Food and the City: Urban Agriculture and the New Food Revolution
Forthcoming February 15, 2012
By Jennifer Cockrall-king
15 Feb 2012
About the Author:
Jennifer Cockrall-King (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) is a freelance journalist and niche food writer whose work has appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, National Post, Canadian Geographic, Maclean’s, and other major publications. She is also a contributor to A Good Catch: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from Canada’s Top Chefs, and she is the former cofounder, publisher, and editor of The Edible Prairie Journal.
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 facade. 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. Food and the City 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. Award-winning food journalist Jennifer Cockrall-King 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.
Food and the City 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.