In an age of uncertainty about how climate change may affect the global food supply, industrial agribusiness promises to keep the world fed. Through the use of factory “farms,” genetic engineering, and the widespread application of chemicals, they put their trust in technology and ask consumers to put our trust in them. However, a look behind the curtain reveals practices that put our soil, water, and health at risk. What are the alternatives? And can they too feed the world?
The rapidly growing alternative food system is made up of people reclaiming their connections to their food and their health. A forty-year veteran of this movement, Mark Winne introduces us to innovative “local doers” leading the charge to bring nutritious, sustainable, and affordable food to all. Heeding Emerson’s call to embrace that great American virtue of self-reliance, these leaders in communities all across the country are defying the authority of the food conglomerates and taking matters into their own hands. They are turning urban wastelands into farms, creating local dairy collectives, preserving farmland, and refusing to use genetically modified seed. They are not only bringing food education to children in elementary schools, but also offering cooking classes to adults in diabetes-prone neighborhoods—and taking the message to college campuses as well. Such efforts promote food democracy and empower communities to create local food-policy councils, build a neighborhood grocery store in the midst of a food desert, or demand healthier school lunches for their kids. Winne’s hope is that all of these programs, scaled up and adopted more widely, will ultimately allow the alternative food system to dethrone the industrial.
Food Rebels, Guerrilla Gardeners, and Smart-Cookin’ Mamas challenges us to go beyond eating local to become part of a larger solution, demanding a system that sustains body and soul.
About the Author
For 25 years Mark Winne was the Executive Director of the Hartford Food System, a private non-profit agency that works on food and hunger issues in the Hartford, Connecticut area. During his tenure with HFS, Mark organized community self-help food projects that assisted the city's lower income and elderly residents. Mark's work with the Food System included the development of a commercial hydroponic greenhouse, Connecticut's Farmers' Market Nutrition Program, several farmers' markets, a 20-acre community supported agriculture farm, food and nutrition education programs, and a neighborhood supermarket.
Winne now writes, speaks, and consults extensively on community food system topics including hunger and food insecurity, local and regional agriculture, community assessment, and food policy. He also does policy communication work for the Community Food Security Coalition. His essays and opinion pieces have appeared in The Nation, Hartford Courant, Boston Globe, In These Times, Sierra, Orion, Successful Farming and numerous organizational and professional newsletters and journals across the country. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
“This book is a lively, personal journey through one man’s efforts to make sustainably grown food available and affordable for regular folks. It’s a heartening but realistic take on what needs to happen—emphasis on need! Bravo, Mark!”—Meryl Streep
“A good combination of solid research and affirmative testimonials.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Food Rebels tells the stories of unsung heroes in the food movement—everyday people who realized that they had the power to change the way food and farming work in their communities and in the world, and did something about it. With these stories, Mark Winne inspires us and challenges us to take a stand for good, clean, fair, and affordable food for all.” " —Josh Viertel, president of Slow Food USA
“It’s rare for a single voice to speak so clearly to the many points of our lives that are touched by food. Mark’s approach is simple, humble, truthful, eloquent, and powerful. With stories ranging from Native American communities to Korea, Mark’s work proves the global importance and impact of food.”—Michel Nischan, chef and president/CEO of Wholesome Wave
“Aside from having one the best book titles of the year, this is one tome you'll want to gobble up if you worry about the pernicious effects of the industrial food system on our health, democracy, and souls.” —Santa Fe Literary News
“To Santa Fe food activist Mark Winne, the food on our plates is about democracy. It's about having food choices — ones that Winne thinks industrial agriculture is systematically reducing.Whether it is the fight over genetically modified seeds or who benefits from the massive federal Farm Bill, Winne thinks this food fight is one all consumers need to join in... “—The Santa Fe New Mexican
“Mark Winne has been working in the galleys of the U.S. food movement for 40 years, before there was a food movement of any note. He’s a social movement guy as much as a foodie guy. The title of his new book –Food Rebels, Guerilla Gardeners, and Smart-Cookin’ Mamas: Fighting Back in an Age of Industrial Agriculture — shows the role his warm and quirky sense of humor plays in allowing him to stay active in grassroots organizations for so long…”—www.wayneroberts.ca