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Food and the City: Urban Agriculture and the New Food Revolution Paperback – February 21, 2012
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"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
About the Author
Jennifer Cockrall-King is an award-winning food journalist whose work has appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, the National Post, Canadian Geographic, Maclean’s, and other major publications. She lives in Edmonton, Alberta, and in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, where she founded and runs the Okanagan Food and Wine Writers Workshop. Visit Jennifer online at www.foodgirl.ca and www.facebook.com/FoodandtheCity, and on Twitter @jennifer_ck.
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The book “Food in the City” by Jennifer Cockrall-King gives the reader a great summary and brings a unique perspective to how the world plans on feeding its people. Jennifer Cockrall-King takes the reader through 9 cities around the industrial world, giving the reader a history of previous urban agriculture efforts they have had and her own experience during her time in these cities. The book pays great respect to the sensitivity and difficulties faced in attempts to feed the world while understanding that the world cannot be fed off of just one idea, but from a collection of ideas. The author points out the various issues and the mismanagement that has lead the world to the circumstances it is currently. She highlights the fact that we have groceries stores filled with highly processed foods, where our food selection has been greatly diminished, and where we are ultimately facing greater pressures of feeding our population.
“Food in the City” portrays the world that has made unbelievable leaps and bounds to achieve a population of 7 billion people. Jennifer Cockrall-King does an excellent job of showing the reader how exactly different cultures contributed to the support of our growth through urban agriculture. She gives us personal stories and her experiences of visiting these areas of interest. Throughout the book, readers will understand the many factors that go into how urban agriculture became as successful in cities around the world, such as Paris where the government has supported numerous ideas from vineyards to bee hives. Readers will also learn about the importance of support from the community of Vancouver as the members of the community all contribute to urban farming. And hopefully the end result reflects that of Cuba where the use of urban agriculture resulted in a city that is self sustainable.
Strengths and weaknesses:
The book also does a great job in being able to quantify every point the author had. She provided values on how much land was being used in South California, gave values on how much London earns from urban gardens, and overall how many people are being fed via urban agricultures. These values and statistics go beyond the typical blog writer or activist and they help the reader really contextualize all impacts that urban agriculture brings.
A weakness of this book is that the history of each city and culture is a little bit drawn out. The author spends a good majority of the first part of the book giving us in great detail of history and the origin of our current issues, whereas the strengths of the book come from reading about her own personal experiences through these cities.
The book is a great read for those that have an interest in understanding where foods currently comes from, but aren’t yet fully aware of the current global stance on the food crisis that we currently face. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone that is interested in urban agriculture or is feeling pessimistic about the future of our planet. This book gives hope and assurance on the prospect of feeding the population. Overall my opinion on this book is positive and has taught me that the human population has been and will hopefully always be resourceful and filled with critical thinkers.
The author takes you all over the world with descriptive language that makes you feel like you are standing right along side her: places like London, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, Paris, Vancouver, Cuba, to name a few.
She even goes a step further in reminding the reader how growing local food creates a sense of community, let alone how much healthier it is to eat home-grown.
The book begins with a history lesson on how our food became "industrialized" and the toll it is taking on our planet, and our bodies. (I may never shop in a super market again!)
I can't thank the author enough for writing such an informative, inspiring, and empowering book. My life (and my family) will never be the same again... And I mean that in the BEST WAY possible!