for a year, this book realistically portrays the culture of a small family ranch and what it is like for a child to grow up there.  Richly illustrated, with 67 action-filled color photographs for readers aged 5-12.  Its sequel, The Cow’s Girl  was published in January 2015. 

Published by: Barn Board Press   November 2013. 
Distributed by: Farcountry Press
67 color photographs

The Cow’s Girl: The Making of a Real Cowgirl

Many children dream of being cowgirls and cowboys, of spending their days riding horses and rounding up cows.  For aspiring cowgirls and cowboys, The Cow’s Girl, The Making of a Real Cowgirl, will quickly become a favorite.  Complete with 76 color photographs of life on a real working ranch, the book offers children and adults the opportunity to slip into a young girl’s boots as she learns the ins and outs of being a cowgirl. 

The Cow’s Girl is the sequel to The Cow’s Boy: The Making of a Real Cowboy (2013).  Both books make excellent gifts for readers aged 5-12 interested in learning about farm and ranch animals, activities and experiencing the life of a real cowgirl or cowboy.

Published by: Barn Board Press (January 2015)
Distributed by: Farcountry Press
Length: 76 color photographs

The Cottages and Architects of Yeamans Hall


Written by Charlton deSaussure, Jr.
Photographs by Charlotte Caldwell     
Wyrick & Company (2010)