California Cuisine and Just Food
376 pp., 6 x 9 in, 14 b&w photos, 4 b&w illus., 4 maps
- Published: September 28, 2012
- Published: October 5, 2012
An account of the shift in focus to access and fairness among San Francisco Bay Area alternative food activists and advocates.
Can a celebrity chef find common ground with an urban community organizer? Can a maker of organic cheese and a farm worker share an agenda for improving America's food? In the San Francisco Bay area, unexpected alliances signal the widening concerns of diverse alternative food proponents. What began as niche preoccupations with parks, the environment, food aesthetics, and taste has become a broader and more integrated effort to achieve food democracy: agricultural sustainability, access for all to good food, fairness for workers and producers, and public health. This book maps that evolution in northern California.
The authors show that progress toward food democracy in the Bay area has been significant: innovators have built on familiar yet quite radical understandings of regional cuisine to generate new, broadly shared expectations about food quality, and activists have targeted the problems that the conventional food system creates. But, they caution despite the Bay Area's favorable climate, progressive politics, and food culture many challenges remain.
Finally! A book on the alternative food movement that tells the complex story of innovation by grounding it in a particular place and describing its historical evolution. California Cuisine and Just Food traces how a broader food quality agenda emerged over time—from land protection, to sustainable growing practices, to food quality and taste, to public health concerns, to equity and justice. This accessible book emphasizes concrete achievements without concealing the challenges that lie ahead in the struggle for food democracy.
Neva Hassanein, Professor of Environmental Studies, University of Montana
The politics of food in the San Francisco Bay Area range from high-end restaurants to the efforts of the Black Panthers and the Berkeley Coop to bring fresh food to poorer residents. In this important book, Sally Fairfax and her coauthors ask, among other questions, how San Francisco's posh Ferry Plaza Farmers Market links to efforts to improve conditions for farm workers and school lunches. They conclude that the evolving understanding of food quality, which has shifted from sustainable farming practices to include flavor and aesthetics as well as personal and public health, can effectuate needed reforms in the current food system.
Philip Martin, Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics, University of California, Davis
A wide-ranging exploration and careful celebration of Bay Area Alternative Food Networks, what they have accomplished, and what is left to be done.
E. Melanie DuPuis, coauthor, Alternative Food Networks: Practice, Knowledge and Politics
A wonderfully rich narrative that skillfully weaves together history, theory, participant observation and rigorous analysis. The book provides significant socioeconomic, ecological, and cultural insights into food sovereignty, food security, food justice, science-society relations, state–civil society relations, and organizational co-evolution among diverse movements seeking high-quality food, environmental health, and social change.
Keith Pezzoli, Urban Studies and Planning Program, University of California, San Diego