Non-Fiction Book Reviews

Book Review: Food and the City

By Sandy Amazeen Mar 29, 2012, 6:44 GMT

Book Review: Food and the City

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 ...more

As food production moved off the family farm, taken over by mega-corporations driven by the bottom line, diversity and nutrition fell by the wayside. Mass-produced, specially engineered food frequently pumped full of unnecessary antibiotics and preservatives now line the grocery store shelves. The result is a loss of important varieties, the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria, an epidemic of obesity and diabetes. In the midst of many cities worldwide, there are food deserts where access to fresh wholesome food is nearly impossible. Now, thanks to community gardens, seed banks and dedicated individuals worldwide, fresh produce, eggs, chickens, honey and more are being grown in the most unexpected places. From tiny apartment balconies and window boxes to backyard raised beds and illegal garden plots in the middle of urban decay, people are taking a proactive approach to their food and this book shows how and where it is being done.

Journalist and food writer Cockrall-King presents compelling arguments for taking a more activist role in food production, not the least of which is the fact that most urban areas only have access to a three-day food supply. Should a manmade or natural disaster disrupt the normal food distribution chain, grocery store shelves will soon empty. As those pests that feed upon the few varieties of grains, fruits and vegetables currently grown on corporation farms become pesticide resistant, there is the real danger of a collapse in the food chain. From San Francisco to Vancouver and from London to Cuba, Cockrall-King shows how residents are changing the face of food deserts and advocates that all of us find a patch of dirt, no matter how small, and start our own green revolution. This fascinating, thoroughly researched book is a great starting point and highly recommended.

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