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

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

Jennifer Cockrall-King. Prometheus, $21 trade paper (355p) ISBN 978-1-6161-4458-6

With this incisive study of the urban farming movement, Canadian food writer Cockrall-King identifies weak links in complex global food chains supplying supersized retailers (e.g., narrowing biodiversity, just-in-time delivery, “global summertime” mentality) that, she says, will result in urban food deserts in the face of natural disasters, terrorism, contamination scares, lack of fuel, and inflation. Despite the appearance of unlimited, cheap food, Cockrall-King contends, the era of low prices has peaked as food products are diverted to agro and biofuel production, and Third World suppliers grapple with ecological devastation. In case studies of urban farmers and beekeepers stretching from London and Paris to Canada and the U.S., she reports on the growth of green markets and gardens and vineyards on rooftops, by roadsides, and in abandoned lots and community plots. Of particular note is her chapter on Cuba, which became a food desert in the 1990s after it lost financial backing from the U.S.S.R. and is now a model for urban agriculture. Despite her dire predictions for health and food security, Cockrall-King provides ample proof of city dwellers who have taken steps toward self-sufficiency by growing their food close to home. (Feb.)