A global movement to take back our food is growing. The future of farming is in our hands—and in our cities.
When you’re standing in the midst of a supermarket, it’s hard to imagine that you’re looking at a failing industrial food system. The abundance all around you looks impressive but is really a façade. In fact, there’s just a three-day supply of food available for any given city due to complex, just-in-time international supply chains. The system is not only vulnerable, given the reality of food scares, international crises, terrorist attacks, economic upheavals, and natural disasters, but it is also environmentally unsustainable for the long term. As the cold hard facts of peak oil and peak water begin to have an impact, how will we feed a world population of seven billion and growing, most of whom are now urban dwellers? One answer is urban agriculture. This book examines alternative food systems in cities around the globe that are shortening their food chains, growing food within their city limits, and taking their "food security" into their own hands. This award-winning food journalist sought out leaders in the urban-agriculture movement and visited cities successfully dealing with "food deserts." What she found was not just a niche concern of activists but a global movement that cuts across the private and public spheres, economic classes, and cultures. She describes a global movement happening from London and Paris to Vancouver and New York to establish alternatives to the monolithic globally integrated supermarket model. A cadre of forward-looking, innovative people has created growing spaces in cities: on rooftops, backyards, vacant lots, along roadways, and even in "vertical farms." Whether it’s a community public orchard supplying the needs of local residents or an urban farm that has reclaimed a derelict inner city lot to grow and sell premium market veggies to restaurant chefs, the urban food revolution is clearly underway and working.
This book is an exciting, fascinating chronicle of a game-changing movement, a rebellion against the industrial food behemoth, and a reclaiming of communities to grow, distribute, and eat locally.
"All over the world I’ve watched urban dwellers begin to figure out that they can start growing food, too. It’s one of the loveliest trends on earth, and Jennifer Cockrall-King does a fine job of capturing its tremendous growth."
-BILL MCKIBBEN, Author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
"Today’s industrial food systems are unsustainable and harmful to communities all over the world. This insightful book delves deeply into the problems and solutions that will come to define food in the years ahead."
-CHEF MICHAEL SMITH, Author and Food Network (Canada) host
"It seems that all the slick, trendy publications, sites, and bloggers have recently discovered the idea of urban agriculture. As Cockrall-King points out, this is not a new movement at all. Quietly, many communities have encouraged growing food in the city as a way both to produce delicious, unprocessed food and to help foster an environmental awareness and ethos. This book is full of great examples and resources for city dwellers. After reading it you’ll want to round up your neighbors and start planting!"
-JOHN ASH, James Beard Award–winning author and chef
"At a time when most of us strive to reconnect with the source of our food, Cockrall-King delves straight to the root of our food systems, bringing to light the potential of small-scale urban agriculture to feed the masses. She makes a global issue seem manageable by citing actions of self-sufficiency—from community gardens to backyard bees, our collective steps toward sustainability are transforming our relationship with the food on our plates."
-JULIE VAN ROSENDAA, Cookbook author, TV host, and blogger at www.dinnerwithjulie.com
"Cockrall-King makes a compelling and inspiring case that small-scale, urban farming may be the key to fixing our broken industrialized food system."
-BARRY ESTABROOK, Author of Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit