California Cuisine and Just Food

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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.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262517867
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 10/31/2012
  • Series: Food, Health, and the Environment
  • Pages: 376
  • Sales rank: 1,000,153
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 2.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Sally K. Fairfax is Henry J. Vaux Distinguished Professor Emerita in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at the University of California, Berkeley.

Louise Nelson Dyble is Assistant Professor of History in the Department of Social Sciences at Michigan Technological University.

Greig Tor Guthey is Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Planning at California State University, San Marcos.

Lauren Gwin is Research Associate in the Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics at Oregon State University and cofounder and coordinator of the Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network.

Monica Moore cofounded the Pesticide Action Network (PAN) International and its U.S.-based regional center PAN North America.

Jennifer Sokolove is Program Director at the Compton Foundation in San Franscisco.

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Table of Contents

Series Foreword ix

Foreword xi

Acknowledgments xv

1 Celebrating a Community? 1

I Making a Place for Just Food 11

2 Framing Alternative Food 13

3 California Agriculture and Conventional Food 35

4 The Discontents 69

II Waves of Innovation in the Bay Area Alternative Food Community 89

5 A Civic Culture of Parks, Planning, and Land Protection 91

6 Radical Regional Cuisine 107

7 Maturing the District 135

8 Food Democracy and Innovation 175

9 Conclusion: The District and the Future of Alternative Food 223

Notes 235

Bibliography 281

Index 339

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