Posts Tagged 'eat the city'

2012 Book Meme!

Here’s a fun little 2012-in-review book meme! I found it at Catherine Pope – Victorian Geek via Ruby Bastille. Links go to my reviews.

Using only books you have read this year (2012), answer these questions. Try not to repeat a book title.

Describe yourself: Bossypants (Tina Fey)

How do you feel: Divergent (Veronica Roth)

Describe where you currently live: Beyond the Wall (ed. James Lowder)

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Hyperion (Dan Simmons)

Your favorite form of transportation: White Horse (Alex Adams)

Your best friend is: An Object of Beauty (Steve Martin)

You and your friends are: The Devil All the Time (Donald Ray Pollack)

What’s the weather like: Full Dark, No Stars (Stephen King)

You fear: Disgrace (J.M Coetzee)

What is the best advice you have to give: This Love is Not for Cowards (Robert Andrew Powell)

Thought for the day: Eat the City (Robin Shulman)

How I would like to die: Blackout (Connie Willis)

My soul’s present condition: Revenge (Yoko Ogawa)

Whew. This was harder than it looks! How would you answer these questions using books you read in 2012?

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Review: Eat the City, by Robin Shulman

I LOVE food. Though I don’t consider myself a foodie, I appreciate and deliberately seek out delicious and authentic food wherever I happen to be–from Panama to Rhode Island to Ecuador to New York. Life’s too short not to eat well–but what does “eating well” mean? And as a student and educator, I’ve learned and taught about food justice and food sovereignty, of which the ability to produce and control your own food makes up a large part. As more and more people realize the failures of industrialized agriculture, more and more people try to take food production in their own hands. Robin Shulman’s Eat the City: A Tale of the Fishers, Foragers, Butchers, Farmers, Poultry Minders, Sugar Refiners, Cane Cutters, Beekeepers, Winemakers, and Brewers Who Built New York, tries to answer one huge, related question: What does the urban food production landscape look like in New York City?

Shulman tackles this question subject by subject, chapter by chapter, covering honey, vegetables, meat, sugar, beer, fish, and wine. New York City has a surprisingly rich history of food production, beginning with the Lenape Indians who first hunted, fished, and gathered along the shores of Manhattan. With the arrival of the Dutch, and then the Germans, English and successive waves of immigrants, agriculture in New York City expanded to include everything from pork to oysters to various types of beer. This all began to change, however, with the industrialization of the city and the increased emphasis on other kinds of production. As Shulman wrote:

New York had a brilliant agricultural past, which it cast away, then an even more brilliant manufacturing past, which it also cast away.

Recently, however, some New Yorkers have found ways to produce their own food, and Shulman tells these stories as well. The balance of historical and modern attempts at urban agriculture included in each chapter was pitch-perfect. The stories reflected upon one another organically, and I never felt that Shulman was attempting to shoehorn in more detail or facts than necessary. I learned a lot about New York City’s history as a meat producer, for example, but was never bored by it. (Though how you could be bored by learning that the city once underwent something called “the Hog Wars” is beyond me!) Reading about New Yorkers’ attempts to bring the city back to its agricultural roots was really inspiring–taking over abandoned lots for gardens, or using building rooftops for their beehives. That ingenuity and determination is one of the most impressive parts of the local food movement!

Continue reading ‘Review: Eat the City, by Robin Shulman’


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