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Book review: Agricultural Urbanism: Handbook for Building Sustainable Food Systems in 21st Century Cities, edited by Janine de la Salle and Mark Holland. Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: Green Frigate Books.
Review by Nevin Cohen, The New School
doi:10.5304/jafscd.2011.021.016, pp. 319–321
One of the most exciting new areas of planning and development involves innovative strategies to reintegrate food production and distribution into our communities. Agricultural Urbanism, edited by senior planners at HB Lanarc, a Vancouver-based planning and design firm, is a collection of planning, policy, and design concepts to do just that. The book outlines a program — a manifesto, really — for "building a place around food" (p. 9). This requires rethinking the role of food in cities, transforming the messy elements of food production and processing functions that have been relegated to the "back of the house" to the "front of the house," and making food systems visible in communities so that people become reconnected to the sources of their food and better understand the nature of food production. In describing the contours of agricultural urbanism, the authors ambitiously discuss the whole gamut of the food system, including food access, the food economy, infrastructure, education, place-making, policy, and environmental protection.
Banner photos include a Cape Cod cranberry bog; a cranberry “screen house” used to grade fresh cranberries; farmland near Lake Placid, NY, in the Adirondack Mountains; Montmorency cherry trees on the Mission Peninsula of northern Michigan; the historic Round Barn in the South Mountain Apple Belt of Adams County, Pennsylvania; the “Sea of Grapes” district of the Lake Erie Concord Grape Belt, near Erie, Penn; a field of cabbages near Shortsville, NY, home to one of the world’s largest sauerkraut factories. All photos copyright by Duncan Hilchey.
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