Together at the Table: Sustainability and Sustenance in the American Agrifood System

Penn State Press, 26/08/2015 - 272

Everywhere you look people are more aware of what they eat and where their food comes from. In a cafeteria in Los Angeles, children make their lunchtime food choices at fresh-fruit and salad bars stocked with local foods. In a community garden in New York, low-income residents are producing organically grown fruits and vegetables for their own use and to sell at market. In Madison, Wisconsin, shoppers select their food from a bounty of choices at a vibrant farmers market. Together at the Table is about people throughout the United States who are building successful alternatives to the contemporary agrifood system and their prospects for the future. At the heart of these efforts are the movements for sustainable agriculture and community food security. Both movements seek to reconstruct the agrifood systemthe food production chain, from the growing of crops to food production and distributionto become more ecologically sound, economically viable, and socially just. Allen describes the ways in which people working in these movements view the world and how they see their place in challenging and reshaping the agrifood system. She also shows how ideas and practices of sustainable agriculture and community food security have already woven their way into the dominant agrifood institutions. Allen explores the possibilities this process may hold for improving social and environmental justice in the American agrifood system.

Together at the Table is an important reminder that much work still remains to be done. Now that the ideas and priorities of alternative food movements have taken hold, it is time for the nexteven more challengingstep. Alternative agrifood movements must acknowledge and address the deeper structural and cultural patterns that constrain the long-term resolution of social and environmental problems in the agrifood system.

1 Sustainability and Sustenance in the Agrifood System
Issues and Concepts
Institutional Integration and Construction
4 Discourses Epistemologies and Practices of Sustainability and Sustenance
5 Reflections on Ideologies Embedded in Alternative Agrifood Movements
6 Participation and Power in Alternative Agrifood Movements and Institutions
7 Politics of Complacency? Rethinking FoodSystem Localization
8 The Politics of Sustainability and Sustenance
9 Working Toward Sustainability and Sustenance
Back Cover



Patricia Allen is Director of the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at the University of California at Santa Cruz.