front cover of Gardening at the Margins
Gardening at the Margins
Convivial Labor, Community, and Resistance
Gabriel R. Valle
University of Arizona Press, 2022
Gardening at the Margins tells the remarkable story of a diverse group of neighbors working together to grow food and community in the Santa Clara Valley in California. Based on four years of deeply engaged ethnographic field research via a Participatory Action Research project with the people and ecosystems of La Mesa Verde home garden program, Gabriel R. Valle develops a theory of convivial labor to describe how the acts of care among the diverse gardeners—through growing, preparing, and eating food in one of the most income unequal places in the country—are powerful, complex acts of resistance.

Participants in La Mesa Verde home garden program engage in the practices of growing and sharing food to envision and continuously work to enact alternative food systems that connect people to their food and communities. They are building on ancestral knowledge, as well as learning new forms of farming, gardening, and healing through convivial acts of sharing.

The individuals featured in the book are imagining and building alternative worlds and futures amid the very real challenges they embody and endure. Climate change, for example, is forcing thousands of migrants to urban areas, which means recent immigrants’ traditional environmental, nutritional, and healing knowledge will continue to be threatened by the pervasiveness of modernity and the homogenization of global capitalism. Moreover, once rural people migrate to urban areas, their ability to retain traditional foodways will remain difficult without spaces of autonomy. The stories in this book reveal how people create the physical space to grow food and the political space to enact autonomy to revive and restore agroecological knowledge needed for an uncertain future.

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Gardens of New Spain
How Mediterranean Plants and Foods Changed America
By William W. Dunmire
University of Texas Press, 2004
When the Spanish began colonizing the Americas in the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, they brought with them the plants and foods of their homeland—wheat, melons, grapes, vegetables, and every kind of Mediterranean fruit. Missionaries and colonists introduced these plants to the native peoples of Mexico and the American Southwest, where they became staple crops alongside the corn, beans, and squash that had traditionally sustained the original Americans. This intermingling of Old and New World plants and foods was one of the most significant fusions in the history of international cuisine and gave rise to many of the foods that we so enjoy today. Gardens of New Spain tells the fascinating story of the diffusion of plants, gardens, agriculture, and cuisine from late medieval Spain to the colonial frontier of Hispanic America. Beginning in the Old World, William Dunmire describes how Spain came to adopt plants and their foods from the Fertile Crescent, Asia, and Africa. Crossing the Atlantic, he first examines the agricultural scene of Pre-Columbian Mexico and the Southwest. Then he traces the spread of plants and foods introduced from the Mediterranean to Spain’s settlements in Mexico, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, and California. In lively prose, Dunmire tells stories of the settlers, missionaries, and natives who blended their growing and eating practices into regional plantways and cuisines that live on today in every corner of America.

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The Geoarchaeology of a Terraced Landscape
From Aztec Matlatzinco to Modern Calixtlahuaca
Aleksander Borejsza, Isabel Rodríguez López, Charles D. Frederick, and Michael E. Smith
University of Utah Press, 2021
The toil of several million peasant farmers in Aztec Mexico transformed lakebeds and mountainsides into a checkerboard of highly productive fields. This book charts the changing fortunes of one Aztec settlement and its terraced landscapes from the twelfth to the twenty-first century. It also follows the progress and missteps of a team of archaeologists as they pieced together this story.

Working at a settlement in the Toluca Valley of central Mexico, the authors used fieldwalking, excavation, soil and artifact analyses, maps, aerial photos, land deeds, and litigation records to reconstruct the changing landscape through time. Exploiting the methodologies and techniques of several disciplines, they bring context to eight centuries of the region’s agrarian history, exploring the effects of the Aztec and Spanish Empires, reform, and revolution on the physical shape of the Mexican countryside and the livelihoods of its people. Accessible to specialists and nonspecialists alike, this well-illustrated and well-organized volume provides a step-by-step guide that can be applied to the study of terraced landscapes anywhere in the world.
The four authors share an interest in terraced landscapes and have worked together and on their own on a variety of archaeological projects in Mesoamerica, the Mediterranean, Poland, and the United Kingdom.

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The Global Hunger Crisis
Tackling Food Insecurity in Developing Countries
Majda Bne Saad
Pluto Press, 2013

Millions across the world face the daily challenge to find enough food to survive. Hunger is on the rise globally, with more than 1.2 billion people suffering from food insecurity. Rising prices are further restricting food access.

In this deeply informative study, Majda Bne Saad identifies the causes for global hunger embedded in the current global political and economic system and highlights the key challenges facing food deficit countries. She shows how Western countries share the blame for global hunger through their support for subsidies to agricultural production and biofuels, which have created new challenges to food security worldwide.

Bne Saad argues that, as world population rises from 7 billion to 9.2 billion by 2050, there needs to be a ‘second green revolution’ to grow more food. She looks at the factors constraining low-income nations from achieving food security and considers policies which could generate income and enhance individuals' entitlement to food.


front cover of Gone Dollywood
Gone Dollywood
Dolly Parton’s Mountain Dream
Graham Hoppe
Ohio University Press, 2018

Dolly Parton isn’t just a country music superstar. She has built an empire. At the heart of that empire is Dollywood, a 150-acre fantasy land that hosts three million people a year. Parton’s prodigious talent and incredible celebrity have allowed her to turn her hometown into one of the most popular tourist destinations in America. The crux of Dollywood’s allure is its precisely calibrated Appalachian image, itself drawn from Parton’s very real hardscrabble childhood in the mountains of east Tennessee.

What does Dollywood have to offer besides entertainment? What do we find if we take this remarkable place seriously? How does it both confirm and subvert outsiders’ expectations of Appalachia? What does it tell us about the modern South, and in turn what does that tell us about America at large? How is regional identity molded in service of commerce, and what is the interplay of race, gender, and class when that happens?

In Gone Dollywood, Graham Hoppe blends tourism studies, celebrity studies, cultural analysis, folklore, and the acute observations and personal reflections of longform journalism into an unforgettable interrogation of Southern and American identity.


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Good Apples
Behind Every Bite
Susan Futrell
University of Iowa Press, 2017
Apples are so ordinary and so ubiquitous that we often take them for granted. Yet it is surprisingly challenging to grow and sell such a common fruit. In fact, producing diverse, tasty apples for the market requires almost as much ingenuity and interdependence as building and maintaining a vibrant democracy. Understanding the geographic, ecological, and economic forces shaping the choices of apple growers, apple pickers, and apple buyers illuminates what’s at stake in the way we organize our food system.

Good Apples is for anyone who wants to go beyond the kitchen and backyard into the orchards, packing sheds, and cold storage rooms; into the laboratories and experiment stations; and into the warehouses, stockrooms, and marketing meetings, to better understand how we as citizens and eaters can sustain the farms that provide food for our communities. Susan Futrell has spent years working in sustainable food distribution, including more than a decade with apple growers. She shows us why sustaining family orchards, like family farms, may be essential to the soul of our nation. 

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A Good Drink
In Pursuit of Sustainable Spirits
Shanna Farrell
Island Press, 2021

“Insightful tour de force… Farrell’s writing is as informative as it is intoxicating”  -- Publishers Weekly

Shanna Farrell loves a good drink. As a bartender, she not only poured spirits, but learned their stories—who made them and how. Living in San Francisco, surrounded by farm-to-table restaurants and high-end bars, she wondered why the eco-consciousness devoted to food didn’t extend to drinks.   

The short answer is that we don’t think of spirits as food. But whether it's rum, brandy, whiskey, or tequila, drinks are distilled from the same crops that end up on our tables. Most are grown with chemicals that cause pesticide resistance and pollute waterways, and distilling itself requires huge volumes of water. Even bars are notorious for generating mountains of trash. The good news is that while the good drink movement is far behind the good food movement, it is emerging.
In A Good Drink, Farrell goes in search of the bars, distillers, and farmers who are driving a transformation to sustainable spirits. She meets mezcaleros in Guadalajara who are working to preserve traditional ways of producing mezcal, for the health of the local land, the wallets of the local farmers, and the culture of the community. She visits distillers in South Carolina who are bringing a rare variety of corn back from near extinction to make one of the most sought-after bourbons in the world. She meets a London bar owner who has eliminated individual bottles and ice, acculturating drinkers to a new definition of luxury.
These individuals are part of a growing trend to recognize spirits for what they are—part of our food system. For readers who have ever wondered who grew the pears that went into their brandy or why their cocktail is an unnatural shade of red, A Good Drink will be an eye-opening tour of the spirits industry. For anyone who cares about the future of the planet, it offers a hopeful vision of change, one pour at a time.


front cover of Good Food, Strong Communities
Good Food, Strong Communities
Promoting Social Justice through Local and Regional Food Systems
Steve Ventura and Martin Bailkey
University of Iowa Press, 2017
Many Americans are hungry, while others struggle to find healthy foods. What are communities doing to address this problem, and what should they be doing? Good Food, Strong Communities shares ideas and stories about efforts to improve food security in large urban areas of the United States by strengthening community food systems. It draws on five years of collaboration between a research team comprised of the University of Wisconsin, Growing Power, and the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, and more than thirty organizations on the front lines of this work in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Los Angeles, Madison, and Cedar Rapids. Here, activists and scholars talk about what’s working and what still needs to be done to ensure that everyone has access to readily available, affordable, appropriate, and acceptable food.

The approach begins by laying out the basic principles of food security and food justice in light of the diversity of food system practices and innovations in America’s cities. The contributing authors address land access for urban agriculture, debates over city farming, new possibilities in food processing, and the marketing of healthy food. They put these basic elements—land, production, processing, and marketing—in the context of municipal policy, education, and food justice and sovereignty, particularly for people of color. While the path of a food product from its producer to its consumer may seem straightforward on the surface, the apparent simplicity hides the complex logistical—and value-laden—factors that create and maintain a food system. This book helps readers understand how a food system functions and how individual and community initiatives can lessen the problems associated with an industrialized food system. 

front cover of Grain by Grain
Grain by Grain
A Quest to Revive Ancient Wheat, Rural Jobs, and Healthy Food
Bob Quinn and Liz Carlisle
Island Press, 2019
"A compelling agricultural story skillfully told; environmentalists will eat it up." - Kirkus Reviews

When Bob Quinn was a kid, a stranger at a county fair gave him a few kernels of an unusual grain. Little did he know, that grain would change his life. Years later, after finishing a PhD in plant biochemistry and returning to his family’s farm in Montana, Bob started experimenting with organic wheat. In the beginning, his concern wasn’t health or the environment; he just wanted to make a decent living and some chance encounters led him to organics.

But as demand for organics grew, so too did Bob’s experiments. He discovered that through time-tested practices like cover cropping and crop rotation, he could produce successful yields—without pesticides. Regenerative organic farming allowed him to grow fruits and vegetables in cold, dry Montana, providing a source of local produce to families in his hometown. He even started producing his own renewable energy. And he learned that the grain he first tasted at the fair was actually a type of ancient wheat, one that was proven to lower inflammation rather than worsening it, as modern wheat does.

Ultimately, Bob’s forays with organics turned into a multimillion dollar heirloom grain company, Kamut International. In Grain by Grain, Quinn and cowriter Liz Carlisle, author of Lentil Underground, show how his story can become the story of American agriculture. We don’t have to accept stagnating rural communities, degraded soil, or poor health. By following Bob’s example, we can grow a healthy future, grain by grain.

front cover of The Grand Food Bargain
The Grand Food Bargain
and the Mindless Drive for More
Kevin D. Walker
Island Press, 2019
When it comes to food, Americans seem to have a pretty great deal. Our grocery stores are overflowing with countless varieties of convenient products. But like most bargains that are too good to be true, the modern food system relies on an illusion. It depends on endless abundance, but the planet has its limits. So too does a healthcare system that must absorb rising rates of diabetes and obesity. So too do the workers who must labor harder and faster for less pay.

Through beautifully-told stories from around the world, Kevin Walker reveals the unintended consequences of our myopic focus on quantity over quality. A trip to a Costa Rica plantation shows how the Cavendish banana became the most common fruit in the world and also one of the most vulnerable to disease. Walker’s early career in agribusiness taught him how pressure to sell more and more fertilizer obscured what that growth did to waterways. His family farm illustrates how an unquestioning belief in “free markets” undercut opportunity in his hometown.

By the end of the journey, we not only understand how the drive to produce ever more food became hardwired into the American psyche, but why shifting our mindset is essential. It starts, Walker argues, with remembering that what we eat affects the wider world. If each of us decides that bigger isn’t always better, we can renegotiate the grand food bargain, one individual decision at a time.

front cover of Green, Fair, and Prosperous
Green, Fair, and Prosperous
Paths to Sustainable Iowa
Charles Connerly
University of Iowa Press, 2020

At the center of what was once the tallgrass prairie, Iowa has stood out for clearing the land and becoming one of the most productive agricultural states in the nation. But its success is challenged by multiple issues including but not limited to a decline in union representation of meatpacking workers; lack of demographic diversity; the advent of job-replacing mechanization; growing income inequality; negative contributions to and effects of climate change and environmental hazards.

To become green, fair, and prosperous, Connerly argues that Iowa must reckon with its past and the fact that its farm economy continues to pollute waterways, while remaining utterly unprepared for climate change. Iowa must recognize ways in which it can bolster its residents’ standard of living and move away from its demographic tradition of whiteness. For development to be sustainable, society must balance it with environmental protection and social justice. Connerly provides a crucial roadmap for how Iowans can move forward and achieve this balance.


front cover of The Green Revolution in the Global South
The Green Revolution in the Global South
Science, Politics, and Unintended Consequences
R. Douglas Hurt
University of Alabama Press, 2020
A synthesis of the agricultural history of the Green Revolution
The Green Revolution was devised to increase agricultural production worldwide, particularly in the developing world. Agriculturalists employed anhydrous ammonia and other fertilizing agents, mechanical tilling, hybridized seeds, pesticides, herbicides, and a multitude of other techniques to increase yields and feed a mushrooming human population that would otherwise suffer starvation as the world’s food supply dwindled.
In The Green Revolution in the Global South: Science, Politics, and Unintended Consequences, R. Douglas Hurt demonstrates that the Green Revolution did not turn out as neatly as scientists predicted. When its methods and products were imported to places like Indonesia and Nigeria, or even replicated indigenously, the result was a tumultuous impact on a society’s functioning. A range of factors—including cultural practices, ethnic and religious barriers, cost and availability of new technologies, climate, rainfall and aridity, soil quality, the scale of landholdings, political policies and opportunism, the rise of industrial farms, civil unrest, indigenous diseases, and corruption—entered into the Green Revolution calculus, producing a series of unintended consequences that varied from place to place. As the Green Revolution played out over time, these consequences rippled throughout societies, affecting environments, economies, political structures, and countless human lives.
Analyzing change over time, almost decade by decade, Hurt shows that the Green Revolution was driven by the state as well as science. Rather than acknowledge the vast problems with the Green Revolution or explore other models, Hurt argues, scientists and political leaders doubled down and repeated the same missteps in the name of humanity and food security. In tracing the permutations of modern science’s impact on international agricultural systems, Hurt documents how, beyond increasing yields, the Green Revolution affected social orders, politics, and lifestyles in every place its methods were applied—usually far more than once.

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Gridiron Gourmet
Gender and Food at the Football Tailgate
Maria J. Veri
University of Arkansas Press, 2019
On football weekends in the United States, thousands of fans gather in the parking lots outside of stadiums, where they park their trucks, let down the gates, and begin a pregame ritual of drinking and grilling.

Tailgating, which began in the early 1900s as a quaint picnic lunch outside of the stadium, has evolved into a massive public social event with complex menus, extravagant creative fare, and state-of-art grilling equipment. Unlike traditional notions of the home kitchen, the blacktop is a highly masculine culinary environment in which men and the food they cook are often the star attractions.

Gridiron Gourmet examines tailgating as shown in television, film, advertising, and cookbooks, and takes a close look at the experiences of those tailgaters who are as serious about their brisket as they are about cheering on their favorite team, demonstrating how and why the gendered performances on the football field are often matched by the intensity of the masculine displays in front of grills, smokers, and deep fryers.

front cover of Grocery Activism
Grocery Activism
The Radical History of Food Cooperatives in Minnesota
Craig B. Upright
University of Minnesota Press, 2020

A key period in the history of food cooperatives that continues to influence how we purchase organic food today

Our notions of food co-ops generally don’t include images of baseball bat–wielding activists in the aisles. But in May 1975, this was the scene as a Marxist group known as the Co-op Organization took over the People’s Warehouse, a distribution center for more than a dozen small cooperative grocery stores in the Minneapolis area. The activist group’s goal: to curtail the sale of organic food. The People’s Warehouse quickly became one of the principal fronts in the political and social battle that Craig Upright explores in Grocery Activism. The story of the fraught relationship of new-wave cooperative grocery stores to the organic food industry, this book is an instructive case study in the history of activists intervening in capitalist markets to promote social change.

Focusing on Minnesota, a state with both a long history of cooperative enterprise and the largest number of surviving independent cooperative stores, Grocery Activism looks back to the 1970s, when the mission of these organizations shifted from political activism to the promotion of natural and organic foods. Why, Upright asks, did two movements—promoting cooperative enterprise and sustainable agriculture—come together at this juncture? He analyzes the nexus of social movements and economic sociology, examining how new-wave cooperatives have pursued social change by imbuing products they sell with social values. Rather than trying to explain the success or failure of any individual cooperative, his work shows how members of this fraternity of organizations supported one another in their mutual quest to maintain fiscal solvency, promote better food-purchasing habits, support sustainable agricultural practices, and extol the virtues of cooperative organizing. A foundational chapter in the history of organic food, Grocery Activism clarifies the critical importance of this period in transforming the politics and economics of the grocery store in America.


front cover of Grow Food, Cook Food, Share Food
Grow Food, Cook Food, Share Food
Perspectives on Eating from the Past and a Preliminary Agenda for the Future
Ken Albala
Oregon State University Press, 2013
Grow Food, Cook Food, Share Food is a practical food history lesson, an editorial on our use of packaged convenience foods, and a call to arms—of the kitchen variety. Mixing food writing and history, adding a dash of cookbook, author and scholar Ken Albala shares the story of what happened when he started taking food history seriously and embarked on a mission to grow, cook, and share food in the ways that people did in the past.

Albala considers what the traditions we have needlessly lost have to offer us today: a serious appreciation for the generative power of the earth, the great pleasures of cooking food, and the joy of sharing food with family, friends, and even strangers. In Albala’s compelling book, obscure seventeenth-century Italian farmer-nobles, Roman statesmen, and quirky cheesemakers from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries all offer lessons about our relationship with the food we eat.

A rare form of historical activism, Grow Food, Cook Food, Share Food is written for anyone who likes to eat, loves to cook, and knows how to throw a great dinner party.

An OSU Press Horning Visiting Scholars Publication.

front cover of Growing Gardens, Building Power
Growing Gardens, Building Power
Food Justice and Urban Agriculture in Brooklyn
Justin Sean Myers
Rutgers University Press, 2023
Across the United States marginalized communities are organizing to address social, economic, and environmental inequities through building community food systems rooted in the principles of social justice.  But how exactly are communities doing this work, why are residents tackling these issues through food, what are their successes, and what barriers are they encountering?  This book dives into the heart of the food justice movement through an exploration of East New York Farms! (ENYF!), one of the oldest food justice organizations in Brooklyn, and one that emerged from a bottom-up asset-oriented development model.  It details the food inequities the community faces and what produced them, how and why residents mobilized to turn vacant land into community gardens, and the struggles the organization has encountered as they worked to feed residents through urban farms and farmers markets.  This book also discusses how through the politics of food justice, ENYF! has challenged the growth-oriented development politics of City Hall, opposed the neoliberalization of food politics, navigated the funding constraints of philanthropy and the welfare state, and opposed the entrance of a Walmart into their community.  Through telling this story, Growing Gardens, Building Power offers insights into how the food justice movement is challenging the major structures and institutions that seek to curtail the transformative power of the food justice movement and its efforts to build a more just and sustainable world.

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