Tanya Denckla Cobb’s latest book, "Reclaiming Our Food: How the Grassroots Food Movement Is Changing the Way We Eat," provides a practical guide for anyone looking to get involved in the local foods movement. Cobb uses her experience with food systems planning and public planning mediation to break down case studies and provide readers with suggestions and lessons that can be applied to their unique situations.
The book begins with a look at backyard gardening and progressively moves into studying entire food systems. Many of the stories presented in "Reclaiming Our Food" focus on how food can be a catalyst to alleviating poverty in many neighborhoods. For example, Gateway Greening in St. Louis, Missouri has the goals of “stabilizing neighborhoods, improving community health, combating homelessness and poverty, and building food security” through urban gardening. Gateway Greening also provides “job training and therapy gardening for at-risk populations.”
Throughout the United States, Cobb has found projects that all have the end goal of providing more local food to communities and establishing (or re-establishing) an ecosystem that sustains these projects. Some projects are funded through government grants, and others are funded completely by their community. Some provide jobs to at-risk youth, while others focus on keeping native food cultures alive. In "Reclaiming Our Food," Cobb manages to show readers that local food movements are for everyone; it is very difficult to read this book and not find at least one story that resonates with your community.
"Reclaiming Our Food" is a book that every community leader should read. Not only does Cobb tell the stories of successful projects, she boils down stories and chapters into “Lessons Learned,” making this a valuable guide for every community leader. Cobb does an amazing job showing how vast the local food movement is and how successful it can be in revitalizing communities.
Do you have an urban farming or agriculture outreach program in your community? Share your thoughts and your city's stories in the comments area below.
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