Food Supply, Demand and Trade: Aspects of the Economic Relationship Between Town and Countryside (Middle Ages - 19th Century) (Comparative Rural History of the North Sea Area, Book 14)
This book is a collection of articles studying variousaspects of the relationship between town and countryside during theperiod from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century. The focus ison how towns were supplied with basic foodstuffs, and especialattention is paid to England and the Low Countries.Among the articles, several deal with the food-provisioningstrategies of some of the major cities within that area - Antwerp,Ghent and London - and show among other things that large citieswere unable to meet their requirements from local supplies and hadconsequently to access markets further afield. Important mattersgiven substantial elucidation are transport costs and marketintegration.In historiography, a great deal of attention has been paid tothe influence of towns on the countryside and agriculture, andparticularly to the relationship between the rise of urban marketsand the emergence of commercial agriculture, but there is still noclarity about how town-countryside relationships influencedeconomic growth. One of the merits of this book is that it opens upnew avenues to an understanding of the complex relationship betweenurban markets and commercial agriculture. The approach differs fromarticle to article, some scholars homing in on the individualstrategies of farms, others working more in the macroeconomictradition. In sum, the book is a valuable contribution to bothrural and urban historiography, and can provide a fresh stimulus tothe study of economic relationships between town andcountryside.