COVID-19 is proving to be a harsh taskmaster, providing an education on concerns great and small, but one of the earliest lessons it taught us as a nation is the vulnerability of our food supply. Whether it’s farmers having to destroy produce or production plants unable to keep workers safe, the end consumer has learned that the pathway from the field to the table is more fraught with danger and uncertainties than we knew. If there is a bright side to this story, it is that our food vulnerabilities led to a renewed emphasis on home gardens, home cooking, and aspirations to revamp how agricultural products travel from field to table.
For years, Bison Books and the University of Nebraska Press have sought to explore some of the very issues that COVID-19 has made manifest for so many Americans who had become divorced from the means of food production. As a press of the heartland, Nebraska has always remained committed to books that explore how we farm, garden, hunt, and otherwise put food on the table. In light of the pandemic’s lessons, this virtual tour serves as a both a reminder of the fragile nature of food production and ways to strengthen personal, family, and community agricultural support and processes.