Digging into Food Justice 

What do you know about Food Justice? Maybe you’ve heard the term as part of this year’s Ram’s Read book, The Color of Food: Stories of Race, Resilience, and Farming by Natasha Bowens Brown, encountered it in your own reading, or maybe you’ve never even heard the term before. Regardless, this collection of books offers a window into the current scene of literature on Food Justice as an intersectional concept of agricultural, social, environmental, and economic concerns. Access these books to learn more about how food is made, distributed, and consumed in our country today, and dig deeper into learning how to be a conscious consumer.  

Book cover for Black White and Green: Farmers Markets, Race, and the Green Economy

Black White and Green: Farmers Markets, Race, and the Green Economy  

Alison Hope Alkon

Black, White, and Green is one of the first books to carefully theorize the green economy, to examine the racial dynamics of food politics, and to approach issues of food access from an environmental-justice perspective. Drawing on ethnographic and historical sources, Alkon describes the meanings that farmers market managers, vendors, and consumers attribute to the buying and selling of local organic food, and the ways that those meanings are raced and classed. In a practical sense, Alkon offers an empathetic critique of a newly popular strategy for social change, highlighting both its strengths and limitations. 

Book cover for Dispossession Discrimination against African American farmers in the age of civil rights

Dispossession Discrimination against African American farmers in the age of civil rights 

Pete Daniel

Between 1940 and 1974, the number of African American farmers fell from 681,790 to just 45,594–a drop of 93 percent. In his hard-hitting book, historian Pete Daniel analyzes this decline and chronicles black farmers’ fierce struggles to remain on the land in the face of discrimination by bureaucrats in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dispossession recovers a lost chapter of the black experience in the American South, presenting a counternarrative to the conventional story of the progress achieved by the civil rights movement.  

Book cover for Food Justice now!: Deepening the roots of social struggle

Food Justice now!: Deepening the roots of social struggle 

Joshua Sbicca 

In an engrossing, historically grounded, and ethnographically rich narrative, Joshua Sbicca argues that food justice is more than just a myopic focus on food, allowing scholars and activists alike to investigate the causes behind inequities and evaluate and implement political strategies to overcome them. Focusing on carceral, labor, and immigration crises, Sbicca tells the stories of three California-based food movement organizations, showing that when activists use food to confront neoliberal capitalism and institutional racism, they can creatively expand how to practice and achieve food justice. 

Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism

Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism 

Julie Guthman 

Weighing In takes on the “obesity epidemic,” challenging many widely held assumptions about its causes and consequences. Julie Guthman examines fatness and its relationship to health outcomes to ask if our efforts to prevent “obesity” are sensible, efficacious, or ethical. Arguing that ours is a political economy of bulimia—one that promotes consumption while also insisting upon thinness—Guthman offers a complex analysis of our entire economic system. 

Book cover for More Than Just Food: Food Justice and Community Change

More Than Just Food: Food Justice and Community Change 

Garrett M. Broad 

The industrial food system has created a crisis in the United States that is characterized by abundant food for privileged citizens and “food deserts” for the historically marginalized.  Focusing on the work of several food justice groups—including Community Services Unlimited, a South Los Angeles organization founded as the nonprofit arm of the Southern California Black Panther Party—More Than Just Food explores the possibilities and limitations of the community-based approach, offering a networked examination of the food justice movement in the age of the nonprofit industrial complex. 

Book cover for Farming While Black

Farming While Black  

Leah Penniman 

Some of our most cherished sustainable farming practices have roots in African wisdom. Soul Fire Farm, cofounded by author, activist, and farmer Leah Penniman, is committed to ending racism and injustice in our food system. And now, with Farming While Black, Penniman extends that work by offering the first comprehensive manual for African-heritage people ready to reclaim their rightful place of dignified agency in the food system. This one-of-a-kind guide provides readers with a concise “how-to” for all aspects of small-scale farming.  

Book cover for American Hemp Farmer: Adventures and Misadventures in the Cannabis Trade

American Hemp Farmer: Adventures and Misadventures in the Cannabis Trade 

Doug Fine 

Hemp, the non-psychoactive variant of cannabis (or marijuana) and one of humanity’s oldest plant allies, has quietly become the fastest industry ever to generate a billion dollars of annual revenue in North America. In American Hemp Farmer, maverick journalist and solar-powered goat herder Doug Fine gets his hands dirty with healthy soil and sticky with terpenes growing his own crop and creating his own hemp products. Fine shares his adventures and misadventures as an independent, regenerative farmer and entrepreneur, all while laying out a vision for how hemp can help right the wrongs of twentieth-century agriculture, and how you can be a part of it. 

Book cover for Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life 

Barabra Kingsolver 

When published in 2007, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle was embraced by readers worldwide and quickly earned its place as a credo for the locavore movement. The family’s chronicle of struggles and triumphs as they rooted themselves to their Appalachian farm and adopted a locally-produced diet was met with critical acclaim, spent years on bestseller lists and won the James Beard Award. The Chicago Tribune named it “an important contribution to the chorus of voices calling for change.” Washington Post Book World called it, “Charming, zestful, funny and poetic…a serious book about important problems.” 

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