Cultivating Food Justice: Race, Class, and Sustainability

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Alison Hope Alkon, Julian Agyeman
MIT Press, Oct 21, 2011 - Social Science - 408 pages
2 Reviews

Documents how racial and social inequalities are built into our food system, and how communities are creating environmentally sustainable and socially just alternatives.

Popularized by such best-selling authors as Michael Pollan, Barbara Kingsolver, and Eric Schlosser, a growing food movement urges us to support sustainable agriculture by eating fresh food produced on local family farms. But many low-income neighborhoods and communities of color have been systematically deprived of access to healthy and sustainable food. These communities have been actively prevented from producing their own food and often live in “food deserts” where fast food is more common than fresh food. Cultivating Food Justice describes their efforts to envision and create environmentally sustainable and socially just alternatives to the food system.

Bringing together insights from studies of environmental justice, sustainable agriculture, critical race theory, and food studies, Cultivating Food Justice highlights the ways race and class inequalities permeate the food system, from production to distribution to consumption. The studies offered in the book explore a range of important issues, including agricultural and land use policies that systematically disadvantage Native American, African American, Latino/a, and Asian American farmers and farmworkers; access problems in both urban and rural areas; efforts to create sustainable local food systems in low-income communities of color; and future directions for the food justice movement. These diverse accounts of the relationships among food, environmentalism, justice, race, and identity will help guide efforts to achieve a just and sustainable agriculture.


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The Food Movement as Polyculture
I The Production of Unequal Access
II Consumption Denied
III Will Work for Food Justice
IV Future Directions

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About the author (2011)

Alison Hope Alkon is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of the Pacific.

Julian Agyeman is Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University. He is the coeditor of Just Sustainabilities: Development in an Unequal World (MIT Press) and other books.

Kari Marie Norgaard is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies at the University of Oregon.

Jill Lindsey Harrison is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

David Goodman is Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Robert Gottlieb is Emeritus Professor of Urban & Environmental Policy and founder and former Director of the Urban and Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College. He is the author of Reinventing Los Angeles: Nature and Community in the Global City (MIT Press) and other books.

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