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Food and the City: Urban Agriculture and the New Food Revolution

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  252 ratings  ·  37 reviews
A global movement to take back our food is growing. The future of farming is in our hands—and in our cities.

This book examines alternative food systems in cities around the globe that are shortening their food chains, growing food within their city limits, and taking their "food security" into their own hands. The author, an award-winning food journalist, sought out leader
Paperback, 372 pages
Published February 21st 2012 by Prometheus Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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Lisa Nolan
Aug 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
I stumbled upon Food and the City in my local library in the new book section. After reading it, I actually felt inspired and hopeful, instead of my usually "we're all going to hell in a handbasket". This book illustrates the way forward for towns and cities and their inhabitants: creating a 'post-industrial urban edible landscape' where people grow their own food in backyards, rooftops, community gardens, city-owned lands, CSA farms, and empty factories left to rot because it cost too much to t ...more
Jun 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a well-written, journalistic style memoir of a woman's quest to find out what is currently happening in the world of urban agriculture. Ms. Cockrall-King writes of her travels to several cities in North America, Europe, and Cuba to meet with key people currently involved in urban agriculture. She writes of backyard, private gardens; public community gardens; French intensive agriculture; rooftop gardens on supermarkets; aquaponics; multi-level, indoor gardening; among other varieties of ...more
Oct 04, 2014 rated it liked it
I saw Jennifer CK at the Kingston WritersFest 2014 where she delivered a talk on the subject of urban agriculture, featuring this book. This is a introductory examination of the potential and early adopters of modern methods of urban agriculture. It is a breezy read, journalistic in tone and unfortunately would benefit from another edit for duplicate sentences and thoughts.

Despite the stylistic errors, this is a fine introduction to urban agriculture particularly for those unaware of the topic.
Mar 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: environment
From the smattering of urban gardens and farms visited by the author, mainly in North America, I would hesitate to call this a revolution, so much as a movement. Undoubtedly our industrial food system is extremely vulnerable to supply disruptions due to it's efficiency, yet this locavore grow-your-own-food initiative by a minority of enlightened city dwellers will in all likelihood be too slow to mean any effective change in the overarching global food system. Don't get me wrong, while the ideas ...more
Rebecca Johnson
Mar 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Super interesting book. Great regional history, never preachy...yet informative enough in depth and scope to teach about the unsustainable food situation we are all part of with gems on how we can get with this cool trend.
Mathew Bookworm Smith
Oct 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Where is my hoe? I need it now! I want to rush out into the streets and start planting beans, tomatoes, apple trees. Literally, right on the street!

That is the conversation I had going on in my head after finishing this book.

Cockrall-King lays out her new food revolution theory. It's not an instruction manual, or a slogan filled rant, but a well researched look at examples of urban agriculture throughout the world and why it may be essential in the future. It was an eye opening look at all of t
Carly Small
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great reference on the needs of urban agriculture and ides on how many different ways didn’t styles of land and gardens can be utilized. I found this an inspiring read for people looking to make a difference in philanthropy related to food.
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book very much! I was inspired at every turn of the page. If you like sustainability, food, and a look into the lives of real people doing amazing things in their communities—I’d highly recommend. I dare you to not get gardening.
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed this ride through the urban agriculture movement happening in different parts of the world. Uplifting and motivational; makes me want to start my own farm.
Feb 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: farming
This was a really interesting book that looked at the increase in urban farming - from backyard and patio gardens to community gardens and even renovating abandoned buildings and creating vertical farms in the middle of a major city. The first section of the book looks at our industrialized food system and how it's failing then a few major cities that are trend-setters when it comes to urban farming are highlighted. If nothing else I think this book shows that you really can grow a lot of food a ...more
Feb 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book, a celebration of urban sustainable agriculture, relocalization, permaculture, community gardens, CSA's, and backyard gardening. The author did a wonderful job of sharing her meetings with various leaders in the movement such as Will Allen of Growing Power, as well as many lesser known innovators throughout North America and Europe. I loved the author's descriptions of the people she met, and the stories they told about how they came to their particular brand or niche of ...more
Catherine Griwkowsky
Apr 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
In Food and the City, author Jennifer Cockrall-King explores urban farming in various forms.She travels far back to urban ag examples in 19th century Paris to the theoretical vertical farms planned for office towers.
The book explores urban farms taking root in collapsed industrialized America, communist Cuba following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and counter-cultural Canada.
Various methods of urban agriculture from SPIN farms to guerrilla gardening are sought out in this examination of the
May 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the interesting facts scattered throughout the pages of this book. I felt a drive to share them with Twitter followers, co-workers, friends, just anyone I was around at the time I was reading. I actually enjoyed this more than your typical "food revolution" books (aka anything by Michael Pollan) because of the way each chapter was arranged to show real-life examples in a different city. I also really liked the inclusion of a chapter on Cuba, which seems to be me to be a country ...more
May 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: food-studies
This book had been promoted at a conference I went to by the same name, so when it popped up in the new books section at my local library, I picked it up.

The first five chapters are a summary of the food system that doesn't offer anything new to current discussions, but all subsequent chapters chronicle the author's findings as she toured cities around the globe, interviewing urban farmers. The chapter on Detroit was by far my favorite and her experiences in Cuba were fascinating as well. I som
Jun 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
My friend Jennifer Cockrall-King wrote this book on urban agriculture and it's fantastic! She starts off by describing the problems with the industrial food system and why she got interested in the urban agriculture movement. She was writing about food, and loved gardening and got interested in the link between the two, and realized that urban agriculture is much more than gardening.

After the depressing chapters on the industrial food system (which includes the sad fact that most cities only hav
Mara Shaw
Oct 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Cockerall-King toured a number of cities around the world to view their urban gardening practices. From bee-keeping in Paris to rooftop gardens in Seoul, she gives examples of flourishing communities.

Cockerall-King writes in a very accessible style so the pages fly by. Her discussion of how we got to this point where we are so urbanized and deeply disconnected sets the scene. "It would be funny if it weren't so tragic."

In the face of Big Food, corporate control of seeds and increasing disconnec
I really enjoyed this exploration into urban agriculture, especially by a local author. Cockrall-King has a great style, not overwhelming the reader with jargon or lecturing, and a nicely engaged but still impartial narrative approach. By focusing on different cities in each of the latter chapters, we see how different regions, based on history, climate, and culture, focus on the issues of food security and see the larger picture the author builds: that there is no one surefire answer, no one ma ...more
May 02, 2012 rated it liked it
I like this book because I like the subject. It would be great inspiration for someone just thinking about getting started or getting involved. I guess I would have liked to have gone a little deeper, a little more personal, a little more over the long haul so that I would remember more. I would like to get a little more into the kinds of gardening the various urban gardeners employ. The stories start to blur together.
May 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
The introduction poses some excellent questions, thought the majority of the book is a description of things seen around the world during the author's travels. Given that my local world does not closely relate to many of the places described, I found the concept execution lacking.

Great jumping off point to discuss with a group about what we can accomplish within our own cities and food-scapes.
Aug 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
I loved this book! I had met Jennifer at an author event where she gave a presentation on some of the initiatives she had seen in various cities where she researched the book. It was very inspiring and she herself is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. The book left me feeling more hopeful about the ability of cities to feed themselves. Everyone should read this book.
Feb 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Cockrall-King gives an international tour of the innovative urban gardening habits gaining traction in the Western Hemisphere. She highlights SPIN, Permaculture, beehives, chickens and vertical farms which was useful for a novice like myself in this area. She also addresses food deserts, food security and the use community gardens to help heal social ills.
Aug 11, 2012 rated it liked it

The first few chapters discuss what has happened over time to our food sources and is a good account if you have not been following what has happened to our food you should read it. Some interesting accounts of urban farming from Paris to Detroit.
Sep 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Really interesting, inspiring book. Great overview on what is currently going on with urban agriculture (pointing out several key players, cities, and experiments going on you can research further, if desired). Makes you want to go outside and grow a garden :)
Roz Dibley
May 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
An excellent book showing examples of how easy it is to grow food in the city, even from your little balcony.
Sep 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
well written survey of the commercial agro system and different responses in various cities.
Sep 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Enlightening and frightening. Looking into joining a CSA because of this book.
Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A must read for an international-minded urban gardener.
Mills College Library
363.8 C6666 2012
May 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
this book was an excellent read for any people for a living in a city and looking for sustainable food options and ideas
Sep 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: environment
Great book! Must read for anyone interested in local food, sustainability, and urban farming. This is what's truly important for the future wellbeing of our planet (which includes us!).
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