Remaking the North American Food System: Strategies for Sustainability

Food and agriculture are within the news daily. Stories within the media highlight problems with abundance, deprivation, pleasure, risk, health, community, and identity. Remaking the North American Food System examines the resurgence of interest in rebuilding the links between agricultural production and food consumption as how to beat a number of the negative implications of commercial and globalizing trends within the food and agricultural system. Written by a various group of students and practitioners, the chapters during this volume describe the various efforts throughout North America to craft and sustain alternative food systems which will improve social, economic, environmental, and health outcomes. With examples from Puerto Rico to Oregon to Quebec, this volume offers a broad North American perspective attuned to trends toward globalization at the extent of markets and governance and shows how globalization affects the precise localities. The contributors make the case that food can not be taken without any consideration or viewed in isolation. Rather, food should be considered in its connection to community vitality, cultural survival, economic development, social justice, environmental quality, ecological integrity, and human health.

We sleep in a time when food attracts growing scrutiny. Long taken without any consideration , food now gives many of us pause. They ask where it comes from, how it’s grown and ready , and what implications it’s for our health and therefore the environment. A dairy cattle found to possess mad cow disease unleashes troubling questions on a world system of industrialized meat production, processing, and distribution. Lawsuits brought by obese teens against nutriment companies that provide super-sized fare and parental campaigns to require the “junk” out of faculty lunches and vending machines highlight questionable commercial influences on food choices. Rural regions awash during a sea of commodity agriculture but without groceries or markets selling fresh or nutritious food suggest the sad ironies of our current agricultural “abundance.” and therefore the visual perfection but disappointing taste of a Delicious apple prompts looking for the irregular shapes and in-season novelty of regional and old varieties—those which will not pack well, travel far, or keep but that bloom with distinctive flavor.

Having both material presence and symbolic charge, food now figures prominently in struggles for power, negotiations about policy, possibilities for partnership, and new and renewed expressions of delight and identity. Consequently, food provides a singular analytical and experiential nexus, drawing together and crystallizing many urgent, complicated problems facing society. not taken without any consideration or viewed in isolation, food can and will be connected to community vitality, cultural survival, economic development, social justice, environmental quality, ecological integrity, and human health.

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