very interesting in that the author questions the ability for "sustainable agriculture" and "food security" movements to coexist and support each othe...morevery interesting in that the author questions the ability for "sustainable agriculture" and "food security" movements to coexist and support each other. can we support local, ecologically-sound food and farming systems AND work towards social justice at the same time? p. allen poses such relevant and challenging questions for those of us who are attempting to make these broad and diverse changes.
i fell in love with this book at the end. it just got better and better. this is a critical and absolutely necessary questioning of who are we fighting to change the food system for; who are "we"; how can "we" include all of the actors in the food system (farmworkers, food service folks, emergency food customers, etc); and finally, are we meeting our goals?
some quotes that stood out:
On discourse: “’It is precisely in the creation, articulation, and formulation of new thoughts and ideas – new knowledge – that a social movement defines itself in society’. Discourse is not only constitutive of social movements; it is also one of the primary tools movements employ to work toward social change”. (page 6).
"It is through discourse that dominant perspectives within organizations, institutions, and society in general are produced, reproduced, contested, and transformed”. (page 81).
“The way the world ‘is’ insidiously translates and mutates into how the world ‘can only be’ or ‘should be’” (Page 118).
“The problem with focusing on structural change is that it seems remote and impossible. It can take time and energy away from work that could be making a difference in people’s lives even if it does not change the basic system. These leaders were more overwhelmed by than they were unwilling to confront core problems in the agrifood system” (page 208).
On participation: “Progressive reforms can only be realized through the empowerment of those who are currently in subordinate positions. While involving those who have been excluded or subordinated is clearly required to meet liberal standards of democracy, it is in and of itself insufficient for achieving a deep democracy. As Stiefel and Wolfe (1994:5) point out, “After all, everyone ‘participates’ in society, whether as an effective actor or a passive victim” (page 158).
“Full participation and autonomous agency to make decisions require the evening out of various forms of power in society” (page 159).
On social change: “Campbell (2001:353) sums up the situation, describing the sustainable agriculture movement as being ‘caught in unyielding tradeoffs between their commitment to deeply rooted social change and the need to be politically credible” (page 208).
“Unless groups working for change are aware of the need for deeper social restructuring, they may ‘end up legitimizing the very processes and interests they are seeking to change’” (page 208).
“We cannot move toward a future we cannot imagine, and we cannot imagine a future we don’t believe is possible” (page 210).
“Not every social problem generates a social movement; this potential lies with those issues that ‘strike a fundamental chord, that touch basic tensions in society’ (Eyerman and Jamison 1991). Agrifood issues are clearly those that have the potential to catalyze broad social movements. Through its procurement, preparation, and consumption food structures some part of daily life for each of us. It is an ‘intimate’ commodity in that it is something we take inside our bodies, which gives it special significance over commodities consumed outside the body” (page 212).
many interesting cross-cultural perspectives on a community garden. this would be great for students who visit community gardens near their school. th...moremany interesting cross-cultural perspectives on a community garden. this would be great for students who visit community gardens near their school. there is pre-written curriculum available online. (less)
This book drastically changed the way I look at plants, and anything domesticated for that matter. The first chapter on apples was terrific. If you ca...moreThis book drastically changed the way I look at plants, and anything domesticated for that matter. The first chapter on apples was terrific. If you can only read one of the four, I would read the first. Fruit trees have since weaseled their way into my New Years resolutions. But really, the whole book is terrific.
Basically, this book takes the stance of the plants - how they have used us humans for their own survival and world domination. And Pollan's style is so entertaining and engaging. Botany is just the back drop in the book for learning the histories of human desires, trends, cultures, power struggles, etc. and how plants have taken advantage of these moments of history to assert themselves in our landscapes.
this is how i learned to grow food. the author takes you through month by month, vegetable by vegetable. so helpful, so well organized. i left it out...morethis is how i learned to grow food. the author takes you through month by month, vegetable by vegetable. so helpful, so well organized. i left it out in the garden in the rain when i was 17 and my mom got me the new victory garden book, but i would love to have this classic again.(less)
my favorite farmer friends highly recommended this book and are using some of the concepts on their farm.
this is a culmination of a lifetime of resear...moremy favorite farmer friends highly recommended this book and are using some of the concepts on their farm.
this is a culmination of a lifetime of research around soil science, insects, holy places, farming and more specifically, how magnetic rock effects the growth and well being of living things. it is a fast and fascinating read, with relatively plain language. it does not contain all of the answers to my questions about paramagnetism, but before this book, i had no questions about paramagnetism. now i will ask my friends what their results are - is there more growth? what rock are they using? how paramagnetic is it? etc.
the author is catholic and brings god into the discussion, though not as a substitution for science - it did not turn me off from his arguments...his god seemed to go hand in hand with ecology.
check it out if you are a farmy ecology nerd like me!(less)
i love a book that gets me to think of bacteria and fungi as little bags of fertilizer. and then along come the protazoa and nematodes to release that...morei love a book that gets me to think of bacteria and fungi as little bags of fertilizer. and then along come the protazoa and nematodes to release that fertilizer as manure right in the root zone, or the rhizosphere. love it. my inner ecology/farm nerd gives this book two green thumbs up. if you garden, you should read this book.
this book was important to my understanding of how the conventional food system works, but his writing style was not easy to get into: facts and figur...morethis book was important to my understanding of how the conventional food system works, but his writing style was not easy to get into: facts and figures were just piled on. i have a passion for learning about where our food comes from, so i was happy to finish this book and happy for the knowledge, but it was not particularly well written.(less)