You should always have at least one librarian friend.
When a friend of mine who works at the library recommended this book to me, I admit, I was skeptical. I’ve been active in local food movement for over a decade. I’ve read Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food), Barbara Kingsolver (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle), and Joel Salatin (Everything I Want to Do is Illegal). I’ve read Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Alisa Smith (Plenty: Eating Locally on the 100-Mile Diet), and Ben Hewitt (The Town That Food Saved: How One Community Found Vitality in Local Food). Do I really want to read another book about local food movement?
I should have known better than to question a librarian’s recommendation. Jennifer Cockrall-King’s Food and the City: Urban Agriculture and the New Food Revolution turned out to be a fantastic read. In the book Cockrall-King, an award-winning Canadian journalist, examines urban agriculture movement by interviewing urban farmers around the world. She traces the history of urban agriculture and describes innovative projects that are transforming our food system. Parisians keep bees and produce honey on the rooftop of a building that houses the Paris Opera. Londoners grow food in construction waste produced while preparing for the 2012 London Olympics. Cubans turned to urban agriculture after their main source of food, the Soviet Union, collapsed in the early 1990s. To this day, Cubans produce much of what they eat.
I became particularly inspired by many of the urban agriculture initiatives in Canada that the author discussed in the book. That was when Leigh Wilkerson who writes A Larrapin Garden pointed out that Toronto will host its first-ever Urban Agriculture Summit. When I learned that Jennifer Cockrall-King and many of the urban farmers she interviewed will be at the Summit, I found myself booking a flight to Toronto and registering for the conference. I’ll try to share more about the Summit in future posts, but the short version is that I had a blast!
Special thanks to two women in Arkansas without whom I would not have attended the conference—my librarian friend Patrice O’Donoghue who recommended Food and the City to me and Leigh Wilkerson who shared the information about the Summit. Thanks, ladies!
Interested in learning more about Food and the City and urban agriculture movement around the world? Visit Jennifer Cockrall-King’s website at foodgirl.ca.