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Food Rebels, Guerrilla Gardeners, and Smart-Cookin' Mamas: Fighting Back in an Age of Industrial Agricultureby Mark Winne
Synopses & Reviews
In an age of uncertainty about how climate change may affect the global food supply, industrial agribusiness promises to keep the world fed. Through the use of factory “farms,” genetic engineering, and the widespread application of chemicals, they put their trust in technology and ask consumers to put our trust in them. However, a look behind the curtain reveals practices that put our soil, water, and health at risk. What are the alternatives? And can they too feed the world?
The rapidly growing alternative food system is made up of people reclaiming their connections to their food and their health. A forty-year veteran of this movement, Mark Winne introduces us to innovative “local doers” leading the charge to bring nutritious, sustainable, and affordable food to all. Heeding Emerson’s call to embrace that great American virtue of self-reliance, these leaders in communities all across the country are defying the authority of the food conglomerates and taking matters into their own hands. They are turning urban wastelands into farms, creating local dairy collectives, preserving farmland, and refusing to use genetically modified seed. They are not only bringing food education to children in elementary schools, but also offering cooking classes to adults in diabetes-prone neighborhoods—and taking the message to college campuses as well. Such efforts promote food democracy and empower communities to create local food-policy councils, build a neighborhood grocery store in the midst of a food desert, or demand healthier school lunches for their kids. Winne’s hope is that all of these programs, scaled up and adopted more widely, will ultimately allow the alternative food system to dethrone the industrial.
Food Rebels, Guerrilla Gardeners, and Smart-Cookin’ Mamas challenges us to go beyond eating local to become part of a larger solution, demanding a system that sustains body and soul.
Book News Annotation:
Winne, the author of Closing the Food Gap; Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty (2008) a long-time food activist and former executive director of the Hartford Food System, a nonprofit dedicated to the advancement of equitable and sustainable food policies in Hartford, Connecticut, offers a harsh critique of industrial food practices in the US along with profiles of individuals challenging the system. Opening with a distopian vision of rising food prices, increased global warming, and further corporatization of the food supply set November 2020, Winne goes on to define frame the debate as one between an industrial food system headed by giant corporations and an alternative food system populated by those interested in systems of local, sustainable and healthy food. The second half of the book is devoted to vignettes of those fighting the good fight, among them, a motivated urban gardener in Cleveland, Ohio, a dairy farmer who organized a co-op in Lebanon, Connecticut, and members of an Austin-based nonprofit who teach a class on healthy foods to children in daycare centers. The volume is not indexed. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
For twenty-five years Mark Winne was the executive director of the Hartford Food System in Hartford, Connecticut. He speaks and consults extensively on community food-system topics and is the author of Closing the Food Gap. Winne lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
How communities across America are saying no to the industrial food system and yes to self-reliance and food democracy
The struggle between human freedom and authority is eternal and universal. With the advent of industrialism and its widespread application to our food supply (through factory farms, genetic engineering, and reliance on chemicals), that struggle has reached its latest stand-off. Will corporations fear-mongering about the lack of an adequate food supply and their promise of abundance prevail, or will we rise to the challenge of pursuing self-reliance and democratic control of our food system?
While the framing of Winne’s argument draws from great thinkers like Dostoevsky and Emerson, it also moves from philosophy to action, with the stories of myriad “local doers” leading the charge. Covering everything from urban farming in Cleveland, and buffalo restoration on Native American reservations, to food-education classes in diabetes-prone neighborhoods, Winne shows how people are reclaiming their connection to their food and their health. It’s hope is that these types of efforts, scaled up and adopted more widely, will allow the alternative food system to dethrone the industrial.
Food Rebels, Guerilla Gardeners, and Smart-Cookin’ Mamas challenges us to go beyond eating local to become part of a larger solution, demanding a system that sustains body and soul.
Table of Contents
Part I: Authority or Freedom?
Chapter 1 A Food Story for our Times: November 2020
Chapter 2 The Fight for the Soul of the American Food System
Chapter 3 The Industrial Food System: Ministry of Plenty or Department of Destruction?
Part II : Leading the Charge
Chapter 4 Maurice Small and the Greening of Cleveland
Chapter 5 Me and My Meat
Chapter 6 The Farmer’s Cow
Chapter 7 God Didn’t Make Nachos
Chapter 8 Healthy Schools Grow Healthy Kids
Chapter 9 Getting Our Heads Above the Plate
Chapter 10 Food Sovereignty: The Right to Control Our Food
Chapter 11 Food Citizens, Unite!
Chapter 12 Reflections on Food Democracy: A Chat with Two Visionaries
Conclusion Finding the Fire Within
What Our Readers Are Saying