Beet Read: Food and the City


Written By Rachel Caudill, Co-op Good Food Book Club Volunteer Coordinator

 Join us in reading the October Co-op Good Food Book Club book, Food and the City: Urban Agriculture and the New Food Revolution by Jennifer Cockrall-King. The Book Club will meet Sunday, October 26, from 6:00-7:30 p.m. at a member’s private residence to discuss Food and the City. Email for more information and directions.

With this month’s newsletter theme being “The Cooperative Issue” what book could be better than one spotlighting urban centers around the world working cooperatively to create thriving and secure local food systems? That’s just what Cockrall-King does with her book Food and the City by taking us from the dismal industrial grocery store situation—and all of its problems—to the local farmers and cooperatives working together to create something truly vibrant, healthy, and secure.

Bill McKibben says, "All over the world I’ve watched urban dwellers begin to figure out that they can start growing food, too. It’s one of the loveliest trends on earth, and Jennifer Cockrall-King does a fine job of capturing its tremendous growth."

As a food writer and avid gardener, Cockrall-King was poised to notice—then document—a massive revolution in our food system that is now well underway. She began seeing more and more food-centric gardens in her neighborhood and community, and then she saw the same thing happening in towns and cities much further afield. It was not an isolated phenomenon.

From the book’s introduction: “Clearly the urban-agriculture movement wasn’t happening in a vacuum. The more I learned about the desperate situation we were in as industrial consumers, the more I grew to appreciate how revolutionary, subversive, and necessary the open-source, chaotic, decentralized nature of the urban-agriculture revolution seemed. If the pundits’ predictions of a catastrophic failure of a century-long experiment in an industrialized, and more recently, globalized food system ever came to pass, community gardens, urban chickens, public orchards, urban beekeeping, commercial urban farms, open sharing of knowledge, and even the science fiction-like promise of vertical farms were poised to coalesce into a new urban food revolution. A shorter food chain...was the future.”

Cooperation, and in this case food cooperatives, are and will be instrumental in this thrilling and epic shift. As Barry Estabrook, author of Tomatoland, writes, "Cockrall-King makes a compelling and inspiring case that small-scale, urban farming may be the key to fixing our broken industrialized food system." Come find out how!

Please join us to discuss Food and the City: Urban Agriculture and the New Food Revolution (Prometheus Books, 2012) by Jennifer Cockrall-King on Sunday, October 26, from 6:00-7:30 p.m. Remember to email for the meeting location and directions and/or to receive email reminders about the Good Food Book Club. Food and the City by Jennifer Cockrall-King is available through your local library. If you are interested in buying the book, check out the area’s local used bookstores or visit BookPeople of Moscow where Book Club members receive a discount. For more information about the Good Food Book Club, check out the Outreach section of the Co-op website at