Raise: What 4-H Teaches 7 Million Kids—and How Its Lessons Could Change Food and Farming Forever is now available for pre-order on Amazon!
When city-dwelling journalist Kiera Butler visits a county fair for the first time, she is captivated by the white-uniformed members of 4-H club and their perfectly-groomed animals. She sets off on a search for a “real” 4-H’er, a hypothetical wholesome youth whom she imagines wearing cowboy boots and living on a ranch. Along the way, she meets five teenage 4-H’ers from diverse backgrounds and gets to know them as they prepare to compete at the fair. Butler’s on-the-ground account of the teens’ concerns with their goats, pigs, sheep, proms, and SAT scores is interwoven with a fascinating history of the century-old 4-H as it moves to rely increasingly on corporate donations from top agribusiness firms such as DuPont, Monsanto, and Cargill. Her quest takes her from California’s cities and suburbs all the way to Ghana, where she investigates 4-H’s unprecedented push to expand its programs in the developing world—and the corporate partnerships that are supporting this expansion.
Raise masterfully combines vivid accounts from a little known subculture with a broader analysis of agriculture education today, using 4-H as a lens through which to view the changing landscape of farming in America and the rest of the world. Lively, deeply informed, and perceptive in its analysis, Raise provides answers to complex questions about our collective concern over the future of food.
“Kiera Butler’s Raise is a delightful behind-the-scenes look at the fascinating subculture of 4-H. You’ll root for the kids she artfully profiles, in addition to falling in love with the animals tended by these kids. The book proves once again that animals do make us human, especially when you are a teenager at a state fair, in it to win it.”—Novella Carpenter, author of Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer
“With diligent, smart reportage and an often very funny narrative, Raise is a remarkable look at a world that deserves to be much better known.” —Wendy McClure, author of The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of “Little House on the Prairie”
“Thoughtful and wide-ranging, Kiera Butler’s Raise offers an invaluable look at the future of American farms—and the food they produce. Butler makes a compelling case that agricultural literacy is as important as its academic parallel.”—Tracie McMillan, author of The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table