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Food and the City: Urban Agriculture and the New Food Revolution

Forthcoming February 15, 2012

By Jennifer Cockrall-king
Prometheus Books
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.

See the book here.

Visit Jennifer online at


1 Jennifer Cockrall-King { 10.03.11 at 8:12 am }

Thanks for the post Michael!!! Yes, the book will be out soon and it’s going to be a lot of fun touring around in the spring. I’ll make sure I have a couple of days in Vancouver and I’d love to catch another visit with you. I’m also thrilled to mention that the book has just won (pre-publication, I know) the Dave Greber Freelance Book award in Canada for social justice writing. Nice to see food / urban ag getting some mainstream traction outside our usual circles. Thanks again for posting. Jennifer

2 Nitoy Ibanez { 10.04.11 at 11:28 pm }

It’s an eye opener! Every country needs a solid transformation of implementing the urban agriculture system. Its a must for everyone to read this heart-full information on food security, environmental protection and many more. Dignified on your advocacy, I will have it displayed on my library….. and I pray you could share your expertise here in Manila.