Local Author Wins Big at 2019 Independent Publisher Book Awards

Robin Gibson

By Robin Gibson


The Faces of Local Food by James Island author and photographer Charlotte Caldwell snagged a gold medal for her deep dive into South Carolina's sustainable food culture and the Lowcountry producers behind it. Caldwell's book won for BEST REGIONAL NON-FICTION: SOUTHEAST at the 2019 Independent Book Publishers Awards competition. The ceremony will be held May 28th in New York City.

Conducted annually, the Independent Publisher Book Awards honor the year's best independently published titles from around the world. The awards are intended to bring increased recognition to the thousands of exemplary independent, university, and self-published books released each year. 

The Faces of Local Food is a collection of over fifty portraits, stories and narratives, providing us with an intimate glimpse into the lives of the people who contribute to the Lowcountry’s vibrant local food system. We step out of our grocery stores to join fishermen, farmers, and ranchers on their boats and in their fields; into the kitchens of innovative chefs; into the warehouse of a local food hub; and we meet with other meaningful contributors and visionaries to hear their stories — their histories, motivations, experiences, challenges, and insights.


“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



Author and photographer Charlotte Caldwell uses her photography as a springboard for storytelling. In The Faces of Local Food, she combines her photography and writing to connect us to the hardworking and dedicated people producing our food, to reframe our perceptions about our food system, and to inspire us to purchase locally.

A native of Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, Charlotte is a graduate of Middlebury College and also holds master’s degrees in environmental studies and special education. Charlotte and her husband, Jeffrey Schutz, divide their time between their home in Charleston, South Carolina, and their ranch in Montana.



Each year since 1996, the Independent Publisher Book Awards competition has identified a reading list of progressive, thought-provoking books, the kind that can touch lives, advance careers, and stretch our imaginations. With the tag line, "Recognizing Excellence in Independent Publishing," the IPPY Awards showcase the best books from throughout North America and the English-speaking world. Launched as the first unaffiliated awards program open exclusively to independent, university, and self-published titles, the awards are presented each spring at a gala ceremony during the BookExpo America convention in New York. Winners receive gold, silver and bronze medals.



Sweetgrass Books is the custom publishing division of Farcountry Press, which since 1980 has specialized in softcover and hardcover color photography books showcasing the nation's cities, states, national parks, and wildlife, as well as children’s books and popular history titles.